Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Sunday, 30 June 2013

‘Africa must control its own wealth’ | MO*

During a recent visit to Belgium, I was interviewed by Gie Goris of Mondiaal Nieuws and commented on some aspects of the challenges of development confronting Tanzania and Africa in general.

H.E. Ambassador Dr. Deodorus Kamala, Tanzania's representative in Belgium and at the European Union, was also present during the interview and responded to some questions.

Here's the full interview:

‘Africa must control its own wealth’ | MO*

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Zitto Kabwe switches to creative mode

I believe the recent release of the draft constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania by Judge Joseph Sinde Warioba's Commission has inspired the following piece of creative writing by Kigoma North (CHADEMA) legislator Zitto Kabwe:

I am a Tanzanian. Of blood cleaned by fresh waters of the lakes and the rivers and the streams of my great nation. A vision from the top of mount Kilimanjaro and honesty as clear as The Serengeti savannah. Pure as virgin beaches of Zanzibar. Hopeful as a product of Azimio. Sparkling as Tanzanite stone out of the Land of Maasai.

I am a Tanzanian. Born of the peoples of Africa, of Tanzania. The Pains of the struggle of African liberation. The pains of The Revolution. Whatever the setbacks of the moment, nothing can stop me from being a Tanzanian, an African. The land of Kambarage. The state of our own creation. Whatever the difficulties, Tanzania shall remain ONE, Strong and UNITED. However improbable it may sound, Tanzania shall prevail. Amongst nations of the world. We are The United Republic of Tanzania.

I am a Tanzanian.

Among the recommendations in the draft constitution is a three-tier government, a federal structure that I interpret to be one step backward from the unity that is yearned for by Hon. Zitto Kabwe.
Hon. Zitto Kabwe addresses a CHADEMA campaign rally in Musoma in October 2010.
I ask to be excused if I detect a sense of desperation. I also thought a federal structure was more in line with CHADEMA's majimbo policy. Shouldn't Hon. Zitto be more upbeat?

The only semblance of creativity that I can claim title to in recent memory was inspired by TANESCO, the national electric utility company.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Divorce in African culture

Divorce in African culture is not unheard of but was highly discouraged. It was the parents who arranged marriages and they enforced the marriage for as long as necessary.

Within the Zanaki ethnic group divorce was permitted under certain circumstances. In cases of persistent physical abuse against the wife her relatives could arrange to return the dowry paid for her marriage to the husband's parents and this action would release the wife from the marriage and she would return to her parents.

If at the time of the divorce the wife did not have children from the marriage all the dowry would be paid back to the husband/husband's parents. If she had children some cows would be deducted from the original number.
A recent ceremony in Butiama for handing over dowry cows to a bride's parents.
Adelaida Nyangeta Nyerere and Sophia Magori Nyerere, two of Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere's (1922 - 1999) sisters, were divorced from their marriages under these circumstances.

Sophia Magori Nyerere was later remarried to Dr. Lawrence Gama who died in December 2009. Both of Mwalimu's sisters are now deceased.

Related posts:

Friday, 21 June 2013

My version of the year 2012 in review: 10 June

On the last day of my sixth Mt. Kilimanjaro climb with the members of Tanzania Development Support we hiked from Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate through the dense forest on the lower slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
On a misty morning, the canopy cover allowed only partial illumination of the forest floor by the sun's rays.

Another post in this 2012 review series:

Thursday, 20 June 2013

My version of the year 2012 in review: 9 June

I was at the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Uhuru Peak, at 5,895m above mean sea level. With me, a group of climbers from Tanzania Development Support who I had joined to climb Africa's highest peak to raise money for a library and a community resource centre at Nyegina Secondary School.
At the summit: Jeannine Thurmaier and Prof. Kurt Thurmaier (Mama Anna and Baba Anna) from Tanzania Development Support take a short rest before beginning the trek back to Barafu Camp.
In a short period other climbers began to arrive at the summit. In the several occasions I have been to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro I had never seen so many climbers at the summit.
A while later, Prof. Thurmaier (left) watched as another set of climbers from the Tanzania Development Support group approached the summit.
As we descended towards Barafu Camp, our next destination, I photographed a snow-laden path with Kilimanjaro's other summit, Mawenzi, in the background. I had never seen so much snow at the summit. For a brief few days, the effects of Global Warming disappeared from sight.

Other posts in this 2012 review series:

Friday, 14 June 2013

A sermon in the bus (edited, re-posted)

I am in bus on my way to Musoma. A Christian evangelist is preaching the word of God. In this age of rising intolerance it can be reason for some apprehension.

In the Tanzania of the past it was rare to see anyone preach in a bus. In the Tanzania of the past it was unheard of to hear of animosity between the main religions: Islam and Christianity. Today we live in different times.
We have seen brutal attacks against religious leaders of both sides. We have witnessed communities in Geita clashing on who should slaughter livestock for sale in butchers. In the Tanzania of the past all accepted that Moslems would slaughter livestock so that the meat sold at butchers conforms to Islamic edicts.

Some contend that the apparent tensions between these two main religions has little to do with religion and that religion is only a means that some individuals have selected for channeling their protest on other pressing fundamental social challenges.

In this setting political elements have found the means to score some measure of popularity at the expense of polarizing Tanzanians into two imagined warring groups. They stoke imagined religious conspiracies to raise suspicions and gain legitimacy among followers of their religion.

Some Tanzanians from both these groups have taken the bait. And it may be only a matter of time that we reach the point of no return where acts of violence and acts of revenge are staged in a repetitive cycle and begin to generate a momentum of their own.

It's not a far-fetched analysis and I tend to agree with it.

In the old Tanzania a sermon in a bus would raise little concern. Today we have to worry that it could be a spark for confrontation.

The evangelist is seated now and a woman has taken her place. She is selling herbal toothpaste and alternative medicine. That should not offend anyone. We pray.

Friday, 7 June 2013

My version of the year 2012 in review: 7 June

On the third day of my sixth Mt. Kilimanjaro climb, I took out my notepad to record the day's log in

my tent at Karanga camp, approximately 4,000m above mean sea level. I was reminded again that even pens, particularly cheap ones, also suffer the effects of high altitude. My pen developed a leak.

Other posts in this 2012 review series:

Thursday, 6 June 2013

My version of the year 2012 in review: 5 June

On the morning of the second day of my sixth Mt. Kilimanjaro climb with a group from Tanzania Development Support, we left Mti Mkubwa Camp and were heading towards the challenging Seven Hills section of the Lemosho route to spend the night at Shira Camp.
Our lead guide, Pius (better known as Yahoo), standing right, observed the environment as the rest of the climbers negotiated past a damp and muddy forest patch.

At Shira Camp we posed for a short rest and some of the climbers took turns to pose for photographs with Mt. Kilimanjaro's Kibo peak in the background. In the five years I have been climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro I had never seen so much snow cover on Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Other posts in this 2012 series:

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Prostitution gets a new name in Zimbabwe

This is an old story but worthy of mention.

I accept the notion that all politics is local, meaning a politician who does not understand the issues affecting his/her constituents and how to influence these issues to the benefit of the voters is unlikely to win an election. Appealing to the day to day factors that touch on people's lives is the surest way of winning an election. Think of voters as selfish individuals who are looking for a solution to keep life's challenges at bay. I assume this might mean that intangible issues like patriotism would take second place to most voters.

So perhaps when coining the phrase "pleasure engineering" and advocating that prostitution should be decriminalized in her country, Zimbabwean politician Thabitha Khumalo may have kept local politics in mind. Some comments from those who practice the profession suggests she has a following among members of this profession. It does not matter how large a group these voters represent; it takes one vote to win an election.

It is curious why new words have to be coined to describe hitherto familiar nouns. I understand how new technologies and inventions necessitate the creation of new words and phrases. Prostitution is not new; it is recorded to have existed as far back as during the ancient society of Mesopotamia in the early 18th century BC. And yet politicians always find reason to give new names to old occupations. This habit of politicians is sometimes called, pardon the use of this cliche', political correctness; the adoption of language or behaviour that does not offend others.

The simple dictionary description for the word is: "having s** with people in exchange for money." That sounds rather straightforward to me and did not require clarity. It is true that act is frowned upon and few will admit to indulging in it from either the supply or the demand sides, but it is hardly true that a participant could deny (save in front of a magistrate) that they have issued a bill for, or paid for the act.

It is politically arrogant for a foreigner to comment about local issues in Zimbabwean politics unless the debate is re-framed and widened to take on a global context. I can nevertheless comment on Hon. Khumalo's choice of words. In this context, "pleasure" is a rather contentious word. What pleases one can very well hurt the other.

She gets my points for trying.