Staying White?

Louder Than Swahili is pissed off by the phenomenon of exclusive clubs in Bongo:

A personal, favorite mantra is to hate the Dar Es Salaam Yacht Club (but not enough to stay away if invited). Basically I’m against the idea that a certain group of people can decide who else they’ll allow access to its premises through procedures which are too conservative for my liking.

Besides, if you end up finally becoming a fully granted member, you have to spend every f***ing single night in the rest of your Dar Es Salaam residency life there among all the other sun-dried wazungu in order to benefit from your membership fee.

I could go on & on about this phenomenon, but it wasn’t the intentional plan for this post.

I am, however,  wondering why many wazungu in Dar Es Salaam never go anywhere else, but in circles on Msasani, the most expensive area in Dar Es Salaam, also called the Peninsula. Nice area, but also such a diluted version of what Dar Es Salaam really is.

One possible reason for this may be race and a fear of the ‘other’. But this may be too simplistic. I think human beings tend to naturally gravitate towards the familiar, the comfort and security it affords. Nevertheless, I am baffled by folks who choose to move away from home, settle in another country and while there proceed to surround themselves with similar people to the ones they left behind. It smacks of intellectual and social laziness and inevitably leads to a narrowness of perspective. Being in a different cultural milieu is unsettling, but in a wonderfully challenging way. It is a chance to experience a reality different from the one we are used to, an opportunity to expand the sense of what is possible and hopefully evolve and grow. This is something that the wazungus in Msasani seem to have missed.

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