1. Music: Opt for Taarab, the Arabic style from Zanzibar, start here. Bongo Flava: Swahili Rap from Tanzania is above average for its genre. By the way, the Rough Guide Tanzania music CD is a bit lame.
Then there is Freddie Mercury, who was born in Zanzibar. Right now I’d rate "Killer Queen" and the "Bicycle/Fat Bottomed Girls" medley as my favorites. The Manichean element (Mercury’s parents were Parsees) is evident in "Bohemian Rhapsody," among other songs. Queen remains underrated, and I never tire of listening.
2. Cinema: This movie comes recommended, I’ve never seen it. Darwin’s Nightmare is set in the country, I haven’t seen it.
3. Film, set in: Hatari!, with John Wayne, isn’t bad in a jokey sort of way. It is, after all, directed by Howard Hawks. Hatari, by the way, means "danger" in Swahili.
5. Painting: The best-known naive style is Tingatinga. Here is one of the better pieces. It doesn’t compare to Haiti. Here is more. The leading Tanzanian naive painter was — can you guess? — E.S. Tingatinga.
6. Fiction? Ask me again once I’ve learned Swahili.
The bottom line: Freddy is long gone, and they play Congolese "lingala" music in the clubs, so it’s culturally a little dull here; in any case I am working on a micro-credit project with Karol Boudreaux.