“Colgate, I think there’s something wrong with the Beaver.”

I saw this lovely lady at the store the other day giving away stuffed beaver dolls with a purchase of Colgate toothpaste.

This gave me the chance recently to follow up on an earlier wacky marketing post about this choice of mascot. In that post, I pointed out that since we don’t actually have beavers in Africa, this marketing campaign might not resonate that well with the residents of Tanzany.

Well, as suspected, she has no idea what a beaver is. She knew that they have big teeth, obviously, but was quite surprised when I told her that they use their teeth to chop down trees and build dams. “Really?” she asked. “Why do they do that?” She didn’t think that the people who take the dolls know what a beaver is either.

After this I saw another lady giving stuffed beavers away at a different store as part of the same campaign. Just as clueless about the animals as the first one was.

So keep up the good work, Colgate. Thanks for keeping Tanzany wierd.

Ask the Attorneys … About Witchcraft

Harry Potter Poster

Photo: Harry Potter Wiki

Harry Potter, beware. You’re not wanted in Tanzany. From the Daily News weekly feature “Q&A with FB Attorneys”. 

I have financial difficulties which have made me miserable. Hoping to change things, I have turned to God and am now a born again. My best friend is however persuading me to visit his old mzee (old man) who is ready to change things for me his way. My friend keeps on insisting that if I don’t visit this old man, I will end up in more problems. This is now scaring me. Is this allowed?  – TD, Morogoro

The Witchcraft Act is a special legislation to provide for the punishment of witchcraft and of certain acts connected to it. In this Act, witchcraft is defined to include sorcery, enchantment, bewitching the use of instrument of witchcraft, the purported exercise of any occult power and the purported possession of any occult knowledge. In short witchcraft is illegal in Tanzania.

Under this Act, it is an offence for any person who advises any other person upon the use of witchcraft or any instrument of witchcraft … Hence what your friend is doing is illegal under the law and you may opt to report this to your local police station.

No experience necessary

Photo by AMG Hosting

Say what you want about Tanzany’s political leaders — they can pander with the best in the world.

Here’s a great example that I’ve been meaning to post since it appeared in the Daily News in April, under the head line: “Fresh job seekers might no longer need ‘experience’.” (I love the quotation marks the headline writer put around the word experience. So evocative.)

“Job seekers will not have to possess experience in order to get employment after the government abolishes that condition, often given to people seeking first appointment.

… The Minister for Labour and Employment, Ms Guadensia Kabaka told the ‘Daily News’ … that her ministry was working on the proposal and would forward it to stakeholders both in the public an private sectors.

… The minister hinted that a directive would be issued to all employers in the country on what to demand from job applicants before they can be considered for employment.

… The minister said an applicant needs no work experience since one can make a good [Human Resources Officer] by undergoing on-the-job training, supported by academic qualifications.

According to curren tstatistics, more than 800,000 yous enter the labour market in the country annually while the government can manage to employ only 40,000.

Last week, the International Labour Organisation organized the Tanzanian Youth Employment Forum during which many participants voiced their concern on the issue of job experience and called on the government to review or abolish it.

… The ILO … was of the view that skills components and contribution of training institutions should be seriously addressed.

Once they get that all sorted, I fully expect them to move on to some other important loose ends like repealing the so-called “law” of supply and demand.

After all, making empty political statements is far easier than finding ways to help employers create new jobs.