Sunday, May 19

The harmony of the culture of multinational Tanzania and its reflection in the clothing brand Colorzzofzesun

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

At the meeting of the International Discussion Club “VISION 3000”, the theme of which was: “The culture of multinational Russia should be dedicated to goodness and harmony”, Maria Sergeevna Bulatnikova, Designer and founder of the clothing brand Colorzzofzesun, an anthropologist by education (RGGU), made a presentation on the topic:  “The harmony of the culture of multinational Tanzania is reflected in the clothing brand Colorzzofzesun.”

The harmony of the culture of multinational Tanzania and its reflection in the clothing brand Colorzzofzesun


  1. Father of the Nation
  2. Cultural and climatic diversity of Tanzania
  3. Steps to unite peoples into a single country 60 years ago, the role of the Kiswahili language
  4. Shaaban Robert and the Swahili Ideal
  5. Friendship of Tanzania and the USSR (Nyerere and Khrushchev )
  6. A clothing brand that combines the cultural traditions of Tanzania.

Father of the Nation Julius Nyerere (1922-1999)

First of all, speaking about Tanzania, a country in East Africa, I would like to tell you about the first President of the country, as he is called in Tanzania “Baba ya Taifa” or “Father of the Nation”.

It was Julius Nyerere who united the former British colony of mainland Tanganyika with the island of Zanzibar in 1964, which had previously belonged to both the Ottoman Sultanate and Great Britain in different years.

But on April 26, 1964, a new free state emerged – the Republic of Tanzania. The other day we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the formation of the State of Tanzania.

The Republic of Tanzania is extremely diverse both culturally and naturally. The area of the country is approximately equal to the sum of the areas of France plus Italy.  At the same time, more than 120 different ethnic groups live in such a vast territory. They differ in language, religion, type of traditional culture and type of management (among the ethnic groups there are nomadic pastoralists such as Maasai or Datoga, and sedentary farmers such as Vachagga or Iraqv, and even hunter-gatherers like the Hadzabwe people).



Nature is also extremely heterogeneous, rich and amazing. Here is the highest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro (5895), and the deepest freshwater lake on the planet after Lake Baikal – Lake Tanganyika, and vast areas of savannah in the north of the country, and tropical forests, and the snow-white beaches of Zanzibar, which are not inferior in whiteness to either the Seychelles or the Maldives, and the waters of the Indian Ocean with year-round warm water. At the moment, about 1/3 of the entire territory of the country is given over to National Parks and natural reserves, the most famous by everyone’s ears: Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Manyara…


What steps did the First President take to bring together such diverse peoples living in such diverse conditions?

In addition to being allowed to move freely around this vast territory, in addition to being allowed to look for work and create families in any region, to marry outside of one’s ethnic group, of course, the lingua franca of East Africa – the Swahili language – has become the main instrument of unification.

Under Nyerer (presidency 1964 – 1985), compulsory primary education was introduced, and it was conducted everywhere in the Swahili language. Up to this point, only about 3% of the population were literate.

Now, people were intensively learning to read and write in Kiswahili (Swahili language). And they were sure to read poetry and prose by Shaaban Robert at school. Robert Shaaban (1909-1962) played the same role in the history of the Kiswahili language as Pushkin did in the history of the Russian language. Both geniuses created a literary standard of language.

The new united Nation read a writer who sang of new ideals. And the kind of books we read in childhood determines a lot.

Shaaban Robert was looking for the ideal man. In his work, the affirmation of new values of a free person, the combination of Muslim and Christian traditions, but in the context of the ideas of enlightenment and the fight against colonialism. He also described the ethical ideal of the new man. And in his opinion, a real Swahili necessarily has such traits as cooperation, loyalty, loyalty, unity and patience.

It is these traits of Tanzanians that I have observed for many years of my life in this country. In completely different parts of the country and among different segments of the population, I was struck by friendliness, loyalty to strangers and to each other, respect, openness to communication, and unity, often expressed by the expression “Tuko pamoja” or “We are together.” In reality, they helped me a lot, telling me that we are together. And, of course, there is a lot of mutual assistance in the country on the same basis of “Tuko pamoja”.

In Tanzania, they are very loyal to all foreigners, but they are especially warm towards Russians, and especially from the older generation (the generation of “Mzee”, i.e. “Elders”).

The fact is that in Nyerere’s time there was a deep friendship between our countries. They also remember that the country developed thanks in many ways to new specialists who studied at universities in the USSR.

Nyerere tried to build a special type of socialism in Tanzania. The USSR not only trained students from Tanzania, but also created new farms in Tanzania (for cotton production and corn production). And, importantly, the USSR helped Tanzania to repel military aggression from the dictator of the neighboring country Idi Amin in 1978, and helped Tanzania in humanitarian terms during that difficult period.  Aeroflot also flew direct flights from Moscow to Dar es Salaam, which indicates the intensive ties between the countries at that time.

I came to Tanzania many years after those times of special friendship between our countries, but still felt warm towards myself. After some time living in this hospitable country, I wanted to create a fashionable clothing brand, and also reflect in it all the peoples of Tanzania in their diversity, harmony and complementarity. To create a fashion brand as unique as the country that inspired it.

To convey the life-affirming attitude that underlies the national character.

And I was looking for fabrics from Zanzibar (Kangu) – thin cotton fabrics with a bright pattern and an obligatory phrase in Swahili expressing the mood of the day. Next, I was looking for the traditional leather clothes of the Datoga nomads, made in a special technique, embroidered with beads. And she combined these images with Kitenge, thick cotton fabrics with patterns created by wax printing, popular throughout Africa.

In total, the Colorzzofzesun brand managed to combine different African fabrics, silhouettes and execution techniques in order to bring to Russia part of the harmony of the sunny and friendly culture of Tanzania .


Comments are closed.