1 - Aerial view of Kizimkazi

Island Fever

Posted on January 22, 2013

Jaki Sainsbury shares her adventures in Tanzania and having the courage to achieve freedom.

The writing job was manic. The office was a chaotic arrangement of locals and expatriate creators, dominated by the most neurotic and demanding publisher you could imagine; I had a third-world Devil Wears Prada experience. Between great and very peculiar assignments — and daily power cuts — there was the staffs’ constant anxiety of Mr Boss’ arrival in the office. Travel writing was only a small part of my job, and I quickly learnt that there were no media guidelines in place to prevent cross-publication, copyright infringement or any number of things that I was trained to avoid while studying media law. With every unethical project placed on my desk,
I felt more unease about participating in the company. It’s no secret that you can buy your way around in many parts of the world, especially Africa where neo-colonialism 3.0 is booming. Control is now only a matter of commerce and in the case of emerging African nations the fate of the people, politicians and the land can sometimes be dictated by the highest bidder. Investors are the new imperialists, and for the undereducated percentage of the population — with no real political protections — whoever pays the drummer calls the beat. Economics can be as brutal as any dictatorial regime. We ignorantly participate in it every day when we buy something like coffee. And if there are no longer colour lines dividing people, there are lines of literacy that are far more extricating, so that systems like Apartheid can really be seen functioning academically. Legal illiteracy is the best curfew of control.

Photos: Nipun Srivastava

Click here to download a copy of Overcoat Issue Four: Freedom.

Jaki Sainsbury is a graduate of Deakin University.

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