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Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Forthcoming Book on Tanzania


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Poetry Night: For Better or Verse


Thursday, April 27, 2017

New Book on Africa with a chapter on Tanzania


Yours Truly has a chapter on:

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Twaandika Ukombozi wa Wanawake Kimapinduzi


Taasisi ya Usomaji na Maendeleo – Soma, inaandaa warsha ya uandishi juu ya harakati za ukombozi wa wanawake kimapinduzi itakayofanyika Mkahawa wa Vitabu Soma, Mikocheni, Dar es Salaam tarehe 4/5/2017—6/5/2017. Tunakaribisha maombi ya kushiriki kutoka kwa: wanaharakati wachanga na wakongwe wa ukombozi wa wanawake ambao wameanza kuandika au wanajiandaa kuandika juu ya harakati hizo hapa Tanzania. Waombaji wawe ni viongozi, wafanyakazi au wanachama wa taasisi/shirika linalojishughulisha na harakati za ukombozi na utetezi wa haki za wanawake; au wanaharakati binafsi wanaoshirikiana na mashirika/taasisi, mitandao au vikundi visivyo rasmi katika michakato ya harakati hizi. 

Warsha hii ambayo imepewa jina la ‘Twaandika Harakati za Ukombozi wa Wanawake Kimapinduzi’ ni mwendelezo wa mchakato wa uandishi wa historia ya wanawake unao- fanywa kwa pamoja na mashirika kadhaa yanayofanya harakati za usawa wa jinsia na utetezi wa haki za wanawake. Makusudi ya warsha hii ni kutoa fursa kwa rika mbili za wanaharakati za ukombozi na utetezi wa haki za wanawake kubadilishana mawazo na uzoefu juu ya hatua zilizofikiwa katika jitihada za kuleta usawa wa jinsia, ushiriki wao katika jitihada hizo; warsha inalenga pia kukuza stadi za uandishi unaotokana na tafiti au uzoefu, zilizoandikwa kifasihi au kitaaluma. Washiriki wataandika juu ya harakati za kuleta usawa wa jinsia na ujenzi wa vuguvugu la ukombozi wa wanawake kimapinduzi; iwe ni: simulizi binafsi na za pamoja za jinsi mlivyojitoa kwa ajili ya harakati hizi, mafanikio yenu, ngano za kukata tamaa/kuvunjika moyo kutokana na misukosuko na mwitikio hasi, za ustahimilivu na za mitafaruku inayoambatana na mikiki ya maisha ya uanaharakati katika muktadha ambao daima ni kigeugeu. 

Washiriki wanahimizwa kujikita kwenye maeneo yenye utata na yalio wekewa miiko kama vile ujinsia (mf. mfumodume unavyoathiri mtazamo wa jamii kuhusu mahusiano ya ngono na utambulisho wa ke na me); pamoja na aina anuai za uhafidhina. 
Warsha hii ya siku tatu itatumia njia za kujifunza kwa vitendo na kwa maelekezo ya kitaalam ya misingi na mbinu za uandishi wa kazi za kubuni na zisizo za kubuni kulingana na mahitaji halisi ya washiriki kama yatakavyojidhihirisha kwenye taarifa zitakazotolewa kwenye fomu ya maombi. Baada ya mafunzo kila mshiriki ataendelea kupata mwongozo na mrejesho wa kazi yake kutoka kwa mwandishi mahiri atakayepangiwa kumsaidia kukamilisha hatua ya kazi yake kama alivyojipangia.
Maelekezo ya jinsi ya kutuma maombi yametolewa kwenye fomu ya maombi. http://www.somabookcafe.com/applica....Siku ya mwisho ya kupokea maombi ni Tarehe 20/04/2017. Washiriki watakaochaguliwa watajulishwa kwa barua pepe. Kwa maelezo zaidi wasiliana nasi kwa barua pepe info@somabookcafe.com au simu namba 0673 014 071

Watakaochaguliwa kushiriki watajulishwa kwa barua pepe 
Writing Feminist Struggles Workshop—call for participants 
E&D Readership and Development Agency—Soma, has secured funding to organize a feminist writing workshop planned to take place at Soma Book Cafe in Mikocheni, Dar es Salaam on 4 – 6 May 2017

We would therefore like to invite application for participation from: young and seasoned feminists who are in the process of/or are planning a writing project depicting feminist struggles in Tanzania. They may be leaders, staff or members of a women’s rights organization; or individual feminists affiliated to a formal or informal feminist process and/or activist network. 

The workshop, titled ‘Writing Feminist Struggles’ is meant to contribute to the ongoing ‘her- story’ documentation process currently undertaken by a coalition of various feminist and women’s rights organizations. It is specially designed to provide space for participants from two generations of feminist activist movement and women’s rights defenders to share insights on strides made in the struggles for gender equality and experiences of being a part of those struggles; as well as enhance their skills and resolve to write research and experience based literature on women’s struggle for gender transformation and feminist movement building in fiction and non-fiction. Stories will include but not limited to: ‘tales of individual and collective sacrifice, burn out, success, backlash, resilience and related complexities of activist life’ within a complex and ever changing terrain within which those struggles have taken place over time. Participants are encouraged to broach taboo subjects such as sexuality (including heteronormativity and patriarchal femininity/masculinity) and fundamentalism of various shades. 

The three-day workshop will combine learning by doing and reading into creative techniques for fiction and non fiction customized to target special writing experience that will be appraised from the participants’ applications. The workshops will be followed by a one on one coaching to assist authors to complete their writing projects/or reach a planned milestone. 

Application details are contained in an online application form found on this link http://www.somabookcafe.com/applica...

Deadline for receiving applications is mid- night of 20th April 2017. You may contact us on info@somabookcafe.com or 0673014071 for further information. 

Accepted applicants will be notified by email.

Monday, April 10, 2017

In Defense of Professor Mkumbo's Appointment

When Chambi Chachage is wrong


Reading Chambi Chachage’s well written piece on The Implication of Prof. Kitila Mkumbo appointment by President Magufuli, I couldn’t help myself thinking about one John Maynard Keynes. 

You see, Keynes was one of the foremost economic scholar of his generation. Some says, between the two world wars; 1914-1945, he was probably the most brilliant economist of the era.

But on December 15, 1917, he wrote his famous letter to a friend, Duncan Grant…... The most quotable line of the letter reads; “ I work for a government I despise for ends I think criminal”.

Keynes was working at the Treasury for the Liberal government. Prior to the appointment, he was living the life of Prof. Mkumbo before the recent development –as a public intellectual at the University of Cambridge.

Keynes peers at the Bloomsbury Group was surprised by his decision to accept working at the Treasury in a war time Britain. The group was known for its anti-war stance and one of its stars was joining the government to help in its war effort! 

So, one thing is clear, Kitila isn’t the first intellectual to make a decision that surprises many. Simply put, isn’t the only one to leave the intellectual world and accept to work with the government (he despises).
In his article, Chachage made a point that there is a precedent for intellectuals to defy the appointing authority in Tanzania. The example he gave was that of the late Prof. Chachage Seithy Chachage and others.

I think this argument is flawed. First, Kitila is a politician and an intellectual. In his student days at the Hill, he was once the President of the Student Government (DARUSO). The only other intellectual at the University of Dar es Salaam to have that credential is Prof. Adolf Mkenda alone.

The Chachage’s were not politicians. Their ambitions, desires and dreams were of the different ilk to Kitila. While the former saw himself at the Hill for the rest of his working life, the latter was thinking of quitting the University for a political career later in his life.
The writer made a mistake of thinking Kitila as Popperian Critic. Popperian critic is a public intellectual whose function, according to Prof. Edward Said, “is to represent a message or view not only to, but for, a public and to do so as an outsider, someone who can not be co-opted by a government or corporation”.

Prof Said’s assertion is an expanse of Karl Popper theory. Chambi is wrong to count Kitila in that group. How can he be while he was already co-opted by the ACT-Wazalendo in the first place? 

There is another fact that eluded Chambi dissections of former UDSM don appointment. Popperians are known for their obsession with the so called conventional wisdom.

But, as John Kenneth Galbraith once noted; conventional wisdom of the elite is not necessarily one of the mainstream. Problem is; politicians, like Kitila Mkumbo, will always listens to the mainstream and not conventional wisdom.

This is why the exercise of putting Kitila with the likes of the late Prof Chachage is futile.

What of the ACT leader Zitto Kabwe? What of his well documented loathing of CCM? Will his dream of ousting CCM out of power be realized now that Kitila is not with him?
Politicians are a rare breed. Kitila, as Chambi noted in his piece, was once of Chadema. They didn’t oust power from CCM even if the party was stronger than ACT. 

Instead, Kitila was expelled from the party with a humiliating title of a traitor. At this moment in time, Kitila might be more useful in the government than in the opposition.

Being in the Inter-Ministerial Technical Committee (IMTC), Kitila will get valuable lessons of how the government machinery–at the very topoperates. 

Some of us are also hoping that Kitila will have the same impact in the government like the one Keynes had in the Treasury. If access to water improves dramatically because of his leadership of the sector, no one will say he made a mistake.

If he performs, the masses will believe in the ability of the opposition to change the country if given the opportunity. Kitila is now the “Opposition Ambassador” in the government. That is the risk he is taking.


In some instances, an opposition party joins the ruling party in the government. This is not a sign of throwing the towel in the ring. In politics, it is not all the time that winner takes all; sometimes, you lose some and you win some. 

So, if CCM wants to have ACT-Wazalendo in the government to form a coalition (I doubt it will happen), the party may accept the offer even though the urge to kick CCM out is still there.
One thing is for sure; Kitila departure to the government is not good news to ACT and the opposition in general. But, as well, it is not that bad.

The role of the opposition, now, is to build that critical mass of supporters. And for that, it doesn’t need only conventional wisdom; it needs the mainstream behind it.

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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