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Thousands of hours of Afro-jazz and dance music on damaged reel-to-reels are in danger of being lost forever. Help us digitize them.
Thousands of hours of Afro-jazz and dance music on damaged reel-to-reels are in danger of being lost forever. Help us digitize them.
235 backers pledged $17,040 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates

John Kitime Weighs In

Hi everyone! Less than 20 hours left in our Kickstarter campaign. Thank you so much for helping us to reach $15,000! How much farther can we get in the last day? For our last update before the end, I'm honored and excited to bring you this message from John Kitime, whom I mentioned several times in updates as a legendary Tanzanian musician and fierce campaigner for musician's rights. 

Here's what Mr. Kitime has to say about the project, with an important note regarding conservation (taking care of what already exists) at the end:

"As a Tanzanian musician, I am very happy to hear of any project that would save the fantastic TBC library.  I have been a participant to two past efforts to digitize the library, the first time when two German friends of mine approached TBC, then under the name RTD to revive the library, The Director did not understand and she did not even bother to listen to the end of the story, and got rid of us.

Again quite recently with a Norwegian music producer we approached the Director of TBC, and after a very warm meeting we were promised that we would be informed of TBC’s decision, it never came. So now that something is happening I am extremely happy.

But, I have been reading on the process of the digitization and I see something serious that is missing. Some of those tapes have been lying there for more than 50 years without having been touched; the storage there isn’t the best in the world. There should be an initial step of reviving these tapes to their original texture and quality before they could be copied, other wise the good intentions might end up in destroying forever these historic tapes."

What John says here is extremely important on a couple of fronts. First of all, we are not the first people to attempt this important endeavor, but we certainly intend to be the last. We understand that there have been obstacles from the government in the past but we're confident that now, because of the urgency of the digitization, the availability of affordable technology, and the passion and commitment of our team, we can make this happen. 

John understands, as do we, that the Radio Tanzania reels are extremely delicate. Some of them will have to be "baked" and this process is exactly what it sounds like-- putting the reels in an oven so that they can be played again. Obviously, this is risky business that only experts can be expected to do when you only have one try to get it right.

So all of this means that before we even get started on the digitization, we have a lot of work to do. We need to make sure the room where the tapes are stored are finally equipped with climate control. We must hire (or take the time to acquire) the technical expertise necessary to handle such valuable and delicate materials. And it is you, our Kickstarter backers, who are helping us to do this. Any people out there reading these emails and still trying to decide whether to contribute? Now is your chance, and we need your help.

Together, always, for the music,

The Radio Tanzania Team

For our followers who can speak Kiswahili (or even those that don't-- there are pictures!), here are links to John Kitime's blogs, where he writes about life as a musician, reviews shows, and talks about copyright, intellectual property, and the struggle of Tanzanian musicians to receive compensation for their work.

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Mwanzo Mwisho

From the beginning to the end... of our Kickstarter campaign! It's been almost sixty days and we're almost there! We didn't make it to $20,000 as I'd hoped, but we did continue past our goal, and we're close to $15,000-- so let's see if we can make it there! Also, as I write, we have 199 backers. Does anyone want to be our 200th?

If you're not a backer yet, but you've been reading our updates, please take your chance now to join us! After the campaign ends, we'll continue to post updates, but many of them will be for our backers only. You don't want to miss out on the behind-the-scenes story of the digitization and the production of the "Best of Radio Tanzania" CD, do you? We'll also use the updates to share photos, videos, and music! 

Once the campaign ends, we'll be working on getting your rewards to you. Please be patient, as I will be in Dar til the end of this month, Tyler is in India, and the rest of the team is spread out in other locations around the globe. But don't worry, we're already working on it-- I'll be going to the Mwenge craft market very soon to pick out some beautiful Tanzanian "kanga" clothes and wood carvings for you guys.

Attached is the photo of John Kitime, myself, and Anania Ngoliga from last Friday night during the Kalunde Band concert. Mr. Ngoliga is wearing the band "uniform" but he was sitting that particular number out.

Thanks again for your amazing support, from mwanzo to mwisho. :)

Pamoja kwa muziki,


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Hello from Nils, our researcher extraordinaire!


My name is Nils. I am a student of African Studies based in Leiden, The Netherlands, currently carrying out fieldwork for my Master Thesis on the wonderful Muziki wa Dansi. Also, I’m the proud father of a ukulele named Lily. She’s always with me and in tune with my mood. 

I have since long been an enthusiast of African music. As a kid, during a trip through Southern Africa with my family, I experienced a lot of singing and dancing. The music was literally all around, and the genuine joy that was expressed through it made a lasting impression on me. I’ve always been looking to expand my musical horizons – the all-stars of Afrobeat, West-African funk and Congolese soukous never fail to make me dance.

As soon as I stumbled upon Muziki wa Dansi about a year ago, I was hooked. The opportunity to go to Dar es Salaam and immerse myself into (the history of) its ever-vibrant music scene was impossible to miss. With my thesis, I aim to provide a much-needed critical/theoretical look at issues of censorship, cultural preservation, and the role of music in shaping the national discourse. Helping Rebecca, Benson and Erasmus preserve the gem-stuffed archives will no doubt be exciting and rewarding!      

To me, though, dansi is more than just a research topic. Zilipendwa, ‘those that were loved’, are in fact still loved, and should be for a long time to come. Our Kickstarter campaign ends in less than three days. Every donation counts, every dollar sounds! Can we reach $15,000?  

Asante sana for your support so far, guys! 

Nils von der Assen

Here is a link to Nils's blog. He writes in Dutch, but is going to start writing weekly posts in English about the history of muziki wa dansi, the most famous bands, and more. We will also post those articles as updates to our backers. Check out this awesome first post about DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra:

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Every Bit Counts -- Keep Sharing!

Hey Guys!

Thanks so much for your continued support! Almost 200 Backers AND we've just passed $14,000 -- that's incredible! We have only 3 days left before the campaign ends. I know we've hit our initial goal, but why stop now!? As Tyler mentioned in our last update, this is only the beginning and every bit counts. I encourage you all to continue sharing and spreading the word about Radio Tanzania. The largest percentage of our funding has been through our social media outlets -- more specifically, Facebook traffic. 

I'd also like to mention that we've had a good bit of press recently! Check out these great articles:

A full press list can be found here >>


Nina & The Radio Tanzania Team

Where does the money go?

So we’re nearing the end of our campaign, but starting up on all of the work that needs to be done.  I thought I’d give you guys a run down over what’s happening with Radio Tanzania’s budget.
First off, we will be buying audio recording equipment. We’ve got a talented and devoted team, but they’ve got to have the proper equipment to get the digitization done.


Music reel to digitization machine: $2500 (The more of these we can buy, the faster the digitization happens!). Ideally we'd have about 10, but we'll move as fast as we can with what we have. Currently, music will be transferred in real time. This means that for every one hour of music we have to have the machines running for one hour!  The more machines we can afford to buy, the faster we’ll be digitizing!

Computer to machine audio interface: $500. This is the massive brain that makes the computers and equipment play nice. As you know, good brains don’t come cheap.

Cables and doodads: $300. Lots of fancy audio interface cables will be going into the wiring of all of these machines. These cables and the occasional office supply add up pretty quickly!

Admin: The part everybody loves to hate (we hate it too!). 

Legal incorporation/negotiations: $3000. As bright as our team is, we’re going to need some lawyers. We’ve got some help on this side, but we’re always looking for more!  International copyright entertainment law is somewhat of a specialty. Specialties cost special prices.

And a lot more miscellaneous things in this department.

Hopefully that was interesting for our budget nerds out there! There’s a lot to I want to reaffirm our thanks and we’re excited to keep the ball rolling.


Tyler Webb & The Radio Tanzania Team