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Tanzania Bans Children’s Books on Sex Education for Violating Cultural Norm


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The Tanzanian government has banned a popular series of children’s books from schools in the conservative East African country because they go against local cultural norms.

On Monday, Education Secretary Adolf Mkenda announced an immediate ban on Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and said the government is monitoring public and private school libraries to make sure they don’t leave their shelves.

It was not immediately clear what content of the comic series by American author Jeff Kinney, which follows the life of a student, offended the authorities.

Children’s books

The minister also listed other banned books, including “Sex Education: A Guide to Life”. However, the names he gave for two books actually appeared to be pages from “An ABC of Equality” which included the terms transgender and LGBTQIA.

“We are banning these books from schools and other education institutions because they contradict Tanzanian cultural norms and morals,” Mkenda told reporters in the political capital Dodoma.

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“The books also violate the good practices of bringing up our children,” he said, calling on parents to inspect their children’s bags to make sure they did not have the books.

McKenda said they were on the first list of “unacceptable books” and urged the public to flag other similar books as part of an ongoing investigation.

The first book in the Wimpy Kid series was published in 2007 and has since sold 275 million copies worldwide in 69 languages, according to wimpykid.com. There were also many film adaptations.

children's books

Last week President Samia Suluhu Hassan met with university student leaders and urged them to beware of some “imported cultures” without elaborating.

“If you are Tanzanian, live our culture,” Hassan said.

His comments followed statements by Frank Hall, a senior member of the ruling CCM party, who said same-sex sexual activity was rampant at universities.


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