Tuesday, 11 September 2007

MISS TANZANIA 2007: Debating race and national identity

From Global Voices Online
By J. Nambiza Tungaraza

“It’s sad that people have raised such an issue. I don’t see why they should, because I am not the only Asian born in this Country. In fact both my parents were born here in Tanzania. My mother in Pemba and my father in Morogoro. I was born here in Dar and grew up in Mwanza so what does that make me?
Definitely not an American nor a British not even an Indian. I am proudly Tanzanian and I know no other country but Tanzania. May be I am Afro Indian (Indo-African) but I am still a born Tanzanian.”

Those are the words of Richa Adhia in an interview with Bongo Celebrity blog soon after she was crowned as the Vodacom Miss Tanzania 2007.

Richa’s victory has attracted criticism from some members of public and has ignited a national identity debate in the Swahili blogosphere. Those who embrace Tanzania’s cultural and racial diversity have endorsed Richa wholeheartedly. And on the other hand those who perceive ‘blackness’ as the crucial ingredient of Tanzanian national image, are questioning if a Tanzanian of Asian background can really represent Tanzania or whether she qualifies to become a symbol of Tanzanian beauty.

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