Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Change Starteth In the Mind…

For a long time I have been in denial. I just come to grips with the fact that I hate conformity. I love for things to evolve, change, move, whatever. I abhor being stuck on the same spot forever.

It is for that reason, this mwenge thing is driving me crazy…I mean seriously, and why in the world do we still need mbio za mwenge in Tanzania, in 2009? I know, I know, it is the Mwalimu legacy whatever. But, hey, isn’t this just another indication that the Tanzanian society is dormant to the extent that we can’t be creative?

Let’s just review the very essence of mbio za mwenge, if not for a meaningful reason, just for kicks. Mwalimu had an idea. Let’s light this thing up [ I can clearly visualize Mzee Kawawa nodding in approval]. Put it up on Mount Kilimanjaro so that it could accomplish the following: 1) shine beyond Tanzanian borders 2) bring hope to the hopeless 3) bring love where there’s hatred 4) bring respect where there’s plenty of disrespect.

The above really sounds great, brilliant and magnificent. The only problem is this – that’s all political manure.

Let’s ask this practical question – how the heck is an annual torch relay going to accomplish all those grand goals? The answer to that question is obvious. Never.

See, the goals Mwalimu had in mind were great. I’d be insane to discredit the spirit behind the mbio za mwenge. Nonetheless, there are practical sides of things that separate those that should be confined to a mental institution from those that should be consulted for a strategic plan. The practical outcome of mbio za mwenge speaks volume of what Mwalimu could have been.

The most insane of all, if you ask me, are those Tanzanians still running after that stupid mwenge.

My point is this – mbio za mwenge will forever remain a meaningless symbol that will never accomplish anything [please don’t give me the ufunguzi-wa-miradi-ya-maendeleo crap]. That is because the spirit behind mbio za mwenge is about human transformation. And human transformation, honestly, starts in the mind, the heart, and the spirit.

You may not like my argument, but let’s be practical for a minute. How many people do you know got transformed in Tanzania this year, simply because that stupid smoky torch passed through their village?

The point is this; we can transform human beings through other meaningful, practical means. What about education for starters?
Photo credit: Mjengwa


Anonymous said...

ooooh Meeen! you have a point there! I agree with you but dude you are blatant! I like it any way, as someone has to do the tough love now and then... so keep on brother!

January. M. said...

Don't blame us wabongo when we do our own stuff, our "own ways" Please tell me the Olympic guys has no other better causes they can work on than running their Olympic flame - I do not know all over the world? how about the aftermath of building those olympic villages and all spectacles that comes with it?

How about the worldcup trophy that goes around all over the world? isn't there anything good they can do with all that $$$? tell me about that too. Please cut us wabongo some slack, would you?

Anonymous said...


you must understand that, Tanzania has not establish anything with Mwenge, but rather chasing it around like a lunatic lost in space, but on the other hand, Olympic torch and others stuff that you mentioned accomplished something, ie, Sportsman looking foward to represent its countries, benefiting directly or indirectly in receiving the exposure of sportsmanship and love, thats include interest flowing to the winning country. someone get to know you before paying a visit, or just saying hello.

But Mwenge you tell me ? We lost the grounds, unless it is backed with clear targets and actions, and the luck of them it makes it rediculous even on thought.

Mzee Duke said...

Hey Metty - L O N G time since I jumped in with a comment or 2 - you know "life gets in the way" sometimes and interferes with the things we would like to do.
Anyway - just a couple of observations:
1. - There is another very real difference between things like Mwenge and Olympic torches / world cup stuff, etc... the difference being - WHO IS PAYING THE BILL!! In the case of mwenge - it is the people through taxes, tariffs, etc... in the case of Olympics, etc.., it is corporate sponsors, people who VOLUNTARILY buy Olympic related items (tickets, contributions, etc..) All governments have a responsibility to use monies entrusted to them in a proper and useful way - a way that benefits the people who are actually paying the bills. BTW - is is not just the TZ govt that is wasteful in that regard.
2. On a different note - I do know that in the south (Mtwara Region) I was asked by the DC to use our large screen video projector at a few Mwenge events in villages to show AIDS prevention films, etc... so that was an occasion where the DC saw an opportunity to do something worthwhile while the crowds had gathered - just an observation. Probably doesn't happen everywhere - but the Masasi DC did take advantage of the occasion for good.