The most important symbols of national importance are united in the national coat of arms (Nembo) of Tanzania: The flag is the hallmark of free Tanzania. It consists of five diagonal stripes, which symbolize the land (green), the water (blue), the people (black) and the wealth of raw materials (gold). The nation is built up and defended with a spear, sickle and ax. The tusks are a symbol of the country’s rich, living nature. A cotton and a coffee branch represent agriculture, the backbone of the economy, and rest on the summit of Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa and a symbol of Tanzania (“Land of Kilimanjaro”). A man and a woman stand for the national motto of freedom (Uhuru), unity (Umoja) and equality, which is on the banner. The Torch of Freedom (‘Uhuru Torch’), the symbol of light and freedom, is also part of the national coat of arms and was first ignited in 1961 on Kilimanjaro and gives “hope to the desperate, dignity to the injured and peace to those who are full of hatred”. Find every year Torch relay runs in Tanzania.
“God bless Africa”: The melodies of the Tanzanian and South African national anthems are identical (since the overcoming of apartheid in South Africa). The textual content of the Tanzanian anthem is of course different.
Independence Day: December 9th, 1961 (Tanganyika)
Head of state: John Magufuli
Head of government: John Magufuli
Political system: Presidential republic, multi-party system
Democracy Status Index (BTI): Rank 59 (of 137) (2020)
Corruption Index (CPI): Rank 96 (of 180) (2019)
Ibrahim Index of African Governance: Rank 19 of 54 (2020)
According to businesscarriers, Tanzania’s written history is shaped by the influence of foreign cultures. Already in the 8th century AD there was an intensive trade by Arab and Persian seafarers on the coast. The Middle Ages were the heyday of Swahili culture in East Africa, which was then shaped by the dominance of the Portuguese until they were in turn ousted by the Arabs. From 1828 the sultans of Oman resided in Zanzibar. In the interior of the country they established bases, especially for slaves and ivory. The 19th century was shaped by the slave trade, the activities of the first missionaries and Africa explorers. In 1884 Carl Peters founded the German-East African Society and ‘acquired’ areas inland. In 1890 the German government took over sovereignty in German East Africa [Link does not offer a critical appraisal of colonial history; this also applies to the – nevertheless interesting – entry in the German Colonial Lexicon from 1920]. The islands of Unguja and Pemba became a British protectorate (Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty). In 1905, the German colonial administration in the south of the country encountered military resistance (Maji-Maji uprising), presumably 100,000 peoplehave paid with their lives. After World War I, German East Africa fell to Great Britain, first as a mandate area of the League of Nations, then, from 1945, as a trust area of the United Nations.
In 1954 the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) was founded under the direction of Julius Nyerere. The Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) emerged from this union, which was structured in a transethnic and transreligious way from the beginning and is still in power today.
In 1961 Tanganyika gained independence. Zanzibar followed two years later, albeit initially under the rule of the Arabs, which was put to an end in 1964 by a bloody massacre. April 26th, 1964 is the founding day of the United Republic of Tanzania. The one-party system was set up just a year later. The guidelines for politics were formulated in the Arusha Declaration (1967). ‘Ujamaa’ has become a synonym for ‘African socialism’. The term (Swahili for family ties) is linked to the communitarian character of traditional societies in East Africa. Through a village development program (‘ Villagization’) large parts of the population were forcibly relocated from the traditional scattered settlements to’ developing villages’ (‘Ujamaa villages’).
The charismatic personality of Nyerere gave the one-party regime in Tanzania a face that aroused sympathy at home and abroad. The Ujamaa politics had succeeded in promoting the national identity and conflict-free cohesion of the many ethnic groups. However, the planned economy had a devastating effect on economic development.
Nyerere admitted this with his remarkable resignation in 1985, paving the way for economic and political liberalization in the country. A structural adjustment policy was carried out under his successor, which initially proceeded relatively haphazardly. The approval of political parties in 1992 was followed by four multi-party elections (1995, 2000, 2005, 2010), in which the CCM always won clear (constitutional) majorities.