Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Evil Spirits? Please...

I am not going to lie, studying and living in the United States has helped me tremendously. Sometimes, I forget that my experience is not similar to that of many in Bongoland. I believe that what I write in this blog has been frustrating for some folks, simply because they can't comprehend what I am talking about.

I sometimes wonder if Mr. JK, for instance, understands what I am talking about. Honestly, I sometimes feel guilty for being so hard on these CCM, opposition guys and even wananchi. I mean, these people have no point of reference. A typical mwananchi can't demand what they don't know. Imagine being born and never left your remote village in Lindi. How would you ever imagine that there are highways with up to eight lanes in this world? I mean, why would you start talking about critical thinking blah blah to a person who can't even read, write or even own a pair of decent shoes?

Even those in Dar-es-Salaam, watching Arsenal and Manchester United duke it out on TV is not adequate to expose someone to the thinking level I see on this Northern hemisphere. It just provides vijiweni stories. Period.

I wouldn't understand me either, if I were still in Bongoland. I can say I was smart enough to understand issues, but my understand was limited by my environment. Trust me, I consider myself blessed to be here. It is not about money, cars, and paying mortage, because there are folks in Bongoland with a load of money that I can't even dream of. I am talking about the opportunity to learn and be exposed. That I have had, and I consider it to be priceless.

So when I read a story like this one from IPP Media about this dude who got conned by a witchdoctor , I just feel sorry. I mean, this is the 21st century. Nevertheless some folks, including Simba and Yanga still holds on to the witchcraft crap. Can you believe that?

With regards to this story, I like the witchdoctor's defense, because somehow he is right. The witchdoctor contends that he couldn't refund this dude service fees because the dude failed to follow instructions. Furthermore, the doctor couldn't get the money back because the evil spirits have gotten away with it. Well, I kind of agree with the withdoctor. If I were the magistrate in this case, I would sent this stupid dude away for life.

See, it is true that evil spirits really took away with the money. While the witchdoctor wanted to make the whole thing look overly spiritual, it truly wasn't that complicated ( I think the witchdoctor wanted to sound technical. I mean wouldn't you be flabbergasted when a Neurosurgeon is presenting a complicated procedure?). What really got away with the dude's money is the spirit of ignorance and stupidity. It is amazing that at this day and age of science and technology, some of our brothers and sisters are still holding on to such backward beliefs. I wonder why some folks have not figured it out that a dose of education 2X3 daily is adequate to fend off evil spirits coming from the pit of ignorance.

If juju really works, I am sure most African football teams would have won the World Cup thus far. We could have had a technology that would have enabled me to avoid security lines at the airport, visa requirements, and paying alot of dough to the British Airways. I could have just jumped on my ungo and do the amazing. But it hasn't been that way. That is because the realities of life have gone the opposite direction. We gotta think. We gotta apply our brains to succeed.

Ask the Majimaji heroes (By the way, are they still heroes, given they died stupidly? Or this whole thing is political that I would be hanged for even asking this question?), they would tell you all about it.

But somehow, I am not blaming this guy. If TFF has not clamped down on an open display of witchcraft during the Tanzania Premier League, why would anyone in regular life circles in Tanzania think that this is all wrong? Besides, how many leaders made a trip to Bagamoyo in 2005 to win elections? It is crazy to think that a leader who believes that they won an election through witchcraft would ever believe in science and technology. It is hard to imagine such a leader believing in critical thinking and application of our mental faculties as a vital ingredient for progress.

I am telling you, if you want to make it big in Tanzania, open your own witchcraft business. It is kind of being a lawyer in the United State of America. You will win all the time. By the way, are witchdoctors paying taxes? I mean, these guys are being paid a lot of money, not forgetting tons of freebies like chicken and goats they use for "medical procedures".

Just wondering.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

JK: So God Is To Blame?

I was ready to move on from this the whole electricity and Richmond Development Corporation thing, that is because it is just saddens me how most folks felt for it. It appears to me that people have not guts or skills to ask the right questions. If I was an editor for a newspaper in Tanzania, I would have gone to the depth of it all. I would have forced Mohamed Gire to provide specifics on some of the information on the RDC's website, which is a bunch of crap in my estimation.

Just as I was about to move on, our President popped up. In an article published by Tanzania Daima, Mr. JK, in his address to the Baraza la Idd El Fitr, attributed the electricity woes in Tanzania to God, and not crappy leadership. Just read the article yourself .

Just a quote from that speech goes like this:

"Ni tatizo la Watanzania wote na wala halikubagua misikiti au Waislamu pekee. Napenda kuwahakikishia kwamba kiini cha tatizo si uzembe wa mtu yeyote bali ni mitihani ya Mwenyezi Mungu kutokutupatia mvua za kutosha na hivyo kusababisha mabwawa yetu ya kuzalisha umeme ya Mtera na Kidatu kutopata maji ya kutosha kuzalisha umeme wakati wote wa mwaka"

Obviously, our President thinks that the problem has nothing to do with human beings, that is, his administration. In my opinioin, that is shortsightedness and inability to put things in their proper context.

Let me share with you my thoughts Mr. President. Acts of nature, which in this case you have termed "kazi ya Mungu" happen. They happen all the time around the world. Nonetheless, it is the same God that has given us brains and the ability to think. Our brains are supposed to be used to plan, among other things, on how to mitigate the effects of natural courses.

I live in North America where it snows. Depending on natural causes, it can heavily or lightly snow. But you know how cities and municipalities control that? They watch the weather trends. They adjust their salt budgets based on weather trends (salt is used to melt snow on the roads). They don't let citizens locked up in their houses simply because "God showed up with tons of snow this year".

What do we have in Tanzania? We have TMA - Tanzania Meteorological Agency . The agency's job, which your government happens to fund, among other things is to predict the weather. So was it a surprise that the rain was not adequate in 2005/2006? I don't think so. That data was sitting right there at the TMA's office. Mr. President, just visit the TMA's website to prove that what I am saying is true. I am sure nobody from Tanesco, despite knowing that the company is heavily dependent on rainwater for electric generation, bothered to collect the forecast data from TMA. Had they collected that data, they would have planned ahead of time on the best alternatives.

I am sure also that nobody at Tanesco bothered to push for an environmental protection policy, a policy that would ensure the safeguarding of water resources. If they did, I am sure nobody bothered to enforce it. But you don't seemed to be bothered by the fact that nobody, including your own government is not strategic and deliberate. It seems that the whole system is in love with the zimamoto mentality.

As such, Mr. President, I think it is a bunch of crap to tell us that we should not blame anybody in your government, but blame the whole thing on God. Yes, it didn't adequately rain in Tanzania, but as smart human beings, we plan. The ability to think is a wonderful, free gift that God has bestowed on us.

You know what? The God I know is an awesome God. And He does not deserve to be blamed for our own stupidity. Did we do all we could given our resources (information etc)? The answer is no. But you seemed to know that already. I can quote what Tanzania Daima wrote regarding your own thoughts:

Alikiri kuwapo kwa ulegevu na makosa ambayo serikali imekuwa ikiyachukulia hatua kila ilipoyabaini, na amebainisha kuwa serikali haitasita kuchukua hatua zaidi kama hapana budi

What the heck it that? Mr. President, didn't you just say that nobody was to blame in the system?

Vision 2025? I don't think we will even get there. Yes, 2025 is bound to be here, but not with the vision fulfilled. I need hard data to be convinced otherwise. So far, none. Zip. Nada. Zero.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

RDC: Just Street Smart Hustlers?

I know that my last reflective piece was a little bit depressing, but justifiably so. Things in Bongoland could drive any reasonable human being insane. Surpringly, there are folks in Bongoland who don't get it. Actually, they think the recycling of ministers is OK. The rationale being that leaders need a second chance.

Well, in a Tanzanian context that sounds "reasonable". That is because we have a culture of laxity. Sticking to schedules, appointments, responsibilities and so forth is unheard of. So I can understand when an educated Tanzanian thinks it is OK for a minister who messes up in one ministry to be given a second chance at another ministry. It is a cultural perspective, which has nothing to do with logic or common sense.

This is why I am against recycling of leaders. Tanzania is a poor country. That is a drastic situation. Trastic situations require drastic measures. In order for us to make progress, we have to be in a hurry (but intelligently). That would require applying zero tolerance when it comes to mess-ups. Otherwise, we are setting up a wrong precedent that will come to bite us in the butts (unfortunately, the recycling culture that Nyerere set up is still haunting us). We have to be extreme in the change of our culture, thinking and philosophies.

In a local emailing group here in Columbus, we happened to have a discussion about the Richmond Development Corporation as it relates to the supply of power generators. My own Google search didn't not reveal the existence of this company. A certain gentleman called me out, justifiably, for not doing enough research. He kindly provided the RDC's website, which I also kindly provide for the rest of us http://www.rdevco.com.

Guess what? I also did do my own research. The fact of the matter is, the registration records by the State of Texas shows that RDC is not a legally recognized company in the State of Texas. The address shown on the RDC's website is that of Richmond Printing, which happened to be owned by Mohamed Gire, who is at the center of the RDC fiasco. So I am justified to say that the company is not legally existing.

Yes, it is true that the power generators finally got shipped to Bongoland. Nonetheless, that does not stop us from digging deeper into this company. That is because, from a personal standpoint, it bugs me when folks treat Tanzanians as naive and a bunch of fools. In my opinion, Mohamed Gire is nothing more than an opportunist, street smart dude who played his cards right in a corrupt system. Heck, even Net Group, IPTL, Chavda and many more played Tanzanians too.

The RDC website is more than a marketing magnet that is supposed to catch fools rushing in. The "rosy" projects that the company lists are nothing than a hoax. That is because some of the projects, such as the "building of a national sports stadium with the capacity of holding 60,ooo spectators" does not tell us where those projects are carried out. A reputable company would list its clients for verification and establishment of credibility.

A huge red flag about this company is the fact it boasts of completing $500 million worth of projects, while it could not supply electric generators before begging for money from Bank of Tanzania. If a company boats of completing $500 million worth of projects, yet a call to the company "head quarters" goes directly to Mohamed Gire, then something is not adding up.

I don't want to sound ridiculously pessimistic, but we have to see whether the generators would work. But the biggest question, that I am still yet to find an answer to: If Tanesco is responsible for power supply in Tanzania, wouldn't it make more sense for them to order the power generators themselves? Wouldn't that help to cut costs by eliminating the profit margin that the likes of Songas and RDC will make? What is the Tanesco's CEO doing if he can't place an order for a power generator?

Why let the likes of Mohamed Gire do away with millions of dollars for nothing, seriously?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

JK: Another Stinking President?

You know, I like being objective. That is mainly because I don’t like ups and downs that come with being “emotional”. That is, allowing one to be dragged into supporting an agenda or idea based on the attached emotional appeal. I must agree, there are times when being reactive is natural and human – when such a reaction is about being “real”. But please understand this, I am as compassionate as the next-door neighbor, just a little on the objective side.

This article, however, is not about me.

I remember early in 2006 when Mr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete was ushered into the presidency. Subsequent to that he did some “remarkable” things, including swiftly acting on recommendations brought forth by a commission formed to investigate the killing of innocent people by the Police, ending the majambazi’s upper hand in the country, ending Mahita’s ineffective administration of the police force, etc. I must admit, the dude’s first 100 days in office were stellar compared to his predecessors. It appeared that the Kasi Mpya mantra was for real.

Given such a “record”, one would be tempted to just sing praises to this guy. Nonetheless, I am not one of those suckers. See, Uncle Ben duped me once. He came into power and his early days also looked promising. Remember the Uwazi slogan? We all know that he never lived up to that slogan.

We can all agree that nyota njema huonekana asubuhi. From a technical perspective, I don’t see any flashes of brilliance from JK. Honestly. I just don’t see how he can effectively take Bongoland into the Promised Land. Not yet, may be. And I can just present a few cases to back my argument.

The first case in point is the electricity saga. Lets bring some objective arguments and facts here. NO COUNTRY can ever make any economic strides without setting up good and reliable power supply and infrastructure. You don’t need a Harvard degree to know that, common sense can suffice. Power rationing has been in Bongoland as long as I can remember. Power rates in Tanzania are the highest in East Africa. So this is nothing new. Wouldn’t it be a priority, as a matter of common sense, to make power supply our priority, given its importance to productivity and economic growth? Hello, Vision 2025 anyone?

The JK’s administration can argue that they tried. But they tried in a zimamoto way. They tried in ridiculous and laughable ways. They tried like folks who have no clue or deliberate strategies in place. First, came the Prime Minister’s crazy idea of importing rainmakers from Thailand. Secondly, they engaged a non-existent and stupid company like Richmond Development Company to import power generators. The fact of the matter is that the JK’s government is another laughing stock. Even Adam Lusekelo , a columnist for the government’s own newspaper, Daily News, is poking fun at his employer. How stupid can we be? Isn’t this Richmond’s story all too familiar?

Another case is the recent recycling of ministers . Isn’t this too familiar also? Talking about some of the reshuffled ministers - Anthony Diallo, Basil Mramba, and Stephen Wasssira – didn’t I blog about lack of leadership qualities from these fellas way back? (You can review my original blog on Diallo and Mramba ). Moving ineffective ministers from one assignment to the next will not improve their performance. That is equivalent to moving a stinking fish from one container to the next to get rid of the stench. Such a move is nothing but stupid, for it will not improve or change the condition of the fish. If Dr. Msabaha couldn’t deliver in the past, why think he will deliver in the future? Deja vu anyone? I guess some things never change in the CCM's world.

In my opinion, Mr. JK is acting EXACTLY the same way JKN, Mzee Ruska, and Uncle Ben acted. He has brought nothing to the table, setting aside his appealing personality. We have seen recycling of ineffective leaders before and the results have been detrimental. It appears this guy didn’t learn from the past. And for an objective and technical guy like me, I am left with nothing but skepticism. I have not seen the light at the end of the tunnel yet. That may sound too depressing, but it is a fact.

So here I am going on record, and please mark my words – Tanzania will NEVER develop unless we find a true leadership. The type of leadership that is focused and deliberate. The type of leadership that is able to separate substance from political crap. The type of leadership that is capable of identifying suitable and appropriate personnel to carry out the articulated vision – regardless of their age or political affiliation. The type of leadership that is truly proactive as opposed to reactive.

Unfortunately, folks, Jakaya has failed to demonstrate those qualities thus far. My experience in the past four months – from the time of the Bunge budget sessions – proves that. I don’t see this guy as capable of taking Tanzania to the Promised Land. I simply don’t. Nyota njema huonekana asubuhi. In my world, this Jakaya dude ain’t shining this morning.

And that gives me a very bad feeling.

Photo credit: M. Michuzi

Friday, October 13, 2006

DC’s Conduct: How Do They Get Here?

On September 20, 2006, I had reflected on the Prime Minister’s reaction to crappy progress reports that were prepared by some Kigoma District Commissioner and Regional Commissioner. I hailed the PM for articulating the performance expectations for these esteemed DCs and RCs. Despite those accolades, I also cautioned that we must look at how these DCs and RCs got here in the first place. That is because it is not adequate just to criticize the DCs and RCs without taking a critical look at how they got appointed in the first place.

In a nutshell, I contended in that reflective post that a DC is a representative of the President. As such, the quality of performance that the DC or the RC is displaying, is a direct reflection of what quality of leaders the President accepts. That is because the President would appoint an individual capable of carrying out the President’s mission. So if the DC is performing poorly, we can only deduce that the President accepts such a poor performance, otherwise they would not appoint these folks in the first place. That is my conviction because an effective leader is capable of identifying the right people for the right positions.

So what would one say about the Mbarali District Commissioner, Hawa Ngulume, who is reportedly slapped the chairman for small-farmers association for allegedly blocking the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Land from visiting the area. The IPP Media reported on this, so don’t throw stones at me for being mzushi.

In a Tanzanian context, this is probably not a big deal. The fact that the DC assaulted a poor farmer would probably not given a proper legal attention. I mean who cares to what happens to poor folks in Tanzania anyway? Nonetheless, in a wider perspective of things, this incident and many more is an indication of how poor the quality of our leaders is. In my opinion, by slapping the poor farmer’s chairman, the DC has violated a host of leadership rules that she was supposed to uphold.

May it is just me, but I am strongly convinced that in order for us to make serious progress, we need a serious paradigm change. We have to change the way we view our leaders and how we view our selves. Particularly, we have to establish what we expect from our leaders and steps to be taken when such expectations are not met. Ideally, leaders should be serving the people and not acting like the old colonial masters. Regardless of how the DC gets mad, there are integrity and ethical standards to uphold. There are boundaries not to be crossed.

We need leaders who are capable of empowering the regular wananchi. We need leaders who are capable of listening, discerning, and providing creative solutions in a way that is respectable both to their superiors and wananchi to whom they are called to lead. Leadership is not about embracing dictatorial tendencies. Leadership is not about feeling like one is above the rest. Leadership is not about having louder mouths on podiums.

Given the fact that the Ms. Hawa Ngulume got appointed by the President, this is my question to Mr. Jakaya: You mean to tell us the in a country of 38 million heads, you couldn’t find anyone else who knows how to act? You couldn’t find anyone else better than the likes of Ms. Hawa Ngulume?

Seriously, how do people like her get here?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Point of Clarification

Recently, one of my esteemed readers posted a comment in reaction to my September 29, 2006 post under the title “Lipumbas: Exactly Why the Opposition Sucks”. I would just like to quote, so that I give the commenter a respectable and deserved voice:

I would say that I was a bit impressed by your comments on 'Lipumbas: Exactly Why the Oppostion Sucks". However, I did not like the way you choose your words particularly when it comes to describe a person.If I were in your position I would not have used such words/phrases as 'stupid comment', 'childish', LiPUMBA and others.If you want to be critical of somebody, you have to stick to arguments, you should not cross borders and enter into criticizing one's personality and integrity.I think you should also have taken sufficient time to ponder over the arguments raised by Prof. Lipumba. You would have discovered more than you did

Let me start by expressing my sincere appreciation for the observation. It would be meaningless if I write and nobody reads, except may be for a few members of my household (if they really care for my thoughts that I express on the internet in the first place). So Simbadeo thanks a lot.

That being said, lets get to it.

Writing is about expression of one’s thoughts or feelings. If I were writing for Daily News or Uhuru, I am sure that my thoughts or feelings would have been censored to fit into the editor’s liking. But given the fact that I am the writer and the editor at the same time through my own blog, I play into that freedom. I don't have to get anybody's approval to tell what I see.

That being said, I am not intending to just cross boundaries in the name of freedom and liberty. I have a writing objective and I try to fulfill that. In case it has not been clear, my objective is to challenge the status quo, particularly with reference to our thinking and attitudes. In connection to that, I deliberately choose certain words that would evoke certain responses. Furthermore, I choose certain words to hit my points home. Why not call a spade a spade? If Professor Lipumba gives a stupid comment, I would say that.

I am trying to imagine how it would be like calling a stupid comment something like "a comment that was short of logical sense". That is being too politically correct, and I don't think political correctness will ever help our folks grow. So I try to deliberately defy the norm to get folks out of their routine. I don't want to be another Uhuru newspaper. Folks have had plenty of that.

Does that mean that I should just go out and blah blah? I don't think so. I try in all my articles to provided facts and rationale to support my assessment.

I am not sure where Ms./Mr./Mrs. Simbadeo got the impression that I was getting personal, for instance, in my criticism of Professor Lipumba. If you read the whole article, in no place I said, “Professor Lipumba is stupid or childish”. I think there is a clear distinction between someone being stupid and someone giving a stupid comment. I believe throughout the article I tried to stick to judging Professor Lipumba’s comments. But what would an American say? Stupid is as stupid does. If Ms/Mr/Mrs Simbadeo was impressed with my comments in that article, then my choice of words is irrelevant to the point I was driving home.

See, life is full of preferences. Ms./Mr./Mrs. Simbadeo’s dislike for my choice of words is a good example of how subjective things could be. Given that fact, why would I switch and be like him or her? Where would my individualism come into play? I like me. I like my writing style. This is who I am. I would be worried if what I write doesn’t make sense. But he or she didn’t say that I don’t make sense. So I am at peace.

With regards to this argument, “I think you should also have taken sufficient time to ponder over the arguments raised by Prof. Lipumba. You would have discovered more than you did”, What can I say? Wasn’t the whole article, which Ms/Mr/Mrs. Simbadeo was impressed with, intended to negate the arguments raised by Professor Lipumba? Honestly, I would appreciate getting what I missed from Mr.Lipumba’s comments. That is that whole point of growing.

My point is, I have a writing voice and a writing objective. Some will like that, some will not. Such is life. It would not be fair for me to stop others from having their own preferences. SoI would like to stick with me.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

“Mtaji wa Maskini Nguvu Yake”?

If you are coming from Bongoland, you have at least heard of this saying. In most cases, this saying is meant to “motivate” folks who have found themselves stuck in difficult economic situations. These folks are left without any other option but to apply all means necessary to make ends meet. Manual laborers, such as mikokoteni operators are mostly likely to hold on to such a “slogan”.

I am not going to badmouth working hard as a way of earning a living and even lifting one’s family out of an abject poverty. I think it is a noble thing to do – that is, trying to fight for your family. You know what? Even the Bible prescribes hard work as a means through which we should earn our living.

What has just crossed my mind is whether popularizing such “slogans” is really helping anyone or it is just helping to reinforce bad ideas into the mind of poor Tanzanian men and women, who could have been supplied with the alternatives. I am not sure if I can find the right answers to that, but my conviction is that such slogans and popular sayings have transcended beyond individual lives even into the Bongoland public leadership.

That should not come as a surprise. Individuals make up a nation, thus belief system that each individual is holding is certainly bound to affect the nation’s belief system. A nation made up of ten (10) stupid citizens is surely going to be a stupid nation. Just look at this flood picture and think with me. Isn’t it logical to plan how to handle rainwater on the streets given the same has happened and will happen again? This is what happens when folks fail to apply their minds.

See, my belief is that the utilization of one’s physical strength has serious limitations. There is just so much that our physical bodies can achieve. Given that fact, it is a developmental suicide to cling to the application of one’s strength alone without looking for other alternative, for instance, application of mental capabilities . A nation with majority cart pushers will always be a cart-pushing nation, generally speaking.

The late Nyerere cited watu as a key ingredient for development, but failed to define what kind of watu Tanzania needed. Honestly speaking, we just don’t need warm bodies; we need intellectually charged individuals. The fact that our government has failed to take seriously University education is an indication that we are a cart-pushing nation. The University of Dar-es-Salaam story is just a sad reminder that our leaders are sort of operating on the cart-pushing mentality. Kama watu tu, tunao. As a matter of fact, 38 million of them! The issue has to be the quality of people we have and not the number.

The moral of the story is this: no nation has developed by a mere application of their physical strength. Look around you; every developed nation has gone past the application of the physical muscles. If anything, they are applying their mental muscles. So, the next time a friend of yours tells you that “Mtaji wa maskini nguvu yake”, just give them a very hard look in the eye and tell them: “ Get behind me Satan”. Whoever is trying to limit you into applying your physical strength alone is trying to kill you.

So take this as a fact of life: Tanzania will NEVER get out of poverty unless we start applying our minds as our capital. So, respect the pizza! That doesn’t’ sound right. I guess it goes like this: Respect the mind!

Photo Credits: M. Michuzi

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Beauty Queens: Point of Separation

Recently, Deus Gunza through Radio Butiama Podomatic had an interview with Cynthia Masasi , who I would regard more of a video girl than a model. And that is mainly due to the fact that her resume speaks more of music video appearance than modeling. But that is just my opinion.

Following the interview, there were tons of comments posted on Mr. Gunza's podomatic radio station. As expected, those opinions ranged from positive to negative, encouraging to being critical. I can only guess why: for some folks Cynthia broke the mold and that has to throw most folks out of their loop.

I can understand both sides though. For those folks that were supportive, I am sure that they viewed Cynthia as a "succeeding" young sister, who should encouraged. On the other hand, those folks who were critical, it is mainly due to upholding traditional, conservative value system that is mainly prevalent in Tanzania. The main question being whether success can be attained, even through means that are regarded negatively by societal standards.

I would just like to put a dent into the pro-Cynthia's camp. The fact of the matter is that appearance is hip-hop music videos has never been fully accepted even in the African-American community, from which the hip-hop craze is accredited. Video girls, in some circles, are only regarded as beginning porn stars. Think I am kidding? Just go through the Essence Magazine's article to see what is said in there. If I can just quote one line from that article in relation to participating in music videos:

" But if rappers are re-creating themselves in the image of a Mack, then what role are women left to fill? Any fan can answer that. "Mostly in videos, the women are there to serve the men," says Morgan Crooks, 16, a high-school student from South Orange, New Jersey".

Personally, I wouldn't want to see any of my sisters being a video girl. That is because the music videos, in which our sister Cynthia proudly participates in, mainly portrays women as objects to satisfy the male sexual needs. Besides, I believe that the current state of music videos is just another example of how most of us have allowed the media to dictate our taste. It wasn't this bad in the recent past.

Music videos used to be about cool choreography. Michael Jackson didn't win all the accolades with Thriller because he was showing girls bumping and grinding. The video simply displayed superior artistic abilities. If my memory saves me right, the whole "dirty" dancing started in the late 1990's and early 2000's. Remember the Mystical's video for the song "Shake It Fast"? I believe that when video started going bad. I know folks will say I should just shut up because what Cynthia is doing is art and blah blah, but there are clear degrees of separation between being a hoochie mama and an artist.

Such a clarity is presented by none other than another Tanzanian sister Tausi Likokola . In a nutshell, this sister is not only a model, she is also a philanthropist, author, ambassador and speaker. This sister presents a strong argument against presenting yourself as a hoochie mama to gain recognition. Furthermore, Tausi's success is a testimony that you can succeed by being classy and not necessarily by downgrading your standards.

And that is the point of separation between a video girl and a true model, or rather a role model. That is a separation between an artist who applies not only their body, but also their mind.

Let me know what you think.