Many a people believe that beauty is only skin deep, but real beauty goes deeper than the skin, it transcends that which is readily seen and speaks clearly and loudly of the brightness and radiance of the inner self.
Maria Sarungi Tsehai Mentor, sister, friend and role model to many young Tanzanian girls with a dream to broach the big world of showbiz and entertainment is indeed a beauty to behold. Lots of people find her physically attractive but her features alone are just a peek into the real deal, or better still; the icing on the cake because the splendor of the heart is incontrovertibly much more ravishing than those of the face. This view she clearly supports when she says: “Beauty is all-encompassing – it is not just about having perfect features or perfect body measurements, it is about the combination of a beautiful face, body and a beautiful inner self. Now the catch is that inner self. The question often is not who was the most beautiful but who could project her inner self best”.
Graced with an innate ability to listen and get people to talk easily about themselves, Maria is a firm believer in the principle of giving and sharing, she freely and readily shares her knowledge and experience with the young in a continent where some people still think of pageants as a parade of promiscuous, dumb girls and the successful are s/imply unwillingly to find the time to mentor up starters. To buttress her stance she says: “We may not say it out loud but that is what we think. And this is not true. The girls today are smarter and more ambitious and beauty pageants are more than a parade. The real work starts after the competition ends. The titleholders are intelligent caring people who give back a lot to the society”.
Maria insists that it is in giving that a person receives. In her interview with Sporah, an East African based magazine, she briefly but aptly describes herself thus; “intelligent, generous, witty- these words describe me best because I value very much my own and other people’s mind and I am always looking at improving my knowledge. I also believe in the philosophy that giving is better than receiving; in this case I am not necessarily talking about money but knowledge”. Some people who are close to me sometimes consider it my weakness- my generosity. Some people say that I am taken advantage of. But I do not believe it’s true because I have never regretted giving. I love Swahili saying “Tenda Wema uende zako
I do not expect gratitude, but I do expect the person to take advantage of whatever I gave him/her and move on from one point to another.
A successful entrepreneur, television producer and director of productions at compass communications, Maria holds a degree in Humanities from Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary and currently works as a television producer and host in Tanzania. She has produced numerous short films including, I Am Tired (2005), Body on Fire (2008) which are part of African Tales, a mini-series of short films developed to showcase the new Tanzania cinema. Fruits (2001, short), Kilwa – The Forgotten Treasure (2003, doc), Mwalimu J.K. Nyerere – His Life and Legacy (2004, doc), Education – Equality (2004, short), Uchaguzi Salama Zanzibar 2005 (2005, short doc), Elfu Huanza Moja (2007), Mwenzangu Tuambiane (2008, short).
Maria is also the National Director of the Miss Universe Tanzania; a pageant which started in 2007 for the purpose of promoting Tanzania entertainment wise as well as provide opportunities for young girls to showcase their intelligence, beauty and talent.
One very interesting thing about this African beauty is her childlike simplicity. She talks about the importance of living like a child; ever trusting, free at heart and teachable. She says; “Why is this important? Because if we all sit and recall even if only one moment from our childhood when we were happy like really happy. Not because of the other intoxicating substance, not for any particular reason, but just simply happy. And where did this happiness go to? Where did that encompassing love and trust disappear to? It has been ground down in us by adults as we were growing up. Maybe when we tried to share our imaginative world with a grown up we were told to “Grow up” “Stop being silly”. Or maybe when we wanted a hug we were told “You are too old to act like this”.
Maria Sarungi is making a difference in Africa in a way a lot of people find very difficult. You too can brighten your continent if you take the decision today. You have all the tools, use them appropriately.