I will be in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania within thirty days. I have been thinking about it a lot and today’s Prompt is fitting as the last time I held silence on something that should have been said was during a meeting to prepare for this trip. One member of the team laboriously put together a PowerPoint presentation with pictures of us an the village we will be staying at. It was very nice except for one detail: the background music. To me the music sounded extremely dark and gloomy (I think they were going for “ambient”), and it sort of seemed to unwittingly perpetuate the whole “Dark Continent” stereotype that dominates depictions of Africa. Someone said that the song sounded familiar and asked the slideshow creator where it came the. The answer? “It’s the theme music from Blood Diamond, it took me forever to find the right sounding song.” I’m not sure what was went by “right sounding,” but I have a bad feeling that meant “African sounding”.
Here is the problem: Blood Diamond took place in Sierra Leone, which is on the opposite side of the continent that Tanzania is on. Those two nations have nothing in common, so that would mean that there music is most likely entire different. I honestly couldn’t tell you the difference, but I’m sure it would be as absurd as playing Irish music on a slideshow about a trip to Russia. Ireland and Russia are both Europe after all. As much as I wanted to voice my concern, I held my silence and I’m glad I did. I wanted to suggest maybe searching for some music that was actually Tanzanian (or at least Swahili), but out of tact I did not. Honestly the Circle of Life would have been better, because its upbeat and the Lion King uses Swahili extensively. Or even some reggae, since while it is not actually from Africa it does have a message of peace and global unity. Oh well, I’m sure nobody who saw that slideshow saw what I saw.