Africa

The reel deal

Published 5:39 AM ET, Wed October 14, 2015
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The Tanzania Heritage Project is a non-profit initiative set up to promote and preserve the nation's rich aural history. Currently their primary focus is the mass digitization of the Tanzanian Broadcasting Corporation's radio archive, held on old reel-to-reel tapes. courtesy Jonathan Kalan
The musical and dramatic output, largely state-sponsored, peaked during the presidency of Julius Nyerere. In the aftermath of colonialism, the "Father of the Nation" made it his duty to engineer a cohesive whole from the many disparate tribal communities. courtesy Jonathan Kalan
Radio proved a vital tool when it came to nation building. Its reach and availability far surpassed television at the time, and everything from political speeches to kitchen sink dramas were broadcast across the country. courtesy Jonathan Kalan
Project co-founder and director Rebecca Corey first visited Tanzania in 2007 and enrolled at the University of Dar es Salaam in 2009. After periods at businesses and NGOs, she began her involvement preserving the nation's radio archives. courtesy Jonathan Kalan
Chief archivist at Radio Tanzania Dar es Salaam, Bruno (right) can make a CD copy of any reel for $8. courtesy Jonathan Kalan
Each reel, detailed with track listings and in some cases accompanying dance steps, is under threat from the heat and humidity of Tanzania's capital, whilst dust, mold and insects are all potential problems. courtesy Jonathan Kalan
The Tanzanian Broadcast Corporation's radio station was part of Nyerere's socialist philosophy called "ujamaa" -- socialism in Swahili. It was intended to incubate national talent and augment Tanzania's cultural identity. courtesy Jonathan Kalan