Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cell Phone Effect: Twisted Priorities…?

Last summer I made a trip to my beloved Bongoland. I obviously shared my thoughts on various topics, mainly pertaining to life. One of the issues I touched was the use of cell phones, particularly on how the device has revolutionized, if you will, some areas of the Tanzanian life.

As with everything, we could never have a perfect world. My mom, as I alluded to previously, is of the view that cell phones provide an ample opportunity for promiscuity.

What really got back to this topic is the photo provided herein, is the other side of cell phone utilization. Please, I stand to be corrected, but I had a sense that some folks in Bongoland use cell phones as a social status symbol.

That kind of remind me of when mabrazameni would be standing at a daladala stand, with a video cassette openly displayed, just to let folks know that they have a kideo at home…

Now, let’s get back to the cell phone issue.

I know that, as human beings, we have the prerogative to spend our hard earned money the way we so choose. Nonetheless, common sense tells us that some choices are irrational.
I know the lady (in the photo) could be making a ton of money, just by hawking bananas. Nevertheless, (and this is just me thinking aloud and I could be wrong) why not spend money first on a cart – that could make the mobility of the banana merchandise easier – instead of enriching Vodacom, Tigo or Zain first?

But the story really goes beyond this lady, as this picture is just a symbol of a Bongoland society which is either moving forward or failing to prioritize.

I’m not against cell phone use, especially when vijisenti ain’t an issue.
Photo Credit:

Monday, February 02, 2009

Pinda: Passionate Men Do Cry

My son, Jedrick, found this little game of power. He thinks it is so cool of him to order people around to cry. Now and then, when we are in a playful mood (and where fimbo is not involved as a way of bringing some order and discipline); he would order me to cry. I’m typically ordered to cry when I ask for one of his toys. My cry, it seems, becomes enough to receive his mercy.

So I oblige much to his amusement. But that is just me playing with my boy.

Recently, the Tanzanian Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda shed some tears in the parliament for some serious reasons.

Honestly, that’s almost unbelievable. And I’m not trying to be sarcastic about that. It is simply hard to see men in the African context express their emotions. Well, almost all men across the board feel that expressing emotions is wimpy.

Personally, I found a hero in Pinda. Of course, assuming the tears weren’t some political ploy to keep his sweet job.

I found a hero in Pinda for two reasons – one, it takes a lot of courage to defy social norms (like a belief that men don’t cry). And courage, trust me, is a quality lacking in most Tanzanian’s leaders. Mr. Pinda didn’t whack someone in complicated judo maneuvers to acquire heroism, but handled himself with a lot of grace.

The second reason for hailing Mr. Pinda is that he expressed humility. Maybe it is just me, but political leaders in Tanzania got so pompous, to the extend they made you believe they were above reproach. Truth is – we all err, but it is so refreshing to see a person in a higher public office humble himself.

Granted, Mr. Pinda still me owe me a ton – like the Rorya thing – but I can definitely give him some kudos for walking a path that many Tanzania leaders have failed to walk, which is the ability to express their genuine passion and humility. And for that I applaud him.
Photo: Michuzi