A Tanzanian tour guide from the popular Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania has been arrested, after he deliberately mistranslated a tourist’s comments about the country and its people in a video that went viral.
The unnamed guide was captured in a video saying in Swahili that a White female tourist wants Tanzanians to stop “complaining” about hunger, when, in fact, the tourist said Tanzanians are “fabulously wonderful”:
Tourist: “Hi. My visit to Tanzania has been beautiful, gorgeous. The people are fabulously wonderful and friendly. Greetings are always jambo [the Swahili equivalent of hello]. Happy to be here. The land is beautiful, beautiful. The animals are wonderful.”
Tour guide (Translating): “She says you Tanzanians are complaining/crying a lot about hunger. Every day you cry about hunger when you have flowers at home. Why don’t you boil the flowers and drink [them]. It is not good to cry about hunger.”
Tourist: “The variety of animals and people you see is incredible, unlike anywhere else. It is just fabulous.”
Tour guide: “You are asking your President to cook for you. Do you think your President is a cook? Can you get busy, even boil your clothing and eat.”
Tourist: “It will be an experience to savor for all of your life. It is fantastic and beautiful and incredible and just unremarkable.”
Tour guide: “Get busy in every corner of the country. The President can’t leave State House to cook for you. You have to cook for yourselves.”
Some of the words used by the tour guide are similar to those used by the Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli at a public rally last month, according to the BBC, when he asked Tanzanians to stop complaining about hunger and work.
By Friday, the Tanzanian Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism Prof. Jumanne Maghembe ordered for the immediate arrest of the tour guide for what he termed as casting the ministry in a “bad light.”
Although the guide has not been charged with any offense yet, Regional Police Commander Jaffari Mohammed told the BBC that the suspect is likely to be charged with publishing false, deceptive, and misleading information, which amounts to cybercrime.
If found guilty, the guide will either serve a minimum jail term of three months or pay a fine of not more than $1,300.
Swahili is the national and official language in Tanzania, with the majority of learning institutions in the country using it as its chief language.
Since the country’s independence in 1961, Swahili has been used as one of the main mediums for promoting national cohesion.