Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Christmas Allegory

When I was a kid, I used to get told stories all the time. There always seemed to be an older relative around who could be cajoled into telling us about Abnuasi (sp?) or any number of tricksters. These stories were almost always quite dark and some were frankly revolting... none of that Disneyfied twaddle for us pre-TV kids, no Hakunarrrr Matatarrrrrr here.

What was really good about these stories, this dying art, is how very best of them could condense deep insights into human nature and the way of the world into a half-hour's entertainment. Politics, thrift, love, loyalty, cunning, competitiveness, character... a philosophical answer to almost any issue lay just one story away.

So when I came across this great allegory* a couple of days ago, I thought y'all might enjoy it too. It's a fun read for the big kid in you and has some rather interesting things to say about "a richly-endowed country, possibly Tanzania"'s contemporary history not to mention our development policies... and our leadership. I'll tell you this much- it doesn't exactly paint Bongo as an Emergent Democracy.

I have a few things to say about the political reading- I find that it could be more nuanced- but there is something to be said about the way in which we are often run more like a monarchy which kow-tows to patriarchal and hereditary power than a Weberian bureaucracy. Still, the story is the most candid, nimble and humorous piece of musing on Tanzanian development I have read in a very long time. Love it? Hate it? Holler in the comments section.

*You have to click on 'view' in the right hand bar under 'Current News' to read The Choice.


  1. I couldn't get the link to work, even clicking on 'view'. Tried Chrome, Firefox and Internet Exploder.

  2. Thanks for that heads up Steve, managed to find the Scribed link. Check out the newer postings for the link. Wouldn't have known if you hadn't hollered. Happy New Year!


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