For Casta Tungaraza, the deep, dark tones of the marimba encompass the sound of her homeland, Tanzania. Our talk has strayed to musical instruments and she has told me about the zeze, a gourd instrument with one, two, three or perhaps even 10 strings made of steel or bicycle brake wire.
But the marimba, she says - that is a sound of Tanzania.
For the marimba - a percussion instrument of wooden bars, struck with mallets - has more of an echo than a note. Dr Tungaraza touches her heart, perhaps unconsciously, as she thinks of the village in which she was born and her early years in Dar es Salaam, the capital of this stable African country.
And it is fitting enough that it is an echo, for though Dr Tungaraza was recently appointed Tanzania's tourism goodwill ambassador in Australia, she migrated here more than 20 years ago, living previously in South Australia, and in WA for the past 12.
And she has made her mark here. For, following her years as lecturer of development studies at the University of Dar es Salaam, she achieved her doctorate in international politics at Flinders University in SA and is now Murdoch University's equal opportunity and social justice manager. She is also the director of the Australian Academy of Race Relations at Murdoch.
She is president of the African Women's Council of Australia and the director of the Australian Institute of Kiswahili Language and African Culture. She speaks five languages and takes interest in cultural diversity matters.
Dr Tungaraza was recently inducted into the WA Women's Hall of Fame and awarded the State's Multicultural Service Award. Dr Tungaraza's particular area of interest is gender equality and the empowerment of women. She believes that women's participation in the social, economic, cultural and political life of a nation is crucial and is a founding member of the African Women's Council of Australia.
She is also the patron of the Australia-Tanzania Business Council to be launched on June 29, and says she is "on a mission" to connect WA and Tanzania.
She will encourage WA travellers to book directly with Tanzanian operators and we will bring more detail in future editions. Tanzania's exclusive safari reserves and up-market safari camps are well regarded.
Tanzanian Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources Ezekiel Maige says: "Dr Tungaraza's mission will be to promote the elements that make Tanzania special, attractive and profitable to discerning Australian tourists, business people and development partners."
And, as part of that initiative, a delegation from Tanzania will be in Perth this month, and local tourism operators and travel wholesalers are invited to attend a presentation by them on June 29. (Contact Dr Tungaraza on 0413 772 269 or email@example.com ).
Tanzania has five-year government terms, 7 per cent annual growth in its economy, says Dr Tungaraza, and mining links with WA.
There is another sound of Africa, for me, as I talk with Dr Tungaraza; her big, silver hoop earrings, which tinkle louder with every animation.
- Direct flights to Africa *
There has been a good response to South African Airways' announcement that it will fly daily from Perth to Johannesburg from August - and it has released some new fares from $1505 return, including taxes.
South African Airways' country manager for Australasia, Tim Clyde-Smith, says: "We've received an overwhelming response to the announcement last week and have now started selling fares directly and through our travel partners. Return economy fares include Perth-Johannesburg from $1505, Perth-Cape Town from $1750, Perth-Nairobi from $1969 and Perth-Mauritius from $2194. Passengers must leave on our new Friday flight which commences on August 17 with return on any day subject to availability. Fares are available from August 17 until November 30 and from January 18 until March 29, 2013. Tickets are on sale now until June 30."
The flight schedules from August 17 are:
ĚSA281 will depart Perth at 23.50 daily, arriving in Johannesburg at 04.55 the following morning.
ĚSA280 will depart Johannesburg at 22.35 arriving Perth at 13.25 the next day.Tickets through travel agents or 1300 435 972 but not SAA website.