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Out of the Box

Tribal Communities of Modern Tanzania

An exhibition of photographs by Colin Hastings
of kijiji*Vision Fair Trade Photography
10 February - 21 March 2003

The photographs depict the everyday life of people from some eight tribal societies in Northern Tanzania. These include some unusual aspects of the iconic Maasai, but also insights into the lives of lesser known but equally interesting societies such as the Barbaig, Wa Arusha, Gorowa, Chagga, Pare, and Sambaa as well as the mixed tribal communities of lake Babati, Nyumba ya Mungu dam and the Swahili coast.

The images themselves differ from the typical depictions of Africa.... not glamourised, pleading, born of disaster or conflict, preying on poverty, anthropological, nor the stereotypical (package) tourist paradise. They are instead produced jointly with the people of this gentle country, at their request, to reflect ordinary people living their lives.

From my European perspective, it is remarkable how these tribal peoples live dignified lives with so little. In part this stems from using fully what resources they do have. This resourcefulness, doing a lot with a little, has been a guiding inspiration in putting together this exhibition and informs the way that kijiji*Vision, a young not for profit organisation, wants to operate. To respond creatively to these realities, the images have been "framed" in cardboard boxes. The resulting installation is both intriguing and challenging. I hope too that it will encourage viewers to question their preconceptions about tribal societies, as well as what they take for granted in their own cultures.

The beneficiary of the exhibition is the Tanzanian Cultural Tourism Programme. This Programme attracts visitors to remote rural villages in Tanzania. In each member village the revenues are invested in a development project nominated by the villagers themselves, so that the whole community benefits. The pictures were the result of a project to create postcards for each village to sell to visitors, thus adding an additional source of revenue for the community. The postcards, and this exhibition, will also help the organisation reach out to and attract new audiences for its unique brand of socially responsible tourism.

kijiji means "village" in Kiswahili

For further details about kijiji*Vision email colin@kijijivision.com