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Northwestern “barely accepted me” – on the strict understanding that he must perform well academically. “I knew this opportunity was given to me as a second chance and I knew I couldn’t blow it,” says Benjamin. He threw himself into university life and focused hard on his studies and four years later he graduated with top honours.

Talent One talent that has clearly been with Benjamin from a young age is the ability to talk on his feet. While still in high school he found his way into television and during the long summer breaks from Northwestern he worked as a broadcaster for the Agape Television Network (ATN) based in Dar es Salaam. Initially he presented sports programmes, including major soccer tournaments and the London Olympics, but more recently he has conducted interviews on ATN with prominent entrepreneurs and politicians. Along with public speaking at universities – which he loves doing – his role as a TV celebrity has given Benjamin a public voice for his campaign to improve the lot of young Tanzanians. He believes that the ‘brain drain’ of talented young people away from Tanzania has left a wound that can only be healed if the country invests in education.

‘I knew this opportunity was given to me as a second chance and I knew I couldn’t blow it’ There has been a steep rise in the number of young people in Tanzania, says Benjamin, and yet so many have either failed to finish high school or have never gone there. So how can public education be improved? We must divert more funding into education, he says, or “figure out ways to do more with less”. And we must encourage young people to recognise education as the pathway to a happier and more prosperous life. But that can only happen if wellpaid jobs are available in Tanzania – something Benjamin believes can be achieved by government and industry if they put their minds to it. “The longer we don’t develop solutions, the longer we find ourselves in poverty,” he says. “I believe that educational systems should be one of the primary focuses of our new President [John Magufuli].” Benjamin has come a long way since his schooldays, but he is ever mindful of those who gave him the chance to succeed. In particular, he says: “I am grateful to my parents for the doors that have opened up in my life.”

Helping others Benjamin inspires

ORPHANAGE PROJECT Benjamin has worked on several community development projects in his local area. Recently he co-founded the Diamond Village Orphanage in Bunju, Dar es Salaam. This was in response to the “trickle” of orphan children who were coming to his home church for help or support. Benjamin and his sister Bernice led a fundraising campaign, including benefit concerts at the ATN studios, and young volunteers cleared the site for the building of the new orphanage, which is still in progress.

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Travelsmart – Issue 13  

Travelsmart - the official in-flight magazine of fastjet. Published by Land & Marine Publications Ltd. Visit http://www.fastjet.com for furt...

Travelsmart – Issue 13  

Travelsmart - the official in-flight magazine of fastjet. Published by Land & Marine Publications Ltd. Visit http://www.fastjet.com for furt...