Celebrating the 4th of July, Tanzania Style!

The 4th of July is the summer holiday for Americans. Celebrating this important American holiday in Tanzania is a great opportunity to share some of our cherished Independence Day rituals and traditions with Tanzanians—fireworks, barbecues, parades, and plenty of flag-waving.

Maasai woman

Tanzanians celebrate their own Independence Day—Siku ya Uhuru—on December 9th to celebrate the end of British rule in 1961. Like Americans, Tanzanians celebrate their Independence Day with fireworks, speeches, colorful parades and festivities, and of course, flag-waving.

Tanzania, like America, strives for peace, stability and economic growth for every citizen. On the 4th of July, Americans celebrate our Constitutional rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press and more. As Americans, we are proud of our country’s representative democracy, which for 241 years has relied on the necessary checks and balances that safeguard peace and prosperity.

Our system of checks and balances includes a strong judiciary, an active two-party legislative branch, and an open press that brings information and ideas to the American people. We are mindful when Tanzanian voices raise concerns about the closing of democratic space, whether it’s the banning of political rallies or restrictions to televising sessions of Parliament. The fight against corruption in Tanzania, a goal of great importance to both our nations, doesn’t have to be waged at the peril of debate, dissent, or free speech. It is this creative tension between competing ideas that makes democracies stable, prosperous, and representative of the people.

Maasai warriors

Lalafofofo wholeheartedly supports Tanzania’s quest for peace and prosperity. Americans are proud of our country’s long and enduring friendship with the people of Tanzania and our continued commitment to helping meet the needs of Tanzanians in areas of economic growth, health, education, and agriculture. The goals and friendship Americans share with Tanzanians underscore the similarities in our two nations’ current public discussions about the responsibilities of government and to the citizenry.

Volunteering our time and services in Tanzania offers U.S. volunteers a wonderful opportunity to celebrate America’s Independence Day in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. We see it as a chance to share our holiday in the spirit of multiculturalism, and take advantage of the opportunity to add some uniquely African twists to the celebration—for instance, we’ll enjoy grilled hot dogs with a side of ugali, and we’ll spend the day enjoying quality time with our American friends and families as well as our Tanzanian friends and families amid a symphony of English and Swahili.

There is no better way to celebrate patriotism than volunteering, whether at the local level or the international level. Volunteering takes us back to the original goals and values of the Founding Fathers; it’s the ultimate form of patriotism. From a global perspective, Lalafofofo supports global citizen patriotism.

Our vision for the global community is to contribute in a way that allows the world to experience the benefits of American volunteerism as it impacts the world.

Tell us your thoughts on volunteerism in the global community. Share your experiences with volunteering both locally and internationally. Enjoy your Independence Day celebrations!