The culture of freeloading shamelessly.

By Shaaban Fundi

I travel to Tanzania every other year. It has not been difficult to spend my time there every time I go except this year (the “good people” that made my stay pleasant, thanks guys; you know who you are, you are truly not included in this).Two weeks in and I was ready to change my flight date and leave. I do not know what is happening to me, but I feel like I am in a foreign country in Tanzania these days. I feel as though I do not belong there any-longer.

It is not the same any more. The very small, small inconveniences like lack of electricity, lack of running water (maji ya kuoga kwa ndoo–i hate that), endless traffic (or I should say roads turned into parking lots) and hiking prices to foreigners bothers me now more than before. It is dawning to me that I might be at that juncture where I feel I belong more to the predictability of life in the U.S. than the unpredictability in Tanzania.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Tanzania. I love the countryside and the simple life that goes with it. But, the culture of “mgeni njoo mwenyeji apone” is getting in my nerves and it is literary frustrating me. Why my coming to see you necessitate me to give you money? I paid a heavy price on my air ticket already. Jeez!!!! It should just be enough for me to come and spend time and seeing you for god’s sake!!

The meals that you get in exchange for your 100,000Tshs are unnecessary. You know what I mean, when visiting a relative or a friend, they will cook food for you in anticipation that you will definitely leave “kitu kidogo” behind. Just tell me your problems and if I can afford, I will surely help rather than providing me with food and when I am leaving you start telling me that you have problems. Keep the money to solve your life’s problems, I can handle my own. My once in two year’s cash is not going to change your life instantly.

I felt like I was a walking ATM machine. People have that mentality of expecting something from nothing. What have you done for me to feel that I owe you something?

I make and save for a budget to visit home and I would love to stay within budget, “please”. I don’t like to spend just for the sake of spending, unless it is off course spending on myself and probably the people very close to me. Am I just another African getting frustrated with his own culture?????

Can we change? What do you feel about this culture of shamelessly receiving money or gift without working for it? Maybe that is the reason why even our government officials come abroad shamelessly to ask for misada? No shame to getting “things” for free (free-loading). What a shame!!! I wonder what the white people on those meeting thinks of these leaders!!!!???

7 thoughts on “The culture of freeloading shamelessly.

  1. I have no comments—-simon. Maybe we should ask the people, our leaders who makes it their career? In my loudest voice—-how does it feel to ombaomba???

    I am not sure if they will answer the call though……!!!


  2. Nakunukuu“I feel like you have “a” able body, do something with it.´´

    This reminds me that- I was told ombaomba maarufu Mzee Matonya has able body but he chose to do something with it by being OMBAOMABA.

    I actually heard heis welloff compared to a lot of hard working Tanzanians by begging.

    But ,…
    … who are we to say ombaomba business is easy?:-(


  3. John Komakoma

    Ha ha ha ha Fundi!! you make me laugh when you said you were a walking ATM machine..!! That is becoming our culture now. Hope you heard our MPs saying they need more “posho” so that they can give to the needy!!
    People expecting that since you are coming from US, you are more wealthy and more cash to disperse to them. You have to know that when visiting Tanzania next time. One of my friend was aspiring for an MP and you know what he was doing? walking with Tsh 500 bills so that whoever request something he will give to them.
    Regards to your family


    1. Komakoma, I know you go through the same bullshit sometimes. It has much to do with the freeloading culture. One example, a brother in law of mine did not have a job at some point and he would not take any help or gift from us. It is engrained in his culture that he has to be independent. Its just our culture of no shame, we feel like it is okay to freeload.

      I know that happens alot, its just I can’t stand it anymore. I feel like you have “a” able body, do something with it.


  4. Goodman Manyanya Phiri

    A very senior South African police official, in 1987 (then a member of the liberation organization Pan Africanist Congress of Azania headquartered in URT), once told me he attended then one of those encounters between African and European leaders/technocrats where issues of trade were discussed.

    He said he felt ashamed to call himself African as our guys were begging and grovelling at that high stage. Personally, I do not know how true that statement was (nor can I confirm it since the originator is long dead d from a car accident), but maybe those who attend these gatherings can share with us, but then again maybe they are sworn to secrecy.


    But perhaps you also have a duty to lower your expectations as you return home to KIJIJINI! I’ve seen European tourists are good at that; so why can’t you, Son of the Soil, even better them?


    1. I always look in the mirrow Phiri. It is not that Nijikweza in any sense while home but the
      expectations people have of you are just rediculous. I am a down to earth kind of a person and I blend in the culture better than the tourists. It is the fact that everyone feels like they can get something from you. Maybe thats why some people stays in hotels like tourists to avoid kubebeshwa mizigo.

      Tourists don’t have to open their magic wand anytime they see a person they know or have known in the past. It is in that sense that they are able to stay within their budgets. I know this is not only for people coming from abroad!!! Even the people living in city centers suffers the same misfortune when they visit relatives whether in a KIJIJI or small town.

      You’re spot on about our leaders begging shamelessly. Does this stem from our culture of receiving or expecting money and or gift shamelessly without working for them? What do you think? Is there a connection between the two in some ways?????


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