LSE’s Janna Miletzki discovers the ever-changing landscape of Kigamboni, a suburb of Dar es Salaam.
In the middle of this picture, one can see an advertisement painted by hand for the virtual social network website Facebook – a Western phenomenon. Facebook, it says, is “sugar for beautiful people” (sukari ya warembo) – it is a platform where beautiful people can show themselves to the virtual public.
Yet this advertisement seems oddly placed on a wall of a demolished or never completed ruin of a house, in a place which does not look like a hub of virtual modernised communication.
In Dar es Salaam, nothing is ever quite finished as the cityscape is changing at a fast pace. Houses are built, but construction is abandoned halfway when the finances run out.
Dar es Salaam, on the Indian Ocean, is situated on two sides of a canal. The place in the photo is on the less developed side of the city: on Kigamboni. There, Western tourists relax on the beaches and local residents find peace from the loudness and traffic from the other side of the city. It is only reachable by ferry, which connects the two sides every 10-15 minutes.
The “rural idyll” seen in the picture might soon not exist anymore since the government has decided to plan a modern city in this area, with education and health facilities as well as a better connection to the other side. Soon, there will also be a tunnel and the Princess Catherine Bridge to link the two parts. Will Facebook soon be not only a funny or ironic advertisement, but one of the main means of communication for people living on Kigamboni?
The post originally appeared on A Season of Urban Vignettes blog.