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Sunday, April 11, 2010

TOWARDS THE SECOND MWALIMU JULIUS NYERERE INTELLECTUAL FESTIVAL WEEK

We are about to commence the Second Julius Nyerere Intellectual Festival (12 – 15 April 2010). Following a successful inaugural festival it is thus fitting to continue this as an intellectual tradition. This year’s festival is picking up from where we left last year when we spent a whole week reflecting on Pan-Africanism and exposing ‘New Imperialisms’.

This time around it is a ‘Week of Reflections on the Arusha Declaration.’ The sons and daughters of Africa are assembling in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from all corners of the continent and beyond to reclaim this revolutionary declaration of liberation from the clutches of imperialism. Our indefatigable critic of ‘Obsolescent Capitalism’, Prof. Samir Amin, will set the deliberation in motion as the ‘2010 Distinguished Nyerere Lecturer.’

Prof. Amin’s first Nyerere Lecture on Monday is thus fittingly entitled ‘Long Road to Socialism: Crisis of Capitalism and Imperialism.’ It promises to be a powerful analysis of the inherent self-destructive nature of capitalism which has recently culminated into a global financial/economic crisis. His second lecture on Tuesday aptly subtitled ‘Exiting from Capitalism in Crisis: Initiatives in the Global South’ would lay to rest the ‘TINA Myth’ that continues to claim that ‘There Is No Alternative’ to neoliberal capitalism.

In a significant way the 2010 Dar es Salaam reflections is picking a baton from the 1980 ‘Arusha Initiative’ that attempted to overhaul the International Monetary System. Both draw their inspiration from Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere, a consistent critic of the world capitalist order. It was during the Arusha Initiative that Mwalimu echoed the ethos of the Arusha Declaration by boldly stating: “My Government is not prepared to give up our national endeavour to provide primary education for every child, basic medicines and some clean water for all our people.” His address was aptly titled ‘No to IMF Meddling’!

Today, as we face capitalism in crisis, we cannot but go back to our blueprint of liberation: The Arusha Declaration. All over Tanzania (and beyond) the oppressed are reclaiming it. Even those who buried it in theory and practice are exonerating themselves. To satisfy this hunger during the festival copies of the Declaration would be issued. This will help us understand why the exploited now affirm that ‘the Declaration cared for us.’

But one cannot reflect about the Arusha Declaration without Pan-Africanism. In fact the opening Creed in the Declaration affirms that one of our principal aims and objects is to cooperate “in bringing about African unity.” To that end the festival will be graced by Hon. Ms. Samia Nkrumah as the Guest of Honour. Her lecture, entitled ‘Reflections on Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s Pan-African Vision’, promises to be a very inspiring reminder to make her father’s call, ‘Africa Must Unite’, a lived reality in the 21st century.

Hon. Ms. Samia Nkrumah will also launch a new course on ‘Pan-African Thought and Practice’ at the University of Dar es Salaam. This is a course that aims to make Pan-Africanism ‘a category of intellectual thought’. In other words, it will enable students to think about the whole of Africa as they tackle any problem in their respective fields of study. At the end of the day graduates would have an in-depth knowledge of our societies. To give a glimpse of how to achieve this, the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) will hold a panel on its role in developing a ‘Pan-African Intellectual Community’. This will feature Prof. Zenebeworke Tadesse, Prof. Sam Moyo, Prof. Said Adejumobi, Prof. F.E.M.K and Dr. Ebrima Sall.

The global economic crisis has brought the food and agrarian crises to the fore. It is not by accident then that the festival would devote time to dialogue on ‘Socialism and Rural Development’, which was a policy component of the Arusha Declaration. To set the stage for this Vice-Chancellor palaver, the author of ‘The Republic of Hunger’, Prof. Utsa Patnaik, will give a public lecture on ‘The Agrarian Question in the Neo-Liberal Era.’ Then Prof. Rwekaza Mukandala will dialogue with Hon. Eriya Kategaya, Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, Prof. Anna Tibaijuka, Prof. Andrew Temu and Dr. Opportuna Kweka.

In the Pan-African world a festival is always graced with songs and dances. As such our very own hip-hop artist, Professor J, will sing the Julius Nyerere Intellectual Festival 2010 Signature Song ‘Azimio la Arusha.’ Sauti za Kimapinduzi (The Revolutionary Voices) Choir will come all the way from the historical town of Bagamoyo (Pour your Heart) to sing about the liberation of Africa. Primary and Secondary school students under the tutelage of Lawrence Malima Madole (Marlow) will perform ‘Sisi ni Watoto wa Afrika (We are children of Africa)’. Carola Kinasha and a Live Band will also fire us up with their revolutionary music during the Pan-African night on Thursday at HillPark.

The festival will indeed be a potpourri. We will also get a chance to view a premiere screening of a documentary on Walter Rodney Stories (WAR). The director of the film, Clairmont Chung, will be present to introduce this documentary that “covers the life of world renowned historian, author, and activist” who had a revolutionary stint at the University of Dar es Salaam just before he was assassinated in his native Guyana in 1980.

A couple of publications will also be launched. Marcelino Dos Santos, a revolutionary hero of Mozambique’s struggle for independence, will launch ‘Africa’s Liberation: The Legacy of Nyerere’. The book, a truly collaborative Pan-African work published by Pambazuka Press, features interesting chapters by authors from the continent and beyond.

As usual the last day will be ‘A Day of Academic Reflections’. This time our economists will hold a ‘Symposium on the Teaching of Economics at the University of Dar-es-Salaam’. It will indeed be a moment for soul-searching as the ongoing global crisis of neo-liberalism has stripped mainstream economics of its hegemonic garb of legitimacy.

What an opportune time to reclaim the Arusha Declaration! This is the time Mwalimu Nyerere anticipated. No wonder he thus predicted: “I still think in the end Tanzania will return to the values and basics principles of the Arusha Declaration.” Now is the time!

3 comments:

Huila April 15, 2010 at 12:18 AM  

Hi Chambi,

Congratulations on the book launch and the overall event...It has been a very interesting week for me indeed...although I am of a different political persuasion, I nevertheless respect the views of the heavy-weights in attendance at the event...

I have not started to read the book yet but rest-assured I plan to do so as soon as I get my hands on it...it is very promising to see a young man like you engaging in deep thought-provoking endeavors like these...I kindly ask that you organize events or tea parties or whatever to bring together youngsters to discuss issues that are dear to our fatherland...

Most young men and women are turned off by the inept political outlets at play within the country...there is simply not an alternative to dissenting voice...there is no leadership among youngsters to initiate intellectual discussion on the discourse of this republic...

And so, I kindly ask that you consider organizing such events so those of us on either ends of the spectrum can discuss issues pertaining to our country...keep up the good job chief...

Kitoto April 15, 2010 at 4:59 AM  

Kibonge cha Blogu, hiki, kaka Chambe. Ama kweli unafanya kazi nzuri ya kuandika. Nimependa hizo linki zako ulivyozifafanua na picha ulizoweka zinasaidia maandishi yako. Bloga lako ama kweli lina sura ya kipekee.
Wanaosema nchi yetu haina waandishi au wanafikra wanakosea sana.
Hongera sana!
Je tueleze hiki kitabu cha Mwalimu kitapatikana katika maduka ya kimataifa mtandaoni kama Amazon Online maana Nyerere hajulikani vizuri kama anavyostahili. Kajificha jificha, katika ukungu, kiasi fulani kama jina la Tanzania. Hivi viwili vyahitaji kuuzwa zaidi duniani kwa vitabu...

Chambi Chachage April 15, 2010 at 6:54 AM  

Huila asante sana. Kutakua na mdahalo kuhusu hiki kitabu katika Mkahawa wa Soma Jumanne 20 Aprili 2010 kuanzia saa kumi na nusu jioni pale Mikocheni Reagent. Waandishi wa Kitabu ndio watakuwa wanamdahalo. Nitaweka tangazo kwenye hii blogu hivi punde.

Kitoto shukrani sana. Kitabu kinapatikana Amazon.com na kuna msomaji amenithibitishia kuwa ameshapata nakala yake kupitia mtandao huo wa mauzo. Pia Pambazuka News wanakiuza pia mtandaoni, ingia tu kwenye tovuti yao.

Karibu kwenye ulingo wa kutafakari kuhusu tunapotoka,tulipo,tuendako na namna ambavyo tutafika huko tuendako/Welcome to a platform for reflecting on where we are coming from, where we are, where we are going and how we will get there

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