Skip to main content

STATEMENT BY Mark J. MWANDOSYA on the occasion of the launch of the book “Tanzania in the age of Change and Transformation” authored by Balozi Juma V. MWAPACHU. 17 May 2018

STATEMENT BY Mark J. MWANDOSYA on the occasion of the launch of the book “Tanzania in the age of Change and Transformation” authored by Balozi Juma V. MWAPACHU
New Africa Hotel, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 17 May 2018

Balozi Juma Volter Mwapachu, Author of the book, and Man of the Day;
Dr. Juliana Masabo, Associate Dean, School of Law, representing Prof. Chris Peter Maina, Distinguished Professor and Colleague as Guest Speaker;
Ms. Elieshi Lema, Publisher, Managing Director E& D Vision Publishing House;
Distinguished Invitees;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

What an auspicious moment it is that I should be brought out of retirement, literally out of the bush, from Lufilyo village in Busokelo, to officiate at the launch of the book aptly titled “ Tanzania in the Age of Change and Transformation”, authored by none other than Balozi Juma Volter Mwapachu. Balozi Mwapachu is, without doubt, a distinguished scholar, a prolific writer, a diplomat, an internationalist, a politician and a lawyer all rolled into one person. 
An invitation to launch a book is, to any scholar, a very high accolade. Knowing Juma, or to use the legal parlance, of which he is prolific, here-in-after, JV, he dispensed with the well-known principle of good governance, that of forming a search committee for the coveted position of “Guest of Honour”. As to what criteria he used to nominate me, I can only surmise: perhaps as I previously noted, he wanted his friend to come out of the rural area in order to appreciate, among other things, the phenomenal growth of the city of Dar es Salaam; perhaps it is because we are both interested in reading and writing, both as a hobby and as a vocation; or it could be because both of us were at one time Members of the Convocation of the University of Dar es Salaam; Perhaps it is because we have common family friends in Chirau Ali and Rose Mwakwere, of Matuga, Kwale, Kenya, a digo who could easily pass for a Tanzanian and vie for a parliamentary seat in Tanga. More importantly, JV wanted to be politically correct: to nominate a chief guest from as far away as possible be from Tanga which is near Kenya; with Busokelo, Rungwe, bordering Malawi, almost, being the appropriate place for the nomination.
My mention of Rungwe is deliberate. For it is in Rungwe that JV had his foundation of education which made him cruise successfully until the completion of his college education at the Dar es Salaam University College of East Africa. JV joined Mpuguso Middle School in Rungwe in 1956, and finished Standard 8 in 1958. For those who may not know the history of Mpuguso, It was then regarded  as “the Harrow” of the Southern Highlands of Tanganyika. From Mpuguso one would go to any of the following prestigious African secondary schools; Malangali, Ilboru, Minaki, Pugu, Alliance Dodoma, and Tabora, where JV was to land in 1959. 
At Mpuguso JV’s peers were, among others:  Ulinyelusya (Ulli) Mwambulukutu, a distinguished journalist and diplomat; Hon. Harold Nsekela, a Retired Justice of the Appeal Court; Gibbons Mwaipopo, a retired Land Surveyor; Davies Mwaikambo, a retired Diplomat; George Kilindu, Prominent Lawyer;  Kingdom Mwakyusa;  Anangisye Dick Mwandetele; Hardy Mwambingu; the Late Cleveland Nkata, former book publisher; the Late Jimmy David Kitema Ngonya(Day Boy), former Secretary General of Simba Sports Club, and my teacher at Chunya Middle School; the Late Dr Bernard Mwambingu; the Late Capt. Hezekiah Mwakibete; and the Late Hosiana Mwangolombe.
Other friends of yours who were not classmates include: Prof. David Homeli Mwakyusa; Ambassador John Kakoloboji Mwandanji; Brigadier General Francis Louis; the Late Dr Rhodes Mwaikambo; the Late Chief Burton Mwaikambo; and the Late Prof. Bismarck Mwansasu; among others, all being under the tutelage of Headmaster Johnston Wallace Kihampa. 
Mpuguso: to all parents and elders in Rungwe, Mpuguso was the ultimate academia. For, it was not unusual for elders, on being introduced to a Makerere University Graduate, to ask; “Now that you have your degree from Makerere, in all likelihood you will proceed to Mpuguso to complete your education”. A tale is told that upon being admitted to Mpuguso, and because Mzee Hamza Mwapachu was the District Officer for Rungwe then, the Headmaster made an exception to allow JV to wear shoes. JV declined the offer. For, students at Mpuguso and indeed in all Native Authority Middle Schools were not allowed to wear shoes! No wonder you  JV and your wife Rose, have always been champions for the disadvantaged in society. That was JV’s Mpuguso. 
I requested a colleague and classmate of JV at Mpuguso, Ulli Mwambulukutu, to narrate his recollection of their early years, and this is what he wrote:
I have been reading Balozi Juma Volter Mwapachu from our early life. Our first encounter was in Tukuyu,  former Rungwe District, during the late 1950s. He came to Tukuyu along with his father, Kibwana Hamza Mwapachu (RIP), one of the first African District officers (DOs). The District Commissioner (DC) then was Mzee Yessaya Nkata. Balozi Juma Mwapachu had an early potential for authorship. At Mpuguso Middle School, he excelled in English debates; challenging peers and seniors alike. Excellent essay writing skills and discourse, has placed him in good stead to write.  Talk of life drama, Balozi Mwapachu has always impressed.  I fondly recall his involvement, along with Cleveland Nkata, Francis Louis, and my young brother, Balozi Emmanuel Mwambulukutu (RIP), with innocent truancy, swimming in the forbidden then Rungwe Botanical Garden. They had to face the cane at the instigation of angry parents, the DC and DO. This early dramatic life partly helps explain how Balozi Mwapachu morphed into a bona fide author. The proof of the pudding is in the eating: his latest title: Tanzania in the Age of Change and Transformation is only a sequel to his acclaimed book: Challenging the Frontiers of African Integration (November 2012). These two books, relevant and must reads,  ought to be read along with his prolific writings.  Congratulations Balozi Juma Mwapachu.

I met JV for the first time in 1966. We were both delegates to a students convention which founded the National Union of Tanzania Students (NAUTS) which was later proscribed by the Government.  JV was a representative from the University of College Dar es Salaam. Other delegates that I remember included Joseph Warioba, the late Onesphoro Chawe, Julius Matiko, Nimrod Lugoe, George Mwanjabala, Ali Mchumo, James Kateka, the late Christopher Labani and others. I represented Malangali Secondary School. Being below 18 years of age, I was not allowed to join the group for the end of conference get together and dance, courtesy of the maestro Pascal Onema. Incidentally, one Rose Omari was a delegate from Tabora Girls’ School. The rest of that bit is history.
In order to put the event of today in its proper perspective, I recall the remarks I made almost 30 years ago when like today, I was honoured to launch a book on “ The Petroleum Industry in Tanzania” that was written by Engineer Paul Rweyemamu. It occurred to me then, and I still believe now, that one of the main causes sub-Saharan Africa’s lack of development over the millennia was the lack of the written word. Knowledge was traditionally transmitted from one generation to another by word of mouth, and sometimes in extreme secrecy. With the written word knowledge can be bequeathed from one generation to another in letters and/or book form. In the course of that transmission knowledge and know-how can be studied, researched and improved upon. Transmission of thoughts and scientific inquiry requires the written word to be collected, collated, stored in a systematic manner and read. Such was the case with: the Egyptian hieroglyphics; the Chinese calligraphy; the latin and greek alphabets; the Sanskrit, the classical written language of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism; the Geez alphabet of Ethiopia and Eritrea; and the Arabic alphabet. The rise of the corresponding civilizations and empires had much to do with the written word. 
When and where Africa has contributed to scholarship and knowledge the written word has been the cornerstone. Timbuktu may appear to many of us to be a myth and a legend, a Shangrila of sorts. Timbuktu was and is real. Timbuktu’s fame was associated with: scholarship, research, writing, an advanced book industry, the first African university which was one of the earliest universities in the world and numerous libraries. This was between the 12th and 15th century.  Because of the written word, Timbuktu was at different times the epicenter the Ghana, Mali and the  Songhai empires.
The medium of transmission of knowledge, the language of the written word, is as important as the knowledge itself. For without it there can be no discourse at all. Hence the question, and significantly in the context of Tanzania, which language should we use, English or Swahili, when we write our books? A few years ago  I wrote a book titled “Udhibiti wa Huduma za Kiuchumi Tanzania". Sekela, my daughter, asked me “Dad, why have you decided to write the book in kiswahili?” “Well”, I said, “I think in kiswahili. As such it is easy for me to put down my thoughts in kiswahili.  Otherwise, I would have to translate my thoughts and ideas from Swahili to English which entails double work”. In a sequel to our conversation, I asked her “By the way your dreams come in which language”? The response was “I never thought about that. Eh.. give me time. I will let you know”. After some days she responded “My dreams come in Kiswahili and sometimes in English”. “Fine, if that is the case and since you are proficient in both languages, write using either swahili or english”, I retorted. The rule of the thumb is: write in the language in which you dream; otherwise use the language in which you are proficient and eloquent, or use both. Since we are essentially bilingual, the wise counsel of the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere is pertinent. He insisted we should be proud of Kiswahili and speak it fluently without neglecting english which according to him was and still is “the Kiswahili of the world”. The aforegoing notwithstanding, hopefully JV’s writings should one day be translated into kiswahili.
I may lose a few of you as I explore the significance of the written word to social and scientific discourse that has lead to the advancement of knowledge and know-how:
In 1668, at the age of 26 Isaac Newton was elected Fellow of the Trinity College, Cambridge. A year later, on 29 October 1669, Isaac Newton was appointed second Lucasian Professor of Mathematics and Physics on the basis of his work, not on gravity, but on optics. In January 1670 Newton was to give the first of his Lucasian Professorial Lectures in Physics. Among the recent notable holders of the Lucasian Chair have been Paul Dirac, Nobel Laureate for Physics and lately, Stephen Hawkings, both truly remarkable Lucasian Professors.
Among Isaac Newton’s peers at the Royal Society of London, to which he had been elected Fellow in 1672 was another remarkable physicists and mathematician, Robert Hooke. Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke differed in their approach as to the nature of light, with Newton asserting that light consisted of small particles while Robert Hooke put forth the theory that light travelled in waves. It was an epic debate between two giants on the nature of planetary motion like none had witnessed before. It was an exchange of letters based on the written word.
In respect of today’s event, the letter of 5 February 1675 from Isaac Newton to Robert Hooke is particularly poignant. In it one finds one of the most remarkable quotations of all times, an admission by Newton to Hooke that “If I have seen far, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. It is from the giants of the likes of Mzee Hamza Mwapachu (RIP), Mama Juliana Mwapachu (RIP), and support from pillars in the form of Rose, wife of JV, and their children: Hamza of Dar es Salaam, Harith RIP, Hamadi of London, and Haddiyya of Toronto; and his brother  and my former colleague, Bakari; his sister Rahma and brother-in-law Mark Bomani; and Wendo, Tunu and Jabe, that JV has found the inspiration to peer far and contribute to knowledge  and scholarship.
By way of closure let me capture JV’s contribution to enlightenment thus: Since education is the key to life, the written word is the key to education; the writer is the maker of that key, and the reader is the user of the key; the wider society is the beneficiary of the wide door of enlightenment unlocked using the key.
Let me end the same way as I started, by saying how much honour JV you have done me to invite me to be the guest of honour to this memorable event, the launch the book: Tanzania in the age of change and transformation, which, on behalf of Lucy, Max, Sekela and Emmanuel, I now do, and do so, with deep humility.
I thank you all.

16 May 2018

Book Launch Poster

Pre-book launch meeting at the Mwapachu residence

Balozi Juma Mwapachu  (Seated right) and Mama Rose Mwapachu (Standing Left) with Prof and Mama Mwandosya

Prof. Mark Mwandosya (left) launching the book on: Tanzania in the Age of Change and Transformation. Others from left: Mrs Rose Mwapachu; Balozi Juma Volter Mwapachu, Author; Dr. Reginald Mengi, Charman of the IPP Group of Companies; Mrs Lucy Akiiki Mwandosya; and Dr. Juliana Masabo, Guest Speaker

Invited guests to JV'Book Launch

Copyright© 2017 Mark Mwandosya. All rights reserved


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Salaam kutoka Matema Beach, Ziwa Nyasa, Tanzania

Salaam kutoka Matema Beach, Ziwa Nyasa, Tanzania


Mwezi Agosti 2017 nilipata nafasi ya kusafiri kwenda Jamhuri ya Visiwa vya Comoro. Comoro ni umoja wa visiwa vinne; Ngazija, Nzuwani, Mwali, na Maore. Hata hivyo kisiwa cha Maore au Mayotte kinasimamiwa na Ufaransa mpaka hapo wananchi wa Maore watakapoamua kuungana na visiwa vingine. Comoro inaendelea kukitambua kisiwa cha Maore kama sehemu ya Umoja wake. Mimi na familia yangu tulizuru visiwa viwili kati ya hivyo vinne, Ngazija na Nzuwani.

Nikiwa Comoro niliandika waraka niliouita “Salaam kutoka Comoro” na kuusambaza katika mtandao. Watu wengi wamepata nafasi ya kusoma waraka huo. Baadhi yao, pamoja na kunipongeza walinishauri, na hakika walinipa changamoto kuhusu umuhimu wa kuandika waraka kama huo lakini ukilenga kuitangaza Tanzania, kwa watanzania na wageni. Unaanzia wapi kuandika kuhusu Tanzania, nchi iliyojaaliwa na Mwenyezi Mungu kuwa na rasilimali asilia zisizo na mfano duniani? Aidha watu wengi wameandika kuhusu utajir…

Salaam kutoka Comoro

A Letter to Comrade Martin Thembisile (Chris) Hani

A Letter to Comrade Martin Thembisile (Chris) Hani

April 10, 2018
Comrade Chris, To an ordinary mortal it would seem odd that I should communicate with you, us being worlds apart. To a Christian, such as I am, and to you, born a Catholic, being a committed member of the South African Communist Party (SACP), notwithstanding, the belief in and notion of life in the world after comes naturally. Furthermore, very African as both of us are, we firmly believe in the presence in our midst, of the souls of the departed, residing in, among other places, the hills and mountains, the valleys, the pristine forests and woods, and in our homes, among other beauties mother nature has endowed mother Africa. I therefore have no hesitation whatsoever in undertaking this mission of communicating with you Comrade Hani, coming as it does, on the 25th anniversary of your departure.
The chilly southern hemispherical autumn Easter Saturday of 10th of April, 1993, was the longest day in the final struggle for th…