Why, it is hard to fathom, but the Tanzanian Ministry of Education has banned the multi-million best-selling children’s book series ‘The Diary of a Wimpy Kid’.
The fictional character of Greg Heffley, and his best friend Rowley Jefferson, were created by American author and cartoonist Jeff Kinney, and first appeared in 2007.
Announcing the ban Tanzania’s education minister Adolf Mkenda said the books promoted negative foreign behavior, particularly on issues such as transgender, gay, lesbianism, bisexuality, intersex, and asexuality.
Mkenda said the books were “morally repugnant” and against Tanzanian traditions and customs, and that “school have an obligation to follow procedures when preparing children”.
“I encourage parents to check students’ bags and rooms to ensure these books are not being used at home”, Mkenda is reported to have said.
Book store in Tanzania have been ordered to take books off the shelves and display racks.
270 Million Sales
Jeff Kinney has said that Gregg Heffley was “more as a cartoon character than a literary character.”
To date seventeen editions of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid have ben published and sold 270 million copies worldwide, 20 million views online and became a successful film comedy series.
In 2009 Time Magazine included Kinney in its Top 100 most influential people.
The only other book banned in Tanzania is The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie.
In January 2023 Tanzania’s president Samia Suluhu Hassan lifted the ban on opposition rallies, first introduced by her predecessor John Magafuli in June 2016 but perhaps The Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a greater threat to her regime.