He may be a "big man," but people are laughing him out of town. From the market to the Mayor's office, people are talking about Fataki.
Fataki is a fictional Tanzanian sugar daddy. His stories are known by the masses. But this on-air phenomenon is not meant to merely entertain. Fataki is part of an aptly named Fataki campaign - a campaign supported by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that works to lower the spread of HIV/AIDS by rallying communities around Tanzania to put an end to harmful cross-generational sex.
In each story played on air, Fataki repeatedly preys on young women offering them money, gifts and promises for sex. But with each plot, Fataki is unexpectedly thwarted by the young girl's family, friends and her community members.
First tested on the Morogoro Region's radio waves, many have been quick to call the Fataki a success. The campaign's findings in Morogoro show why. By the end of Fataki's pilot run in the region, 88 percent of Morogoro's adult residents said that, as a result of Fataki, they felt they could now do something to help solve the problem of cross-generational sex. Community members said that by ridiculing Fataki's behavior, they were able to develop language they could use to help actively intervene in potential cross-generational sex situations. Forty-four percent of Morogoro adults also said they now call sugar daddies "Fataki," adding to the behavioral change the campaign seeks to accomplish.
"When we have evidence of this, community leaders need to take action. We have used Fataki as an example in our community meetings," Chambda Yuma Umbisho, the Chairman of Doma Village in Morogoro, said.
Since its initial success in Morogoro, the campaign has spread to neighboring regions in Tanzania. As of November 2008, Fataki spots regularly broadcast on 15 radio stations across Tanzania and will continue to run through the end of February 2009.
Perhaps a similar approach of narrative and radio can be used to further press the cultural resistance against mass violence, and in particular ridicule those involved in the recruitment of child soldiers.