Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan showed guts, courage and acting talent as safari guide for her country.
The White House in Washington, Guggenheim Museum in New York and Youtube rolled out the red carpet for “Mama Samia'' playing the leading role in a one-hour tourism documentary about Tanzania and Zanzibar. Dubbed “The Royal Tour'' the film follows Hassan and award-winning US producer Peter Greenberg crisscrossing the country from a Taarab performance at the Old Fort (“Peter, do you hear the music?”) to a secret-location ivory storage with 45,000 confiscated elephant tusks.
“I like to watch lovers stroll arm in arm along the waterfront”, remarks the president while in Forodhani. About her new role she says: “I never expected to become president”, about her country: ”Some don’t believe a woman can take such a top job.” Visiting her home mosque in Kizimkazi , where she grew up among 14 siblings, she says “religion taught me about girls’ rights.”
In her soft, deep voice the Muslim nation leader, who changes costumes with every scene but never appears without headscarf or lipstick, is a remarkable narrator. In one scene she drives Greenberg around the Serengeti evoking Queen Elizabeth’s image during her land rover excursions in Scotland: ”It was the first time I drove a car in 15 years”, Hassan said in Washington. Greenberg has made five Royal Tour TV specials, only one more in Africa, in Rwanda.
Hassan’s daring performance sparked renewed support for Tanzania tourism in America. Earlier, on a visiting tour in France she had successfully renewed economic ties with Europe. And the Youtube response to the Royal Tour was unanimous anyway: "Proud of you, Madame President!“