Tanzania banned The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books because some pages were “pushing agendas against our culture”, the country’s minister of information told the BBC Focus on Africa programme.
“The ministry was not comfortable with some of the content in some of these books. Sometimes it is not the whole book but maybe you can find two or three pages that are pushing agendas that are against our culture,” Nape Moses Nnauye said.
He said the government had faced a dilemma about how to separate the pages they didn’t approve of from the rest of the book.
“That’s why the government thought that we can have better content than what is there. I want to insist that not all versions of the Wimpy Kid, just some versions, were not as per our culture,” he said, without going into details.
Mr Nnauye said that criticism about the banning of the books did not come from parents in Tanzania but from oustide the country.
“Parents in Tanzania were shocked because they didn’t know [about the issue with the book] and some of them took harsher action than banning the books, some of them destroyed the books,” the minister said.
He said people should respect the views of Tanzanian parents.
Last week Education Minister Adolf Mkenda said the book series endangered the quality of education for children.
The authorities warned that schools using the books would face disciplinary and legal measures, including having their registration revoked.
The banned books in the series include:
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Gateway