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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Kizazi Kipya – Tanzania’s Lost Generation?

Kizazi Kipya – Tanzania’s Lost Generation?

Dada Mzalendo (U.S.A.)

Where do I begin? I feel like giving you a development of my thoughts over the years, lakini that would be too private, akin to sharing with you a page of my diary. And I don’t think you want to read that. Nevertheless, elements of my personal life will pop up here and there. And I will try my best to put some structure into this because my brain is, currently, a chaotic place.

So, I really don’t know exactly what I’m going to say but I’ll just ramble on and hopefully we’ll get an interesting conversation going and figure out what to do with this renewed, revived, ever-present hunger for Tanzania. I like using ‘hunger’, I recently adopted it and I can imagine you can relate to it. Like me, you might be an individual who has grown up in Tanzania and lived or studied abroad.

Anyway, as I said, I don’t know what I’m going to say. In fact, I don’t know much about anything concerning Tanzania. And the realization of this has been recurring since high school. The realization has become stronger after coming to the US. Mixed with feelings of homesickness, wonder, awe, shame, fear and embarrassment, I have been thinking very hard about my particular experience and how it has influenced my ‘Tanzanianness’.

If I could sum up in one paragraph my current thoughts, feelings, hopes, and aspirations for Tanzania, it would be as follows. First and foremost, I feel there is a significantly large lack of education among middle and upper classes. Yaani, watu ambao hatujawa na shida ya maisha kwa kiwango ambacho maskini wanakuwa nacho, tunakuwa wapumbavu. I am speaking of myself here. Because of my comfortable circumstances, I have become a product of societal conditions that have rendered me to feel superior, all knowing, and, above all, separate from, yet still belonging to, Tanzania’s society at large. I felt this all through primary school, secondary school, and in high school.

One of the moments that taught me otherwise was when I partook in an Intercultural Dialogue Camp that a friend organized in Tanzania last year. It was like a conference, a joining of various youths in Bagamoyo for a night. The main idea was getting to talk about culture, the role that Tanzania’s youth play, politics etc. For a while I had realized that the smartest people, the people who knew most about society, government, and current affairs were poor people. 


Kila mara Baba alikuwa ananiambia nisome magazeti lakini hata sikufanya lolote. Kisa? Nilikuwa naona uvivu. Niliona ni bora nikae tu au niangalie sehemu ya Grey’s Anatomy au Big Bang Theory. Na niliweza kufanya hivyo kwa sababu nilikuwa na laptop na nilienda shule ambayo tulikuwa tunapeana filamu n.k. What I am trying to say is that; I feel as though the better circumstances you have, the more opportunities you have to mingle with money or other countries and worlds, the less you care about what is happening in your own backyard. This may certainly not be true for many. And I am not saying this is always the case. In some cases, it makes you want to care MORE (after some maturity of course).

Namna nyingine ambayo nimeona kuna upungufu mkubwa miongoni mwetu (middle and upper classes) ni lugha. Kwanza kabisa niseme tu kwamba ni aibu kwamba sijui Kimachame wala Kimarangu zaidi ya kusalimia. Ingawa ni vizuri Tanzania hatuna ubaguzi wa kikabila, ni kwa sababu hii hii wengi wetu ambao tunaishi mjini, tunapoteza cha kwanza, lugha; pili, maadili na tatu, ujuzi wa ujumla wa historia ya wazazi wetu. Sawa, mara kwa mara, wazazi wetu wanatuhadithia kuhusu utoto wao lakini haitoshi.

Nakumbuka miaka kadhaa iliyopita Baba alinipa kitabu cha Petro Itosi Marealle, Maisha ya Mchagga hapa Duniani na Ahera. Needless to say I haven’t finished reading it. Lakini nataka kusema ni kitabu ambacho, kama kinavyoitwa, kinaongelea mila na desturi za Wachagga, kuanzia maelezo ya taratibu zinazofanyika mtoto akizaliwa mpaka maelezo ya mchakato wa kubalehe kwa vijana. Mpaka leo, natamani kuishi muda ule.
Pamoja na changamoto nyingi ambazo wazazi wetu wamepitia, ninaona kama maisha yale yalikuwa bora kwa sababu kulikuwa na uwepo mkubwa zaidi wa utekelezaji wa kawaida wa mila na desturi. Lakini sina maana kwamba sasa hatuna mila na desturi za pekee lakini zaidi na zaidi kuna tabia ya kwenda uzunguni. Simaanishi tu kuondoka Tanzania kimwili, namaanisha haswa kimawazo. Na mwisho wa siku ninafikiri hizi tabia zinavuma zaidi miongoni mwa vijana wa middle and upper classes. Would you agree?

Pamoja na upotezaji wa lugha za asili kwa kizazi hiki, kuna upotezaji wa lugha ya Kiswahili chenyewe. Desemba mwaka 2006 wakati wa Kipaimara changu, nilizungukwa na familia, marafiki, ndugu, na jamaa. Muda ukafika wa kutoa hotuba yangu. Nilianza kusalimia na kumshukuru Mungu kwa Kiswahili kwa sababu nilizoea sana sana maneno hayo. Kisha nikasema, “I will switch to English because I’m more comfortable speaking in it.”

EBO! Mpaka leo nikiwaza siku hiyo natamani sakafu ifunguke inimeze. Eti nini? Sawa, ukweli ni kwamba kwa kuwa nilikuwa kwenye mfumo wa shule ambapo Kiingereza kilivuma, uzoefu wangu wa Kiswahili ulikuwa umepungua lakini nilikuwa sioni hata chembe ya aibu. Na kwa sababu lugha ya Kiingereza imekuwa mojawapo wa lugha zetu za kitaifa; na kwa kuwa kihis[her/ha]toria wakoloni walichochea wazo kwamba wako juu yetu, basi Kiingereza nacho mpaka leo kinawakilisha maisha fulani ya juu. Haiishii hapo, mtoto wa ubatizo wa wazazi wangu naye kwenye ubarikio wake alisema vivyo hivyo. Kipindi hiki nilikuwa ninaelewa zaidi juu ya upuuzi wangu na nilimuonea aibu kwa hali ya juu kabisa.

Mwaka jana nilikuwa na hasira sana kuhusu hili tatizo na nikaanza kujiuliza maswali magumu. Hivi, je, umeshawahi kuwaza ni kwa nini tunatumia Kiingereza kila tukitumiana ujumbe mfupi wa simu/meseji (texts/sms) au tukiwa tunaongea kwenye simu? Bila shaka, tunatumia Swanglish lakini mara nyingi ni Kiingereza. Sawa ni rahisi na (haraka) zaidi kuandika Kiingereza hasa unapokuwa unatumia simu zenye huduma za kisasa (smartphones) lakini hali hiyo pia inaonesha kwamba tunatumia Kiswahili mara chache na tuna utegemezi wa Kiingereza.

Kwa hiyo, niliamua kuanza kuandika meseji za simu kwa Kiswahili tu! Binamu yangu mmoja akanijibu, “Why are you speaking like that?” That ndo nini? Si ni lugha yetu! Nikahoji, “kwa nini WEWE unaongea kama hivyo?”


About three years ago I was keen to learn about how law works in Tanzania. So, I asked my dad to accompany him to one of his court appearances. You cannot imagine the utter shock I experienced when I walked in and heard everyone speaking in English. Before we left, I literally had to pick up my bottom jaw from the floor. Outside, I asked my dad, “kwa nini wanatumia Kiingereza? Mtu akija ambaye anaongea tu Kiswahili inakuwaje?” He replied, “there are translators” or something like that. I simply could not believe what I was hearing. How exclusive it is to have English as the medium of communication in court when a majority of the country is not proficient in it. Halafu nikafikiria Bunge. Mbona saa nyingine huwa nasikia Kiingereza na saa nyingine Kiswahili? Na tunapenda sana kuwacheka watu waki“chemsha” kuongea Kiingereza. Tunacheka na tunatumiana hivyo virecordings n.k. Just sad.

Hivi karibuni nilipokuwa nachati na rafiki yangu mwingine, kama kawaida nikaanza kuongea kwa Kiswahili kitupu. Kwanza, akasema kuwa ameushangaa ujuzi wangu wa Kiswahili; pili, akaniomba niongee kwa Kiingereza kwa sababu ilimpa changamoto kusoma Kiswahili. Huyu rafiki ni Mswahili fulu! Hana mchanganyiko wowote na amekulia Bongo. Bila shaka, alisoma sekondari ugenini na cha muhimu zaidi ni kwamba ni mtoto katika familia yenye uwezo.

Nilishawahi kumueleza Mama kuhusu hiki kitu. Unajua alinijibuje? Alisema, “ndiyo hivyo hivyo watu maskini watakuja kuwapindua nyie middle class”. Na ninamwamini kabisa. Ingawa wengi wetu tunasikia wajibu na tunaelewa umuhimu wa kujifunza kuhusu Tanzania na kuwa na uelewa wa jamii na lugha yetu/zetu, nahisi kama bado kuna wengi ambao tunakimbilia maisha bora nje ya nchi au hapo hapo Bongo na tunakosa picha nzima.


Hali hii inaniogopesha lakini najua nina hamu zaidi ya kujitambua na kufanya yale ninayosisitiza ni sawa, yaani kutumia uwezo wangu kujiboresha kifikra na hatimaye yeyote ninayemzunguka.

5 comments:

Anonymous March 25, 2015 at 8:33 PM  

Clap Clap Clap. Whoever you are, keep writing and keep opening our eyes to the obvious. I salute you, Tanzanian literary version of Batman

Paschalia Nsato March 27, 2015 at 1:43 AM  

Nimefurahishwa sana, unayosema ni ukweli mtupu. Tusipokuwa makini tutapoteza utamaduni wetu, watanzania tumekuwa na fikra finyo jaswa kuhusu utamaduni na hazina zetu kama watanzania.

Anonymous March 28, 2015 at 2:08 PM  

Nimefurahishwa sana na makala Hii. Ni ukweli usiopingika nakutakia safari nzuri ya kuendelea kujitambua na kushirikisha kizazi hiki katika safari Hii. Wapo watakaojifunza na wapo ambao watakaokuwa na mtizamo ulionao kwa pamoja mtaweza liepusha taifa letu kutoka huko linakotumbukia. Lazima pawe na mahali pa kuanzia napo ni hapa

eufrika.org April 1, 2015 at 4:25 PM  

Hongera kwa ile makala nzuri sana! Mimi ni mhariri wa eufrika.org na ningependa kurepublish hiyo kwa website yetu. Tafadhali niandikie kwa info [at] eufrika.org. Asante sana!

Gombe Gombes April 3, 2015 at 3:24 PM  

Ni Jambo la ajabu Sana kwanza Nadhani kama watanzania hatujitambui Kiswahili ni lugha pekee afrika ambayo inatuunganisha watanzania Ukiangalia hata Leonel Richie ameimba kwa Kiswahili Na kama sisi hatutaki kukiendeleza nani atatufanyia pili inasikitisha hatupendi kutumia majina yetu utaona leo watoto wetu majina ya kizungu kwa wingi hata hizo stand mpya za mabasi unashangaa yamepewa majina Ya Wezi badala kuwaenzi kina mkwawa Na wazee wetu waliopigania nchi yetu.
Nimekaa uingereza Mwaka wa kumi huu najitakidi Na familia Yangu kuongea Kiswahili labda kwasababu sijatika kwenye hizo familia za upper Na middle class tupende vyetu watoto wetu tuwape majina yetu tukienzi Kiswahili Na
Naomba fanya uchunguzi ushawahi kukutana Na mchina au mhindi ana jina la kizungu kwanini sisi huo ni umaskini Wa fikira

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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