[DEBATE] : "singing" the praises of privatization in Tanzania
dm23 at post.queensu.ca
Fri Jun 16 13:10:18 BST 2006
Here's a new one for the record. The Adam Smith Institute (an
ultra-neoliberal policy group active in SA as well) writes a song about the
benefits of privatization in Tanzania and gets a popular performing artist
to record it to get free air play. Here is the World Bank's approving rap
Tanzania: Singing for the Privatization Hit Parade (Part I)
In 2001, the government had long ended its policy of centralized control of
the economy after years of socialism. But it still needed to explain to the
public why privatization in general was needed. Popular singer Captain John
Komba explained it in a song.
Radio, the prime source of information in Tanzania, was a logical medium for
a communications campaign. But in this case, the campaign would not do the
usual approach of buying advertising time on the radio. It did something
much more dynamic: it produced a hit commercial song and video.
"We noticed the Tanzanian market was flooded with popular Congolese pop
videos, and realized that if someone made a Tanzanian one, it would run for
free all year," said Steve Masty, with Adam Smith International, an
international development consulting group that managed the campaign.
The government recruited Captain Komba to record and perform the song,
Ubinafsishaj, or privatization, written by Masty with input from Captain
Komba. ASI also produced the song and the music video. It was the world's
first privatization pop-video.
The lyrics use agricultural imagery to explain the need for change:
"Government people and business people, Tanzanians and foreigners, are like
four legs of a table at which our children will one day feast."
The communications campaign tapped into Tanzania's tradition of songs with
educational or uplifting messages. Ubinafsishaji explains how the world is
getting smaller, how we are all more dependent on one another, and how
privatization benefits everyone.
A surprise commercial hit, the song was played frequently for nearly two
years on radio and television and from cheap cassette players in street-side
kiosks. The privatization message, carried for free over the radio and
television, developed a life of its own. This approach made effective use of
limited funds and an
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