Sunday, June 25, 2017

Who Came up with the Name Tanzania

Who Came up with the Name Tanzania
The Government of the Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar invited people to submit proposals for a new name for the country on July 31/August 1, 1964. A committee was set up to go through the proposed names. Oscar Kambona, Minister for External Affairs and Defense, chaired the Committee responsible for coming up with a short list. The Committee presented their suggestion to the Cabinet for final decision. The government wanted the new name to give a sense of unity and should be easy to pronounce. A prize of 10 Pounds was offered for the winner. More than 1,354 people turned in proposals. Proposals came from around the world including, China, Australia, and Poland. One teacher and his student in Arusha proposed the name Tangibar. Others proposed names included, Tanzan and Swahili. Sixteen people proposed the name Tanzania. There are many today who think that Mohamed Iqbal was the only person who came up with "Tanzania." Iqbal made the claim at a press conference in September 2003 that he was the sole winner of the contest. This claim continues to circulate as a fact. The claim is not true. There are questions about his whole claims to being one of the winners. For example, the certificate Iqbar present is written the Republic of Tanzania; that is not the official name of the country. More thorough research has to be done to confirm for sure if he belong to the list of the sixteen winners. An article published by the government paper in October 1964 reported twelve people came up with the name Tanzania. Another article of 2003 says it was sixteen people. The number sixteen is confirmed by one of the winners: Mustafa Pirmohamed. He received a letter from the Permanent Secretary, Ministery of Information and Tourism, naming him as one of the winners. The government does not appear to have made public names of the sixteen winners at the time. The winners received a letter and their share of the price. Mwalimu Nyerere announced the new name TANZANIA at a press conference in October 31, 1964. TAN stood for Tanganyika, ZAN for Zanzibar, and the suffix IA was added at the end. 
 ©Azaria Mbughuni


The Zanzibar Revolution

The Zanzibar Revolution
On the morning of Saturday, January 11, 1964, Mr. Bott, the Head of the Zanzibar Special Branch, received a call from Abeid Amani Karume to meet him. Mr. Bott went to the ASP Headquarters immediately. He was conducted into a room where Karume, Jumbe and Saleh Sadalla were sitting. Karume told Bott that he "heard rumors from a woman whom they did not know... there might be trouble in Zanzibar that day." ASP was spilling out the beans to the government before the Revolution. Why? 
The story of the Zanzibar Revolution is complicated, to say the least. Secrecy remains the order of the day. Countless books and articles have posited different ideas about exactly what took place in January 12, 1964. The ever elusive facts continue to evade the pens and papers of innumerable authors.
The Zanzibar Prime Minister, Muhammad Shamte, the Sultan, and other government officials were informed in advance of the troubles to come. Shamte ordered the police patrols to be increased and to remain vigilant against a planned attack.Large number of additional patrols were mounted, all Special Branch officers were sent out, and road blocks were set up during the day. More police were placed at the Sultan's palace and other important buildings. Ali Muhsin was informed about the plot and four police were sent to guard his home. News of the planned Revolution was no secret hours before it was supposed to be launched. A low level member of the ASP told an informer that there were plans to take over the police armoury. One of the most important operations of the Revolution-capturing weapons from the armoury-was known to the government officials in advance. Shamte was aware that there were plans to attack Arabs at night. The government had advance warning of the Revolution. Attempts by the Zanzibar intelligence apparatus to collect intelligence of the plot between the morning of January 11 and just before midnight was a total failure, or so it appears. The result was that the government underestimated the dangers and failed to take appropriate measures to prevent it. This was a colossal failure with dire consequences. 
The government war against the UMMA party backfired in the worst ways. A series of events in the beginning of April, 1964 set the ball rolling for Babu and members of the UMMA party. On April 9, 1964, Abdulrahman Babu's daughter was run over by a car and killed; it was a tragic accident. The police searched for Babu everywhere, but could not find him. Babu and Hanga had escaped at night to Dar es Salaam. The government of Shamte raided UMMA offices and took out documents. The police also raided Babu's home and found a small handgun. Among the documents they found was a list with almost 1,000 members. The list included a large number of government employees. They also found Babu's diary written in Peking, China. It was a treasure trove of intelligence for the ZNP/ZPPP government and the colonial officials. Babu had escaped just before the police showed up at his house. He was alerted about the police search and knew of the troubles to come. Men trained in Cuba were returning to Zanzibar in small numbers at a time. Babu and the UMMA party were up to something.
Shamte and his government implemented a policy of "Zanzibarisation" of the police force shortly after coming to power. The Zanzibar government made the decision in November 1963 to remove all non-Zanzibari from the police force. The British colonial government had not recruited from mainland since 1959. Yet all the Inspectors and Senior NCOs were mainlander (from East and Southern Africa) with four to thirty five years experience in the police force. Of the 270 men in the force, only 90 were from Tanganyika, the rest were from South Africa, Malawi, Uganda, and elsewhere. Among the highly experienced police working for the Zanzibar government was the Assistant Superintendent of Police, Eddington Kissasi from Tanganyika. Ali Muhsin announced in numerous public events that "neither he nor the Government fully relied on the loyalty of the mainland members of the police force or indeed of any non-Zanzibaris members." This was a dangerous statement. Meanwhile plans were being made to bring in "advisors" from Egypt. It is obvious that Shamte, Muhsin, and the govenrment of Zanzibar had made a decision to embark on a policy of discrimination against mainlanders. It was a mistake they would pay dearly.
The ASP organized a large party on the evening of January 11, 1964 at their headquarters. Large number of ASP members and supporters attended the party. Some of the men were told to go to Seamens Union Club at Miembeni after the party was over. There they were met and addressed by Karume, Jumbe and Babu. Babu who was supposedly in Dar es Salaam, had slipped secretly to Zanzibar at night and then left for Dar es Salaam in the wee hours of the morning. At the meeting, the three leaders told the men not to be afraid to die. Karume did not hang around long; he got on a boat early morning and left for Dar es Salaam. Karume would not return to Zanzibar until much later on the evening of January 12th with about 12 armed men on a boat owned and operated by an Israeli named Mishah Feinsilber. Oscar Kambona and Job Lusinde were repordly there to see Karume and the men board the boat for Zanzibar. Some reports disputed Kambona's presence and claimed he was in Nairobi at the time. Whether Kambona was there or not cannot be confirmed, but it is clear that Lusinde was there. If Tanganyika had organized an elaborate plot to send fighters in Zanzibar, why would Karume and Babu scramble last minute to get help?
The Zanzibar government Minister received information that people from the mainland were about to enter Zanzibar illegally. They also claimed to have information that arms were being brought from the mainland. ZNP/ZPPP Ministers approached the police around November 11th and told the Police that they had information that men and weapons were about to enter Zanzibar from the mainland. The police acted immeditely and increased police roadblocks. Their search did not reveal any evidence of incoming mainlanders or weapons. A high ranking police would report "This was a very ancient fear of theirs." The British officers would later observe weapons, including Sten guns, carried by a few fighters who boarded a boat and escaped to Tanganyika. At first they claimed it was evidence that weapons from Tanganyika were brought to Zanzibar. Upon close examination of the registration numbers on the guns that were surrendered to Tanganyika police, the High ranking European police Commissioner familar with guns in the Zanzibar armory concluded that these were weapons from Zanzibar. 
An Algerian ship landed in Tanganyika with a large cashe of weapons some time early January 1964. Documentation of arrangements for the Algerian arms and its storage is well documented. Some have made claims that the ship was sent to Tanganyika with weapons to be used in Zanzibar. This claim is outright.. 
John Okello was a...
© Azaria Mbughuni






The Legality of the Union

The Legality of the Union
The legality of the Union has become a political pinata used by those determined to oppose the Union at all cost. The link with the mainland has become the focal point of criticism. Indeed, there are legit, intractable issues that mainlanders have mostly failed to address in the Isles. Members of the ruling class in Zanzibar have consistently tried to address some of the thorn issues with painfully slow success. Part of the blame here lies squarely with the establishment in Dar es Salaam. Putting aside legitimate concerns, there are those who seek to exploit differences and prevailing challenges to score political points and undermine the Union. Nothing has been more divisive and the subject of historical acrobatics than the question of the Union.
There are those who indulge themselves in a utopia of the pre-1964 era as if they had access to that world. This anachronistic perspective only serves to confuse a generation that is desperately searching for a better life. The phenomenon is not new. It is the result of powerful social forces; memories and realities are twisted and morphed to accomplish a political objective. Culture and faith are a powerful force to reckon with at this juncture. Cultural nationalism has produced some of the most powerful movements around the world. When an argument is put forth maintaining that a unique and vibrant culture is in jeopardy due to visible or invincible foreign forces, the outcome is a powerful motive to join forces for the motherland. Much of these forces have been used to set fire on the Union. Rightly or wrongly, the Union, and increasingly, the Revolution, have become their main target.
A prominent Tanzanian Professor trained in law (not history) researched Zanzibar and perused at least one government archives abroad, and concluded that there is no evidence the Articles of the Union were published in Zanzibar. On the other hand, he presumed that the Revolutionary Council passed the articles. Wolfgang Dourado maintained that no law ratifying the articles existed in Statute Books of Zanzibar while Aboud Jumbe vehemently denied claims that the Council met to ratify the Articles of the Union. There are no simple answers. It is difficult for those in either side of the debate to provide conclusive evidence, with the exception that no record has been found to date to show that the law was published. Let us first turn to the legality of the Union as an example. 
The legal foundation of the new Zanzibar government was formed sometime in the period following the Revolution; this foundation did not exactly follow a linear trajectory. The context is everything in this case. A violent revolution followed by a cut-throat struggle for power shaped events that took place between January and April of 1964. The situation created an environment in which not all laws and normal procedures could be followed according to the book. Such is the realities of revolutions the world over. Zanzibar is no exception.
Leaders of different political groups from Zanzibar met in London, UK in 1963 to negotiate independence from Britain. The talks were held in Lancaster House in London. Ali Muhsin, Mohammed Shamte, Abdulrahman Babu, and Abeid Amani Karume were among those who took part in the talks. The ASP hired a Professor and lawyer named Thomas M. Franck to provide legal advise during the talks. The conference was a contentious one with all the divisive issues that divided the Island coming into the forefront. Professor Franck had taught at the University College, Dar es Salaam in 1963 and came into contact with members of ASP who sought his advice. The Zanzibar government did everything in their power to try to shape the Lancaster talks; they even tried to prevent Babu from attending meeting. The colonial officials and ZNP/ZPPP supporters were dismayed when they found out that Babu slipped out of Zanzibar, went to Dar es Salaam where he obtained a Tanganyika travel document, and proceeded to London. Franck helped prepare the ASP for the Lancaster House talks. He grew close to Karume, Makame, Jumbe, Hanga, and Babu. Franck would develop a close friendship with Karume. This friendship partly explains why he would eventually be asked to go back to Zanzibar in February of 1964. Professor Franck played an important role in shaping the legal foundation of the new government of Zanzibar. He drafted the first 9 Decrees that set the early legal foundation of the new government and provided important advise on how to proceed. According to at least one source, it is partly thanks to Franck that the very name People’s Republic of Zanzibar was adopted instead of just Zanzibar. 
The legal team available to the new Government from February to April of 1964 was very limited. It was made up of three “Arab lawyers, a Goan, and two English magistrates.” Lack of enough legal experts that could be trusted meant that ASP leaders had to seek legal advise elsewhere. For example, during the troubles of 1961/1962, the ASP employed a lawyer from Ghana to help them in court. The Goan lawyer, Wolfgang Dourado, was among a few lawyers the new government retained. Dourado was born in Zanzibar, educated at St. Joseph’s Convent Zanzibar and later earned his law degree from London School of Economics. He would become Zanzibar’s first Attorney General after the Revolution. However, Zanzibar leaders wanted outside help in drafting new laws in early February 1964.
Karume asked Babu to see if they could invite Franck to take part in a Constitutional Conference in Zanzibar sometime in the end of January /beginning of February 1964. The conference was set for the second week of February 1964. Babu approached Kambona who was able to contact Franck. Franck arrived in Zanzibar on February 9th to take part in the conference. He had contemplated whether to accept the invitation or not and eventually decided to do it. Franck worked with Dourado and several other lawyers to come up with some kind of legal framework for the new government. 
Professor Franck was one of the main legal advisors during the conference. He counseled Zanzibar leaders "not to draw a Constitution in a short time and rule by legal decrees until the situation was stable in several months or a year." Franck advised the new government that decrees were “not meant to be designated to establish a responsible democratic government and that well-devised decrees could be incorporated in the future constitution.” It was Franck who drafted the first nine decrees that were approved by the Government of Zanzibar and published between February and March of 1964. One of the decrees he helped draft included the Presidential Decree no. 9 of 1964. The decree stipulated a death sentence for any one who entered the Republic with intentions to organize “counter-revolutionary activities against the Government…”
In the midst of this confusing, dangerous, and fast evolving situation of January and February of 1964, not everything worked according to plans. A Revolution had just taken place, new leaders taking power did not have legal background or know how to set up laws, let alone abide by pre-existing laws to the teeth. How then can we expect a new administration with individuals struggling to assert power and establish a stable government in the two months following the Revolution, follow existing legal norms set by their predecessors as they seek to lay the groundwork for new laws? 
Perhaps asking about the legality of the Union in this case may as be as good as asking about the legality of the Revolution itself. After all, those who are making a career out of attacking the Union also attack the very legitimacy of the Revolution. By arguing that the Revolution was plotted in Dar es Salaam and carried out by mainlanders, they seek to delegitimize the Revolution itself. It is a clever strategy! The strategy absolves ZNP/ZPPP of any responsibilities for their blunders in the course of 1963 and the dire consequence it had within the Isles itself. The Union with all its complexities was a product of the time....
© Azaria Mbughuni





Nearis Green Taught Jack Daniel the Art of Distilling Whiskey

Nearis Green Taught Jack Daniel the Art of Distilling Whiskey
History has its many twists and turns. It is often like chasing a gazelle on foot in the middle of the Serengeti. This is particularly true when trying to piece together stories about countless enslaved men and women who have made significant contributions in many different areas. The story of Nearis Green and his role in teaching the young Jack Daniel the art of distilling is one example.
I recently visited Lynchburg, Tennessee, home of Jack Daniel’s, one of the world’s best selling whiskeys. There is no doubt that Jack Daniel’s has become a well-known name to many people around the world. It is reported that over 275,000 people visit the distiller in Lynchburg, TN every year. Jack Daniel’s brought in a whopping $4 billion in sales in 2015. The company sales have increased over the years. The Telegraph reported in July 17, 2016 that Jack Daniel’s had become "Britain’s favourite" over traditional whiskeys. With the rising demand for Jack Daniel's, it is important to ask the question: who is the man behind this empire?
The prevailing narrative has been that the young Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel went to work for a preacher and distiller named Dan Call sometime in the 1850s. According to that popular narrative, Mr. Call decided to teach the young Daniel how to run a whiskey still. The problem here is that history from the top is often selective and erasive, particularly when it comes to the contributions of enslaved people. Visiting the small Jack Daniel’s museum in Lynchburg, Tennessee or a quick visit to the official Jack Daniel’s website leaves one with little to no clues as to the contributions of enslaved African Americans in providing the young Jack Daniel with knowledge that allowed him to build one of the most successful distillers in the world. The company gives a little hint with an image of what is believed to be descendants of Nearis Green sitting next to Jack Daniels in their website
https://www.jackdaniels.com/en-us/our. Having African Americans sitting next to Jack Daniels in a portrait like this was highly unusual for the time. Jack Daniel’s has for over 150 years tried to ignore and even suppress the fact that Nearis Green, a man enslaved by Dan Call, was the man who taught Jack Daniel the art of distilling whiskey. We are told that as the company started researching the story of Nearis Green in anticipation of 150’s anniversary in 2016, they decided that the “contributions” of Nearis Green were “persuasive” and therefore “should be told.” It was the New York Times that broke the story in June 25, 2016- https://www.nytimes.com/…/jack-daniels-whiskey-nearis-green…
Nearis Green was born around 1820 and died in 1890. He was a master distiller. Green was enslaved by Dan Call. He eventually won his freedom. Green was among a group of enslaved Africans who did most of the work in the distiller owned by Dan Call. The African Americans had intimate knowledge of the distilling process; they were known to come up with new techniques that improved the whiskeys they made. Nearis Green was among the best when Jack Daniel showed up sometime in the 1850s. Several researchers confirm the encounter between the young Jack Daniel and Nearis Green. Dan Call was reported to have remarked to Jack Daniel “Uncle Nearest [Nearis] is the best whiskey maker that I know of,” he went on to say “I want” Jack Daniel “to become the world’s best whiskey distiller if he wants to be. You help me teach him.” Nearis Green made significant contributions to Jack Daniel’s brand. This fact eludes the millions of Jack Daniel’s drinkers. The company has for over one and a half century tried to erase this important part of history.


Why after 150 years does Jack Daniel's want to admit that Nearis Green made important contributions to the very foundation of the brand? This knowledge was not exactly a secret. Descendants of Nearis Green have known it all along and have been talking to those willing to listen. One such example is Claude Eady, a retired employee of Jack Daniel’s and a descendant of Nearis Green. The story of Nearis Green gives us an opportunity to think about a much bigger problem: the erasure of important contributions made by African Americans. It is clear that there would be no Jack Daniel’s as we know it today had it not been for Nearis Green. Learn your history!


© Azaria Mbughuni



Formation of the OAU and the Future of Africa

Formation of the OAU and the Future of Africa
The Organization of the African Unity (OAU) was formed on May 25, 1963 in Adis Ababa, Ethiopia. The OAU Charter was a compromise between three main groups: the Casablanca group, Monrovia, and Brazzaville. The Casablanca group was the first to be formed. It was made up of UAR, Morocco, Libya, Ghana, Guinea, and the Algerian Govenrment in Exile. This group called for political union and the total liberation of Africa. The Monrovia Group was made up of Senegal, Cameroon, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, and Liberia. The Monrovia group called for a loose collaboration between African states. The Brazzaville group was the third and last' it was made up of former French speaking African countries including, Ivory Coast and Madagascar. Tanzania (then Tanganyika) shifted alligiance from the Casablanca and eventually to the Monrovia group. The heads of states were divided when they sat down to discuss the establishment of an African organization. A committee was eventually formed and Oscar Kambona, the Tanganyika Foreign Minister, was elected to Chair the committee tasked with drafting a charter for the new organization. Three proposals were presented. The Casablanca group was led by Ghana. Nigeria presented a second proposal that was part of the larger Monrovia group, although they had formed a smaller group known as the "Lagos Group." Ethiopia presented the third proposal. The representative from Ghana called for the immediate formation of the United States of Africa. The Nigerian delegate responded by saying "We should walk before we ran" and proposed a loose organization of African states. The Casablanca proposal for establishing the "United States of Africa" was defeated during the voting. The so-called Lagos group and Tanganyika went on to propose a clause calling for respect for the integrity of existing boundaries. Many Pan Africanist assert that this clause killed any hope for the establishment of the United States of Africa. Other Pan Africanists maintain that it was premature to call for the immediate formation of the United States of Africa. Either way, leaders from independent African nations and liberation movements went to Ethiopia in May of 1963 to witness the formation of the OAU. This was an important moment for Africa; an opportunity for Africa to work towards forging meaningful political unity and fighting to liberate Africans. While the campaign for building political unity failed, the goal of ending colonialism and apartheid was a success; this success was achieved by the committment of a handful of African countries without the support of the majority of OAU members. Today a new organization has taken the place of OAU: African Unity (AU). Although Africa succeeded in eradicating foreign political rule, neo-colonialism and imperialism remains strong today more than ever. Africa is divided and the shift towards further disintegration is on the horizon. Even countries that once appeared to be stable, show signs of breaking up to smaller entities. One of the richest continents in the world remains one of the poorest. We have learned today from the Tanzanian President that one foreign company (ACACIA) has extracted close to an estimated $70 billion in gold and other minerals from Tanzania while paying pennies in taxes in a period of about 18 years. Some say the ammount is equivalent to the budget of Tanzania for six years. I ask myself why, why, why? What good is this "political" independence without economic independence? If one company is able to do this, what else is happening in other sectors? If this is happening to Tanzania, what is happening to Niger, Angola, Ethiopia, Mauritania, and other African countries? The answer is probably the same. It is time to wake up and start a new phase of the struggle. There are no simple solutions. But together we can!


© Azaria Mbughuni

Ku Klux Klan (KKK): Kikundi cha Magaidi Marekani

Ku Klux Klan (KKK): Kikundi cha Magaidi Marekani
Ugaidi sio kitu kipya duniani. Katika historia ya binadamu kuna mifano mingi watu au kikundi cha watu wametumia imani zao kuhalalisha ukatili usio na kifani. Hakuna kikundi kilicho mwaga damu Marekani kama KKK (Ku Klux Klan). Nilipata nafasi ya kutembelea Pulaski, Tennessee, kuona pahali KKK iliundwa. Pulaski, Tennessee ni mji ambao kikundi hichi cha kigaidi, kikundi kilichopata sifa kubwa ya uuaji wa kikatili, ubakaji, ulipuaji mabomu na mambo mengine mengi ya kikatili, kiliundwa mnamo mwaka 1866. 
Pamoja na kwamba zaidi ya miaka 150 imepita tangu KKK iundwe, uamuzi wa kutembelea mji na nyumba ambayo kikundi hicho kiliundwa haukuwa rahisi. Haikuchukua muda mrefu kuliona jengo ambalo wazungu wa kusini waliopigana vita vya mwaka 1861-65 kati ya Marekani ya Kusini na Kaskazini walikutana na kuamua kuanzisha kikundi chao. Moja ya sababu ya hivyo vita ilikuja kuwa utumwa. Mwanzoni watu wa kusini Marekani walitaka kuachiwa waamue wenyewe sera zao, pamoja na ya utumwa. Kwa upande wa Kaskazini, wao walikuwa wanataka kujaribu kupunguza utumwa. Vita vilipoanza mwaka 1861 ilikuwa kwasababu sehemu za kusini zilitaka kujitenga na Kaskazini wakaanza vita ili kuhakikisha nchi haigawanyika. Mwanzoni hata watu wa Kaskazini pamoja na raisi Abraham Lincoln hawakuwa na nia ya kuondoa utumwa. Nia yao ilikuwa ni kuhakikisha nchi inabaki moja. Baada ya kama mwaka mmoja wa vita, upande wa Kaskazini ukastuka kwamba wa kusini walikuwa wanatumia watumwa kujijenga kwenye vita na kwamba wanaweza kuwashinda kusini kama wakitangaza utumwa umekwisha kusini. Hilo Lincoln alitanganza mwaka 1863. Vita hivi havikuanza kwasababu ya utumwa tuu, ila utumwa ukaja kuwa sababu kubwa ya hio vita na chanzo cha ushindi wa kaskazini baadae. 
Turudi kwa askari waliopigana upande wa kusini, mnamo mwaka 1866, karibu mwaka baada ya vita kuisha, kikundi cha watu walikutana kwenye ofisi ya kinyozi wakaunda KKK huko Pulaski, Tennessee. Kikundi hichi cha kigaidi kilitumia nguvu, vitisho, umwagaji wa damu kuhakikisha watu weusi wanaoishi kusini wanarudi karibu na utumwa ingawa utumwa ulisha katazwa kutokana na sheria mpya za nchi. Katika mkutano wao wa kwanza mkubwa uliofanyika Nashville, Tennessee, viongozi walikuja kutoka miji mingi ya kusini, pamoja na Generali Nathan Bedford Forrest, mkuu wa majeshi ya kusini wakati wa vita. Generali Forrest alipewa cheo cha Grand Wizard wa KKK, mkuu wa kwanza wa KKK. 
Kati ya 1868 na 1870, KKK ilihakikisha watu weupe wanashika sehemu zote za kusini kwa kutumia mabavu. Hatuwezi kujua watu weusi wangapi waliuliwa kikatili kuhakikisha watu weupe wanashika tena Marekani ya kusini. Wanasiasa karibu wote kuanzia Majaji na wakuu wa polisi (sheriffs) wanaochaguliwa kwenye uchaguzi wote walikuwa wanachama wa KKK. Kulikua hakuna haki kwa mtu mweusi kuanzia polisi mpaka mahakamani. Walikuwa wanakuja mchana nyumbani kwa mtu, wanamchukua na kumuua wazi kikatili kwa visababu tafauti, kama mtu kamsalimia mwanamke mzungu au visababu vingine visivyo na msingi; cha muhimu, na nia yao kubwa, ilikuwa kuwatisha watu weusi wabaki chini.
KKK ilikuja kuwa na wanachama wengi zaidi mwanzo wa karne ya ishirini. Inasemekana walikuwa na wanachama zaidi ya milioni nne katika Marekani kipindi hicho. Wanasiasa wengi walikuwa wanachama wa wazi wa KKK hadi miaka ya 1920. Mmoja wao alikuwa ni Hugo L. Black, jaji wa mahakama kuu ya Marekani. 
Ni vigumu kusema watu wangapi waliuliwa na KKK. Lakini kuna wanaosema watu 4000 waliuliwa na kikundi hicho. Ukweli hatutaujua, kwani kuna wengi zaidi waliuliwa na hamna aliyetoa ripoti. Kuna mauji ya kikatili ya mji mzima wa watu weusi Tulsa, Oklahoma 1921, mauaji ya Emmet Till Mississippi 1955, mauaji ya Medgar Evers, bomu lilioua watoto kanisani Birmingham, Alabama 1963, na mauaji ya Jason Smith Louisiana 2011, yote yalifanywa na wanachama wa KKK. Smith walimkuta ametolewa utumbo ingiwa wanasema alizama kwenye maji. Mateso na taabu walizopata watu weusi Marekani kwa sababu ya hawa magaidi ni vigumu kueleza ieleweke. Leo hii kuna wazungu wengi ambao bado wanafuata sera za KKK ingiwa wanajificha na sio rahisi kuwajua. Baadhi yao ndio wanaongoza hii nchi. Tafakari hawa watu wanaoendesha nchi hii wanaangaliaje watu weusi, Waafrika, na watu wengine wasio wazungu leo hii!
Nilipita na kupiga picha kwenye hilo jengo la KKK nikajiondokea Pulaski, Tennessee. Sina mpango wa kutembelea mji huo tena, labda nirudi kupigana vita dhidi ya ubaguzi wa rangi na unyanyasaji wa binadamu wenzangu. Hapo nitarudi na kusimama na mkono mmoja juu!

© Azaria Mbughuni

Edward Said Tingatinga: A Forgotten Genius



Edward Said Tingatinga: A Forgotten Genius
If you ask a Tanzanian member of the intelligentsia who is Michael Angelo, Vincent van Gogh, or Pablo Picasso, chances are that they will tell you they know something about one of those artists. This is not surprising at all. After all, at least three of Picasso's paintings have fetched over 100 million dollars each. The fact that Picasso was at one point influenced by African art would escape most people, particularly Africans. It is true that many of the famous European artists did not make a lot of money while they were alive. But this is not about the Picassos of the world and how much money they made. It is about long forgotten and forsaken African artists. One particular artist from Tanzania named Edward Said Tingatinga, provides us with an opportunity to reevaluated the value we place on African art and artists in general. 
Edward Said Tingatinga was an artist, a pioneer, a genius, who created a new style of painting. He created a painting style that has come to bear his name: Tinga Tinga. Tinga Tinga style is said to have been influenced by the Ndonde mural art traditions where by the Ndonde people painted their homes. Tingatinga was thirty six years old when he first picked up a brush to paint and he would do his last painting at the tender age of forty. This gifted artist left his mark on the art world within a period of just three years. Tingatinga’s paintings are sought out around the world by art collectors and sell for tens of thousands of dollars. 
While many know of Tingatinga art, few know of the man behind this beautiful art. The life of Edward Said Tingatinga was cut short on May 17, 1972 at the age of forty. He was shot down by a Tanzanian police who mistook him for a fleeing robber. Tingatinga was born in 1932 in Tunduru, southern Tanzania. He had two years of formal education. The twenty five year old Tingatinga decided to look for new opportunities elsewhere. He travelled to Tanga to work in Sisal plantations. This was difficult work. Tanzania, then Tanganyika, was a British colony and Europeans owned the plantations. Tingatinga decided to leave Tanga for Dar es Salaam sometime towards the end of 1950s. He first secured a job as a “house boy”, a servant, for a colonial official. This was a common job for many young men and women leaving rural areas to seek new opportunities in the cities. Tingatinga later sold vegetables and fruits before finally securing a job at the Muhimbili hospital. Tingatinga started painting for the first time in 1968. He worked at Muhimbili and painted in his spare time. His paintings started getting noticed by foreigners in Dar es Salaam. He started selling more and more paintings outside Morogoro stores in Oyster Bay area. Morogoro stores was a popular shopping place for foreigners. Eventually Tingatinga made enough money from his paintings that he could resign from his job at Muhimbili and paint full time. There is no question his unique style of painting was and remain both beautiful and creative. 
Africa has produced many artistic geniuses. Unfortunately, recognition of African artists has often come from outside Africa and not within Africa itself, if there has been any recognition at all. African artists do not get the recognition they deserve from painters to musicians. We have no one else to blame but ourselves for this. Tingatinga, like his contemporary artist George Lilanga, have not received the recognition they deserve from Tanzanians or Africans. Tingatinga died relatively poor despite the fact that he was starting to make more money towards the end of his life. At least one of Tingatinga’s paintings, Spotted Hyena, sold for $2,196 in 2010. Other paintings have fetched higher prices. George Lilanga’s paintings on the other hand, are listed for between $10,000 and $15,000. Lilanga is said to have influenced the American graffiti artist Keith Haring. Tanzanians and Africans in general place little value in their artwork and artists. Those who were lucky enough to have met Tingatinga in the late 1960s and early 70s, were without a doubt, in the presence of artistic excellence, an African genius. While Tingatinga may not be known or respected by most Africans today, there is little doubt that in time, he will get the respect and honor he deserves. He is one of the greatest artists of the 20th century! This recognition will, however, only happen when Africans start valuing their art. 
 © Azaria Mbughuni

The Battle of the Johns: The Struggle for Tanzania's Mineral Wealth

Before there was a John Thornton, Executive Director of Acacia, the man trying to negotiate with President John Magufuli a deal after a company he leads exported well over $50 billion in minerals from the country in a period of 17 years; there was John Thoburn Williamson, a man who made millions from mining diamonds in Tanganyika starting in the 1940s; lastly, there is John Magufuli, the President of Tanzania. The three Johns: two of them took millions, billions worth of minerals out of Tanzania and one is trying to make sure that laws are followed and appropriate taxes are paid. Let us look at the first John, John Williamson; he gave the queen of England a 23. 6 carat pink diamond present as a wedding gift in 1947; this was the "finest pink diamond in existence" at the time. The story goes that the diamond was discovered by a group of children under a tree outside a mine owned by Williamson. The uncut diamond weighed 54 carats. What came out of the children who found the diamond? Well that is another fascinating story. There is a prominent wealthy Tanzanian family who became rich when their grandfather/great grandfather discovered a big diamond while playing in the region. Is this story connected to the diamond John Williamson gave to the Queen of England? It is not clear at this point, although there seems to be a connection. Northern Tanzania has been producing large quantities of diamonds and gold. Long before either of the Johns came into play in the mining industry in Tanzania, there was a South African company that made millions out of mining in the same northern regions of Tanzania. A South African company owned the diamond mine in Mwanza region in 1925; the territory was then known as Tanganyika. Here we are 2017, Acacia, a foreign company has mined tens of billions of dollars worth of gold and other minerals and paid little to nothing in taxes. This story is not new or unique to Tanzania. Tanzania, like other African countries, do not benefit from the exploitation of minerals found in their countries. The current battle of the Johns will have a significant impact on the future of Tanzania. Will the foreign companies be allowed to continue exploiting Tanzania's wealth or not? The final chapter on this saga is yet to be written. I am hopeful. We shall see...

© Azaria Mbughuni

Western Aid and the Sleeping Giant


Western aid is rarely free, if free at all. Such aid comes with strings attached, a hidden cost. More often than not, Western nations give not because there is a need to help, but because there is an agenda to be achieved. As this Department of State document from 1963 illustrates: aid is a tool to influence, to control. I discovered these documents from the archives 15 years ago. The documents tell us a lot about western aid and how it is used to control Africa and perpetuate neo-colonialism. In this case, one document refers to the US sharing the burden of providing "aid" with former metropoles (former colonialists) for the purpose of exerting political influence. The major African recipients of American aid included Congo (L), Ethiopia, Libya, Liberia, and Tanganyika. The other document touches on US policy guidelines for granting aid. The guidelines identify numerous objectives, including getting permission to install US military bases and other facilities, exerting "political influence" in order to "achieve specific political objectives" and to get an upperhand in the Cold War tension. Not much has changed more than 54 years later. Africa does not need aid. If anything, Africa needs fair trade. To expect fair trade from a capitalist system is to chase fairy tales. When it is all said and done, Africa needs to stand on its own feet. All the ingridients needed to wake up this sleeping giant are there. 
#EconomicLiberation
 ©Azaria Mbughuni