It could have been bigger than this; maybe it should have started six, seven months ago; the buzz, I mean; but as they say, better late than ever. Things switched to high gears last Saturday when Kinondoni based Twanga Pepeta band rocked London’s Club 2000 Banqueting Suite. The venue is close to the famous Wembley Stadium; hard to locate, but easy for those who were keen to search the North West part of this city. Even if you had no car, taxis were hired, friends offered lifts and public transport is rarely a problem in London. Most important thing was that attendance during this inaugural night was passionate if not positive.
The band poses with officials...
Tanzanians commuted from far away cities in Leeds, Bristol, Northampton, Coventry, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Southampton. It’s like a Singida, Iringa and Morogoro resident travelling to Dar es Salaam or Arusha just for one event, one club scene then heading back, same day.
You have to put the whole set up in perspective.
UK based Tanzanians do not meet as regularly as their African counterparts; say, Somalis, Rwandese, Nigerians, Congolese. Our kith and kin’s have constant, ongoing activities; fashion shows, weddings, conferences, fund raising concerts, much ado. This is partly due to troubles and strife.
Civil wars (perhaps; definitely) bring people together, especially when overseas. Tanzanians on their part, having peace at home makes them less keen to meet; all they want is study, work, make money; study, sweat, make money. Peace makes us slightly nonchalant, at ease. And peace is a Tanzanian brand, like Ambassador Peter Kallaghe elaborated when making a short speech prior to Twanga Pepeta’s concert. He touched on the importance of historical objects, antiquity and subsequently, national and cultural pride.
His Excellency Peter Kallaghe...
The tall Tanga born diplomat said: “The British, for instance, like to talk about their significant establishments. You will be told this church is 1,500 years old or that particular building has 10,000 years and Westminster has hundreds of years... We have many tribes yet we live peacefully; we should thank God that we had good leaders who created conditions for us to have a prosperous peaceful nation. Let us stand up and toast in respect for our nation and thank God for being where we are. Every Tanzanian should be proud of being a Tanzanian.”
Other present leaders, visiting Deputy Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Aggrey Mwanri, Deputy High Commissioner, Mr Chabaka Kilumanga and First Secretary, Mr Amos Msanjila, watched and listened.
Earlier Mr Msanjila had welcomed Twanga Pepeta as a jovial, charming band. He used Swahili words ( like “Bashasha” and “Jazba”) splendid adjectives to describe that night’s atmosphere with nyama choma, drinks, space to dance, chat, flirt, jiggle, wiggle, watch Pepeta females wriggle and gyrate again and again.
The band sings in Swahili but meshes its beats to Congolese “Ndombolo” to perfection.
And more is expected, we were told. Deputy Head Mr Chabaka Kilumanga said an investor’s seminar will be held at Mayfair this Friday. Being one of the world’s economic capitals, London suits that particular seminar well. Other younger musicians and events have been announced in blogs and posters. December shall certainly be rocking.
And with this 50 years Rocking and Bongo flavourings shouldn’t we ask ourselves apart from the peace what else has been achieved? How many are feeling this feasting and cheering mood of half a century’s birthday?
Where is Tanzania going? If our past, deceased leaders rose up from the dead (like Jesus Christ), would they feel we are doing the right things? Are we still adhering to the principles of fair distribution of wealth that Mwalimu Julius Nyerere so much cared for? Are we still proud to be Africans and our dear Kiswahili language that Rashid Kawawa and legendary writer Shaaban Robert so much loved? Are our women making any progress like Bibi Titi Mohammed first leader of the women’s movement pioneered? Is credible political opposition and conscience of our nation operating in free spirit or are they experiencing a similar fate that exiled Oscar Kambona to London? How is our union of Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar these days? What will the late Sheikh Abeid Karume and Abdulrahman Babu say if they suddenly stirred from slumber?
It is imperative that we dig deeper and get introspective; it is also natural that we should party and enjoy. Reaching 50 years without any civil war or en masse bloodshed like what goes on across this rich, beautiful continent is worth (like Ambassador Kallaghe said), raising a glass or a cup of tea for.
God bless Tanzania.
All pics by Urban Pulse...
Published in Citizen Friday 2nd Dec 2011: