Tanzanian Cultural Messages on Wall Murals in Dar Es Salaam

By Mark Wiens 11 Comments

These murals were commissioned by the Social Marketing and Communications for Health in Tanzania, and painted on the outside walls of a busy walking street near downtown Dar Es Salaam.

Without the help of a Tanzanian worldview backing your thoughts, some of the messages may seem unclear or even strange. Some of these messages are universal while others are focused on specific issues.

Empty walls shouldn’t be left barren as an eyesore, they should be used to display colorful art by the community targeting difficulties or struggles that prevail.


kuepuka makundi mabaya – “avoid bad company”


acha tamaa epuka wishawishi – “stop with greed and resist wishful thinking”

Dar Es Salaam Wall Mural


kuacha kukeketa watoto wa kike – “stop cutting female girls”

According to the World Health Organization, 92 million females in Africa are living with female genital mutilation. There are zero health benefits to the procedure, but many severe resulting complications. I won’t go any further, but if you would like more information you can start here.

Lessons in Dar Es Salaam

kusubiri – “waiting on you, patience”


zingatia masomo na kuacha mawazo potofu – “concentrate on your studies and stop with the misleading opinions”


komesha rushwa ya ngono – “stop with the sex bribing”


ridhika an uliya naye – “be content with what you have”


kuwa na msimamo – “taking a stand”


tumche Mungu – “exalt God”


sima! acha kusoma au kuangalia vitabu vinavyochochea ngono – “Stop! reading or looking at books that promote sex”



mgonjwa apatiwe damu iliyopimwa – “a sick person getting a blood transfusion that is rationed (AIDS infected blood) – getting little blood when you need more”


komesha kuwathiri wajane – “STOP inheriting widows”

Inheriting widows, (same thing as bride inheritance, or Levirate marriage) is where a widow is forced or obligated to re-marry the brother of her deceased husband.  The cultural practice in some parts of East Africa is complex and I don’t begin to know all the complications.  If you are interested in more information this article is pretty good.

Stop Inheriting Murals

The messages on these paintings are written bold and clear, to be noticed. Some are applicable worldwide, while others pertain to very local cultural issues.

What do you think?