Preface

The East Africa of the 1970s was a land of promise. Nationhood had been achieved only a decade earlier and the countries of Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi reflected the differing philosophies of their leaders. Kenya, ruled by Jomo Kenyata, had adopted a capitalist philosophy. Julius Nyere of Tanzania was creating a model for African socialism, and Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda ruled Malawi as a “benevolent” dictator. I journeyed through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, and Egypt in 1972. Initially attracted to the magnificent game parks, it was the impressions and memories of the people that were to remain most strongly. A beggar, deliberately crippled by his parents when he was still a child so that he could beg, explained to me without bitterness, indeed with respect and gratitude, that his parent’s actions had enabled him to raise a family on what he made as a beggar and so emphasised for me the importance of our social safety net. I discovered what it was like to be discriminated against because of my colour in one moment and treated as an honoured guest because of it in the next. I winced as a member of one racial group bemoaned her treatment at the hands of a second, while dismissing as inferior, a member of a third. Fourteen days travelling on local buses, eating, sleeping, and suffering with rural Africans taught me the meaning of walking a mile in another’s shoes. Depending on my mode of travel, I saw the country differently, and the people of the country saw me differently. On local buses I was part of a community, in the vehicle I was an outsider, a voyeur.
Our route: Blue by bus/ferry, Green by Car
Our Route: Nairobi, Kenya - Cholo southern Malawi - Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Blue by bus/ferry, Green by car.
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved

Preface

The East Africa of the 1970s was a land of promise. Nationhood had been achieved only a decade earlier and the countries of Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi reflected the differing philosophies of their leaders. Kenya, ruled by Jomo Kenyata, had adopted a capitalist philosophy. Julius Nyere of Tanzania was creating a model for African socialism, and Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda ruled Malawi as a “benevolent” dictator. I journeyed through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, and Egypt in 1972. Initially attracted to the magnificent game parks, it was the impressions and memories of the people that were to remain most strongly. A beggar, deliberately crippled by his parents when he was still a child so that he could beg, explained to me without bitterness, indeed with respect and gratitude, that his parent’s actions had enabled him to raise a family on what he made as a beggar and so emphasised for me the importance of our social safety net. I discovered what it was like to be discriminated against because of my colour in one moment and treated as an honoured guest because of it in the next. I winced as a member of one racial group bemoaned her treatment at the hands of a second, while dismissing as inferior, a member of a third. Fourteen days travelling on local buses, eating, sleeping, and suffering with rural Africans taught me the meaning of walking a mile in another’s shoes. Depending on my mode of travel, I saw the country differently, and the people of the country saw me differently. On local buses I was part of a community, in the vehicle I was an outsider, a voyeur.
Our route: Blue by bus/ferry ride, Green by car.
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved