Friday, 16 September 2011


“Portmanteau” is a blending of two or more words to form one; for example smog (smoke and fog), brunch (breakfast and lunch), Wikipedia (Wiki and Encyclopaedia) or to be more familiar Tanzania (Tanganyika and Zanzibar).
Linguistically speaking, portmanteau was popularised by English author and mathematician Lewis Carroll in the 19th century, very fond of playing with words. German poet and journalist Heinrich Heine of the same era also loved the lingual form and created at least 60 “portmanteaux” (note the French plural form). In Kiswahili portmanteaux are quite common too, e.g. Lelemama (a traditional East African coast dance), Darubini (microscope), Runinga (television), etc.

German writer, Heinrich Heine, fond of portmanteux...

Apart from writers and artists, creators of portmanteaux are economic conditions; expressed through political and social terms. Since the disastrous bank scandal three years back our world is getting harder and harder. As turmoil boils in the Middle East and elsewhere, humanity tries coping and surviving.
Take the concept of holidays.
While in poorer societies, holidays mean staying at home, for those living in wealthier societies travelling overseas is the norm. If your surroundings have cold temperatures finding hot spots with lovely beaches as a form of resting and sightseeing is the pleasure. Wazungu, particularly, save money to have at least one foreign holiday annually.

Regular change of geographical scene is not only healthy for the body but mind, spirit and emotion too. Even our computers have “refresh” buttons. Western leaders President Barrack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister David Cameron always take breaks. Psychologically, resting for those in position of duty, responsibility and authority is essential; although these guys get back promptly when the going get rough. Check out how Mr. Cameron swiftly returned from his Italian holiday during the recent UK riots or President Obama’s reappearance due the US east coast hurricanes last week.
I was reading an article about our bodily functions the other day.
According to Professor Jonas Frisen of Karolinska Institute in Stockholm our organs rejuvenate constantly. The skeleton renews itself every ten years; intestine 2-3 days, the liver 5 months, hair every three years and skin around a month. The only cells that last as long as our age are those in our eyes, heart and brain.
Prof Jonas Frisen- pic by Camila Svensk
By being the conductor of our lives, the brain (mind) and its chief assistant the heart (emotion and soul) therefore, need regular rests. But not everyone can afford constant breaks. It costs money.
The tourist industry is big business. Recent projections by the US World Watch Institute say China (a growing world economy) is expected to grow by 14 percent in 2015; subsequently, becoming earth’s largest travel and tourist economy second to the USA. During the last decade, Tanzania’s economy has come to rely on tourism. Writing in 2008 issue of Global Travel Industry News, Apolinari Tairo, quoted the Governor of the Bank of Tanzania saying tourism is surpassing agriculture in national revenue earnings by at least three times.
Reliance on foreign tourism is a global earning reality. However, the banking and recession crisis has affected this financial moonlight. Most average people in rich countries can hardly afford trips to far off countries. As a result they decide to spend summer holidays in their own surroundings, hence, home vocation. The word “staycation” was born in the USA and spread to the UK at the height of the bank crisis around 2007 and 2010. Instead of travelling overseas most families would find ways of enjoying their vacation in their own neighbourhoods.
It is simply cheaper.
 Buy home made inflatable swimming pools, visit local parks, museums and music festivals. Such locally based activities are benefiting local businesses and creating domestic employment. Last month the media reported a boost of 38 percent increase in UK local holiday industry. Apart from monetary advantages internal holidays mean less stress, i.e. packing, waiting in long queues at airports, strenuous drives and of course budgeting. The disadvantage is, instead of escaping routines, television and emails; staying home means falling back to monotonous tasks and errands.
With the current climate of earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, mass demonstrations (the Middle East is traditionally a haven of Wazungu tourism in Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, for instance), hurricanes (Florida and the Caribbean) “staycation” seems to be the preference.
In other words if our local tourist operators and providers find a slump in foreign tourism, one thing is to blame. Good or bad, “staycation” is definitely giving solutions and changing the way international economies run.      

Published in Citizen 1st Sept, 2011

1 comment:

  1. Al-shabib hijacking tourists in East Africa doesn't help either