Cultural Heritage Centre

Name ID 736

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USAID
Extract Author: Jim Fisher-Thompson USIA Staff Correspondent
Extract Date: 1996 10 10

Tanzanian Resort Becomes Center for High-Level Meetings.

Public Diplomacy Query

ARUSHA, Tanzania -- In the highlands of northern Tanzania the violet/blue jacaranda trees are at the zenith of their beauty this fall, providing a colorful backdrop to a series of meetings Secretary of State Warren Christopher will have here with regional leaders October 11.

Nestled at the foot of picturesque Mount Meru, Arusha offers its 200,000 residents lush scenery and abundant wildlife as well as the money amassed from tourists who throng here from all over the world to visit game parks like Taraugire and Serengeti and the scenic Olduvai Gorge.

Arusha is also the center of a fertile agricultural region and in recent years has become a focal point for meetings of the East African Community and for Great Lakes leaders and foreign ministers who are shepherding a peace accord in Rwanda -- and an economic boycott against Burundi, site of a recent coup against its democratically elected government. The Pan African Postal Union also has a main office in town.

A traditional market town, Arusha is dominated at the center by a large clock tower and shopping area where Makonde carvings and the mineral meerschaum, which is mined in the vicinity, can be bought. In addition, the Cultural Heritage Center on Dodoma Road offers jewelry and gemstones as well as local crafts. Amethysts mined nearby are especially beautiful.

Secretary Christopher will land at nearby Kilimanjaro Airport before traveling to the Mount Meru Hotel, where he will have separate meetings with President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, President Daniel arap Moi of Kenya, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere, who has been an indefatigable worker for peace in the region.

Nyerere has the distinction of being the first African head of state since independence to step down from power voluntarily when he left office in 1985.

Certain to be a topic of discussion will be progress on the proceedings of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (lCTR), which has had full backing from the United Nations and the United States; the U.S. has so far contributed more than $9 million for its operation.

The Mount Meru Hotel, where Christopher's discussions will take place, is the largest hotel in Arusha. The day before the anticipated Christopher visit, its lobby, normally crowded with tourists in bush hats and safari jackets waiting to visit nearby game parks, was filled with a milling crowd of U.S. and African officials and their security officers.

Journalists from the Associated Press, the BBC, the Voice of America, and the Financial Times were also bumping into each other trying to get interviews with the officials, who were attracted to Arusha because of the Christopher visit.

Among those officials was U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania Brady Anderson, who began consultations with his staff about logistics for the secretary of states's official visit immediately after his arrival. Anderson, a fellow Arkansan and longtime friend of President Bill Clinton's, was appointed envoy here in 1994.

Ambassador Anderson's staff of 260, including 40 Americans, operates a mission that has among its many responsibilities overseeing a development assistance program in Tanzania that totaled $18.3 million in 1996. The development program, administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), emphasizes improvements in the rural transportation infrastructure, private enterprise development, and family planning.

According to USAID figures, the total amount of U.S. assistance to Tanzania from 1953 to 1992 was $480 million.

Extract ID: 1522

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Personal Communication
Extract Date: 10/1/1997

David Mwambele

Cultural Heritage Limited

What is UJAMAA?

U jamaa means family tree or tree of life, and shows how
J ointly different members of Makonde Tribe survive & shows different
A spects of ways of life amongst the tribe,
M akonde Tribe the world famous, carves Ujamaa from one piece of ebony wood,
A rt, This form of art is passed from one generation to another and,
A ppreciated both locally and internationally.

David Mwambele is the carver of an Ebony Ujamaa Tree of Life carving bought from Cultural Heritage Limited. He was about 75 years old at the time. (Jan 1997)

The carving is representative of UJAMAA.

Extract ID: 1

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The East African
Extract Author: Alfred Ngotezi Dar es Salaam
Extract Date: 2000 Oct 5

The Day Clinton Went Shopping in Arusha

The East African (Nairobi) via www.AllAfrica.com

World statesmen who have been hosted by the Arusha Cultural Heritage Centre include King Harold and Queen Sonja of Norway and their daughter Princess Martha Louise as well as South African President Thabo Mbeki and his wife.

Saifuddin Khanbhai, a jovial 34-year-old Tanzanian, has reason to feel on top of the world. On August 28, he became one of the few people in the world to host, albeit briefly, a reigning US president.

Khanbhai got the rare opportunity when American President William Jefferson Clinton paid a short visit to Arusha in Tanzania to witness the signing of a peace accord between Burundi's warring factions.

There was no confirmation of the planned presidential visit, ostensibly for security reasons, until a few minutes to 10 pm, Khanbhai recalls. All that evening, he was pacing up and down the lawns of his cultural centre. If the Burundi peace negotiations had not dragged on until late at night, Khanbhai says, perhaps Clinton would have arrived 'at a more conventional hour.' The American president personally held unscheduled lengthy talks with the Burundi belligerents.

Clinton's extended participation in the talks resulted in a rescheduling of his earlier programme, including a planned 15-minute private shopping session at Khanbhai's curio shop: the Cultural Heritage Centre on Arusha's Nairobi Road.

But to the delight of the young businessman, their friendly encounter lasted a full one hour and fifteen minutes as Khanbhai guided the president and his daughter around the cultural and entertainment sections of his centre.

As soon as Clinton arrived at the centre, Khanbhai presented him with a spear and a shield, the Maasai way of welcoming a respected leader.

The short traditional ceremony was performed in front of one of the tribal huts erected in the sprawling compound of the cultural centre. It was an amusing ceremony, Khanbhai recounts.

'But as warned earlier by security agents, we did not present the president with the spear, but only gave him a shield and gestured to the distant spear,' he says. But a jovial Clinton would not have it that way.

Grabbing the spear, he jokingly threatened his staff, saying, 'I'm the most dangerous person around now,' Khanbhai recalls.

From that moment onward, however, Clinton's itinerary became a private shopping visit, which saw the president and his daughter Chelsea visit every corner of the expansive centre. What impressed him most, says Khanbhai, is the fact that Clinton would stop from time to time to ask searching questions about the ways and values of different ethnic communities in Tanzania.

The American president was so moved by the cultural presentations, the proprietor says, that at one point he could not wait any longer: he joined in a traditional dance.

But where were the American security 'heavies' who had taken Arusha by storm with their sniffer dogs, one may ask. Khanbhai says the centre was swarming with security agents, but they were 'friendly and wanted to make the best of the occasion for us all.'

Indeed, Clinton went to the curio shop unaccompanied by local officials, in a deliberate relaxing of security measures to allow him some freedom to interact with people.

Clinton pulled quite a few surprises during the visit. For example, while earlier on at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC), he had not been allowed by his assistants to take a local drink, instead quenching his thirst with a special canned Coke from Airforce One, he readily sipped a glass of fresh juice offered by Khanbhai.

The American president bought art and craft items worth about $1,400 and was given some more as gifts by the Khanbhai family. He promised to display them for a week at a prominent spot in the White House and said that as soon as he moved out of the White House next year, he would be looking for more souvenirs and would contact Khanbhai.

Clinton's visit to the Cultural Centre was missed by the local press and remains a mystery even to the host. 'I certainly would not have dreamt of inviting him,' he says.

Khanbhai says although US First Lady Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea have visited Arusha before, they did not visit the Cultural Centre. Former US Foreign Secretary James Baker visited the centre twice while on a private hunting safari.

Other world statesmen who have been hosted by Khanbhai include King Harold and Queen Sonja of Norway and their daughter Princess Martha Louise as well as South African President Thabo Mbeki and his wife.

What attracts world leaders to the Arusha Cultural Heritage Centre?

Most visitors interested in Tanzania's cultural heritage will look for a place where the past and present of the country's 120-plus tribes can be viewed in a single compound. Khanbhai's project is a clear manifestation of the need for tourism investors in the country to be creative. Beginning with the nearby Maasai and other tribes close to Arusha town in northern Tanzania, he has set out to extend his coverage to other ethnic groups in the country.

The soft-spoken proprietor is also launching an e-commerce enterprise. Customers from all over the world will be able to place orders online for various works of art.

Apart from displaying and storing Tanzania's cultural heritage, the curio shop sells carvings, gemstones, artefacts, clothing and books. The business employs 68 people.

Khanbhai was born in 1966 in Muheza, in the northeastern region of Tanga. He went to school in Tanga and Arusha before going for his A- level education in England. Despite being selected to pursue medicine, he was attracted to the arts and returned home to pursue his studies.

Khanbhai, a Tanzanian of Asian origin, says his immediate business partner is his wife of 11 years, Zahra. Starting with a small store near Clock Tower in Arusha, Khanbhai expanded and opened several other stores around the town. Construction on the Cultural Centre began in 1990, a task that took him four years.

The Clock Tower in Arusha, incidentally, at the halfway point between Cape Town and Cairo.

On the future of tourism in Tanzania, Khanbhai says the industry has a lot of potential but that institutional red tape is stifling its growth.

Khanbhai is critical of the policy of imposing Value Added Tax (VAT) on works of art, proposing that such payments made by tourists should be refunded at the time of departure. He indeed goes on to suggest that the tax be waived altogether.

It may not be a bad idea, after all, for the establishment to listen to a young businessman who has just had the rare honour of hosting the most powerful president in the world.

Extract ID: 1534

See also

Arusha Times
Extract Author: Elisha Mayallah
Page Number: 335
Extract Date: 28 Aug 2004

Clinton adds glamour to Cultural Heritage

Today marks four years since the visit of the former American President William Jefferson Clinton to Arusha. Clinton paid a short visit to witness the signing a peace accord between Burundi's warring factions on August 28, 2000.

The former American President personally held lengthy talks with the Burundi factions at the Arusha International Conference Centre [AICC]. Clinton's participation in the talks resulted in labeling Arusha the "Geneva of Africa".

The Cultural heritage in Arusha got a rare opportunity when Clinton spent some few moments interacting and buying curios. The former American President bought art and craft items worth about $1,400 and was given some more as gifts by the Cultural Heritage management.

To the delight of the owner, Mr. Saifudin Khanbhai their friendly meeting lasted over one hour as he guided the president and his daughter around the cultural and entertainment sections of his centre. The former American President was so moved by the cultural presentations, says Mr. Khanbhai, that at one point he could not wait any longer: He participated in a traditional dance.

As Tanzania’s tourism industry already maximizing, lustre of gems of the Cultural heritage begin to shine brighter in the World. Most visitors interested in Tanzania's cultural heritage will look for a place where the past and present of the country's 120-plus tribes can be viewed in a single compound. The Cultural Heritage in Arusha, so far, is a place to go, says Mr. Khanbhai

Cultural heritage boasts of large and various carvings, gemstones, artifacts, clothing and books – all offered for sale at the centre. In addition, the project is a good example of the need for tourism investors in the country to be creative. Beginning with the nearby Maasai tribe close to Arusha town. The Maasai statutes that you see at the complex depict the true-life of the Maasais. The Maasai tribal huts erected in the sprawling compound of the cultural centre are amazing.

A week ago a group of media experts, who gathered in Arusha for a short course took time off to see, among others, the wealth of the Cultural Heritage. "I must bring my family to see this wonderful collection" said Mr. George Nyembela, a Consultant attached to the Media Council of Tanzania.

Mr. Saifudin Khanbhai is optimistic that expansion of the Cultural heritage, which is on progress, will provide a rare and sought-out unique brand of dining and shopping. "Former President, Clinton would be filled with happiness if he returned to see the new building" says Mr. Khanbhai.

The thoughts of having ‘almost’ rubbed shoulders with a man who was a national leader still thrills most of the staff at the Cultural heritage, most of whom were in the low-income bracket. "When Clinton was here, it was exciting news for most of us who knew him via the media, it was unbelievable to see him at close-range!" Said one of the staff, Mr. Kangai Hiloga. Four years later, the Cultural heritage community still dreams of the reunion with their client, the former ‘famous’ American President Clinton!

Extract ID: 4736
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