I had a nice time going home, but there were several examples of people talking me for the court jester. Case in point: my older sister asked me to take out her friend to this shopping centre called Slipway, near our house in Dar-es-Salaam. We wanted to go on this boat that takes you to Bongoyo island. When I was trying to buy the tickets, I got the impression they were trying to con me by telling us to pay two fares (one ‘marine tax’ + one boat fare). And then they told us, that to go on the boat, the boat had to have a capacity of 4 people, so they wanted me and her to pay for two phantom, fake people. I was like….wtf?
I refused. One of them said because my sister’s friend L was not from Tanzania, she would have to pay a foreigners fee which is more expensive than for Tanzanians. I was like….? I didn’t accept it til they showed me the form that the government had sanctioned. The one of them said to me that I should pay a foreigner’s fee too because I didn’t sound Tanzanian. And naturally, they all started laughing at me. I just shrugged it off and was like, no I am Tanzanian but I know for sure that we are not going on this wack boat. So we left. Then what happened? 10 minutes later or so, the captain of the boat found us and told me he would take both of us for less than the marine tax & boat fare combined.
This kind of attitude is why some African businesses are not growing. Here is what I learnt from this episode.
1. It is better for people to think you are dumb as they tried to do with me. Then when they saw I wouldn’t be conned, they came looking for us to still try and sell me shit.
2. Being Tanzanian does not mean speaking Swahili with a crystal Dar accent. I still speak Swahili, whether or not it is up to your standards is completely irrelevant to me.
3. Incidents like this make me seriously wonder if this is an attitude problem with certain people.
What do you think? Is it always better to play dumb? When I was 18, things like this would really hurt me for someone to try and devalidate my identity by saying I spoke with an accent, but I have got to the point where I absolutely do not care anymore. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone except my mother and my late father.
If my mum is okay with me and my father is proud of me whereveer he is, that is good enough for me and everyone else can fuck off.