Sunday, June 25, 2017

Who Came up with the Name Tanzania

Who Came up with the Name Tanzania
The Government of the Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar invited people to submit proposals for a new name for the country on July 31/August 1, 1964. A committee was set up to go through the proposed names. Oscar Kambona, Minister for External Affairs and Defense, chaired the Committee responsible for coming up with a short list. The Committee presented their suggestion to the Cabinet for final decision. The government wanted the new name to give a sense of unity and should be easy to pronounce. A prize of 10 Pounds was offered for the winner. More than 1,354 people turned in proposals. Proposals came from around the world including, China, Australia, and Poland. One teacher and his student in Arusha proposed the name Tangibar. Others proposed names included, Tanzan and Swahili. Sixteen people proposed the name Tanzania. There are many today who think that Mohamed Iqbal was the only person who came up with "Tanzania." Iqbal made the claim at a press conference in September 2003 that he was the sole winner of the contest. This claim continues to circulate as a fact. The claim is not true. There are questions about his whole claims to being one of the winners. For example, the certificate Iqbar present is written the Republic of Tanzania; that is not the official name of the country. More thorough research has to be done to confirm for sure if he belong to the list of the sixteen winners. An article published by the government paper in October 1964 reported twelve people came up with the name Tanzania. Another article of 2003 says it was sixteen people. The number sixteen is confirmed by one of the winners: Mustafa Pirmohamed. He received a letter from the Permanent Secretary, Ministery of Information and Tourism, naming him as one of the winners. The government does not appear to have made public names of the sixteen winners at the time. The winners received a letter and their share of the price. Mwalimu Nyerere announced the new name TANZANIA at a press conference in October 31, 1964. TAN stood for Tanganyika, ZAN for Zanzibar, and the suffix IA was added at the end. 
 ©Azaria Mbughuni

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