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Friday, July 29, 2011

ELIMU DHALIMU/ADHIMU?

Kwenye linki hii http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wanazuoni/message/10380 kuna ripoti fupi ya utafiti unaohoji kama elimu inayotolewa nchini ni dhalimu? Je, picha zilizomo humo ikiwamo hii iliyobandikwa hapa zinaashiria kuwa si elimu adhimu?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Book on Commoditization of Culture for Tourism

If you are interested in studying and practicing people-centred tourism here is a link to a book by a Tanzanian PhD student in Finland: http://www.amazon.com/commoditization-Culture-Rural-Tourism-Tanzania/dp/3838333527. You may also wish to check out his M.A Dissertation on cultural tourism in Arusha through this link: http://blogs.helsinki.fi/kashaga/files/2008/10/fratelines-ma-thesis.pdf . His website/blog's address is http://blogs.helsinki.fi/kashaga/.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

DARING TO (DAY)DREAM ON OF HARVARD!

Monday, July 25, 2011

An Enanga Performance/Maonyesho ya Enanga



INVITATION TO AN ENANGA PERFORMANCE AND DISCUSSION

Two enanga performers from Kagera Region who are currently in Dar es Salaam attending the international Ethnomusicology Symposium at the University of Dar es Salaam have kindly agreed to stage a live performance for fans and patrons at the Soma Book Café on Tuesday, 26/7/2011, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. All interested individuals and groups are kindly invited. There will be no entrance fee, but patrons may make small voluntary donations to the bards in appreciation of their work. Performances will be interspersed with discussions on the enanga tradition and other Kagera and Tanzanian music traditions.


The discussions will be coordinated by the distinguished enanga scholar, Prof. M.M. Mulokozi.

As usual drinks and other refreshments will be on sale at the Café counter and the bookshop will be open. Kindly help make the occasion a highly sociable, educational and enjoyable event by your attendance.


NOTE Enanga is a musical instrument – a trough zither used in the Lake Region and elsewhere in epic and song performance. The term also denoted such performances.


MWALIKO WA KUHUDHURIA MAONYESHO NA MAJADILANO YA SANAA YA ENANGA Wasanii wawili wa muziki wa nanga kutoka Mkoa wa Kagera ambao wako Dar s Salaam kuhudhuria Kongamano la Muziki wa Asili linalofanyika katika Chuo Kikuu cha Dar es Salaam watafanya maonyesho ya muziki wao siku ya Jumanne, tarehe 26/7/2011, kuanzia saa 12 jioni hadi saa 2:30 katika viunga vya Mkahawa wa Vitabu, Soma, Regent Estate Na 53, Dar es Salaam. Vikundi na watu binafsi wanakaribishwa kushiriki. Utendaji wa nanga utaambatana na majadiliano na maelezo kuhusu muziki wa asili wa Kagera na Tanzania kwa jumla. Hapatakuwa na kiingilio ila wateja wana hiari ya kuwatunza wasanii hao wakati wa utendaji. Majadiliano yataratibiwa na mwanazuoni mashuhuri wa enanga, Prof. M.M. Mulokozi.


Kama kawaida, vinywaji na viburudisho anuwai vitauzwa Mkahawani na duka la vitabu litakuwa wazi.


MUHIMU Enanga ni ala ya muziki inayotumika katika Ukanda wa Ziwa na kwingineko wakati wa kuimba tendi na fani nyingine za nyimbo. Wimbo unaoimbwa kwa kutumia ala hiyo vilevile huweza kuitwa enanga.


Demere Kitunga


E&D Readership and Development Agency—Soma Contacts: info.soma@infinet.co.tz P.O. Box 4460 Dar es Salaam Tel: 022 2772759 Location: Mlingotini Close, Plot No 53 Regent Street, Regent Estate

What About the Power of Kiswahili?

The article on The Power of Creole in Haiti from which we get the quotable quote below could as well be written about Tanzania by simply substituting 'Creole' with Kiswahili!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

ARE YOU AN 'AFROPOLITAN'?

The blog article What exactly is an "Afripolitan"? makes an interesting reading especially when read alongside Kwame Anthony Appiah's Cosmopolitan Patriot!

"They (read: we) are Afropolitans – the newest generation of African emigrants, coming soon or collected already at a law firm/chem lab/jazz lounge near you. You’ll know us by our funny blend of London fashion, New York jargon, African ethics, and academic successes. Some of us are ethnic mixes, e.g. Ghanaian and Canadian, Nigerian and Swiss; others merely cultural mutts: American accent, European affect, African ethos. Most of us are multilingual: in addition to English and a Romantic or two, we understand some indigenous tongue and speak a few urban vernaculars. There is at least one place on The African Continent to which we tie our sense of self: be it a nation-state (Ethiopia), a city (Ibadan), or an auntie’s kitchen. Then there’s the G8 city or two (or three) that we know like the backs of our hands, and the various institutions that know us for our famed focus. We are Afropolitans: not citizens, but Africans of the world." - http://www.theafropolitanexperience.com/2011/03/28/what-exactly-is-an-afropolitan/

*Photo: http://www.dailynews.co.tz/pics/02_11_w8fcjt.jpg

Wosia Wa Profesa Samuel Stephen Mushi



Friday, July 22, 2011

Beyond Technical (Leadership) Madness in Africa!

The following quote from Paul Tiyambe Zeleza's scathing critique of Malawi's Bingu wa Mutharika is particularly thorny to African leaders(ip) when read alongside the quote further below from Ethiopia's Meles Zenawi:

"...President Mutharika embodies the contradictions of Malawi's political system and the crassness of Malawi's political class. Like so many other so-called ‘peaceful' African states, such as Senegal, the country has yet to make a generational transition in its top leadership. Thus, while many sectors are dominated by the post-independence generation, the president is an octogenarian autocratic who should have long retired from public life as he clearly is out of tune with the aspirations of his relatively young nation. President Mutharika, 77, belongs to the nationalist generation that brought the "first independence" while the vast majority of the population was born after 1964 indeed 45% of the country's 15.2 million people are below the age of 15. To them the president's nationalist anxieties and preoccupations with colonialism and admonition of Britain, the former colonial power, whose ambassador was expelled from Malawi several months ago for referring to him in a leaked embassy cable as "ever more autocratic and intolerant of criticism", are outdated and irrelevant. Added to this is the president's apparent megalomania evident in his love for titles including unearned academic titles. For someone who never received a PhD from an accredited institution and never taught at a university he insists on being called His Excellence Ngwazi Dr. Professor Bingu wa Mutharika. He fancies himself an economist and mister-know-it-all. He has removed competent people from key economic ministries and institutions. He increasingly bases economic policy on his misguided understanding of Malawian, let alone African, economic and political history as is clear from his ill-written 700 page book, The African Dream: From Poverty to Posterity, published by his daughter and launched to great fanfare earlier this year..."

- Paul Zeleza


"...There is a technical definition of madness. Madness is to do things over and over again but to expect different results. We have been doing this over and over again since the mid 80s expecting different results every time. Now this is unlikely to be because all African leaders are technically mad. I think that is happening because first, the balance of economic, political and diplomatic forces are such that maintaining the beaten track even if it’s a dead end, appears to be the only option. I think it is also partly because most African leaders are not that young. The main difference between me- Meles now- and Meles 35 years ago is that Meles 35 years ago, as a young person, had the courage and ambition to storm the heaven. Meles now does not have the same type of ambition and courage...Why, Why has the fear of God been introduced into Meles? I think it's partly because of the experience of defeats, the achievements, and the experience of life itself which makes a person wiser and at the same time less courageous and less ambitious. If we could combine the wisdom of age and the courage and ambition of youth then we can break out of a mad situation of doing over and over the same thing..."
- Meles Zenawi

Towards a Permanent Solution to Power Cuts



Everyone agrees Africa needs to move forward. The power blues being experienced in Tanzania, the pangs of hunger in Kenya, Somalia and Sudan.... the unimaginable pain of women and children still being raped in DRC.... our cups of problems are more than enough.

We can blame the current and past leadership forever. Yet this may not change anything. If your mother and father did not care for you when you were very young, under 15, they are to blame. But after you are 18 or twenty, they are no longer to blame for your fate, even if they never fed you or took you to school. You can rise up, and even become a professor. And if you chose to live a miserable live, they are no longer to blame, but you. That is what I believe.

Just the way we expect too much from our parents, it is the same way we expect too much from our leaders. We have been conditioned to look at the government as almost equal to the power of providence. For every problem, we want the government to solve it. I am not saying that we should not hold our governments to account, we should, but also actively seek solutions.

For example, the power crisis in Tanzania, all of Wanazuoni members, who are mostly Tanzanians, it should be a wonderful chance to make a difference. Take aside all anger ( I know it is not easy) and see what should be done. Each one can think of a solution beyond TANESCO and the government. After all how many Tanzanians have access to power? Less than ten per cent (I stand to be corrected). So lack of power is affecting a significant portion of the populace, involved in production in one way or the other but the minority.

What needs to be done is to share ideas as much as possible on how to solve this problem, with or without direct involvement of the government..... and something will come out of it.

Here are my humble suggestions:

1) ------Lobby for the government to remove taxes on solar materials. I think it would be possible to produce or bring in solar roofing materials at very minimal cost – Tsh 10-20 000 per sheet. If the civil society and all people of goodwill can join hands, and bring in a million solar sheets...... for such a cost every Mwanazuoni could buy for the folks back home a set to power their way to better life......

2) -------- Start smallholder local people owned “smart power generating plants”- as many as possible. There are many villages with excellent sites for power generation. I know of Mbaga Village in Southern Pare, some missionaries wanted to put up such a plant, TANESCO said no. By then it was a monopoly. Now it is not.

3) ---------The new plants should make use different sources for power generation – solar, biogas, wind, geothermal, gas, etc...

4) -------- Wanazuoni (and others) who are in Tanzania should join hands to identify business opportunities for putting up small power plants, and wanazuoni abroad will join hands in looking for finance. I am sure development partners will be happy to assist.

A Hungry Lion and A Full Moon: Myth and Reality

So our people were right after all?

The Young Nyerere on the Fourth Enemy

On 17 May 1960 the radical Nyerere uttered the following revolutionary words archived in the Hansard of the 35th Parliamentary Session and reproduced in his book on Freedom Unity under the title Corruption as an Enemy of the People:

"...I would like to add, sir - and I don't want to elaborate on this, there is no point in elaborating - I want to add there is another enemy which we must add on the list of these enemies poverty, disease, ignorance, I think we must add another enemy... There is corruption. Now, sir, I think corruption must be treated with ruthlessness because I believe myself corruption and bribery is greater enemy to the welfare of a people in peacetime than war. I believe myself corruption in a country should be treated in almost the same way as you treat treason. If people cannot have confidence in their own Government, if people can feel that justice can be bought, then what hope are you leaving with the people? The only thing they can do is to take arms and remove that silly Government. They have no other hope..."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

KAMALA: BAA LA NJAA KAGERA!

Baa la Njaa Mkoani Kagera: Chakula Kitatoka Wapi? Mbona Serikali Iko Kimya?

Kamala J Lutatinisibwa

Ni hatari kwa mustakabali wa chakula na utamaduni kwa Mkoa wa Kagera ambao chakula chao kikuu ni ndizi na hata tamaduni za wanyeji wa hapa huendana na ndizi na kahawa.

Hali si shwari tena, migomba inaumya, kuna kirusi cha kushambulia migomba maarufu kama mnyauko, kimekausha migomba kwa kuishambulia, haijulikani kimetokea wapi lakini migomba imeathiriwa kwa kiasi kikubwa.

Ugonjwa huu hukausha mgomba mzima, hushambulia kwa kasi, katika kata ya Kashanda wilayani Muleba, nimeshuhudia mashamba yakiwa matupu kutokana na ugonjwa huu huku migomba michache iliyobaki ikizidi kunyauka kwa kasi ya kutisha. Hali hii inaathiri uchumi na afya za wakazi wa maeneo ya mkoa huu. Wilaya za Muleba, Karagwe, mMisenyi na Bukoba zinazidi kuathiriwa kwa kasi ya kutisha.

Serikali iko kimya, wabunge wako kimya na hata serikali za wilaya hazionekani kujishughulisha kwa lolote. Baya zaidi ni kuwa hata asasi za kiraia ziko kimya. Njaa kali imeanza kuwaathiri wakazi wa mkoa huu huku baadhi ya wanasiasa wakidai hamna tatizo la chakula hapa.

Chanzo cha ugonjwa huu hakijulikani, kuna wanaodai unatokana na miti ya mi-pine iliyopandwa kwa kasi lakini wengine wanadai ilitokana na na sumu iliyomwagwa ziwa Victoria kuuwa magugu maji.

Baya zaidi ni kuwa wakazi wa mkoa wa Kagera hawana utaratibu wa kulima nafaka wala kutunza mazao kwani ndizi ni chakula cha kutegemewa kwa mwaka mzima, sasa mambo yamegeuka, ndizi hukatwa na kuchomwa moto kama njia mojawapo ya kukabiliana na ugonjwa huu japo kuwa haisaidii chochote.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

'SFC': What Does BAE & DFID Got To Do With It?

A British investor who also happens to be a qualified solicitor has just penned this article http://www.africanexecutive.com/modules/magazine/articles.php?article=5986&magazine=344 in the wake of the following recently ended public hearing on the BAE (re)payment saga in the UK: http://issamichuzi.blogspot.com/2011/07/just-in-tanzania-wins-bae-payment.html . This is a very 'personalized' tussle that led to the 'leakage' of these allegedly private communications: http://www.jamiiforums.com/jukwaa-la-siasa/89096-do-not-prints-these-the-yusuph-manji-connection-the-silverdale-files-3.html. In the context of ongoing 'land grabs for large-scale land investments' in Africa one can sense a bitter-sweet irony behind the article's subtitled question: "Is Tanzania Scaring Investors?"

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tanzania: The East African Antidote to Nigeria?

The following subsection is excerpted from Professor Mahmood Mamdani's Keynote Address to the East African Legislative Assembly Symposium, "A Decade of Service towards Political Federation," Arusha, 30th June 2011.


[...]


All origin stories are migration stories. Pre-modern peoples did not believe that any people were indigenous to a particular place. This is not just true of Africans. The biggest origin story, one shared by Abrahamic religions, is the story of Genesis in the Old Testament. It says the earth was empty before its settlement by peoples we know – all were migrants who came to the land after the Biblical flood. All humanity was native to heaven. Only after the fall did humans come to possess guardianship of the earth.


The vision of a world populated by ‘indigenous’ peoples with ‘non-indigenous’ minorities is a distinctly modern and secular notion. In this part of the world, it is a distinctly colonial notion. The idea that each tribe has a tribal homeland, that each tribe rightfully belongs to its homeland, is native to its homeland, is a settler notion. It is the basis of the claim that tribes must stay put in their homelands and that the world outside the homelands belongs to settlers.


The real point is not that colonialism invented this fiction but that we have bought it. We consider it as part of African custom, rather than colonial custom. Let me give you one example of how this notion has become central to our political lives.


Nigeria created a federation after the civil war of 1967-70. Key to the federation is a clause called ‘federal character’. It says that key federal institutions must have a ‘federal character’. What are these key institutions? They are three: the army, the civil service and federal universities. What does it mean to have federal character? It means their composition must reflect the composition of the federation. Recruitment in each institution must be on the basis of quotas for each state, where the quota reflects the relative weight of the state population in the Nigerian federation.


Now, here is the rub. To qualify for the quota of a state, you must be indigenous to the state. Who is indigenous to the state? To be indigenous you must be born in the state of a father also born in the same state.


The ethnic federation is today a major source of Nigeria’s problems. The market economy moves products and people, both rich and poor – on the one hand rich traders, industrialists, and professionals, on the other, jobless workers, landless peasants, itinerant hawkers. Those who move beyond state boundaries – and these are usually the most enterprising, whether rich or poor – are labeled non-indigenous and disenfranchised. With each passing year, more and more Nigerians are non-indigenous in the states where they live.


The ethnic federation is a major source of Nigeria’s contemporary political problems. Most internal conflicts in Nigeria are fights over who is indigenous and who is not. In the Middle Belt, fights over definition of indigenous revolve around two notions of indigenous. One group says you are indigenous if your family arrived before colonialism. The other says you are indigenous if your family was there before the Sokoto Caliphate. But both agree that if you came to the Middle Belt recently, meaning over the past hundred years, you should not have political rights – even if you are a Nigerian.


[...]


Here is the positive side of the picture. Not everyone in the independence leadership of East Africa accepted the colonial story of tribal homelands as African tradition.


The shining example is that of Mwalimu Nyerere and mainland Tanzania. Consider the following sobering proposition: East Africa is a region of genocide and ethnic cleansing. We associate Rwanda and Burundi with genocide; Zanzibar with the violence of the revolution; Uganda with that of expulsions, from that of Catholics from Mengo in 1900 to that of Muslims from West Nile after the fall of Idi Amin; Kenya with the violence in the Rift Valley.


The one exception is mainland Tanzania. It is the only part of the region where a group has not been persecuted collectively – as a racial or an ethnic group. Tanzania is the East African anti-dote to Nigeria. Mwalimu Nyerere’s contribution is identified with Ujamaa. But Mwalimu should really be remembered as a statesman who built a nation state. He took a colonial tribal federation and built a centralized state out of it.


Politically, colonial Tanganyika was no different from other colonies. It was a patchwork of tribal administrations. The colonial administration divided the population into so many tribes and races. Races were governed under civil law and each tribe under a separate customary law.


Nyerere’s great achievement was to create a single law and a single machinery of enforcement – both legal and administrative – so that every Tanzanian came to be governed by the same law, regardless of race or tribe.


Mwalimu created a rule of law. He created a national citizenship based on residence in a country where colonialism had left the legacy of defining every individual on the basis of a racial or tribal political identity based on origin.


There is another instructive example in the region, that of Uganda from the bush war of 1980-86. Early NRA learnt much from the legacy of Nyerere. When the NRA liberated a village in the Luwero Triangle, it created village councils and committees. The question arose: who can vote in these councils and committees and who can run for office?


The colonial tradition was that only those indigenous should have local rights. But this would have disenfranchised half the population, for roughly half were immigrants, either from Rwanda or from the North.


The NRA’s response was: whoever lives in the village has a right to participate in the decision-making of the village, no matter where they come from. Rights were based on residence, not ethnicity.


Once in power, the principle was subverted. Today, the NRM has elevated the principle of tribal homelands into a key principle of governance. It is now said that every tribe, in some parts of the country, even every clan, must have its own administrative homeland. Thus the multiplication of districts in Uganda over the last decade, giving rise to the demand that the population of every district be divided between those indigenous and those not, the former with rights and the rest without rights. If this practice of statecraft continues, with or without oil, Uganda will be another Nigeria.


Today, the political landscape in Uganda resembles that in Kenya more than it does the landscape in Tanzania.


[...]


Source:http://misr.mak.ac.ug/uploads/Mahmood%20Mamdani--The%20East%20African%20Federation,%20June%202011.pdf and http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/74912

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Land Question in the East African Federation

The following section is excerpted from Professor Mahmood Mamdani's Keynote Address to the East African Legislative Assembly Symposium, "A Decade of Service towards Political Federation," Arusha, 30th June 2011.


I heard claims in yesterday’s session that we have solved the land question by leaving land policy to each member state. Rather than solve it, I think we have shelved it.

The vast majority of East Africans are peasants. The question that concerns peasants first and foremost is that of land. Without secure access to land, there is no secure livelihood.

We have two radically opposed land systems in East Africa. Both are of colonial origin. One is freehold, where the poor are free to sell their land to the rich – even if it means they will be without any means of livelihood in the future. Then there is customary tenure, created during the colonial period. Its basis is that land belongs to the community.

Customary tenure is basically a preventive measure. It prevented the peasant from being dispossessed by market forces and secured the material basis of rural livelihoods. It also prevented the rural poor from being turned into a surplus population flooding into towns. Conversely, it prevented urban-based capital from appropriating land in the countryside.

On the negative side, the regime of customary tenure defined the community in ethnic terms, as a tribal community, and land as part of a tribal homeland. The overall effect was to narrow the African horizon to the tribe. Not only was the tribe turned into a source of security and belonging, it was also said that danger lurks beyond the tribe.

The challenge today is two-fold: Can the principle of land to the tiller (security of tenure) inherent in customary tenure be preserved in a united East Africa? Or will unity sacrifice this to freehold tenure and principles of market fundamentalism? Second, can unity create something more than a market – a playing field where the rich and powerful will inevitably dominate? Can it create a meaningful citizenship, a political shelter for the majority?

The European solution to this challenge is well known. From the 17th century, freehold tenure became the basis of agrarian accumulation in Europe. Its results too are well known. The rural poor were expelled from the countryside as a surplus population. Those unable to find jobs in urban areas were forcibly expelled to overseas colonies – initially as bandits, convicts, and rebels, then as victims of market fundamentalism. This was the story of the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa.

The European option made for an urban dictatorship over rural areas. Urban areas called for autonomy. Europe’s urban-centered vision is theoretically sanctified in the notion of civil society. We have taken it over uncritically.

In East Africa, urban autonomy was historically a part of the regime of race privilege. Civil society was racialized at birth. The progressive forces in East Africa were not those who fought for urban autonomy, but those who fought to link the urban and the rural. Advocates of civil society and urban autonomy have overlooked this historical fact.

Today, the European option of expelling the rural population is no longer feasible. Given that there are hardly any empty spaces left in the world, Africa’s rural poor have no fall back except within Africa. The surplus population expelled from Africa’s rural areas cannot and for the most part does not migrate overseas. In spite of sensational stories in the press that highlight the plight of Africans who drown at sea trying to get to Europe, facts are otherwise. This surplus population is found as refugees and internally displaced persons inside Africa.

We can learn something from the Chinese example. Everyone knows that the crisis of rural areas in China is growing. The surprise is that this crisis is not bigger. For this, there is one important reason. In China, land in rural areas is not a commodity. Land belongs to the village. It is something like what we call customary tenure. Access is based on use.

The lesson for us is to look for ways of reforming customary tenure rather than abolishing it. The point should be, first, to retain security of tenure, the principle of land to the tiller – and the recognition of the village community as the custodian of land.

But the point should also be to reform the notion of the village community from tribal to residential.

It should now be clear that leaving land policy to national governments will not solve the problem. Its consequence is likely to be a migration of the rural poor from lands of freehold tenure to lands where security of tenure still obtains for peasants. A second consequence will be a growing demand in the latter areas that borders be closed to stop the flow of those local people see as a threat to their land and their jobs. We only need to think of the recent violence against African migrants labeled makwerekwere in South Africa.

The big question is the relationship of the rural to the urban – and of tribe to nation. Can one be part of a wider community without losing home and a sense of home? This takes us back to the big question, the question of citizenship.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A 'New Tanzania' Diaspora in New England

What is increasingly regarded as the Tanzanian Diaspora in the New England area of the United States of America is indeed growing rapidly. This was evidenced in the recent commemoration of the New England Umoja Foundation (http://www.newenglandumoja.net/index.html). Apart from the fact that a number of Tanzanians are moving to the US to study and/or work the other reasons for this steady growth of the community is children/youths as seen in the pictures of this event (http://www.newenglandumoja.net/matukio/11anniversary/index.html).

In a chat with one of the key organizers, it was intimated that sports - and especially soccer/football - is a major force in bringing together Tanzanians within the US. Though a competitive game it still foster cooperation - and thus Umoja (Unity) - among teammates and rivals alike in the long (organizational) run no wonder the Yanga vs Simba 'utani wa jadi' continues beyond our national borders. Boasting its own NBA superstar, Hasheem Thabeet, who also attended this commemoration, the yearly event is also attracting a number of basketball youngsters. Thabeet's vest said it all in regard to challenges one has to face to make it and survive here/there: 'Go Hard or Go Home'!

Fashion shows, hosted by the celebrated Asia Idarous is also becoming a permanent feature of events organized by the foundation, it happened sometime in April (http://www.newenglandumoja.net/matukio/11fashionrunaway/index.html) and also in this commemoration. It features a lot of African/Tanzanian-designed clothes as pictured.

The community is also trying to support students who are studying in colleges. Moreover, it is trying to bring change at home, for instance, in the case of making the tragic albino killings history. One can imagine what gigantic force will be unleashed when the social, cultural, economic and even political potentials of the Tanzanian diaspora in 'home away from home' in the US is fully unleashed to bring social-economic change at home and abroad. Umoja is surely doing its part very well, will the glamorous Diaspora Council of Tanzania in America-DICOTA (http://www.dicotaus.org/) pick a lesson or two from this and rise to the occassion or will it only go the primarily exclusive corporate capitalist way?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

SUMMER (HIGH) SCHOOLING AT HARVARD

Summer (High) Schooling at Harvard

They come in droves. The figure is 1,200 to be precise. Their destination: Harvard University.

I am talking of secondary/high school students who have registered for Harvard Summer School program that kicked off last month. It is a chance of a lifetime to attend, albeit briefly, arguably the best university in the world. In fact to some, if not many, it is the only opportunity to do so.

Yet there are those who see this as a prelude to joining this prestigious institution as freshman/women in the coming year(s). You can bet that probably they have come to impress their would-be admission officers. Yes, for sure getting an A credit in Harvard is impressive.

One can only imagine the competition that these high school students, in their teens, have to endure to make it to the Ivy League. Of course this consortium of 8 highly prestigious US universities is rightly called so for leagues are all about competing. On this note let us take time to listen to Aissatou Barrie-Rose, aged 16, from St. Paul’s School who is taking a French course.

Aissatou will be entering her final year of high school this upcoming fall. As a child whose both parents graduated from Yale University, an Ivy League member, it is natural for her to dream (big) of a kind of college she wants to go to – of course this can make one can talk of class reproduction. At a glance her composure can even make one mistaken her for a Harvadian.

She is in fact performing very well in the fast-paced French class, blending easily with the experienced Harvard students. Sheer modesty remains Aissatou hallmark; “French will eventually come to us”, she encourages with an adage those struggling to learn a new language.

What Aissatou represents is a new generation of Americans, the likes of Barack Hussein Obama who, though born and bred in USA, have at least one parent/grandparent who is/was a relatively recent immigrant from Africa. When one ask whether they are continental or diasporic African, the American in them stares, puzzled, at you. Why should it matter when they are US citizens?

Talking of her future prospect Aissatou mentions Harvard as one of the universities she is thinking of joining after graduating from high school. To them there are three types of universities: (1) reach schools; (2) possible schools; (3) safety schools. Trying to get top ones is the challenge she has set upon herself whilst acknowledging the importance of ‘fall back’ ones.

Focus is something that also defines this would be university applicant. For a year she learned and mastered the Mandarin language in China which is also credited by her high school. From what Aissatou says one can sense that it is not by accident that she is learning yet another international language; after all her plan is to study Business and International Trade in college.

Come ‘Fall 2012’ when Freshmen/women enters the doors of higher learning institutions one wonders where all these high school students will be. Could it be that they will be re-entering the famed gate of ‘Harvard Yard’ engraved with these immortalized word: ‘Enter to Grow in Wisdom’? Chasing Ivy League’s American dream is indeed competitive but, yes, they can!

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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