Thursday, January 21, 2010

My favorite hangout in Dar Es Salaam - Soma Book Cafe

Soma Book Cafe

Soma Book Cafe on Facebook

53 Mlingotini, Regent Estate, Kinondoni.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Phone:+255 (0) 22 277 27 59
Birthday:June 7, 2008

Click here for Soma Book Cafe website

Soma Book Cafe is an organisation geared to ‘contribute to the creation, promotion and sustenance of a reading culture’ as a leisurely, cultural and learning endeavour. This is in response to a serious lack of a reading habit among many Tanzanians, for reasons that have not been systematically investigated. In Soma one aims to provide a synergy of knowledge, culture and leisure as a means for promoting culture of reading among Tanzanians

“A hub for activities that stimulate reading and creativity such as: book talks, literary reviews, music concerts, art exhibitions, poetry recitations, theatre performances, dialogues and talk shows of and between writers, readers and literary critics; and many others”

Soma History
In 1989, two women friends employed in two different Publishing Houses; disturbed by the dearth of literature for general readership and the low level of importance this branch of readership was given in education, culture and development; decided to start their own publishing firm. They decided that their House should be developmental and chart out a path different from the norm. To realize this dream, they agreed they should anchor themselves at home front and save, for theirs was going to be a long walk.

Soma co-founder Demere Kitunga

In 1997 and 1998, the women broke free of employment and embarked on a serious task of shaping the commercial and development mandates of the firm. They engaged in vigorous debates on the problems of education and readership, general access to books, generation and dissemination of ideas, the problems with the book chain and finally together with publishing, they developed a program proposal to establish school libraries and readership clubs run by pupils and teachers. They successfully implement the project in two phases: 1999 -2000 (pilot) and 2001-2005 (extended phase); in partnership with Care International, Tanzania; and with Royal Netherlands Embassy support funds.

The experience and lessons gained from running a development project within a commercial firm led to restructuring of the company in 2006. E & D Readership and Development Agency was born and registered in 2007 to assume the readership and development mandate; while E & D Vision Publishing Limited registered in 2006 took over the commercial mandate; and the Holding company retains Consultancy and Information Packaging.

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