Little notes on #Patriotism, #History, …#Tanzania

Today, music artists in Tanzania will be in Dodoma performing with the aim of raising awareness on patriotism in Tanzania. Circumstantially last night over a couple of drinks with Aggrey Marealle and my sis Alilya Kwayu we found ourselves talking about this (Patriotism in Tanzania). The discussion was provocative and rich. Aggrey argued that patriotism has to be nurtured in youths from their childhood. We kept discussing the need for children to observe and learn patriotism from various public spheres. It has to be diffused in children at home, in schools, in markets, in art, in music, in dressing, and…(keep adding my smart reader)! We spoke about how current generation in Tanzania needs to be reminded about our values and history. We remember activities that we used to do in primary schools that are now non-existing. (My sis Alilya mentioned Alaiki because she was an active Alaiki performer in primary school). Such were very crucial for building patriotism in the country. In fact, I have argued somewhere else how the subject ‘Siasa’ was crucial one and its replacement with civics was not a very wise move! (Well, I better stop here because am the least competent person to speak about education in Tanzania esp. with regards to syllabus or curricula).

So while discussing these, we spoke about the need to have role models and how past generations in Tanzania had role models who worked their heart out for people and the country at large. We then got closer home and remember how elders in Chaggaland led by our Paramount Chief Thomas Marealle worked extremely hard for their people and for Tanzania. In Chagga land these elders mobilized farmers into cooperatives forming powerful ones such as KNCU which under the leadership of the Chagga Council gave scholarships for farmers’ children, started the first Business school in Tanzania if not in Africa, and did many other things that if we decide to write about it we will need several book volumes (Prof. Amy Stambach and I carried out ethnographic research on this in 2010 through archival research and collection of stories, but a lot more is yet to be learnt and recorded). Coffee farmers built all the major buildings you see in Moshi town. Whereas Mbeya had its first elevator this June 2014 with a big celebration, in Moshi elevators were present since 1950s. KNCU building, Kahawa House, and KCMC hospital all have elevators since they were built. The first two buildings were built and belonged to coffee farmers. The Chagga Council building is also a state of art. Farmers’ cooperatives buildings are present in all villages in Chagga land. Often these buildings host village governments and they are  neutral grounds for meetings and other public events in Chagga land.  Well, all these developments in Chagga land were possible because we had patriotic leaders. Chief Marealle went to Cambridge University and London School of Economics where he could have comfortably settled with his OBE but he chose to come back home, work for his people and his country. He fought for independence. His speech in the UN testifies his significant contribution in securing Tanganyika’s independence. Chief Marealle showed the colonial world that if Chagga people could develop so much on their own and able to manage their affairs, it is a proof that Tanganyika is ready for independence as we can manage ourselves and develop on our own. This was patriotism.

Without offence, I think many people in Tanzania are only “patriotic” to Dar! They are not patriotic to Tanzania. Look at how rural Tanzania is left poor. People live lavishly in Dar but their rural homes are a shame, for the lack of a better word. In Chagga there’s a phrase that says “Ifina ni Boo”, which is equivalent to the common English phrase “Charity starts at home”. And indeed Chaggas have observed this saying. They develop their homes in rural areas before starting living large in cities. This is the essence of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” and I have blogged about this before! We all have to be patriotic and develop where we are from and that will automatically spread to the whole country. When something starts from within it spreads out easily…in other words, it’s a bottom up approach.

Unfortunately, our current leaders are also not patriotic. This is evident from their actions, how they behave, the cars they drive (which are environmental destructive leave alone high costs of purchase and maintenance). See Jenerali Ulimwengu’s article on similar issues. See their lavish allowances, which they keep demanding for more increase while teachers, nurses, and police continue to suffer. See how (I hear) some of them (we don’t know who exactly) transfer millions of cash abroad (illicit money flows to tax havens), etc etc etc….All these are signs of lack of patriotism.

So as our artists and musicians are performing today to create awareness on patriotism and Tanzania…let’s remember to be patriotic in everything we do…charity starts at home…and it starts in your heart!

2 thoughts on “Little notes on #Patriotism, #History, …#Tanzania

  1. Eli

    I Googled “Chagga Council” and I ended up here. Interesting piece.

    Did you get to publish your work with Prof. Stambach?

    I suppose KNCU is in bad shape . And some quarters theorize that the current state of KNCU is a result of Julius Nyerere workings. To disempower the Chaggas and get them to obey the state, he decided to weaken KNCU. Sounds plausible?

    Can you recommend a book on the history of Chagga? That also covers the Chagga politics in details (during colonial and post-colonial times).


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