A FEW days ago I saw a message from a friend of mine asking what happened to his favourite radio station. He was rather annoyed as the frequency he has memorized for his favourite radio station was playing music not to his liking.
You see he is an oldies and rock person and all he could hear from the frequency was Taarab. He was not amused. He wasn’t the only one. Many people throughout the country went through the same type of shock as they either could not see their favourite television channel or hear their favourite radio station.
Long lines could be seen at the offices of both television and radio stations with people trying to find solutions to the problem. January 1st came with a change and the people were not amused.
But it’s not like we were not warned about the change. I’m sure I’m not the only one who saw the ad with Sir Mpoto and the B-Band giving a rather catchy-song introduction to the idea of ‘digitali’.
‘Digitali’ was coming whether we were prepared or not and judging from the response, we were not. What exactly is ‘digitali’ and why is the government making us go through it? Do they somehow enjoy making us go through all these things, the public asked. Why make me go through the hassle of changing all the programmed radio stations in my car’s radio?
Did they get some sort of satisfaction knowing that all the preset buttons went off? In order to watch television, we now have to have a decoder or as the ‘mwananchi’ call it, a ‘king’amuzi.’ The ‘king’amuzi’ which aside from the monthly 10,000/- fee, there was the installation fee which would cost anything but currently stands at 80,000/- plus an antenna.
Mind you, this does not include the fundi fee. The wrath of January would present itself here. Then after all the installations, there were some channels that were still not showing, so it would mean getting another fundi to try to fix it. That or complain to anyone who would listen.
Another friend of mine decided to take matters into his own hands by getting onto the roof of his house and doing things that would have scared a season fire man. He claimed that the signal wasn’t in fact digital as claimed and wanted to see if moving his antenna clockwise would change that. His wife wasn’t amused.
But what is this ‘digitali’ that has had people going nutty? What is this government, that simply cannot do right, up to this time? These were the questions in my head when I went on a fact finding mission. Turns out ‘digitali’ is actually part of a global initiative in order to have all broadcasting digitized for a variety of reasons.
‘Digitali’ is set to promote production of content and interactive multimedia services. Not a bad thing at all and it is not just Tanzania folks. In East Africa, all the member states agreed to go ‘digitali’ 3 years before the 2015 global deadline, but only Tanzania has gone through with it. We did it first, despite the glitches.
The rest of the East African states are taking very many notes from our move. If this was the Olympics, we would have a gold medal and an injured athlete. But nothing a quick trip to India can’t fix. Granted the government should now take proactive action to help the ‘mwananchi’ sort out all hassles of watching their favourite television channel and or listening to their favourite radio programme.
We pay taxes. There is a rather famous book called ‘Who Moved My Cheese’ that I would recommend everyone to read, but I doubt any one wants to take up reading when they cannot yet watch or listen to their favourite show. The fact that we are moving on a global level is commendable. Let us rejoice in our move forward, developing and take our television and radio sets to India. Happy Revolutionary Day Zanzibar, another independence day for the United Republic that is Tanzania.