Friday, 13 July 2012


It is not only animals who are normally on heat. 
Trees too. No, that is a joke.
Cars. Yes, that is true. Cars and machines heat up. And so do big towns.   Since 2005 when London was chosen to host 2012 Olympic Games – the fourth largest city in the world has been on fire. Just a day after the announcement was made in Singapore, terrorists struck London with suicide bombers that left 52 dead. That was July 7th, 2005. 
The would be suicide bombers caught on police cameras, moments before causing their brutal carnage. Pic courtesy of Martin Frost. Ws

 Two weeks later another attempt was made. London caught the culprits, while continuing to be nervous from the experience. Lately multiple arrests  have been made. Plotters and threats continue to shadow this city of heat. I keep saying heat but rain is really the major feature –last couple of months. Which really upsets some Londoners.
“Where is summer 2012?” I keep hearing.
 Rain brings snails like these two  I caught mating right on my doorstep last week.

 The Olympics build up has been firing, nevertheless. Road closures, twists and diversions have become coffee and tea.  London motorists have been appalled but somewhat adjust to the situation.  Driving through the city and expecting delays and changes in routes is as typical as the heat of Dar es Salaam and her legendary traffic jams.
 A street musician says hello to a cat in Convent Garden, I thought this was cool. Typical London scenery. Pic by F Macha.
Only two weeks remain to the greatest show on earth.
I heard on the grapevine that five or six Tanzanian athletes (and their officials) are in town. I think Samson Ramadhani is our hope for a marathon medal and Selemani Salum Kidunda will not let us down in the welterweight division of boxing.
Dunda which means “knock out” in Swahili- surely promises a pugilist trophy. And what about swimming? A sport always dominated by whites. Who knows?  Magdalena Moshi might bring us an African swimming medal.
Beliefs, conviction and self assurance matter a lot in sports. Look at Usain Bolt for God sake. Is there anyone who would say the Jamaican lacks confidence? 
 Tanzania’s great confidence year in Olympics was 1980. 
Filbert Bayi, today at 59 years (still training and running)...

Back then we had a world champion- Filbert Bayi - winning medals since 1974 plus Suleiman Nyambui – another excellent Tanzanian runner and the female sprinter Nzael Kyomo. She was so unique that her picture was in one shilling postal stamp. Which in -economically tough 1980 -was significant and glorious.  I interviewed Nzael Kyomo for London’s African Woman magazine in 1981.  She had captured the hearts of the whole nation. While competing in an international tournament someone threw a javelin spear which landed on her foot. Still bleeding and in pain she did not stop running. Nzael’s heroism was applauded. Today she promotes the Kyomo Foundation from Myers, Florida; a non-profitable organisation that “provides quality education for the children of Tanzania”, according to the foundation’s blog.
Queen Kyomo’s story reminds us of British tennis player,Andy Murray who lost to Swiss veteran, Roger Federer last Sunday at London’s Wimbledon. One headline read: “I have never heard such a heartfelt cheers from a man who lost.” Normally losers are booed and mocked but Andy Murray’s spirit and the fact that he was the first Briton to reach tennis finals since 1936 turned the 25 year old Scot into a national hero. The column piece (How I See It) by Robert Hardman in Monday’s Daily Mail... had a sub phrase: “Murray Does Us Proud.” 
Andy Murray in action. Pic by Tennis Server dot com

Pride is considered one of the 7 deadly sins in Christianity- alongside lust, wrath, greed, sloth, envy and gluttony. When we speak of national pride however, are we indulging in sin? When masses of people come together to celebrate their social standing and identity, is that religiously wrong?
How about the pride of Tanzania?
 It would be 38 years since Filbert Bayi won a medal and a world record in Christchurch, New Zealand. 
When shall we have another Filbert Bayi?
Was he the only one?
I was watching a BBC documentary about a former Irish athlete Eamonn Coghlan (pictured below campaigning to be a senator in 2011) coaching young Kenyan runners -emphasizing technique and discipline. 

  At the beginning of the program we see Kenya’s greatest winners: Kipchoge Keino, Ben Jipcho, Wilson Kiprugut, Professor Mike Boit and today’s champion, David Rudisha. This connection with the past is important. Speaking in the documentary, Kip Keino (now a retired 72 year old elder) explains that the secret of Kenya’s winning streak is “mental and physical preparation” while Prof Mike Boit acknowledges the fact that “high expectations” are rammed into the heads of young Kenyan athletes.
Kipchoge competing in his hey days. Pic by

 How much is that done in Tanzania?
Connections are crucial. Right now London has been boosting the morale of young people vis-a-vis education. Schools are not only teaching sports but also introducing the theme of dance, writing and literature, music etc to the tune of past and present Olympics. Which means the event will not only benefit sports but other aspects of life in the UK and across the world...  

Also...published in Citizen Tanzania

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