Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Tanzania late on Saturday night on the third leg of a four-nation Africa tour that is aimed at strengthening diplomatic and economic ties.
In Dar-es-Salaam, Modi was given was given a ceremonial welcome, following which he tried his hand at the traditional drum and held talks with President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli on a range of issues.
One high point of the prime minister’s visit to the East African nation will be a meeting with a group of Solar Mamas, women from developing nations who have been trained in harnessing solar energy at the Barefoot College at Tilonia village in Ajmer, Rajasthan.
Tanzania is the third stop on Modi’s five-day trip. The first destination on his itinerary was Mozambique, where Modi met President Filipe Nyusi and “reminded his hosts of the Indian community already living in Mozambique for generations”.
In South Africa, on the second leg of the tour, he addressed the Indian community in Johannesburg, dressed in a Madiba shirt, the batik silk shirt popularised by anti-Apartheid icon Nelson Mandela. Social media in India couldn’t help but talk about the prime minister’s attire.
On Saturday, Modi was jointly hosted by the Indian High Commissioner to South Africa and Mayor of Durban. “Durban is the largest Indian city outside India; and is home to the largest population of people of Indian origin in South Africa,” he said at the reception. Of the 12 lakh people of Indian origin in South Africa, 8 lakh live in Durban. Most of them are descendants of Indians brought to the nation as indentured labour.
“Being in South Africa, especially in Durban, if I don’t talk about cricket, it would be a no ball,” Modi said.
Earlier in the day, he travelled in a carriage from Pentrich to Pietermaritzburg railway station, where Mahatma Gandhi was “ejected from a train in 1893 for refusing to obey an order to move from a first-class compartment to a third-class one because of his race”.
Twitter followed the prime minister’s journeys closely, making fun of it whenever an opportunity presented itself.