What began as a one-man mission to help himself and his fellow Tanzanians get better working conditions soon transformed into something much bigger than himself. Amani Afrika was established in 2007 by Godwin Temba, a fearless young lad looking for a chance at life, but despaired at the prospects that were readily available. Godwin started his career in tourism as a porter, before elevating himself to become a guide. Employment opportunities were not easy to come by. Godwin took whatever job he was able get, so he could take home his daily bread—ugali dagaa (cornmeal and anchovies, a staple of Tanzania), that is. But soon, he realized that there had to be something better than just working for the sake of working, and agreeing to whatever conditions that were being handed down. Tourism in Tanzania was dominated by a few large players with connections to overseas travel agents then. There was a real disconnect between the travellers and the workers on-the-ground. The travellers who paid thousands of dollars to their travel agents had no awareness of the actual working conditions borne by the smiling Tanzanians. The agents had no incentive to ameliorate the situation. The large players had total control of the Africa travel landscape since access to Africa was limited before online communication flourished. Now, the power is handed to the conscious travellers who have the ability to choose which travel company they wish to go with. The advent of internet has enabled travellers to directly shop for travel services online by skipping the middlemen. Social responsibility and sustainable practices have increasingly become hot attributes to look for in a safari outfitter. There was no such luxury then, before Godwin founded Amani Afrika.
Godwin saw it a need, not an option, to create his own company, so he could do things “the right way” according to how he saw fit. He garnered the support of his co-workers and the volunteers he met in Arusha, when he decided to give this venture a go. It was not an easy decision, as ugali dagaa cost 50 cents but a tour operator license cost 2000 U.S. Dollars (years of savings, according to the going wage scale), but that did not deter Godwin, who had his mind set on making a difference—perhaps more so because it was not just a difference to himself, but to those who stood by him and leaned on his strength to go on. Amani Afrika was born.
Godwin counts it his blessing to have embarked on this journey, as it led him to his wife, Vivian, a Canadian who was also not ready to settle for an ordinary life, after having lived in different continents—the most recent, Australia, where she was recruited by her friends to climb Kilimanjaro. It was a life-changing experience in more ways than one.