Saturday, 5 March 2016



 The burnt car of Tanzanian student who was beaten in Bangalore India, in February- BBC photo

Two recent Citizen News stories reflect an ongoing fear, awe, anger and fact.
Early last week a Tanzanian was stoned to death in Eastleigh, Nairobi. The report said John Mchanga had stabbeda man and a woman after losing money while gambling. We may carelessly dismiss this by generalising the accepted culture of “mob justice” across the beloved African continent. Mchanga allegedly killed and therefore deserved death.  We should turn the other way and pretend, well, tit for tat.
And how about the beating and humiliation of an innocent Tanzanian female student in Bangalore, India, on Sunday 31st of January 2016.  A police officer, allegedly, stood and watched. When the victim went to the cops, the same reluctant men of law were, allegedly, uncooperative and no wonder, were later arrested. The Tanzanian High Commission and African diplomats protested in unison. African students have increasingly been attacked by locals, recently.  Beware the rising tide of racism across the world, mostly against foreign students and refugees. 
The incidents in Nairobi and India may be viewed in isolation, but they are part of growing trend. Discontent of the masses, paranoia caused by terrorism, ignorance, political and economic frustration. Two pillars stand menacingly and dangerously.  Emotion, hearsay and allegations, on one side and statistics and facts, on the other.
To begin with emotions.
A  Swanglish essay by blogger Malisa Godlisten’s has been circulating on the net, via WhatsApp. Usually WhatsApp writings tend to be brief, but this one was quite long.  I had never heard of Malisa Godlisten before. He is not a well-known blogger. Are Tanzanians  being humiliated because they are so polite? He asked, citing examples in Uganda, Kenya and South Africa. Why are we so vulnerable and why are our foreign-based authorities not reacting appropriately to defend us? Malisa recalled a local kid, who accompanied by the mother, had spat on his friend in Italy.  Shocked and angry, the Italian based friend did not bother going to the police, as “nothing would be done...”
 Everyone living abroad knows children utter racist rubbish or behave in a certain way due to parental upbringing. If untrue, why didn’t the mother chide her child for hurling saliva at a black stranger?
 Godlisten Malisa- pic from Nyanja Blog

  Malisa Godlisten also discussed the mob killing of a Tanzanian young male in India in 2008. The young student had a romantic relationship with an Indian woman. Any East African knows that local Asians rarely marry Africans. Like the Bangalore female student last Sunday, the lover was thoroughly punished then strapped on a railway line and run over by a train. Malisa recounts that during the funeral mourners were only shown a photo of the deceased. The body was too ghastly to look.
This horrifying tale reminds of how father of the famous African American revolutionary Malcolm X  - was murdered in a similar way- by USA’s racist Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. Unlike the Bangalore story two Sundays back, when I Goggled the 2008 romantic tragedy there were no records.
Several years ago, a  young Tanzanian male died of a drug overdose after his white English girlfriend ended their romance, here in London. This was allegedly due to her father disapproving their interracial love.
So what?
According to Malisa Godlisten, those who suffer overseas are children of the poor (“Walalahoi”).
Is this true?
 UNESCO- tells us 38 percent of Africans cannot read and write; two thirds (majority) of these, are women.  “Africa,” UNESCO explains, “is the only continent where more than half of the parents are not able to help their children with homework due to illiteracy.”
Conclusively, then.
 Have things changed since the days of Nyerere when only thirteen percent reached secondary school?
 In 2015, I was shocked when a secondary school student confessed that she could not understand this column.  When I was writing a similar column in the early 1980s, majority of my readers were secondary school students. They not only understood the articles but also claimed it helped them learn English.  Times have changed. Education is indeed the key to everything in Tanzania and Africa.  We are not only a nation of semi illiterates, but also equally a world of desperate citizens, who keen and frantic for progress sometimes sacrifice pride and personality overseas even when humiliated.
While in the year 2012 our neighbours spent 20 % (Uganda) and 15 % (Kenya), of the national budget to boost and develop education, we only used 10.2 %. Is this right?
That is why; President John Magufuli’s “Elimu Bure” project is a light at the end of the tunnel. Two months ago  the innovative leader, promised 31 Billion T-Shs shall be set aside from the annual national income of   1.3 Trillion Shs (Dec 2015) – to assist education over the next few months!

In Citizen Tanzania, 19 February, 2016

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