Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Weekly Sneak: Education

Why not? I like invented traditions and honestly it allows me to look like I'm blogging when really I'm getting two pieces for the price of one. Dodgy, but fun. So here is this week's preview paragraph for next week's East African article:

"Still, the underlying point is a poignant one: what they are really asking is how can they hope to get out into the big bad world and earn a living without poverty rolling over them like a runaway upcountry bus. I do have an answer for those of us who are unemployed by our anorexic formal labor market: your creativity is your labor market advantage. Most of us are going to have to invent our jobs and ride our own brains on the journey from subsistence farming with a hand-hoe, to the bright lights and city smarts of the middle class lifestyle."

The idea came about during a conversation about jobs and youth and what Tanzanians could expect to happen in the next few years when we look at the combined effects of a population boom, a crapulent public education system and a future that rewards intellectual work and innovation rather than labor that can be mechanized. Somewhere along the line we agreed that individual creativity would provide the labour market, so to speak, that young Tanzanians are looking for. My twin then casually told me that there's no way I could present that argument in an article and make it work. And here I am, genetically programmed not to resist a dare...

Also, I wanted to expose an interesting behavior: I'm getting asked for money by strangers. Sigh. Look: I don't believe in hand-outs. Charity for good causes? Yes. Constructive help? Yes. Mentorship? Any time. Collaboration? Sure, as time and inclination permits. Hand-outs just because? Not so much. I hope we're clear on that. If you don't like it, you can always report me to the socialists ;)

And then there was Vodacom or Vodanet or Vodacell or whatever the hell they call themselves these days. When they rebranded this year, their campaign translated the English slogan of "Power to You" to "Kazi ni Kwako" for the local populace. Which doesn't mean remotely the same thing, and has been quietly grating on my nerves for months now. Typically Tanzanian of me, being intolerant of the cultural faux-pas. Their local staff must hate the corporation if they neglected to inform the (obviously clueless) marketing team about this one little thing. In comparison to the ads that Zantel is putting out there, Vodacom is only showing itself to be out of touch with their consumers and frankly uninterested in their customers. You'd think that Big Telecoms would have a clue. Apparently, not these guys.

1 comment:

  1. Very good peace I have liked it. Two issues have interested me much:handouts and the way Vodafone have failed to bring on board their customers by trying to interpret directly their new slogans. I've been in puzzle for sometimes about this.
    Anyway, it has been my first time to visit your blog, I have been reading your ideas via East Africa every week for some months now, wondering how meticulous in language you are. Hongera, I'll be a regular visitor.


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