currently researching african animation : interested in compiling a database of practitioners in various sub-saharan countries : welcome any postings from practitioners

Friday, April 30, 2010

Comments and replies from Alex Drummer regarding tinga tinga

Whilst the focus of this blog is merely to report my findings on the web, and point to them. I wish to point out that the comments and replies to the blog are not published immediately, as they need to be filtered to avoid spam. With this in mind, although I have published Alex Drummer's replies to the posting on "Tinga Tinga gets bad press", it seems Mr Drummer has not seen these published, as well as the further posting dated 12th April. Therefore to avoid this I am AGAIN publishing Alex Drummer's comments and replies to this posting as a seperate post, hoping that it is now absolutely clear to Alex Drummer and the reader that the posting "Tinga Tinga gets Bad Press" includes the following information as part of the larger debate on this issue:

Dear Paula, the story of Tania Bale was not her own but an untested press release from Daniel Augusta. Mr Augusta is the Manager of the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society (TACS) in Dar-es-Salaam/Tanzania. This organization spreads knowingly wrong information about the term "Tinga Tinga". Finally, the TACS claimed that "Tinga Tinga is part of national identity, a national asset, a symbol for Tanzania as a national flag". This is complete garbage. More infomation you can find in my article „Tinga Tinga“ – the Great Error. The article shows that the aim of this artist group is the wrong way and will not help to support the Tingatinga Art in the future. The full text is:

It is not very often that a new trend in art gets the name of only one person. So this is a special tribute to Eduardo Saidi Tingatinga who was the founder of the East African Tingatinga style in the early 1970s in Dar es Salaam. In the next decades till today paintings in the typical colourful style called „Tingatinga Art“ became well known through exhibitions and books world-wide. In contrast to this the term "Tinga Tinga" was not an East African brand at any time. The contrary assertion is wrong. The name "Tinga Tinga" never has played a role also in the international art-scene. No serious art expert use this. The only correct name is the term Tingatinga (for art, paintings etc.).
Currently only the word combination "Tinga Tinga Tales" is a registered trademark in some countries and belongs to the company Tiger Aspect Production from UK. The background of this is of interest. Some just stupid and greedy people of the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society (TACS) in Dar es Salaam/Tanzania sold to this company the usufruct of the words "Tinga Tinga". That therefore is remarkable because the TACS neither was and is the owner of the right of this term and also only a few Tingatinga artists are represented by the TACS. But exactly this organization, that arranged a bad contract without consultation of experts, now spreads the fairytale of the "sale of Tanzanian cultural heritage". What is the truth? No East African artist will get any problems to use the correct and long time introduced term "Tingatinga" for his art style, for paintings, for books etc. No artist should use "Tinga Tinga". It harms himself and creates confusion. The TACS finally should stop to require and to use the term "Tinga Tinga" for itself. No artist should hope that the running TV series "Tinga Tinga Tales" causes positive for the Tingatinga art. This TV production and the entire merchandising around happens on a market, on which African art-styles and artists don't have anything to win. It is nonsense to suggest African artists can find "honey and money" in the childish "Disney World" which is made believe us by unscrupulous businessmen. But it would not be surprising, if in one or two years the whole hype about "Tinga Tinga Tales" is over (end of article text).

PS: The very last information is that the TACS now will feed expensive lawyers with the money of their members among other things to register the "Tinga Tinga" trademark (!). They didn't understand, that it is too late for it and they will lose. But the damage for the Tingatinga Art will be big.

Alex Drummer


Dear Paula, now to truth is coming step by step. And the truth is bad and shocking. It is a swamp of crime.

Mr. Augusta (Manager TACS) now had to publish the following correction because of my article: "There were three versions of the contract: English, Swahili and Swahili-English which were signed by Mbwana Sudi (The Chairman), Agnes Mpata (Wittness) and Saidi Omary (The Vice Chairman) on TACS side and Claudia Lloyd from Tiger Aspect Production. Claudia Lloyed gave to the painters enough time to read properly the contract, she has recommended the painters to get help from a lawyer to fully understand the implications of the contract. She had always a translator to help her in communication with the painters. But the painters did not seek any legal help. Despite that the contract was in their native language, it was distributed to all in the leadership and they had more 1.5 day to finally reconsider the agreement they later claimed that they did not understand the implication of the contract. They had gone so far as to claim that there was only the English version. A payment of ca $24.000 divided in 4 installments was part of the contract. The first payment of ca $6000 was paid on table in the presence of the few painters who have been at the leadership of TACS. Paying cash on the table was explicit wish of the painters. After the payment the leadeship pocketed the money, hide the contract, did not tell anything to the members of the Coperative. As a result, there was almost zero Tinga Tinga community participation on the Tiger Aspect´s animations. At the time of launching the films, not more than 10 painters out of 100 (at TACS) were aware of any contract."

I ask myself: What is coming next? Even more bad news and lies or reason and insight? How will ever repair the TACS the damage for the Tingatinga Art and the artists?

Alex Drummer
4/18/2010 12:19 AM

I hope that this posting satisfies Mr Drummer concerns. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

A difference of opinions... tinga tinga

The debate on the Tinga Tinga Tales series, has continued with differing opinions see Educating Alice's entry with the comments below/ Learning about Africa; Tinga Tinga Tales
With regards to africananimation recent posting on Tinga Tinga gets bad press , a reply by Alex Drummer has been published in the comments section. Included here find a link to Alex Drummer's own article on this matter
„Tinga Tinga" – The Great Error