Innovation In Tandale

The Daily Grind/Commute

During a recession theory states that entrepreneurship will increase due to the pressures of people loosing their jobs, due to the lack of employment will create their own and become self-sufficient. This in turn creates new jobs with entrepreneurs hiring people, this in turn generates wealth and tax income and takes the unemployed and puts them back in the labour market while filling the state’s coffers. This like any theory is it open to debate.

Regardless of the facts innovation in Tandale, like Kibera and Mathare, is strong. Why? Because it has to be. In these slums, the naming of which conjures images of deprived communities, living in squalor without hope, this is Africa not Coventry however.

For some this is the case, however there are the other people which, possibly not happy with their lot are getting on with it. Everybody has a Del-Boy mentality, people walking around selling peanuts with the click-clank of their change signals their coming. While surveying in a deeply residential area a mother is making and selling chapatis to those passing her front door.

Within Mathare through the Mathare In Motion video network the community made a pool table from discarded material. In Kibera a musician uses his skill to teach people and make a living.

In Tandale it seems they have more of an inclination towards engineering. I saw the gentleman above sharpening knifes using his bicycle. He’d rigged the rear wheel so that it would drive a grinding wheel when the bike was up on its stand. The beauty of his solution is that when he has finished sharpening knives at one butchers or for one community he just cycles to his next customer. Unfortunately I fear laws exist about this sort of thing over in Europe and the Western Americas.

It’s a shame considering how an elegant and ingenious solution to gap in the market such as this can be exploited with a few tools and a bucket of imagination.

Written and submitted from the City Style Hotel, Sinza, Dar Es Salaam (-6.47319,39.13199)


Author: Mark Iliffe

Traveller, Programmer, Geospatialist and Motorcyclist

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