(Part of the Urban Narratives/Simulizi Mjini project)
Daladala Diaries branches from archival (sound) recordings that I have collected over the years of my different travels (that are becoming more and more rare due to the introduction of the new and more preferred speed buses in Dar, and the use of other, and more private and convenient modes of transportation) using our local and, what was for the longest time, our most common mode of transportation Daladalas; a (not exactly systematic) public bus system from all over Tanzania. I had imagined to eventually develop this project into a sound instillation work, but during my four weeks spent as a resident artist at the ZK/U as part of the Urban Narratives project, and having spent a lot of time, developed an interest in, and recording some video and sound footage in the Deutsche Bahns (and Bahn Stations) … trying to discover this huge and overwhelming city that I never really got to discover, being there for only four weeks, and having seen hardly a quarter of it … getting lost… finding my way… and getting lost again… I decided to borrow from this archive, and use some of these sounds to develop this project. I was interested in the narrative that could be formed when the visuals from what in my opinion is a super ‘proper’, neat and organized Deutsche Bahn, is juxtaposed with the loud and chaotic nature of these sounds from the Daladalas and the city of Dar es Salaam as heard from inside the Daladalas. In my work, I have a huge interest in everyday rituals (real or imagined), gestures, interactions, etc. Travelling long hours in Dar es Salaam traffic in a Daladala, there is always enough time to ‘people watch’ and observe a lot of these gestures, interactions and non-interactions, etc. but travelling on the Deutsche Bahn, it hardly takes that long to get to where you are going (or to the station where you must change to another Bahn)—or at least that was my experience. It is for this reason that I made the video very slow, to give that illusion of the prolonged Bahn ride, that gives room for these kinds of observations. When making the video, I was also reminded of an article I read in the All Africa website early this year titled: Tanzania: My Memorable Experience Riding Daladala by Katharina Stein, who explains in detail her struggles and enjoyments with the Tanzanian Daladalas, while making comparisons with the German transport systems. I thought it interesting to combine my representation and narrative of the Deutsche Bahn which is told (and filmed) from a foreigner’s point of view could be combined with this narrative of a foreigner’s experience in Tanzania with Daladalas… ‘A foreigner telling a foreign(er) story’ … both strange and interesting, because… who has the right to tell what story?