Friday, October 24, 2014

Why Africans are not United

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wanafunzi wa Mwalimu Nyerere


Moja tisa sita saba, kawakusanya Arusha
Wa taifa yeye baba, Azimio kufundisha
Wanafunzi kwa mahaba, wakajibu kwa bashasha
Zidumu fikira zako, hiyo ndo’ kauli yao

Tuache kuombaomba, si heshima asilani
Nje hatuna mjomba, sasa bakuli la nini?
Tuivunje hi kasumba, kawafunda hadharani
Zidumu fikra zako, Hiyo ndo’ kauli yao

Kwenu cheo ni dhamana, jiepusheni vituko
Musijivike ubwana, kutawala kwa viboko
Rushwa semeni hapana, nyie ishikeni miko
Zidumu fikra zako, hiyo ndo’ kauli yao

Tumenyonywa vya kutosha, mapinduzi sasa yaja
Kupuuzwa metuchosha , jikomboa iko haja
Ukoloni umekwisha, sasa tukate mirija
Zidumu fikra zako, hiyo ndo’ kauli yao

Kila alowafundisha, wakaitika tawile
Vichwa wameinamisha, mithili ya misukule
Nani angeweza bisha, akadumu zama zile?
Zidumu fikra zako, hiyo ndo’ kauli yao

Lipoitwa na Kadima, walikwenda Butiama
Walilia njia nzima, wanafunzi kalalama
Nyota yetu umezima, ona jahazi lazama
Zidumu fikra zako, hiyo ndo’ kauli yao

Palepale msibani, wote wakala yamini
Alowapa darasani, tayashika maishani
Tayahifadhi moyoni, toyaacha asilani
Zidumu fikra zako, hiyo ndo’ kauli yao

Mwalimu wanamuenzi, midomoni jakauka
Kwenye nyumba na mabenzi, picha zake mebandika
Kwa kuonyesha mapenzi, redioni wanamweka
Zidumu fikra zako, hiyo ndo’ kauli yao

Kila moja anamwenzi, hakuna aliyemwacha
Majahili wanamwenzi, hakuna aliyemwacha
Wasafi wanamuenzi, na walafi jamuacha
Zidumu fikra zako, hiyo ndo’ kauli yao

Ulo ujinga wa jana, wao meukumbatia
Na yale yaliyofana, ajabu wanabomoa!
Wanafunzi mekazana, urithi kujimegea 
Zidumu fikra zako, hiyo ndo’ kauli yao

Wanamuenzi mwalimu, kwenye makampuni yao,
Wanamuenzi mwalimu, kwenye makasri yao,
Wanamuenzi mwalimu, kunako migodi yao
Zidumu fikra zako, hiyo ndo’ kauli yao

© Ado Shaibu-Komredi wa Malenga

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Engaging with Something Quite Unlike Myself

Engaging with 'Something Quite Unlike Myself'

I have never reviewed a poetry book before. But after reading a couple of poems in Michael Onsando's (2014) Something Quite Unlike Myself, I felt a strong urge to do so. So, here we go.

As its first poem intimates, the book is like an open bag, full of poems that got spilled and could not be gathered (p. 7). Collecting them into one coherent theme had thus been a challenge. No wonder, earlier on, the 'foreword-er' notes, "with a massive sense of transgression  of breaking multiple taboos" (p. iv), that it "is a restless poetry..." written "at a time of fracture...." (p. v)

One may hence conclude that its main theme is the "self." Could it be that its author, by employing the negation "unlike myself", is trying to tell the reader about a 'restless' and 'fractured' self? A self that is striving to "inhabit what might be possible"? (Ibid.)

But is it simply poetizing about Michael's self? I doubt it. The poetry is a journey into the quest for self-determination. Resonating with my reading of Ngugi's  Re-membering Africa, Onsando's text focuses on selves that constitute Africa's dismembered self. It is thus a poetic conversation of African selves among others.

My favorite, of course, is the one that sets the stage to what intrigued me as a very creative style of organizing and concluding a book: "She asked me about my blistered feet. I asked her about her manicured hands" (p.11). After sharing a number of poems, the poet returns to this central question at the very end: ""you still haven't answered my question about your blistered feet' she says."(p. 38). Then the answer comes - a line that would leave you, the reader, with an urgent sense of why we need to re-member the self.

If we do so, "another throat" won't be "slit" while the "white dove sits on a branch high above...and watches..." (p. 27). Yes, if we re-member Africa(ns), "a black crow" won't be a "sign of wisdom trapped inside an unspeaking body..." (p. 37). We will indeed be something quite unlike our gendered, racialized and 'classed' selves.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Kongamano: Nafasi ya Fikra za Nyerere - 18/10/2014

Leila Sheikh on Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment: Prevention is the Best Option

Leila Sheikh

Despite the enactment of the Sexual Offences Special Provisions Act, 1998, Sexual Harassment continues to be the most perpetrated crime against women. In the workplace, Sexual Harassment often includes threats, bullying, intimidation and emotional abuse.

Tanzania has made strides in enacting SOSPA 1998 but much, much more needs to be done to protect women, especially in places of employment. For example, the statute of limitation in SOSPA 1998 places a deterrent on women to report cases of Sexual Harassment. The clause on time limitation needs amendment so that women would have the time to prepare emotionally and psychologically to press charges against the harassment.

We need to have a separate legislation on Sexual Harassment, which would make it mandatory for every employer to have a Gender Desk and an Information Kit on Sexual Harassment. The Information Kit should include the relevant clauses in the legislation in reader-friendly language, the forms in which Sexual Harassment takes place, what an employee ought to do when it takes place and the measures to be taken to safeguard the employee against bullying, threats of losing her job and the intimidation which always accompanies Sexual Harassment.

Places of employment in the formal and in the informal sectors should put up posters with information on Sexual Harassment. India passed legislation in 2013 addressing Sexual Harassment at work place specifically to prevent it from taking place. This is a milestone in the history of India and needs to be replicated in our country.

The impact of Sexual Harassment on women's health and incomes is gross. Women lose their jobs if they do not give in, or become emotional wrecks if they do succumb.

All stakeholders should take prevention of Sexual Harassment seriously. Prevention would help save the livelihoods and the lives of women. It would help in the Response to prevent new HIV infections. It would increase women's productivity. It would give the ownership of dignity and self-esteem back to women. It would be consonant with the Bill of Rights and the Charters to which Tanzania is a signatory.

Prevention of Sexual Harassment would remove the backlog of pending cases in law courts. It would give women the impetus to strive harder to break the glass ceiling in their careers. It would give women the opportunities to blossom into strong, assertive people which is our Right, instead of being wilted flowers, plucked in the bud of our careers.

A Commission on the Prevention of Sexual Harassment should be established which would coordinate the Initiative to ensure all places of employment are safe for women.

This can, and should be done, otherwise the Human Rights Charters, which we, as a nation signed, are just a sham.

Such a Commission would monitor the establishment of Gender Desks in all work places, that Information is posted in a visible place in reader-friendly language on Sexual Harassment and what to do when it takes place. Justice demands so!





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