Saturday, May 23, 2015

Congratulations Writivist Sima and Erica!

Long Dying Gracefully by Sima Mittal in The 2015 Writivism Short Story Prize Longlist
Blues for Absalom by Erica Sugo Anyadike in The 2015 Writivism Short Story Prize Longlist

Sima Mittal was born (1974) in India and was raised in Arusha, Tanzania, from where she moved to Dar es Salaam in 2002. She has studied in Tanzania, India and the USA. Although she holds a Bachelors of Engineering in Computer Science, her love for writing began when she explored reading with her two little girls. She loves reading poetry and children’s books. She feels a writer and an illustrator weave the magic of a children’s picture book together. Through her short stories, she hopes to connect with and mesmerize audiences of all age groups. She has been blessed to be a part of the Writivism programme. Because of Writivism her short story was published in the Daily News (Tanzania) and on Muwado.com.

Erica Sugo Anyadike has worked as filmmaker and a broadcaster for the past fifteen years. She’s Tanzanian, married to a Nigerian. She lived in South Africa for over a decade before moving to Nairobi. She has written, produced and directed a short film and two television dramas. She’s written for Kwani. She likes pretentious conversations about popular culture. Her superhero skill is mixology. She loves a good story in any medium.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Kwaheri Dakta Kandusi - Mdau wa Tanzania 50+

Ujumbe wako umetufikia. Kazi yako umeimaliza. 

"Waraka wa Wazi kuhusu Saratani ya Tezi Dume"

"Prevent Prostate Cancer in Tanzania"

Conference:Natural Resources and Development

The University of Dodoma (UDOM), Tanzania kindly invites you to participate in the 2nd International Scientific Conference "The Advancement of Geography for the People, Natural Resources and Development" which will be hosted by the Department of Geography in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences in collaboration with National Geographical Associations of Tanzania. The Conference will be held from 28th – 30th March, 2016. The Conference aimed at strengthening and sharing geographical knowledge for the people, natural resources and development in East Africa and beyond.

The conference calls submission of papers on the following sub-themes:
1. Conservation and Natural resource management;
2. Climate change, disaster and conflict management;
3. Tourism and development;
4. Economic geography and livelihoods;
5. Population, health and disease dynamics;
6. Communication technology and rural & urban systems;
7. Politics, education and culture in the contemporary world;

Applicants for the Conference need to fill and submit an application form to geoconference2016@gmail.com and copy to jankindi@yahoo.com. All emails should be titled as Application for conference participation.

The Organizing Committee calls for extended abstracts that do not exceed 500 words (see Appendix 2). The abstracts will be reviewed and authors of selected abstracts will be informed to develop and submit full papers.

By end of the Conference, the presented papers will be reviewed and published.
The abstracts and papers should be submitted to geoconference2016@gmail.com and copy to jankindi@yahoo.com All emails should be titled as Conference Abstract or Conference Paper.

Important deadline dates:
Deadline for submission of Application form: 30th October, 2015
Deadline for submission of Abstracts: 30th October, 2015
Acknowledgment of abstract acceptance: 15th November, 2015
Submission of full papers: 29th January, 2016
Payment of registration fee: 20th February, 2016.
Conference Date: 28-30 March, 2016

Postgraduate students are also encouraged to apply and present their papers or preliminary findings.

Registration fee:
Conference registration fee will be:
For Tanzanian delegates - TSH. 100,000
For International delegates - USD. 100
International & Local Students – USD. 50
& TSH. 50,000 respectively.

For inquires write to members of the committee: geoconference2016@gmail.com.

Conference steering committee:
Dr. Haule E (Mkwawa University)
Dr. Kweka (University of Dar es Salaam)
Dr. Makupa (University of Dodoma)
Dr. Martha Nembo (IRDP)
Dr.Kisingo (College of African Wildlife)
Mr. Emmanuel (SAUT)
Mr. Justine L (STEMMUCO)
Ms. Venosa M. (MZUMBE)
Mr. David Msokwe (St. MARK)
Mr. Furaha Germain (MOUNT MERU)

We expect that conference participants will have an opportunity to visit the Dodoma vine factory, grape farm and vine’s degustation. Long excursions will be organized for participants who will be interested to visit the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Park after the Conference.

Participants who are interested with excursions need to confirm by the date of abstract submission. After confirmation detailed information will be communicated.
before 29th January, 2016.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Diana Kamara's Open Letter to Sauti Sol Musicians

Dear Sauti Sol, 


I have heard about your work and fame for a long time. But it was until the Sura Yako song was popular that I did not really know your group. Still I don’t know your faces or names (if it counts in celebrity culture). You probably receive a lot of feedback and support from your fans. To be honest, I am neither your craziest nor average fan. And at this point I am thankful I am not your fan. I am writing to ask you to apologize to the African masses for misleading lyrics of your latest release, Nerea

As a feminist first, I could have discussed the question of abortion, whether to allow it or not (thanks for making the discussion on abortion public). Or I may look at the positive image of African women you are trying to promote such Zenzile Miriam Makeba (an artist who was a political activist) and Wangari Maathai. But it would also have been of my interest to know why you want your child to be important as Lupita Nyong’o (whom I remember for having a dark complexion, naked on screen and an beauty idol for 2013)? Will you be disappointed if the new born is the opposite of Lupita: plump and light skinned? I am not muting my feminist activism, at this point there is something urgent and important. 
I want to believe you juggled and tossed many names before shortlisting those you have mentioned in the song based on your knowledge of their legacies and the role model factor. I am glad that these two African names made it into the song: Nyerere and Mandela. 

The aspirations you have that your unborn child may be Nyerere or Mandela are not at question. Except for the information on Nyerere and Mandela that makes me question and really like - really doubt - your knowledge of Africa and Africans. And considering that two of you are Journalistm graduates (The actuarial sciences and banking and accountancy graduates are not less guilty in this! And the featured artists too!), I thought it was a given thing to be curious and to get facts right. 

You plead with Nerea not to abort because if the child is born Nyerere he will lead Tanzania (… aongoze Tanzania). If not, the child may be Mandela, the redeemer of Africa (… mkombozi wa Afrika). Really? Like serious? 
Much as we all agree that the two are giants in African history, we also can’t weigh their legacies. All the same we cannot mislead generations because of this outmost negligence (Don’t make me curse in writing!). 

Wallahi! I don’t believe the lyrics were written, revised, recorded and the video made without the many people involved in production noticing that it was the likes of Nyerere who liberated Africa and Mandela who led South Africa in struggles against Apartheid (at the end of it) and later became the first black president (with the support of Nyerere and other Frontline leaders and states) of the republic. 
For a moment I will forget you are graduates and say if they did not teach you this in school, you could not even do a simple internet survey (Like I just search Sauti Sol on the internet today) before you sang about these legendaries? I would take time to explain in details, with examples, about Nyerere and Mandela. But since you did not do your homework, at least Google that now!
I am not blaming you (I am not freeing you of the offence to history either). Mandela is more popular than Nyerere. My Microsoft Word 2007 doesn’t know Nyerere. It underlines his name in red and gives me these possible other words: Miserere, Nye ere and Nearer yet it knows Mandela. Athletes and actors who went to South Africa would stop by at Mandela’s house for a chit chat and (most likely) a photo. I am still trying to find one Google image of Nyerere with a Superstar. When Mandela died Rihanna, Tyra Banks and John Legend tweeted. Who was not mourning?

Don’t you find it suspicious that countries that had labeled him a terrorist like Al Shabab three decades ago or so were the loudest mourners? Or of all the African fathers and mothers of the African nation, he is the one given big time promotion in the West? If you don’t find it doubtful, I hold on to my conspiracy theory. 

Mandela’s popularity should not at any instance downweigh the huge contribution of Nyerere’s contribution to liberation of Africa in theory and practice. Popular is not a synonym for significant (you know this better as musicians). 
When I watched the video on earlier this afternoon on YouTube views were 448,841 and at this moment (about three and a half hours later) 450, 841. This makes me tremble in fear of how many people will have been misled by the song and believed it, let’s say by June. 

On that note, I write to demand that you apologise to the world for diminishing the legacy of Nyerere and adding salt to Mandela’s story. 

(I wish you were my brothers in arms)

(And I am not yours)

Diana Kamara

6th May 2015

Dar es Salaam,


Are UK’s Top Two Parties Disinterested in Africa?

Are the UK’s Top Two Parties Disinterested in Africa?

Aikande Kwayu’s Goodbye Two-Party System in #UK! is of particular interest to those of us who are tired of ‘duopoly’ in  multiparty politics. I am tempted to agree with its argument about the “decline” of the ‘two-party system’ and, in terms of style, I like the way it concludes with the “reason for” versus “manifestation of” what is referred to as the “inward-looking politics” in the UK.

However, I am still having the same problem about Kwayu’s earlier argument on Africa in Is the UK’s diminishing its place in the global sphere? that subtly resurfaces. This time she has cited Magnus Taylor and Hetty Bailey’s post on Election 2015: What’s in the party manifestos for Africa? to buttress her assertion. Let revisit their post.

In the introduction that is written in the ‘third person’ though it is safe to assume it is Taylor who wrote/co-wrote it as he is the editor of African Arguments, the post says it “is a truism to state that British general elections are decided by domestic politics.” This is to say in elections this is generally the deciding factor. It qualifies this by saying it “is rare that events such as Iraq war cut through talk of domestic issues to be truly influential for the electorate.” Then it thus presents Kwayu-like argument: “This year such a stereotype seems even more pronounced.... Africa’s non-appearance in the manifestos is a symptom of a wider disinterest in international affairs during this most insular of elections.”

What is problematic is that, like Kwayu, this introduction divorces the UK’s “foreign policy” from (also being primarily a matter of) the UK’s (strategic) ‘international trade’ hence these lines therein that also brief us on why, comparatively, domestic issues matter more in this election: “Development policy, in particular, is relegated to the back-end of the manifestos. Foreign policy is about defending our borders or growing British trade.”

As I stated in my earlier responses to Kwayu – i.e. Is the UK retreating from Africa? and
Are China and the US sidelining “UK’s space in Africa”? – Africans cannot afford to ignore the centering of trade in foreign policy as evidenced in the case of the UK and Tanzania. Taylor’s entry on the Conservative Party shows how it matters even if his views – or theory of International Relations (IR) for that matter – may not be informed by its overarching centrality to foreign policy in the case of Africa. He writes: “The second [approach of the Conservative Party’s Manifesto to the outside world] sees Britain as a brave mercantilist power, forging a path through choppy seas via its sharp businessmen and clever diplomats. This section is actually quite optimistic for ‘emerging economies’, into which classification, in this context, most African countries should be viewed.”

Taylor then cites this statement from its Manifesto: “We have boosted our exports to emerging markets, opened new diplomatic posts in Africa, Asia and Latin America…to connect Britain to the fastest-growing economies in the world.” Tellingly, this is his take on the quote: “It’s a good point, the last ten years have seen unprecedented growth in African economies and opportunities exist to exploit this, both for the benefit of them and us. It also bemoans the fact that the UK is still too dependent on slow-growing European markets. British diplomacy is more than ever about ‘selling’ Britain Inc. to new buyers.”

Bailey’s entry on the other major party is thus also revealing in relation to what I have termed the Corporate-State-Civil Society (CSC) Tripartite Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Setup: “Labour’s approach to trade is focused on benefiting British business, as is evident in the title of its foreign policy section: “Standing up for Britain’s interests in Europe and the world”. This section includes plans to support access to international markets with the aim of reasserting Britain as an international leader. As such, African countries could be encouraged to enter more bilateral trade deals with Europe, whilst focus on the private sector and its role in Africa’s development will be secure.”

Are these the signs that the UK is retreating/withdrawing from (global) Africa?





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