Wednesday, 9 August 2017

T-Junction to the big screen at Mlimani City


By +Caroline Anande Uliwa @CarolAnande-Instagram @CarolAnande-Facebook @CarolAnande-Twitter


From left Magdalene Christopher & Hawa Ally
lead actresses in this film, where Hawa has won
Best Actress in the 'Bongo Movie' category in the
ZIFF festival this year for her performance in
T-Junction
“There’s waking up at 4am asking myself, what would ‘Fatima’ be doing right now, I am walking then ask myself, what would Fatima think as she is walking here. That is something I took from the training…you are not supposed to act but to live out ‘the character’” Hawa Ally one of the lead actresses playing ‘Fatima’ in the film T-Junction, that debuted at this years ZIFF (Zanzibar International Film festival) as the opening film.

T-Junction a product of Kijiweni Production directed by Amil Shivji with Asst Director Cece Mlay, is a 100 minute feature film. The first feature film from the budding Tanzanian film company, that had it’s humble beginnings on a street corner in Upanga, Dar es Salaam hence its name. http://www.kijiweniproductions.com/

Nilipata fursa ya kukaa chini na waigiazaji wa filamu hii baada ya kuiangalia pale Ngome Kongwe Zanzibar. Nikiwa na Sabrina Kumba aliyeigiza kama Mama Maria, Magdalena Christopher aliyeigiza kama Maria, Moses Meshack na David Msia walioigiza kama baadhi ya wamachinga pale ’t-junction’. 

“Rafiki yangu alintumia meseji kuniambia kuna watu wanaitwa ‘Kijiweni Production’ wana usaili hivyo tunabidi twende tukatafute fursa…Tulikuwa 560! kwanza ile siku yenyewe ya usaili huwezi amini nilichelewa. Nilitakiwa nifike saa tatu nikafika saa tano kwasababu nilipotea. Mpaka nimefika nilikuwa nishaanza kukata tamaa, lakini nillipokabidhiwa mswada nikasame wacha nifanye kazi kadri ya uwezo wangu…” Sabrina Kumba akikumbuka jinsi alivyoibuka mshindi wa kuigiza kama Mama Maria ndani ya filamu hii.

Sabrina Kumba, mmoja wa waigizaji wa filamu hii T-Junction

Sabrina anauzoefu usiopungua miaka 7 kama muigizaji wa jukwaani. Yani kwenye maigizo na michezo akiwa ndani ya vikundi na taasisi mbalimbali. Mbela ya kamera alishawahi kuigiza kwenye matangazo. Ila ndani ya T-Junction, ndo ilikuwa mara yake ya kwanza kuigiza kwa kufuata mswada wa filamu mbele ya kamera za weledi.
“You see what we do is, we do auditions…Without having auditions you are not able to find new talent that’s the basic factor…when I started I was naive. I thought I’ll just have auditions and everyone will come. The big actors, the small actors and all the professionals and then I learned the system and how actors were afraid of tabloids. If they wouldn’t get the role, what would happen to their status, their characters, their persona’s in media.” Amil Shivji Director of T-Junction and company exec of Kijiweni Productions. 

The cast (2nd from left film Director Amil Shivji
with crew of the film 'T-Junction' at the debut screening
of their film inside ZIFF festival in July'17. Where former
President Dr Jakaya Kikwete was guest of Honour as seen in
the photo (middle in beige suit). 
He goes on to explain the challenges his team faces in integrating the two worlds of Bongo Movies & Independent films or rather introducing film etiquettes to the street smarts employed in the local film industry. The result is this film which casts two lead characters who have never acted in front of a camera, namely Hawa Ally and Magdalena Christopher- playing Fatima & Maria respectively, alongside veteran actors in the local movie industry namely Cojack Chilo-Iddi and Tin White-Shabani.


The feature 100 minute film sponsored by the Irish Aid, Selcom & Rosa Luxembourg Foundation. Is set on the streets of Upanga & the suburbs of Mwananyamala in Dar es Salaam. We’re met with Fatima who has just lost her father, who we learn was not much of a father to her growing up. Further along Fatima encounters Maria a strange young lady around her age, who slowly helps Fatima with her conflicted emotions in grieving for her dad.

Magdalena Christopher mmoja wa waigizaji wakuu ndani
ya filamu ya T-Junction
“Mwanzoni kwenye sanaa nilikuwepo lakini nilikuwa nafanya mambo ya ‘modeling’. Sasa baadaye nikasema natamani kuwa mwigizaji…nikaona ngoja niende nikasome…Chuoni ndio tulitumia miswada ya filamu ila si unajua, ni jukwaani likipita limepita. Lakini huku lazima uhariri, lazima ushike neno lile lile. Lakini kule kama kwenye mswada imeandikwa ‘poa’ wewe ukasema ‘safi’ imeshapita.” Magdalena akielezea changamoto alizokumbana nazo kwenye kuigiza ndani ya filamu kwa mara ya kwanza.

Magdalena ni mhitimu wa chuo cha Sanaa Bagamoyo, na kwa kweli kazi yake kwenye filamu hii yavutia. Nafsi anayoicheza ni ngumu kwani, Maria waweza sema amepagawa kidogo, ila pia tunamwona kama kijana wa kawaida. Anayepambana na maisha ili kujikwamua kiuchumi. Vivyo anatokea kuwa msichana wa kazi, na kwa bahati nzuri anampata mpenzi anayemliwaza. Ila ghafla yabadilika na vivyo Maria ndani ya filamu hii, ni kichaa si kichaa, mcheshi, mkweli na Magdalena amefanya kazi nzuri kuturejeshea Maria wa T-Junction.

Moses Meshack, mmoja wa waigizaji
ndani ya filamu hii ya T-Junction
“Tulianza kwanza na mazoezi ya viuongo kulainisha mwili na kusaidia sauti zetu zitoke vizuri, nlikuwa sitegemei kabisa…Baada ya kama wiki mbili hivi, ndo tulifanya mazoezi ya kuigiza jinsi ya kutembea n.k. Sijawahi kuigiza chochcote hii ni filamu yangu ya kwanza…” Moses akielezea kidogo juu ya mafunzo aliyopata na waigizaji wenzake kabla ya kunaswa kwenye filamu na kamera. Mafunzo haya yaliendeshwa na muigizaji Godliver Gordian muigizaji mzoefu, Aisha (2015), Siri ya Mtungi (2012) na Homecoming (2016).

Despite this film pulling virgin actors in front of the camera, performances like those of Hawa Ally. Who has already scooped ‘Best Actress’ at the ZIFF festival this year in their Bongo Movie Awards for her performance in this film. You wouldn’t know think it was her first time in a film. She sunk into her role so well, that I never had that uncomfortable glimpse of the real person behind the character. Performances by Magdalena Christopher, Tin White Shabani & Moses Meshack were as well impressive. Moses even gained weight for his role, the man is obviously meant to be an actor. Shabani added vulnerability to his comedic character making his performance memorable.

David Msia, mmoja wa waigizaji wa filamu ya T-Junction
“Nakumbuka baada tu ya kuambiwa tutamuigiza nani, tuliambiwa tukajuane na wahusika. Kwa bahati nzuri niliweza tembelea sehemu amabazo walibomolewa wamachinga kama pale Mbezi, Kibaha walikokuwa wanabomolewa ili kupanua barabara. Nilijionea mwenyewe kwamba hawa ni wenzetu. Licha ya kumkuta asubuhi anapokuuzia gazeti au matunda. Hawa pia ni wana familia, ni watu ambao wana maisha yao, ni watu ambao wana hadithi zao. Ni watu ambao wakikutana pale wanajua hii ni sehemu ya mtu fulani, hii ni sehemu ya mtu flani…” David Msia akisimulia kilichompa hamasa kuigiza kama mmachinga kwenye filamu hii.

The Assistant Director of this film Cece Mlay,
who has worked on all the films produced at Kijiweni
Productions
Kama hukuwepo Zanzibar kujionea filamu hii, usikose kuitazama pale Mlimani City kuanzia tarehe 11 hadi 17 mwezi huu. Naye Cece Mlaya msaidizi Muendashaji wa filamu hii, aliniambia kuwa filamu hii endapo watanzania wengi watafika kuingalia. Viyvo wao watavyoweza kupewa siku nyingi zaidi za maonyesho pale Mlimani City. Hata kuweza kuipeleka mikoani na nje ya mipaka ya Tanzania.

T-Junction will be showing at Mlimani City from the 11th till the 17th of this month, be sure to catch it. So as to support our own stories on the big screen. Kudos to the whole team for the ability to engrave our everday scenes onto the big screen (it just doesn’t get old). Also for delivering intelligent storytelling with flashbacks, color grading that was on point and a tempo that completed the emotive qualities of the story. The film has already won the Best European African Film Festival Award’ of 1000 Euros from ZIFF this year.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Saving Mothers in TZ-Loveluck the Midwife


By +Caroline Anande Uliwa @CarolAnande-Instagram @CarolAnande-Facebook @CarolAnande-Twitter
“A Midwife is not someone who just catches the baby, it’s someone who has undergone specified training, which is recognised at national and international levels. Who fulfils certain competencies is registered and is licensed to practice as a midwife.” Nurse & Midwife Loveluck from Tanzania.

Mme Loveluck Mwasha inside a lecture room at AgaKhan University
in Dar es Salaam, where she teaches
Loveluck Mwasha is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Aga Khan University (AKU) in Dar es Salaam, she has over 30 years experience as a Nurse & Midwife. Earlier this month she was honoured with the coveted ‘Midwife for Life Award 2017’ by Save the Children and the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) at the ICM 31st’s Triennial Congress in Toronto, Canada.

Loveluck Mwasha in her younger
 years as a Midwife in Dar es Salaam


A mother of three she grew up in Machame, Moshi raised by a single mother (a widow) with six siblings. Despite her humble beginnings she recalls her mother’s generosity towards her community, particularly women and children. “…these children as they were going to church arrived late. The pastor then asked them, ‘why are you late, where were you?’. They all said they ‘we were helping Mama Mwema.’ He asked them ‘who is Mama Mwema?’ They gave him the description of my mom. Later the pastor came home and told my mom ‘you have inspired even these children because now they call you ‘kind mother’…” -Loveluck recalls an incident in her childhood.

She affirms that her mother’s kindness  and commitment to serve, coupled with a stint when she was four years old.That saw her hospitalised for a while due to an illness, “my mom was always with me and of course the nurses were really, really good…” Cemented her fate in this caregiving profession, so in 1983 she graduated from the then Muhimbili Medical Center (today Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences) with a Diploma in Nursing & Midwifery.

Loveluck in her childhoold home with her siblings
and neighbours after receiving her confirmation
Straight after graduation she was deployed to Ruvu JKT-National Service, compulsory at the time. It was at their clinic where she was attached after three months of enrolment, that she helped deliver her first baby. The mother in question arrived at the clinic in the evening. There was no other Medical officer present so she had to deliver the baby herself, plus there was no electricity so they used candlelight. She recalls being nervous but quickly went to work, as she had a mother in clear distress and knew she had to calm her down. The birth was natural and went smoothly however when the baby arrived, she was hardly breathing. Loveluck had to resuscitate her and thankfully the baby responded and was soon ok.

Loveluck Mwasha's graduation in 1983 for her
Diploma in Nursing & Midwifery from
Muhimbili Medical Centre in Dar es Salaam
“Five years later the mother found me by then I was back in Dar es Salaam. I was working, she traced our house, I was living with my brother and his family. When I came back from work as I walked in, the children came running saying ‘Aunty, Aunty you have a guest’.So I went inside and found this lady with her daughter of five years but I couldn’t place her… She introduced herself and said, ‘I know you will not remember me but if it were not for you this girl. This girl today would not be here. You really helped her to survive, so when I found someone who knew you I was like I must go and see her’…she brought me some cassava, a chicken. Those were the most precious gifts that someone had ever given me…”

Loveluck Mwasha receiving her convocation
MSc in Nursing & Midwifery from AKU in Dar es Salaam
Loveluck is currently the Vice President of TAMA-Tanzania Midwife Association. After It twenty years working as a Nurse & Midwife with a Diploma, she went back to school. To pursue a Bachelors degree in Nursing & Midwifery from the Aga Khan University in Dar es Salaam. She graduated then went back to work for five years then again went back to school. At the School of Nursing & Midwifery in Karachi, Pakistan to attain her Masters degree. She has worked in various hospitals in Dar es Salaam including Muhimbili, Hindu Mandal & Aga-Khan hospital. Where through her affiliations with agencies like ‘Tanzania Nursing & Midwifery Council’ has volunteered in many rural medical health centres, in regions like Mwanza, Mara, Bukoba and Morogoro. “We provide skills & mentorship for Nurse Midwives, who are working in reproductive health sectors. Giving on site training…” Loveluck Mwasha

As a third world country Tanzania still faces critical challenges in it’s reproductive health care. According to the African Report on Child wellbeing 2016, as of 2010-15 only 49% of pregnant women in the country gave birth with a skilled health worker present and only 15% of our babies born in the country are registered with a birth certificate as of 2016.

Loveluck with her three kids when they were infants & toddlers
According to the Tanzania Health Demographic Survey (THDS) & Tanzania National Bureau of Statistics survey, our maternal mortality ratio (the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy). As of 2015/16 was 556 deaths for every 100,000 live births. The figure has slightly gone down from 2004/5 where it was 578 deaths for every 100,000 live births. This is not progress though for in 2010-12 the figures were much lower reaching the 400’s per every 100,000 live births. Whereas in neonatal deaths (death during the first 28 days of life (0-27 days) as of 1991/2 the figures were 40 deaths for every 1,000 live births. In 2015/16 its come down to 25 deaths per 1,000 live births however again the figures were lower in 2010 where it was 21 deaths per every 1,000 live births meaning we are not improving.

“Our fertility rate is 5.2 for every woman, which is quite high several health facilities in the country are not able to cope with the numbers. Bearing in mind when someone comes to a health centre they expect they will be received well, they will get dignified care. They are not going to spend hours suffering before they are given attention…but the reality on the ground is many health facilities are understaffed and lacking proper supplies. Which is demotivating for the few staff present and the patients who will be frustrated wondering what is the point of coming there.”

Loveluck with her newborn second child in 1989
Loveluck went on to ascertain that conditions like these ensure many women particularly in rural areas, resort to traditional birth attendants. Who she mentions as lacking the proper skills and equipment to cater for a pregnant woman. She however added that she doesn’t see them as the enemy. Rather as members who can be sensitised to educate the public to seek professional medical care. As she is sure they more than anyone, have met a complication during pregnancy from their patients which they couldn’t handle, that resulted in heavy losses. “Any pregnant woman is at a high health risk, because anything can happen. You have to be at a place where there is skilled attendants who are competent and on top of that have adequate supplies and materials so that they can support you…” Loveluck Mwasha

Loveluck observes other challenges in her profession include the lack of enough Higher Learning institutions, to teach upcoming nurses and midwives. She attributes this to our growing population which isn’t matched by a growth of adequate education services. Which is why she is so grateful of learning institutions like Aga Khan University, which has groomed her and where she is very happy administering the Nursing & Midwifery Undergrad courses. That are offered at the university in a special program, whch caters to working nurses & midwives, who at Diploma level are enrolled twice a week so they can attain a Degree.

Loveluck as a mother shortly after giving birth to her third
and last born 1993 at the Aga Khan Hospital
where she was working as a Manager for RM NC Health
Loveluck added “Also being a mother is something that has really helped me because in our profession personal integrity and values are very important. Otherwise it can be difficult for you to give quality care…my children are very important to me. So whenever I am interacting with a pregnant woman especially a young one. I reflect back on my own journey. When I think of how much love I have for my children, I feel that every mom deserves to go home with their child. No woman should lose life while giving birth and no woman should lose their baby…” 

It was a privilege sitting with this woman who is so passionate about women’s reproductive health through midwifery. Her contribution to the field not just as a practitioner but as a teacher is commendable. On her last note she emphasised for the publich, the importance of expectant parents to work with competent  Midwives starting from pre conception, during conception and post. Highlighting that post conception care is often under emphasised and is where most maternal deaths occur with bleeding & infections like sepsis.



Ugandan & Tanzanian musicians in for a Boot Camp


By +Caroline Anande Uliwa @CarolAnande-Instagram @CarolAnande-Facebook @CarolAnande-Twitter

Sitenda from Uganda receiving her
 certificate from the facilitators Natlie and Ambasa
Under a makuti thatched roof a makeshift stage with musical instruments, greets your walk from the narrow steps leading to CDEA (Culture Development East Africa) head offices, on their rooftop in Mikocheni B. It’s the 28th of July a quiet night, we’re here to celebrate musicians from Uganda and Tanzania concluding their three day workshop; with a live music performance.

Last year June CDEA launched an annual workshop series titled ‘Music Boot Camp’, calling out musicians from East Africa. To interact with fellow musicians in the region, as well learn from respected professionals in the industry. Brushing and learning various skills of the business to include  online marketing, African music history, Image development etc.

Starting left Angela Kilusungu of CDEA,
 Natalie Lukkanear of Sauti Academy,
Grace Matata of CDEA, another affiliant of CDEA
and Ambasa Nelson Mandela of Sarabi Band
This year saw 18 applicants including Sandra Judith, Sitenda, Mwaka Benson, Arinaitwe Timothy, Okot Simon from Uganda as well Maisara Nassoro, Achieli Temu, Elisha James, James Mwigune, Hamisi Cholo, Benedict Ngelela. Hilary More, Nelius Sostenes, Micky Marvin, Irene Veda, Boniface Aron, Allen Henjewele and Eileen Mwalongo from Tanzania. 
Miss Irene La Veda from Tanzania tearing
 it up with the Sax at the performance
inside CDEA

Throughout the workshop they were greeted with facilitators like Natalie Lukkanear from the Nedherlands. She is the founder of Sauti Academy in Kenya that started in 2010, the first East Africa’s first official Artist Development program. She is also the Executive Director of Penya Africa a music label of 5 years in Kenya. She has worked with artists like Sauti Sol and H_art the Band, Elani, Willy Paul & others. “It was super awesome dealing with the musicians, the language barriers with my Kenyan English & Swahili made it for a nice and confusing situation…I was impressed with the talent” Natalie 
In the middle Hilalry More receiving his certificate
for attendance from the 'music boot camp'
workshop hosted by CDEA this year

Other facilitators included Ambasa Nelson Mandela of Sarabi band in Kenya and daughter of the late Remi Ongala Ms Aziza Ongala, an event manager working with several festivals in & outside the country.  Nelson’s energy is so infectious meeting him downstairs he had two discreet silver earrings on his lobes. By the time he climbed upstairs he had attached curtain hoops to them, making for noticeable earrings on a man. Then again listening to his jokes and antics on stage as the MC of the night, you weren’t surprised by his creative energy. He went on to introduce us to the acts of the night.

The facilitators had challenged the participants to form collaborations with each other and compose songs within the two days of the workshop, that they performed for the crowd on this night. Among the performances that lit up the stage was a duet between rising star Achieli a.k.a Chi from Tanzania with Sitenda from Uganda’, their song ‘Kazine’ which means to dance in Uganda. It was very impressive including a catchy chorus and stunning harmonies from their distinct vocals. (watch here) <iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FCarolAnande%2Fvideos%2F1429778380452088%2F&show_text=0&width=560" width="560" height="315" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allowFullScreen="true"></iframe> In effect Natalie who spots talent for a living encouraged the two to work together in future.

The performance with Hillary and James also stains the memory, particularly the impressive mouth percussions from Hillary. You would think he had inserted a small drum in his mouth but no with skilled slaps to his cheeks beautiful beats came out. Irene la Veda with her saxophone from Tanzania paired up with Micky Melvin from Tanzania. Their song was dynamic especially with its sax solo’s from Veda. Micky who is a songwriter composed it’s lyrics and both crooned lulling swahili lyrics on this night.

Audience members at the event 

The Creative Manager at CDEA Angela Kilusungu in bidding us adieu said “I am so happy with the turn up of this workshop, thank you all for braving the challenges. Particularly those of you from who travelled from Shinyanga, Arusha and Uganda. We hope you learned from us as we did from you…we’re all really proud…”

James Mwigune receiving a hug from
Natalie right before getting his certificate
Among the participants performing on the night
Irene La Veda on the Sax and Micky Melvin
with the red coat
From Left Natalie, Achieli Temu holding her workshop
attendance certificate, see Ambasa Nelson (notice his earring
On this night the participants were honoured with an attendance certificate which was presented in true artistic style. By Natalie and Nelson where much applause and hugs were shared by the audience and participants alike.

Article was first published in the DailyNews Tanzania paper on the 1st of Aug'17

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Literary competetion ‘Andika na Soma’ launches its first chapbook


By +Caroline Anande Uliwa @CarolAnande-Instagram @CarolAnande-Facebook @CarolAnande-Twitter

From left Maria Makasi & Buliba Magambo next to one of
the judges of the literary competetion Laila Nanji  'Andika na Soma'
at the launch of their chapbook inside Soma Book Cafe
grounds in Dar es Salaam recently
“I have read a lot of Shaaban Robert,  also Hussein Tuwa as well this one who’s using popular language Eric Shigongo, I used to follow his novels…for instance in our school where I completed my form 4 at Chang’ombe Secondary, we had a library. It had various books, I used to take novels borrow them to go and read. For novels the likes of Eric Shigongo’s, from my pocket money I would put aside, a certain amount & another as soon as it reached 10,000TSHS. I would go ahead & buy my own copy…” Buliba Magambo


Director of SOMA learning & readership
Agency Mme Demere Kitunga, at the
launch of the chapbook giving an
 inspiring speech to the audience present 
His handshake was formal his expression serious, meeting Buliba for the first time wearing a plain cream tailored shirt and charcoal pants. It didn’t seem that he was one to launch into smiles & laughter so easily yet further into our interview his face softened, a big smile peeked through his eyes. As soon as he went on to tell his journey as a writer of fiction, which began since he was in form 1, penning stories at the back of his exercise books for his friends to read.

“You know, a writer feels deeply. Something always irked me to say something, I thought it not ok to keep it to myself. Thinking on what better way to voice my thoughts, I fell for the written word…” Buliba

Buliba Magambo is among 10 young Tanzania writers, who were shortlisted in last year’s short story competition ‘Andika na Soma’. He was in form VI at Benjamin William Mkapa Sec School, when he received the news of being selected in the top ten. Currently he is studying Mass Communications at Dar es Salaam University. ‘Andika na Soma’ calls for short story entries in Kiswahili from secondary school students all over Tanzania. Now running in its fourth year, it is organised by E&D publishers and sponsored by the Danish Embassy to Tanzania. http://www.somabookcafe.com

From left Zawadi S. Kondo-Tambaza Sec School,
Jackline Kisanga Machame Girls sec School,
'she's not featured in the book', Swedi Shaury Makongo Sec School,
 Kulwa Abdallah-Makongo Sec School, 'not featured in the book'.
Eliana Swai winner in last years 'Andika na Soma' competetion-
Kifungilo Sec School, Mariam Mwenesi-Machame Sec School,
Buliba Magambo-Benjamin Mkapa Sec School,
Asha Hassan Malolo-Zanaki Sec School, 'not featured in the book',
Anneth Mirambo-Ruvu Sec School and Maria makasi Jangwani Sec school
For the first time in its three annual rounds ‘Andika na Soma’ has published a chapbook, comprising of 10 short stories from its 7 shortlisted writers of last year’s round, as well 3 other short stories from selected contestants of the same year. The  official launch of the book took place at SOMA Book Cafe, an outlet of E&D publishers Ltd located in Regent Estate, Dar es Salaam on the 24th June. With special guest Laila Ally Nanji being present, one of the judges for this years competition who is an Asst Lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam in Kiswahili department.

“You can now call yourselves writers as you are published…it would be a shame though, if you ended on this pages. A real writer keeps writing, its like a knife if you don’t use it, it goes blunt…” Mme Demere Kitunga, Editor & Director of E&D publishers Ltd. Giving a word of encouragement to the young writers at the launch of their chapbook, detailing the processes of the birthing a book, she further congratulated them for daring to pen their stories urging them to keep doing so, for if we keep reading stories from other countries then we affirm a mediocre belief that we are not good enough or creative enough as other cultures.

“Hapaaana Emma, hapana mwanangu! Usifanye hivyo…!” Haya yalikuwa maneno ya mama huku akikimbia kutoka meza kuu kuja mahali nilipo. Nilitumia muda huo kumuomba mama msamaha na pia nilimsihi aniruhusu niendelee kukisoma kijitabu hicho. Hata hivyo nilijikuta niko chini tayari kumuinuua mama, ambaye wakati anajaribu kunikimbilia alianguka kutokana na viatu virefu alivyovaa siku hiyo. Nililia sana kwa uchungu si tu kwasababu ya kutaka kukisoma kile kijitabu ,bali juu ya mama ambaye alianguka mbele ya wageni wake katika siku hiyo muhimu sana kwake…” ‘Zawadi ya Mama’-Andika na Soma 2016

Facilitators at the launch of the 1st Andika na Soma chapbook
left George Lauwo Manger at Soma and Laila Ally Nanji Asst
Lecturer in the Kiswahili Department at the University
of Dar es Salaam, also one of the judges of this literary competition
Above is an excerpt from the chapbook, within the short story ‘A gift for Mother’ by Maria Makasi. She completed high school at Jangwani Sec School last year. It was through her involvement in the school’s  book club ‘Mzalendo’ that she got wind of Andika’s call for submissions. Currently she’s a member of TYVA-Tanzania Youth Vision Association, where she’s a board member in their TCB-‘training & capacity building’ program. She is also working on the pilot of a TV program to be aired at StarTV, that will assist secondary students to learn Science using music.

Listening to her journey in penning this short story, which involved her learning to use the computer for the first time. Where she lost her work twice a result of power cuts and her rookie experience with PC’s. It was to glimpse a courageous young woman, who despite being a science student  going through form six finals preparations, with little experience in writing literature. Went on to scoop the second prize in last years ‘Andika na Soma’ competition, which had her taking 300,000Tshs cash and books to the same value.

Among the lady writers in this chapbook, left Maria Makasi
and Anneth Mirambo both now graduated from
secondary school awaiting university

As this chapbook was allotted limited funding due to the finite sponsorship of this competition. It will be given to each of the writer’s secondary schools for their libraries, a copy for each to the contributing writers. The remaining  few copies will be retained for public reading at Soma Book Cafe. Maria & Buliba attested how ‘the written word lives on’.  Its commendable how these young writers have gone on to tell vivid stories of their landscape.

The short stories in this chapbook explore pertinent issues in our times like Buliba’s story ‘Timbwili la Inspekta Kajigu’, which looks at drugs & leadership. Also the case for family bonds their myriad facades in our society, themes of democracy, youth employment, rural urban migration & corruption dominate the book. Scoring the fact that youths do have an interest  in our geo-political and cultural edicts and so deserve a platform to air their views more often.

This year entries to ‘Andika na Soma’ competition under the theme globalisation, are closed. Over 400 short stories were submitted ranging from 31 Secondary schools all over the country. The winners will be announced by September this year.

First published in the East African Newspaper..

Sunday, 16 July 2017

ZIFF’17 paving way for TZ film industry



By +Caroline Anande Uliwa @CarolAnande-Instagram @CarolAnande-Facebook @CarolAnande-Twitter

Against the backdrop of these words “I really admire artists because I love music, of any genre. In my youth I danced ‘Rumba’ plenty. During these yesteryears at ‘DDC Magomeni Kondoa' I had a special seat. If you went and sat there they would tell you, ‘that seat is reserved when he arrives you’ll have to leave’…”- Dr Jakaya M. Kikwete from his speech at the opening of this year’s Zanzibar International Film Festival, that is celebrating two decades since its inception.

We saw the unveiling of Zanzibar’s film festival-ZIFF on the 8th of July, where former President of the United Rep of Tanzania graced the opening ceremony as guest of honour. He was honoured with the lifetime achievement award from this festival, for his passionate contributions to the arts & for pushing the festival’s visibility for the past 20 years.
(click link for more photos of the festival) https://www.flickr.com/photos/61526027@N05/sets/72157682535631572

His speech which went on for a good 30 minutes, that towards the end he kindly chided himself ‘perhaps because it’s been a while since I was speaking to Tanzanians in front of a podium…’. Went on to congratulate the organisers including former festival’s CEO Martin Mhando, founding board members of ZIFF like Fatma Alloo & Hassan Mitawi. For establishing a platform that is recognised internationally, erecting firm infrastructure in the film industry in Africa.

Former President of Tanzania among Dr J. M. Kikwete
giving a speech as GOH at ZIFF
opening ceremony this year-Photo by ZIFF photographer
Mentioning that this is no small feat, he urged local film stakeholders to up their skillset, like taking advantage of the opportunities presented in this year’s ZIFF film school program. Which saw applications from several young film makers all over the continent, still despite the entry being free very few Tanzanian filmmakers applied. “I watch a lot of Bongo Movies…and you reach a point you can’t even hear the words. If we want our local movies to compete reaching international platforms like Cannes or even Ouagadougou in their Pan-African Film Festival, ultimately getting to Hollywood. If ZIFF is giving these opportunities to local filmmakers why aren’t we using them?”

To understand why our mainstream movie industry has many shortcomings a look at history is warranted. As ZIFF’s Board Chairman Hon Mahmoud T. Kombo (Current Health Minister of Zanzibar) highlights. “Yes, indeed by 1997 all the cinemas in Tanzania had collapsed thanks to the IMF conditions and tunnel thinking, where a peoples’ culture was held in short-thrift. Culture wasn’t considered part of development and no tear was shed when 53 cinemas in the country along with many hundreds around Africa were closed in the 80’s and 90’s…”
Photo by ZIFF photographer, audiences at the Old Forte Ampi theatre,
one of the screening venues of the festival

With this hacking from the knees of a whole industry casualties are to be expected. Yet the industry as of 2010 was contributing more than 300 billion TSHS to Tanzania’s annual GDP. Where a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) global entertainment and media outlook 2016-2020 report noted that: “in 36 out of the 54 countries covered by PwC’s outlook, entertainment and media spending is growing more rapidly than GDP, often by a factor of more than 50 percent.” PwC is present in Tanzania, former president Dr Kikwete noted how he’s always been impressed by the resilience of youth in the industry, who have found employment by the thousands in this sector.
Among the pillars of ZIFF festival from left Festival
 Director Fabrizio Colombo, former festival CEO Prof Martin
Mhando and current festival CEO Daniel Nyalusi at ZIFF'17
opening ceremony

ZIFF this year continued to propel the local movie industry, by debuting its festival with a Tanzanian film 'T-Junction' of Kijiweni Productions, Directed & written by Amil Shivji. The film on the award night of this festival (15th July) went onto scoop, ‘the Best European African Film Festival Award’ of 1000 Euros. As well as having its lead actress Hawa Ally, receive ‘Best Actress’ in the Bongo Movie Award section of the ceremony.

Among the notable screenings of Tanzanian film at the festival this year was the documentary ‘Sinema Ujamaa’ directed by Symphorian Belleghe from Tanzania.  Here one can trace the gap since the 60’s to the late 80’s of Tanzanian film before ‘Bongo Movies’ when cinema houses were prominent in the country.

Members of 'Mtendeje' performing 'Maulid ya Home'
at the opening ceremony of ZIFF this year inside
the ampi theatre at Old Fort in Zanzibar
Littered with archival footage and reenactments of classics from the time including ‘Fimbo ya Mnyonge’ and ‘Harusi ya Mariam’. Sinema Ujamaa reunites a group of early film makers to an intergenerational dialogue with young ‘Bongo Movie’ film makers. That ignites patriotic sentiments from audiences in noting our responsibility to hold the industry erect.

Also the dramatised documentary ’Son of Sinbad: A call of Zanzibar’, was another local film that was featured at the festival which had its world premier on this platform. The documentary didn’t use any professional actors in its dramatised clips. “So we were looking for people on the streets, who were willing to take part. Most of them had never been in front of the camera…” Friedrich Kluetshc the director of this documentary, which explores the maritime history of Zanzibar with connection to Oman since the 1840’s to the present. https://www.facebook.com/ZanzibarInternationalFilmFestival/

From right Members of the Board of ZIFF Chande Omar,
Fatma Alloo and Hassan Mitawi as well former
CEO of ZIFF Prof Martin Mhando, current
CEO Daniel Nyalusi and Festival Director Fabrizio Colombo
Among the producers Said Odeithi commented how Mafoudh et Mafouth a native of Zanzibar playing the role of Sultan Said Sayyed, was an example of hidden talent that this documentary unearthed. Having seen the documentary I can vouch that one wouldn’t think the man has never acted before.

ZIFF this year through its Film School Program saw this years chief guest, US-based producer Davis Dexter, conduct a three-day workshop that culminated in a pitching competition for African filmmakers. Where Tanzania’s own Amby Lusekelo won the bid which will culminate in a film grant between 50,000 to 200,000 US Dollars.

Indeed the festival this year has gone aways in lighting the torch for the local industry including the opening of Soko Filam, that brought over 50 filmakers from over 12 countries to our shores of Zanzibar. Who were joined by mroe than 100 Soko Filam delegates, a wonderful opportunity in placing our country on the map in the African film industry.

We saw the Bi Kidude, chairperson award from ZIFF go to a Tanzanian production-White Potion by Ash Mswaki, together with the COMNET Bongo Movie Awards continuing to boost our own industry. Here Best Actor went to Ibrahim Osward in Hadithi za Kumekucha, Best Editor to Freddy Feruzi in Genge, Best Cinematographer to Freddy Feruzi in Genge, Best Screenplay/Writer to Ernest Napoleon & Daniel Manege, Best Film in Sound to Homecoming by Seko Shamte and Best Director to Nicholas Marwa in Kiumeni, with T-Junction as mentioned earlier scooping Best Feature Film and the Best Actress for Hawa Ally.

Board Chairman of ZIFF (in white)
Hon Mahmoud T. Kombo presenting the
Lifetime Achievement Award to former
President of Tanzania Dr Jakaya Kikwete
at the opening ceremony of ZIFF this year
The theme for next year’s ZIFF festival was announced as ‘Speak Up and Say It!, ‘Sema Usikike’ which will occur on the 7th to the 15th of July. Special thanks to the sponsors of this festival which include Danido, ComNet, ZanLink, Danish Film Institute, DoubleTree by Hilton, British Council. Maru Maru Hotel, Azam Marine Division, Showmax Trace Mziki, US Embassy Dar es Salaam, Kenya Film Classification Board, Milele Zanzibar Foundation, Ethiopian Airlines, Emerson Foundation, GIZ. Goethe Institute. Sauti za Busara Festival, ACRA, Italian Embassy Dar es Salaam, Embassy of Israel, Park Hyatt Zanzibar, Clouds Plus TV, African Movie Channel, Maharaba Swahili Music Festival, Wanene Productions and ZBC.

For the full list of ZIFF winners this year click www.ziff.or.tz




First published in the east african newspaper http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/magazine/Zanzibar-Film-Festival-looks-to-strengthen-Tanzania-industry/434746-4016202-fvns9mz/index.html




Friday, 16 June 2017

The African Report on Child Wellbeing, the case for Tanzania


By +Caroline Anande Uliwa @CarolAnande-Instagram @CarolAnande-Facebook @CarolAnande-Twitter



Ms Graca Machel at the launch of the ARCW'16 in Johannesburg
last month 
Almost half of Africa’s population is under 18 (half a billion), where in most countries the child population is doubling every 25 years. Facts like this litter the ‘The African Report on Child Wellbeing 2016’ (ARCW’16) generated by The African Child Policy Forum (ACPF). 

ACPF is an independent, not for profit, Pan African centre for research and advocacy on the African child based in Addis Ababa, established since 2003. On its board of trustees is notable persons like H. E.  Dr Salim A. Salim former Prime Minister of Tanzania and Secretary General of the then OAU; H. E.  Joaqium Chissano, President of Mozambique (1986-2005) as well Ms Graca Machel, International advocate for women’s and children's rights; former freedom fighter and first Education & Culture Minister of Mozambique. 

The report the fourth of its kind from the forum, titled ‘Getting it right: Bridging the gap between policy and practice’. Was launched in Dakar, Senegal in December last year and in May this year ,it was launched in Johannesburg, South Africa. It focuses on child rights implementation with the aim of helping bridge the gap  between policy and practice. 

Professor Julia Sloth-Nielsen from University
of Western Cape in SA, running the
 Children Rights & Advocacy project
 at the Community Centre delivering
 her speech at the launch of the
ARCW'16 in J'burg last month
 
“I find it quite interesting, that the general comment that’s being developed by the African committee of experts here, is specifically on general measures of implementation and systems strengthening. Which is new… that is precisely to take account community informal systems that respond to reach our protection issues. So we have a very different content to the CRC committee general measures of implementation of 2003. This report deals directly with the resource context and the capacity context in Africa…” —Prof Julio Sloth-Nielsen from the University of Western Cape in SA, who was present at the launch of the report in South Africa.

As Tanzania is a signatory to the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of  the Child (ACRWC) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Where article 1 of the ACRWC declares that states must: ‘…recognise the rights, freedoms, and duties enshrined in this Charter and […] must take the necessary steps, in accordance with their constitutional processes…” Where in the CRC, article 4, requires states to take all ‘appropriate legislative administrative and other measures’ to enforce children rights. 

“Here in Africa, we are not short of laws and policies, as we have done tremendous work in this regard over the last decades. What we fundamentally lack is implementation, commitment and capacity to translate them into action…” Ms Graca Machel, present at the launch of the report in Johannesburg. 


Members of the ACFP and invited guests at the launch of ARCW'16
in J'burg last month

The report critiques the previous national plan, ‘National Child Protection Agenda’ (NCPA II). As effective yet poor in its implementation due to several factors including budgetary constraints to the government wing responsible. That is the now Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, the Elderly & Children (MHCDGEC). 

“…The total budget for the Plan was USD 44 million for 2014 and USD 57 million for 2013. However much less than this was allocated. The government attributed this to donor delays in disbursing funds, the reality was that the Ministry of Finance allocated the available funds to other expenditures. 

The report further elucidates that poor coordination at lower administrative levels “…such as the committees for the most vulnerable children (MVCC’s) and the Child protection Teams are not recognised as formal structures. They are only funded after the Prime Minsters Office regional administrative and local government PMO-RALG, has authorised their payments. But this has not happened so it has not been possible to strengthen the capacity of the committees at ward and community levels to facilitate activities, local government agencies and so implement the plan more effectively. Source ACPF 2016”

We caught up with Mr Obey N. Assery, the Director of the Department of Coordination of Government Business at the Prime Minister’s office. http://www.pmo.go.tz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=119&Itemid=111 He instead cited positive efforts by the Prime Minister’s office. “In terms of child wellbeing I can recall two initiatives relating to children’s welfare. One is on nutrition where our focus has been to combat both chronic and acute malnutrition among children. 

Invited guests at the launch of the ARCW'16 in J'burg last month
We put emphasis on the first 1000 days of a baby’s life window as well the post 1000 days campaign, as you know within 5 years we were able to bring statistics for stunted children down from 42% to 35%, here our National Multi sectoral Nutrition Action Plan played a big role…We also coordinate social protection issues which we are focusing on helping children from poor backgrounds access health, education and other services through cash transfers. Issues of child labour and violence against women are also coordinated under PMO.”

Its wise to note here that 70-80% of the recurring budget for the MHCDGEC is facilitated by donors, so for instance the budget in 2015-16 for the ministry was USD 14,482,000. Yet only 5,035,000 was left for development, wherein the children rights implementation faction is found. In the 2014/15 national budget, the child rights implementation faction received only 230,500 less than 2% of the ministry’s budget that year. Bear in mind this is the wing left to carry out NACP II and delay in budget arrivals to the ministries is common as the report cites. ‘In Tanzania…only 22.8% of the development budget had been disbursed by April 2015 (two to three months before the end of the financial year).’

So it fairs sub nationally 61 percent of community development posts in Tanzania at ward levels, were vacant following last year with many districts having no ward community development officers, not to mention child protective teams or social workers.

On the ground what this breaks down to, is that for every 1000 live births as of 2015 in Tanzania, 35 passed away at infancy and 49 passed away under 5 years.  Since 2010-15 only 49% of pregnant women in the country gave birth with a skilled health worker present. Since 2009-13 the government only contributed 25% to the overall budget of EPI (immunisation kit).  Only 15% of our babies born in the country are registered with a birth certificate as of 2016 (an indicator that civil registration and state systems aren’t very efficient at low levels of government). We had 810,000 children orphaned by AIDS as of 2014. The rate of stunted children is still above 30%, in some regions up 50%. Source ARCW’16

We caught up with Mr Jones John Matungwa g'Omukama, from Tanzania Child Rights Forum (TCRF), he was among the experts from Tanzania consulted in the making of this report. http://www.childrightsforum.org He shed light on what is available on the ground for children seeking protection from abuse in Tanzania. 

“You might have already read in the report that by operationalising the Gender and Children Police Desks in most police stations across the country. The government has put in place a system of accountability specifically for children, though distant. We’ve yet to fully gauge it’s effectiveness. There’s also the toll free no that children across the country can call to report their problems 116. Also there are various districts supported by UNICEF programs as well the scarce but times available district child protection teams at government ward offices. Also legal services through response provided by paralegals support many districts across the country.” He further cited a lack of priority for children’s well being by society and government as a whole, being the main reason for lack of quality advertisement of these services to the public. 

“I think there is a need to mobilise around it. Besides, the just launched National Plan of Action on Violence Against Women and Children should help galvanise actions towards promoting access to these and other prevention and response services, hopefully.”

It’s not all gloomy, the good thing is our laws and policies are strong, we have the existence of domestic laws on child trafficking, sexual exploitation of children, harmful traditional practices including FGM, we have child friendly courts, plus corporal punishment (at least on the books) is prohibited at home & at school. Our immunisation against measles was at 99% as of 2014. 

We caught up with Mr. Richard Mabala from TAMASHA, https://www.facebook.com/tamashavijana/ another expert from Tanzania who was consulted on  the making of this report from Tanzania. He echoed Mr g’Omukama’s sentiments on the low level priority given to children issues, highlighting the impacts of neglecting children for the nation.

“The likelihood of children (who were malnourished, having no access to basic services like primary education and vaccinations; who have experienced sexual abuse and or excessive corporal punishment); growing up as happy, healthy, productive human beings is a miracle. 

There are more likely to extend this abusive behaviour to their children even participate in crime & such regressive behaviour. Which in no way profits our nation, in the work force or at home. However from our experience in TAMASHA (youth organisation), the resilience of young people is very high and when they are given a second chance, the majority grab at it with both hands. We spend all our money on physical infrastructure, what about human infrastructure…”

The report in its remedial advice urges our government to strengthen its accountability systems at all levels of governance by building their capacities. Investing in data collection and dissemination plus involving children in the implementation of their rights. You can access the report at http://www.africanchild.report/