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Friday, April 11, 2014

Dear World Bank is this the multi billion dollar road you meant?

For months now, people living on morogoro road have been complaining about the supposingly amazing road project currently ongoing.  It hasn't been completed but already it seem to be the most useless, money wasting project ever done. 
First, the biggest and probably most valid complaint is the size of the road. Lets just put it this way... if you meet a semi trailer on the road, you have to slow down, go right by the edge of the road, honk at the semi trailer and hope the next bus stop is close by with no bus so you pass the slow moving semi trailer. Its even more abhorrent during the rain with water splashing everywhere. ..unable to go beyond 30km/hr because the next patch of the road might be full of water and you skid and hit the car next to you....if you are even going to be beside. Or and even better still... the people going the opposite direction to you...can splash you water which is the most dangerous thing ever. I don't think I have ever seen that on a multi BILLION USD road ever.
Of course I have also heard that the original plans were greatly altered because some government official had given a building permit to a hotel 5 years ago and now they can't pay them damages to break their hotel.  Mind you this project has been in the works for 10 years.  I am not sure if it's incompetency or greed...either way, we are missing two extra lanes that would've made a helluva of difference. ..shame on Magufuli for agreeing to this and Stratbag for the worst road constructed ever

Monday, January 20, 2014

A ‘linguicide’ in progress?

By Samwel Ndandala – 21 July 2013

When Ngugi wa Thiongo renounced english, christianity, his christian name (he was baptized as James Ngugi) and started writing in his native Gikuyu and Swahili, I thought it was a little extreme given his radical fanonist convictions. I thought it was impractical. But in his book ‘Decolonising the mind’ he argues, and I should say convincingly, that language is a carrier of culture and a society’s collective memory. ‘Because erasure of memory is a condition for successful assimilation, the burial of African languages by Africans themselves ensured that the assimilation process into colonial culture was complete’. That is powerful. I related to this deep insight this week. Let me explain.

At 1957Hrs on a Friday evening I jumped into a train (the Swiss have weird departure times). With Shaaban Robert’s autobiographical ‘Maisha Yangu’ in my hands, I was heading home after a fruitful day at work. On my way my phone rings. I am happy that mom is calling, but it is when I pick the phone that I realize how inept I am. Because I want my conversation with mama to not be understood by those around me, I make a deliberate effort to use Kiswahili all the way, not a single english word. This opens my eyes.

I realized that my swahili vocabulary is thin (even more apparent when reading Shaaban Robert). I literary have to search the corners of my mind to form coherent thought in unbroken Swahili. Of course I am not saying that I am not fluent in Swahili, but the fact that I have put an effort not to switch into English surprised me. Once in a while I had to lean on an english conjunction to make point. Does that sound familiar? I suppose it is if you watch the Tanzanian parliamentary sessions. I was genuinely embarrassed. The truth is more and more of our young people, especially those who have had the privilege of higher education, are becoming less and less fluent in our local languages, let alone kiswahili.

There is a scene in Khaled Hosseini’s epic novel, And the Mountains Echoed, (you won’t waste your time reading it). Abdul, an Afghani who immigrated to the US insists that his American born children learn Farsi, his native language. ‘If culture is a house’ Abduls says to his children, ‘then language is the key to the front door, to all the rooms inside. Without it you end up wayward, without a proper home or legitimate identity’. The book was fictional, the point he made cannot be any profounder. Lose your language and you have lost your cultural identity.

Words, or I should say, Language is the raw material from which ideas, concepts and ideologies are formed. When someone robs you of your language, they not only take away your ability to communicate. They erode your capacity for ideation. They compromise your thought-forming pattern. They leave your mind limping. There is nothing more valuable that can be stolen from a human being. In part, I believe we ourselves are stealing this culture from ourselves by not investing in our local languages enough whether through reading and more importantly through writing.

He who controls language controls thought. In ‘1984’, George Orwell coined terms such as ‘doublespeak’, ‘thoughtcrime’ and ‘newspeak’ to show how much thought was influenced by the language. He even creates a department responsible for coining new phrases and overhauling the entire vocabulary structure to affect the way people think. In other words, if I can take away your language, I am also altering the way you think. Part of the reason we have an educational crisis in Tanzania is because the change of language between primary and secondary school takes a toll in the children’s ability to understand. Without fluent english teachers, which are in short supply, students actually never really recover from the change, their abilities to absorb concepts given the sudden change of language diminishes. The challenge for those who begin school in English medium schools is also being able to not desert kiswahili in their normal lives.

Language is also important because it decodes culture. Culture is important because it forms the basis of an identity. Without an identity there can be no coherent nation. Language has cultural significance because it enhances a national pride. Any nation not proud of itself and its history will find it difficult to be coherent. This pride in Africa took a massive blow during colonialism. Waangari Maathai uses the term a ‘cracked mirror’ in her book ‘The challenge for Africa’ to highlight how culturally fatal the imposition of a new language was. Across the Africa, people started viewing local languages as inferior, incomprehensible and incapable of communicating complex concepts, ideas and scientific thought. Africans looked at the mirror and did not like what they saw. In many ways, we are yet to heal.

As a result we went as far as dismissing our wisdom our keepers as sorcerers and witches. Those things that made us who we were – ceremonies, symbols, stories, folklore- ‘fell apart’ to borrow Achebe’s words. We adopted foreign names, despised our cultural past and with it the pride we had in our past died. The colonial masters won, we were accomplices in this cultural suicide. I concur with Ngugi, a ‘linguicide’ happened, and is still very much going on. Our history was rewritten. Our culture was downgraded. To date, many African view their fellow Africans not able to express themselves in English or French as somehow inferior. This must be reversed, and I am afraid the reversal is not complete. The reason we must reverse this is because 'a people without a positive history is like a vehicle without an engine', at least in Steve Biko’s mind. I see no better way to start rewriting this history than revamping our pride in our languages.

Of course I am not suggesting that we completely drop English or French. That is not an option. We live in a globalized world. Our children are going to require multilingual skills. What I am saying is we cannot afford to drop our local languages. These languages knit us together. They enhance our identity. They bolster our pride. They also are able to bring the masses into the debate as most of them are not as articulate in english. Kiswahili for example, has immense regional, continental and international potential. We can use it more, reinforce it more and even export it outside the East African shores. It was great to see the draft union constitution released in Kiswahili. I believe it enriched the debate. It allowed more Tanzanians to be part of the process.

An unused vessel will soon rust away. Not using our languages catalyzes their extinction. We do not use our language as much as we should even when the use of english is not necessary. Check the recent text messages you sent to your colleagues. Trace your Facebook updates and your tweets. How many of them are in proper kiswahili? In haya? pare or hehe? If you are like me, and I suppose I am not alone, the answer is very few. How many of us can write an intellectual or even comment on socio-cultural matters in effortless kiswahili without stammering along the way.

More knowledge needs to be created in kiswahili and other local languages. I personally read a rough average of close to a book a week. Since I record all the books that I read, I went back to check how many of them were not english books. Not much as you might have guessed. Of the 27 I have read this year, only three are in kiswahili. And it just occurred to me that I have never in my life read a book written in my native ‘kibena’. How can a culture hope to survive if we do not produce enough literature about it? Indeed, how can we make any intellectual progress if we do not put into writing our ideas in a language that moderately literate people can understand?

Unfortunately, there is not much vernacular literature around. Unlike South Africa, we cannot have 11 official languages. While practicalities must be taken into account, we should emphasize knowledge creation in our languages. A lot of blame actually lies with the so called elites: That small fraction of Tanzanians who were fortunate enough to get a higher education. It occurs to me that most of what we write is in the language that a common man cannot understand. Increasingly, more seminars, public lectures, symposiums and discussions are held in English. That alienates many of the Tanzanians who are either moderately fluent, or just uncomfortable with the english language. But even worse, we do not have a culture of writing regardless of the language.

We Africans have a great oral tradition. We are master story tellers but lazy at writing. Every time I go to my village in Njombe (Southern Tanzania) I am amazed by how wise and deep the old people there are. In fact, I now prefer hanging around old men and women because it appears to me that their reservoirs of wisdom and knowledge are close to limitless. But unfortunately we do not write. "When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground." This African saying could be less true if we wrote more. Part of reversing this ‘linguicide’ is for us Africans to start writing more(of course that means we need to read more). African writers of the world, unite! You have nothing to loose and your culture to reclaim! Take out your pens (and laptops) and fight for your cultures. If lingual culture was a war, then writers are the marines.

I am reposting this rather long article as I partially agree with it but at the same time criticise the justification of Tanzanian's being given a get-out-jail free card for not knowing English or Kiswahili. Can I just point out that South Africans have 9 national languages and they do just fine in expressing themselves, never mind the fact that Switzerland has at least 3, yet they are doing fine. 
Also I would like to highlight that Swahili is really for the elite, say words like Kingamuzi where unknown to people and somehow it always feel like they deliberately they try to complicate it so the proper Swahili remains to the few. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The man who became a god……


A friend of mine commented on how this blogs says last published August 2012.... My that is over a year ago, and I call myself a blogger!! Anyways it has been an exceptional year for me, so much has happened; physically, mentally, spiritually.... so much ups and down but I still feel sad saying goodbye to the year.... It reminds me of how much I haven't done so far. Anyways, it would be a shame to have not published anything in 2013, so here is a brilliant piece written by One of my closest friends ever, who refuses to be named for so and so fear. I love you sweetheart, may 2014 bring you a boss that understands that brilliant brain of yours.
Without further ado....

THE MAN WHO BECAME A GOD

We all know who this man is, but that’s just it he is just a man. We took him from being a simple man to being close to a god…..

He is on the currency, his funeral was for public display, and his life was never his own always owed to someone.

We are asked to remember him and what he did for SA, but what did he really do? Is it worth idolising the man, or is it something that each human being will do in the face of adversary?

I understand what he did, I don’t understand us making him into a god….many fought and died for the cause he was the face of, and the recognition did not even come close to what he got.

We all know Nelson Mandela, the man, the story he told, the story they told. His story was as immaculate as many other heroes who fought domination.

Why then did we idolise the man who lived as simply as we all did, why then did the world stand still for the life of a man, simply man, given the extraordinary opportunity to be human (as we all are).

So can we calm down, like take a back track and realise that he did not do anything every other human being(whose head is screwed on right), given the opportunity would not have done the same thing.

Ladies and gentlemen, let us acknowledge a man who fought for a peaceful country, and let us realise that he was just a man.

We can all be great, given the platform to perform, given the eye let us dwell of continually improving the great in our own lives.

We have so many greats, as them let us not allow ourselves to be sub-standard rather to rise above our attackers (each of us know what they are, be it education, financial) and though we may not get our face on a currency, we can better understand that a man is a man, and that to be great you accept that there is only 1 God…..

Friday, August 17, 2012

"Anti-Semite Hungarian politician an outcast after discovering his Jewish roots

The Religion of Politics

I read the post title courtesy of the global mail online (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/anti-semite-hungarian-politician-an-outcast-after-discovering-his-jewish-roots/article4481572/comments/) and I could hardly believe it. It is unbelievable the world that we actually live in. A world where one is allowed to emulate a terrorist. I mean, that is exactly what Hitler would have been if he lived at this day and age. I didnt believe that of all the things I thanked Hitler for, this would be undermined. I had thought his reign of terror had taught the world the evils of racial or religious hate, and the scary section of the extreme fanatism of it all.

And here comes some ridiculous people trying to get political tractions on the same ideology. Mr Szegedi (Pictured above with the Schwartsticker and Hitler) was a poster boy for a neo-Nazi group in Hungary. His biggest ticket to a EU seat was his hate for the Jews, and blaming them for the economic desperity that is Hungary. What is it with the Jews that make grown men feel their inedaquacy? Anyways, so in this rather surreal tale, Mr. Szegedi found himself alienated by his so- called brother (His party) who had united under the mutual-hate of Jews, because it was discovered that he is actually JEWISH. But wait for it, that is not all in this rather Hollywood-like story, Mr. Szegedi is not only Jewish, by Jewish laws but his GRANDMOTHER was a holocaust SURVIVOR. I honestly have no idea how that kinda thing would have skipped the woman's mind, because she allegedly never revealed it to her precious grandson. You would think she would be a champion against such primitive ideas and ashamed that her grandson wouldnt learn a lesson she was taught the hard way. So now that Mr. Szegedi has no friends because of his actual heritage, which by the way is only detected by Jewish Laws (Because, you see, in Judaism, you are Jewish as long as you are mother was), he has gone back to his word and supposingly said that he was never anti-semitic to begin with...really.. at least fall with dignity! So much for personal beliefs!
Anyways the reason I chose to blog about this story is because it reminded me on the absudity of people claiming politics and religion are separate. Surely history has and continue to teach us different. Throughout religion has been the instrument politicians use to get ahead. It is the rallying spirit for the power hungry. We saw it on Hitler, George IV even the Pope. I know its stepping on toes when I say that, but the history of catholism has that written all over it. We have the Christian movement gaining popularity after the presecutions, and then we have the Roman empire wanting to keep peace. So what do they do, they combine the Christian Ideologies with the Roman norms and form  a powerful machine: the Roman Catholic. We have traditions such as Sunday worshipping being borned and such, nothing to do with beliefs or anything.
Of course there is always some religious fanatic using political forum to advance his religious hate, but rarely.... Feel free to comment with examples. It always seem to be power mongers distorting religious beliefs to their own ends. IT is disgusting!!! Let us please learn from the disaster that was the 'racial cleansing' and refuse for parties like Jojobiek; where Mr. Szegedi was a poster boy, to exist.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Probably just stay home then


WATCH OUT FOR THESE LAWS BEFORE YOU SET FOOT IN THIS LAND

Well I was reading this article, and I thought I should share... well considering I am a great offender of 50% of the said crimes, I think I should be a little bit more researchful the next time I decide to fly out.
1. Be careful what you wearLaws governing clothing are common and should always be checked before traveling abroad. Qatar forbids indecent or revealing clothes, defined as “not covering shoulders and knees, tight or transparent clothes.” The Vatican City requires shoulder coverings and skirts or shorts to the knee in order to enter museums and churches. And, Castellammare di Stabia, south of Naples, has outlawed mini-skirts, low-cut jeans and too much cleavage, with violators risking a 300-euro fine.

Thailand has a law demanding that you wear underwear at all times – also a good idea in general.

In Italy, where foreign beach-goers can offend the local sensibility, laws often require cover-ups over swimsuits. In Lerici, on the Italian Riviera, you’re not allowed to walk the streets in just a swimsuit. That’s also true on the island of Capri, which has gone further to protect the serenity of the vacation spot by banning noisy shoes, such as clogs or wooden-soled sandals.

2. The shoes on your feet

Carmel, Ca., where Clint Eastwood was mayor, has a famous historic ban on woman wearing high heels. Though the law isn’t enforced, tourists can purchase a commemorative permit allowing them to wear the shoes.

But, you won’t get away with that in the historic sites around Greece. After many of the country’s landmarks, like the Acropolis, were damaged in recent years by visitors, the government banned people from wearing high heels at the ancient locations.

Urban legend also has it that the city of Blythe, Calif., bans people from wearing cowboy boots unless they own at least two cows. However, even the city manager of Blythe has never heard of that rule being enforced, so you’re probably safe in those boots.


3. Pull up your pants

While fashions change, one thing hasn’t. People wearing their pants sagged below the top of their boxers has had public officials up in arms for years. Five metro cities around Atlanta have banned saggy pants, skirts and shorts – specifically those more than three inches below the wearer’s hips. In Forest Park, Ga., violators can even face a $1,000 fine.

Montgomery County in Alabama levies a $100 fine against juveniles and $150 fine against adults with the slogan: “Raise your pants, raise your image.”

Delcambre, La., was the first town to make it a crime to “show your underwear in public.” There you can face six months in jail for a violation.

4. No confetti or Silly String or BarbiesGum isn’t the only thing you can get in trouble for owning. It is illegal to possess or use confetti in Mobile, Ala. The party fun has been found to be damaging to the environment and hard to clean up.

Mobile and our original law-happy Middlebourough, Mass., have also joined Ridgewood, N.J., Southington, Conn., and Huntington, N.Y., in banning Silly String. In Los Angeles, Silly String is banned – with a $1,000 fine and/or six months in jail – but just on Halloween.

5. Watch your language

Virginia Beach, known as a family vacation destination, banned profanity in the early 1990s. Swearing can earn you a $250 fine and up to ten days community service.

The Australian states of Queensland and Victoria passed similar bans last year, which impose fines of $100AUD and $240AUD, respectively. Guess you’ll have to learn some Australian swear words just to make sure you don’t say them.

In Long Beach, Calif., public officials limited the swearing ban to a location known to cause more than a few curses: mini-golf courses. So, throw that golf club in silence.

6. Don’t spit

It’s more than just common courtesy not to spit in public, it’s illegal in many places. Face a fine and possible jail time if you spit on the public streets in Barcelona, Singapore, Vancouver, or Dodge City, Kan.

The best compromise, however, comes from Burlingame, Calif. In that West Coast town spitting is illegal, except, understandably, in its natural habitat: on the baseball diamond.

7. Or chew gum, or litter, or forget to flush the toilet


Singapore has a lot of laws. It’s known for its orderly, clean city, but that’s no accident. Littering will cost you $1,000 and not flushing a public toilet could cost $500. Don’t smoke in public. In fact, selling gum is illegal as well. Caning is still a form of punishment, so be careful to follow all local laws.

Thailand and the UK followed Singapore’s orderly example when it comes to gum. In these two countries, you can be fined for littering gum, but not for chewing it. Still, $600 is a steep price for bubble gum.

8. Seriously, don’t shoot the cactusWhen visiting Arizona, resist the temptation to shoot or manhandle the cactus. The Saguaro cactus has become so endangered by people shooting holes in the plants, that damaging or cutting down a cactus can earn you up to 25 years in jail.

Of course, there are other reasons not to shoot the cactus. In 1982, a man in southern Arizona shot so many holes in the trunk of a giant 28-foot cactus that it fell on him and killed him.

9. No playing pranks

Many towns and states have no patience for your foolery, so before you start prank-calling people, know that you could face steep fines.

In Louisiana, ordering a good or service for someone else without them knowing can earn you a $500 fine or six months in jail. So, no ordering pizza to a friend’s house without their consent.

However, in Canada, as long as you don’t threaten anyone (which you shouldn’t be doing anyway!), there are no laws against prank calls.

10. Don’t hunt Bigfoot

If you’re planning a trip to find Bigfoot, also called Sasquatch, know that you won’t be able to hunt the elusive creature in some of its alleged natural habitat.

Skamania County in Washington enacted the Sasquatch Protection Ordinance in 1969, while nearby Whatcom County declared itself a Sasquatch Refuge and Protection Area in 1992. The law is primarily aimed at preventing eager Bigfoot hunters from accidentally shooting other people, who can be mistaken for the ape-like creature. However, if you did shoot a Sasquatch, you could face $1,000 fine or five years in prison.

That’s not true in Texas. The Lone Star state found itself in the news in May after decreeing that, because Bigfoot was not explicitly on the list of protected animals, it is legal to hunt a Sasquatch. Keep that in mind as you plan your next Finding Bigfoot trip.

Original article on yahoo travel (http://travel.yahoo.com/ideas/weird-laws-to-know-before-you-travel.html?page=3)

Friday, June 22, 2012

FACEBOOK FOR DUMMIES

The Picture is really worth a thousand words on here


Modern relationships: Facebook is the validation of people's relationships. If you have not confirmed that you are in a relationship with me on facebook then you do not love me. But funny story proved quite the opposite about last year. A woman found out that her husband of 20 years was having an affair and actually planning to start a life with another through facebook. She said that her husband had been spending a lot of time on the computer, something that she was unfamiliar with a he grew very secretive about it as time went back. One day she found his computer unlocked, and right there his facebook was opened. There she found his page, his relationship status saying married, which she breathed in but alas! not to her, to some other woman and there was a photo of them at their wedding! Talk about Facebook learning!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

DEPP SINGLE AGAIN... n to be single again!

I started this morning, rather gray and angry. A couple of things had gone wrong and a couple of people were plainly insensitive. I looked at my phone, and there on google news was the news that Johnny Depp is on the single market again!!! After 14 years and two kids, he is finally single and hopefully ready to mingle (that last part was of course left out by his publicist). I think it is insensitive of me to smile while really I should be sad that it is an end to a loooong relationship, and that no matter what a piece of paper would have said, these two are in all intent and purporse, divorced. Which means, those two angels of theirs are going through what countless kids have had to go through when the D- deed happens.
Anyways, now that I have acknowledged my faulty judgement I will continue with my self profession. I did smile, and its at the thought of a sexy man like him being single again. Not that we hate Vannessa Pardis, but its just not allowed for one woman to own him. I guess secretly (well not so now thats It's on the internet), its the rejoicing to know that celebrities are as miserable as the rest of us. They make mistakes and they do not have perfect marriages, just like the rest of us. I guess this ultimately led me to think of marriages and the reason why people get to it. Because for all Johnny Depp's colourful love life, he has only walked once down the aisle. Given yes, he has been engaged numerous times, but that institution, I feel has remained sacred to him. It also made me think why people want to get married if they could have it easy as these two.
Recently I had a proposal, of some sort really. The gentleman said I shoud marry him. Simple as that. Now do not get me wrong, I am not a romantic and the guy, given better speech, I would be inclined to accept but I did not think marriage proposals just appeared like that. I asked this gentleman friend of mine why he would want to get married. He replied "Am of age, my mom expects me to be married". That really scared me. The was not a single intent in that sentence that actually said that he had considered marriage to ME, and neither did it even indicate that it was his own personal choice.  It was simply, he is getting a piece of paper in the CHURCH of all things.
I actually live in a country that would be enough, for I feel we live in England 17th century where a girl's job was to find a suitable husband, and that's where her happiness lies. But even then, much as I have heard of the period, the gentleman still had to profess some regard (yes that what love was defined before the ballads were set forth on us) or the lady show some inclination to have it. There must be some attraction- apart from the fortunes, to get into the arrangements. But we now have people reverting to worse arrangements than that. If I wanted such a proposal, I would gladly make my father the happiest man on earth by letting me arrange a husband for me.
why go through women emancipation at all! I fear people enter into marriages with the wrong reasons, and they take it as a refuge for the wrong reasons. I have stopped counting the number of times that I heard on the radio a woman saying how her husband had changed after they got engaged but before they got married. Yet she still went aheard and married him!!! Often they would be heard saying "Nilivumilia nikijua hii ndio ndoa" ("I was patient, saying this is marriage"), but it is not marriage yet! How could a piece of paper change anything? If he is not kind to you now, why would you see him as your better half? I do not think a half of you is suppose to make you miserable, infact, my limited knowledge in human anatomy has taught me that every organ has a part to play to keep you alive, if not happy then comfortable.
I would say, take it from Mr. Depp. If your right leg causes you to sin CUT IT OFF.