Friday, April 27, 2018

Introducing the New Owner & Host of Udadisi Blog

From this 27th day of April 2018, Takura Zhangazha (@TakuraZhangazha) of Harare, Zimbabwe (pictured above) will be the owner and host of Udadisi Blog. As for matters concerning this blog, he can be contacted via Guest submissions of blog posts on matters of relevance to Africa and Africans in the continent and its Diaspora are warmly welcome.

Public Lectures by Joseph Stiglitz and Kaushik Basu

Sexuality 101: From Horrible Sex into Viben10 Affair

From Horrible Sex to Viben10 Adventure

If you are women you know how sex sucks – most of the times; and if you are men you know how many times your wife/partner has made sill excuses not to have sex with you. Let me get one thing right here: By 'sex sucks', I don't mean not attaining the pleasure of doing it – 'orgasm'; I mean pain, serious pain and massive discomfort. 

While I am writing to share experiences from this part of the world, i.e. Tanzania, I know, experiences of women are more less the same worldwide. When you read widely or have honest conversation with women across the world, you will come to the same conclusion; sex sucks, to most, often. But hey, we need to do it!

I know you are now confused, why do we need to do it if, after all, it sucks? I was less confused growing up, because like many, I didn’t know better (sex education was not in the public domain) and I was made to believe sex is not for me, it is for him, to keep him happy and satisfied. 

Like any other girl in my culture, I was mentored and trained by the 'experts' - nyakangas in 'Unyago' (a traditional ritual to prepare girls before marriage). Believe you me, for 8 days was confined in a room with more than 60 women, roving experts coming in and out, teaching me how to be a perfect wife and how to have a perfect sex for him. 

No one, I mean no one, even accidentally told me how to enjoy sex. But I was warned "you have to give it to him, regardless; even when you are sick or angry, if not, he will go out and have it with someone else; make yourself available when he needs you and how he need you"

My experience might be one of the many reasons women perform sex despite being a nuisance or obligation. Some call it punishment. As one of my friend puts it, "girl, it’s a total courage to fake orgasm while you are actually in pain and upset, what a punishment!"

The good news is the world is changing fast. More women aspire for sexual satisfaction, partly because they are more informed now or they have the luxury to be adventurous  I should be clear here as this is limited to certain categories of women, mostly urban, exposed middle class. The unique thing is most of those women is that they are sending signals and some openly blame men for their inability to satisfy them. 

In cities men are now officially terrified, their sense of self-confidence is going down and they are now consuming all sort of ‘busters’, being it traditional or modern. To most men solution to their problem is either food, physical strength or medication, but today I want to suggest altering relations of power as the solution.

Let me give you bit of background. Where I come from most women cannot tell their men that they aren't good enough or they are not satisfied because men ought to be powerful. They are supposed to know better and women responsibility is to protect and polish their men's ego. Women are taught the do’s and don’ts. Telling your husband "this sex is flat and I am not feeling it" is a crime against ancestors. You will praise him no matter how polite he asks for honest feedback. 

Anyone who is close to me knows that I love talking about sex. One might not know why (I will reserve that for next blog) but they have become comfortable sharing their intimate stories. In that horizon of comfortability, one of my friend confirmed to me his confusion. He had opted to start an extramarital relationship with one woman who is mature and smart. The agreement was that their relationship was for fun, sexy, going out and so forth.

 The first day they had sex the woman felt annoyed and told him "this is a waste of time". My friend was confused because, back home, his wife praised him every time they had sex but she was never excited about it. He was torn between believing in his ability or questioning the ‘girlfriend’ who is more experienced than him. Even though her verdict on his sexual performance seemed true, as a man he should have been able to satisfy her, hence his confusion. 

As a concerned friend, I asked him to go back home and stop asking for his wife’s feedback after sex, but he should ask his wife what she wants, and how she wants it and he has do as instructed. It was odd for a couple of weeks but, to his surprise, after a few months, his wife was asking him to touch and do things they never did before. She felt happier and satisfied without saying it. Her husband seems happy too (I hope he has stopped having extramarital relations).

This case is not different to the emerging trend of Viben10. Anyone living in Tanzania would know that some older, well to do women are now going out with younger men, very young men – mostly good looking with good physique. Taking the lead are our celebrities and other professionals (especially single moms). The society is terrified, but men are more frightened because, not only are they blamed for not being good in bed, but also younger men are now the most wanted creatures, making the conventional men less important – oops – egos are bleeding. 
I sat with a couple of women who date younger men – Viben10. To do justice to their thoughts, I will phrase them as they are: 

A. "My dear, I can keep up with bad sex if you are paying for rent, buying me food and paying for kids' school fees; if I do all that myself, why shouldn't I find a man who can do me well? This young boy is good, I dictate what I want - having best sex ever"

B. "You know I work so hard, there is nothing that I haven’t accomplished, I have it all, if there is one thing I didn’t have is a man who will speak to my body and soul, I didn’t want a man to tell me about a sick aunt or construction site's problems, I want a man who will look me in the eye like he wants to eat me alive, who will tell me, I love you 10 times a day and who will do me like nobody’s business"

C. "This boy knows that he has one job and one job only, to satisfy me, if he can’t deliver, he is off – he got a performance plan, ha ha ha and I am appraising him every month, we are dating for two years, that means he has been doing well" 

D. The beauty of dating a younger boy is having that mother-son relationship, these young men, they can be all bossy outside, but when we get in, they take instructions, they do as we please"

E. "I am in that point in life where all I need is good sex, I don’t mind paying for it, so long as it is good. I am actually surprised that men are surprised that we are keeping young men for sex, they did that for centuries, that is all that African marriage is all about – women being sex toys for men because men are feeding the families. So, if that is the rule, they shouldn’t feel surprised, we are copying them, my boyfriend knows I have the upper hand in this relationship and I am enjoying it. 
There can be many interpretations of the quotes above, and some of them may seem radical – attempts to replace patriarchy with matriarchy. Nonetheless, it is clear that when women are in control of the relationship there are significant chances of them being sexually satisfied, which makes them happy and make their men even happier. Some men even told me that there is an awesome sense of pride and accomplishment when men feel when they know their women hit the climax. 

If that is true, why don’t we all explore this alternative? With a fair doze of power shift, it will save men money from buying all potency drugs and traditional herbs and it will make women satisfied and happier. Until then, let’s accept seeing more women with Viben10.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

New Book on The Travails of a Tanzanian Teacher

The Travails of a Tanzanian Teacher

Karim F Hirji

Daraja Press, 2018

This is a most valuable and absorbing reflection upon a rich lifetime in teaching. The author draws deeply upon that experience, well documented through diaries and relevant papers, to draw lessons about the very nature of teaching (and thus about the training of new teachers) which, not to be forgotten, is always affected by the wider social and political context. This book deserves an international audience because the issues raised and problems met are universal. Furthermore, the book is very clearly written, and excellently illustrated with examples, stories and critical reflections. Richard Pring, Emeritus Professor at the Department of Education, and Emeritus Fellow of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford. 

The remarkable life of a principled Tanzanian educator and activist told with an eye for historical accuracy but also with emotion and humor. Essential reading for anyone interested in the history of Tanzania’s Ujamaa period. Peter Lawrence, Professor Emeritus of Development Economics, Keele University UK, and Lecturer in Economics, University of Dar es Salaam, 1970-72.

Through his account of four decades of teaching experience at different levels in varied contexts in post-colonial Tanzania, Karim Hirji provides us with a timely reminder of the ways in which education generally plays the role of consolidating existing structures of power – whether this be of colonialists, or bureaucratic, corrupt party hacks, or the neoliberal state and its private sector partners. As he remarks, educators face a choice, now as ever: “serve the status quo or educate in ways that will promote equality and social justice”. Dr Anne Harley, Paulo Freire Project, Centre for Adult Education, University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. 























The Travails of a Tanzanian Teacher is a riveting account of the bumpy first decade of the work life of Karim F Hirji, a retired Professor of Medical Statistics. Filled with a distinctive variety of eye-opening episodes, it covers lecturing at the University of Dar es Salaam, the life of a political exile in a remote rural area and the challenges of setting up from scratch a one‑of‑a‑kind educational institute in Africa. With a style that seamlessly combines the personal with the general, Hirji provides an illuminating description of different aspects of the Tanzanian political, educational, economic and rural landscape during the 1970s. Starting with a commentary on teacher training, he concludes with a critical comparison of modern university education in the nation with that of the earlier era.


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Public Lecture Today at Nkrumah Hall-UDSM

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Ma Winnie Mandela: Child of the Soil

Ma Winnie Mandela: Child of the Soil

Born of a woman
Marked by color
Fighting for liberation
Deep in Soweto

Wrinkled by Apartheid
Forged in a turbulent time
From Kroonstad
To Sharpville

A mother of the nation
Daughter of the people
A sister of the African
Shero of the struggle

Your people shall govern
The land and the mines
In the depth of Marikana
And the heart of the veldts

Hamba Kahle Ma Winnie
Child of the soil
Umkhonto we Sizwe
A South African soul

© Chambi Chachage @Udadisi
* Photo courtesy of Kgalee Art @TheKgalee + @kgalee_art

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Winnie Mandela: The Product of Her Enemies

Winnie Mandela: The Product of Her Enemies

Chambi Chachage

It has been a longer walk to freedom for Winnie Mandela. Even as she rests from her struggles, the walk continues. This time among those who follow in her footsteps in fighting Global Apartheid.

Yet there are those who feel she is not worthy of emulation let alone adulation. Like the friends of the black people that Ossie Davis referred to in the 'Malcolm X Eulogy', they consider it their duty to tell us to revile her. To flee, even from the presence of her memory. And to save ourselves by writing her out of the her/history of our turbulent times. As if Winnie was/is merely a footnote in it.

They think they know better than Stompie Seipei's mother, Mananki Joyce Seipei. Or feel more pain than this mother who feels she does not have enough details to blame or convict Winnie for the murder of her dear son in the bloody decade of the 1980s.

Winnie was not a saint. Hardly anyone would be so in the turbulent times that defined Apartheid South Africa. Not even the Black Pimpernel who later became the Messianic face of  'A Rainbow Nation'. Or even the Bishop who won a Nobel Peace Prize.

On the other hand, those who are more critical are "gradually isolated, and then quite simply brushed aside." In the case where they cannot simply be ignored due to their touch with the masses, they get eliminated. This is what happened to Chris Hani who was assassinated on this date 25 years ago in South Africa.

Mam' Winnie could not easily be isolated or brushed aside. I was a student in South Africa in 2001 when the then leader of the African National Congress (ANC) pushed her in public during the 25th anniversary of the Soweto Uprising. Yet in 2007 she got more votes than all ANC leaders in its National Executive Committee (NEC) voting in Polokwane. She remained a political force to reckon with.

Some of us would even invoke the counterfactual to grasp what could have been. Were it not for misogyny, she would have been the President of both the ANC and the Republic of South Africa. And who could better serve in those capacities that the one whom Graça Machel has referred to as her "Big Sister" who "loved our people unconditionally and sacrificed so much for our freedom."

A holier-than-thou attitude should not stop us from remembering that love from someone who is on the record for stating that she is the product of the masses of South Africa. Someone who was bold and honest enough to acknowledge that she was also the product of her enemies. The product of the violent legacy that made her biographer, Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrop, make this painful observation:

Fare-thee-well Mam' Winnie. You have played your part. May we.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Kwaheri Kamaradi Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

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