There’s more to TAZARA than meets the line – Mukwita

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Ambassador Mukwita, Neher, Andrea and Chen

Zambia’s Ambassador to Germany, His Excellency Anthony Mukwita has described the Tanzania Zambia Railway line as a symbol of the history of the peoples of Tanzania, China and Zambia.

Ambassador Mukwita said the history represented by TAZARA marks one of the most critical moments in the history of Zambia when the country’s economic survival hung in the balance.

“We urgently needed an alternative route to the sea for both our imports and our exports as our support for sanctions against the white minority regimes that were in power in both Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Apartheid South Africa meant that we could not export our copper through these countries and we could not import our national requirements”, recalled Ambassador Mukwita.

He was speaking in his office when a three-member crew of German filmmakers comprising Marita Neher, Wei-Chung Chen and Andreas Schroth called on him. The crew represents Medea Film.

“The railway line represents the history of our relations with the peoples of China who, against all odds, came to our rescue at the time when our traditional allies could not. It also represents our bond with the peoples of Tanzania whose leadership under then President Julius Nyerere cooperated with us in the railway line project”, Ambassador Mukwita said.

A three-member crew comprising Marita Neher, Felix Greif and Bianka Schulz will be undertaking a weeklong filming project themed “Fascinating Train Tracks Around the World” a five-part documentary series commissioned by widely viewed German/French TV networks ZDF and ARTE to be aired during prime time.

Directed by Ms. Neher, the German film company says, “the main purpose is to introduce the most thrilling and breathtaking railway lines on four continents – Asia, Europe, Africa and America”.

Dubbed “Spectacular Railways”, the film company says the series “take us on a journey into the heart of still unfamiliar beauty and open new and breathtaking perspectives. The inspirational quote ‘the journey is the reward’ truly seems to have been invented for these train rides”.

The team will begin their filming project in Kapiri Mposhi where they will board the TAZARA and film all the way to Tunduma on the Tanzanian border.

They are expected to occasionally get off the train and board again capturing scenes and scenery of interest.

They have selected for possible filming some tourist attractions in Northern Province such as the Chishimba Water Falls, the Kalambo Water Falls and Little Poland in Mbala. This is the second German film crew in less than six months to go to Zambia for a filming project. Their programs command huge audiences in millions of viewers.

In December last year, another crew that films the famous “Love Boat” were in Livingstone where they filmed a 90minute film that exposed significant tourist attractions of Zambia to millions of international audiences in Europe especially.

“Zambia is a good story that comprises a friendly population, unspoiled wildlife, uninterrupted peace since independence 55 years ago, an investor-friendly environment, a land of 365 days of sunshine – these and more must be shared with the rest of the world and film is a great ally in this aspiration”, Ambassador Mukwita said.

President Edgar Lungu has prioritized the tourism sector and challenged his Ministers and government officials, embassies included, to seek every opportunity to expose the country to the world.

Media groups such as CNN have dubbed Zambia as an exploited tourism destination that everyone looking for something new must put on their bucket list of destinations.
TAZARA was built against all odds on a more than $500 million interest free loan by China which would be repayed more than 20 years after launch.

Others such as the World Bank refused to fund the Kenneth Kaunda Julius Nyerere ‘dream ‘ saying it was not economically viable.

China alone believed in Zambia and Tanzania.

This is contained in a statement issued to Smart Eagles by Zambia Embassy in Germany First Press Secretary and Public Relations Kellys Kaunda.

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