Wednesday, 14 February 2018

In their twenties & lighting Dar’s canvas

Painters can present stark reality in magical dress, allowing you to revere what you otherwise can take for granted in landscapes faces or objects. 

Artwork by Abdullah K. Omar,
titled 'Msimbazi' oil on canvas
Pupils are perusing the scene of a street often walked on, often passed by it’s the Msimbazi ‘mwendo kasi’ bus stop in the city centre of Dar es Salaam. Only here it’s almost surreal in this contemporary impressionist painting, so expertly rendered by Dullah Wise a.k.a Abdullah K. Omar. 
Artwork by Innocent Mwaipungu, titled
'A great force in Directing' acrylic on canvas
You look closer and figure there’s her hip, oooh they’re probably siblings and this is their mom. Looking at the cubist painting ‘A great force in directing’ by Innocent M. Mwaipungu you can find yourself transfixed on the spot. As you try to break down its complexity, yes its outskirts could have benefited with less. It’s the centre that displays great talent, in line, emotion & colour composition; aptly conveying its message of power dynamics between parent/guardians and child. 
Photograph by Andrew S Munuwa a.k.a. Drew Shotz of the
boy selling barbecue maize in the city of Dar es Salaam
A boy, couldn’t be more than 16yrs old is selling barbecued maize corn by the roadside, with sunset hues blanketing the traffic. Gawking at this photograph by Andrew S. Munuwa, is nothing to be embarrassed about. His works display such character, like this photograph that viscerally brings you to its scene.  
Recently these three exhibitions in the city of Dar es Salaam explored its cityscape, people & relationships in such a nuanced way that I thought it apt, to bring it to your attention. The ‘mwendo kasi’ painting which is the first depict on canvas in an exhibition, of this city’s relatively new method of transport. Is part of the exhibition ‘Rainy Nights’ that went on since the 23rd of Jan till the 9th of Dec at the Alliance Francais grounds in Dar by Dullah Wise from Zanzibar.
Artwork by Dullah Wise 
Photograph by Drew Shotz
Dullah 27, is so gifted an old soul really, with his impressionist style using oil on canvas, he's our very own young Monet. His 
body of work in ‘rainy nights’ looks at cityscapes of Dar es Salaam & Stone Town in Zanzibar by night, his portrayal of reflections from light & water is just incredible. 

“Last year around May I came to Dar for another exhibition I was featured in. As you know it was the rainy season. When I was coming back from the exhibition hall at night, I was mesmerised by the city. I thought we glorify Paris & London but right here is something special…” Dullah shares with me on the inspiration behind ‘rainy nights’. 

Dullah has been painting professionally for six years now, he was taught through part time schooling at the Old Fort in Zanzibar. 
Artwork by Innocent Mwaipungu
His body of work in this exhibition depicts a very romantic city, with lights that dazzle. Now any resident of Dar es Salaam will tell you romantic, isn’t a word they’d place next to ‘Bongo’ as the city is commonly referred. 

Yet Dullah attempts this impossible and succeeds very well, the only drawback in his exhibition. Is that he was rushed for time with probably a lack of a skilled curator.
He used 2.5 months to complete 30 paintings all of which he showcased at his exhibition! It fared that some paintings here just don’t have the same attention to detail as others and or they appear repetitive in perspective & content.  
The exhibition by Innocent Mwaipungu is the first exhibition from this Tanzanian artist. “I learned to paint from my late father back when I was in primary school, he himself was a painter though he did it more as a hobby. One of my mentors is painter Masoud Kibwana, a year or so ago I met him at Nafasi Artspace, he has really helped me to grow my talent...” Innocent relays in sharing of his background.
Photographs by Drew Shotz
The 27 year old artist has launched himself on the right foot, with this exhibition ‘family distraction’. Which ran at the Goethe Institut offices from the 30th of Jan to the 9th of Feb. 

The contrast between his sombre messages which explores conflicts in family relations; from sibling rivalry, differing faiths between partners to gender violence & child abuse. Married well with his cubist realist style, that gave big faces, big gestures from his subjects. In future he’ll do well to work to better on his proportions, also to ensure there’s focus in each painting so we're not lost in a total riot of style & colour.

Poetry stanza by Loyce Gayo
The last exhibition ‘Mtaani Maskani’ which is still running till next month, at the DARCH centre in Dar es Salaam. Is one which showcases the works of Andrew S. Munwa’s featuring stanzas  from Tanzanian poet Loyce Gayo. 
It was refreshing to see poetry juxtaposed with photography a wonderful caption if any, the placing of the newsstand at ‘mtaani maskani’s entrance is genius. Though again the lack of good curation is seen by the weak display of the pieces. Instead of bunching them together in one alley, they could have benefited from more varied spacing, plus some pieces were falling of the walls.
Andrew’s photography takes us on an enlightening journey of the cities subjects, placing everyday vendors, skateboarders & coffee drinkers in a profound halo. Andrew 23, whose artist name is ‘drewshotz’ is a fresh talent on the block, this is his second exhibition. 
Artwork by Dullah Wise
I caught up with him where he relayed, “I met Loyce at a creative meet & greet called ‘the society’ last year. I also work close from where she lives and we’d take these walks in the evening... We noticed everyday gestures from the daladala stands, to the vendors and thought these are culture emblems... I was really impressed with the turnout, it’s my hope that immortalising these subjects will allow us to honour our urban contemporary culture...” 
Mtaani Maskani certainly gives us good reason to.
Well three exhibition with artists in their twenties a new generation of perspectives, we only hope to see more such exhibitions.
You can follow these artists on Instagram @DrewShots, @DullahWise @loyceG @i_malleey 

This article was first published in the east african newspaper here

Artwork by Innocent Mwaipungu

Artwork by Dullah Wise

Installation in the exhibition 'Mtaani Maskani'
by Andrew Stephen ft Loyce Gayo

Artwork by Innocent Mwaipungu
Artwork by Dullah Wise, oil on canvas

Photography by Drew Shotz
Artworks by Dullah Wise from Zanzibar

Artwork by Innocent Mwaipungu

Photograph by Drew Shotz

Saturday, 3 February 2018

A local delicacy fresh beef liver ‘Msalato Mnadani’

By +Caroline Anande Uliwa

'Kwa Chales' stall at Msalato Mnadani in Dodoma
Where do you feel the cosmos of a city, the stamp of its feet, the rustle of its conversation? Perhaps where it’s citizens gather to enjoy a public eat out. Here the meagre settings of  caramel dust, plastic sheets mounted on thin sticks to provide shade over simple plastic chairs. Don’t underscore the excitement of the occasion as delicious scents of sizzling barbecue invite you in.

Recently I was fortunate to visit a huge barbecue at ‘Msalato Mnadani’ in Dodoma, Tanzania. The  place is known for its proximity to a big slaughter house in the city.  Where every Saturday a public market is hosted, which mainly dishes barbecued beef & goat. You actually see droves of fresh slaughtered pieces of goat, cow even game meat brought in wheel burrows, then hung ready to be barbecued right in front of your eyes.

Wasafi's stall at Msalato Mnadani market in Dodoma
“At the slaughter house first we place it on nets to sieve off the blood. Then we bring it here to hang it, so it further dries before we marinate and place it on the burners…” Jackson Patiani among the chefs with a stall at  ‘Msalato Mnadani’, telling me a bit the process of his craft, where I learned he has been doing this for some 20 years now.

Dodoma not being my resident city, I was delighted at every detail in this market. Like the fact that residents of Dodoma love their meat. Unlike my home city, their food vendor stalls don’t offer minuscule portions of chicken and ‘mshikaki’, here you find goat limbs & chunks of beef ribs at every stall.

Our plate of fresh beef liver with slices of 'pilipili mbuzi'
-local chili, lemon & salt
It was time to chow down some of this meat, I was here with family and we ordered take out. However we just couldn’t resist sampling something at the scene despite it being 11 am. Which is how I came to taste for the first time in my life, a plate of fresh barbecued beef liver. 

I mean, I mean, you have to try it for yourself. The fact that the liver was fresh, added to its flavour plus barbecuing it. Ensured on the outside it was all held in place so it didn’t crumble into a gooey mess, yet the insides of it was still soft. With the simple marinate of lemon & salt with splashes of the local chilly ‘pilipili mbuzi’, our plate was finished in less than 5 minutes. 
The seating areas where customers
enjoy local brews as well as the food
Later on when we sat at home to enjoy our take out from Msalato, which was a healthy portion of barbecued goat. We learned a valuable lesson about buying meat at this market, which is to sample what you’re buying before paying up. Heck maybe we should have gotten the meat from Mr Patiani’s stall, what with his decades of experience. However I met him later on, our meat was tough & chewy not the way you want to eat goat barbecue.

Still this hasn’t made me think less of the place, if anything next time I am in Dodoma, I will certainly make my way here. The trick is to take your time and not be bamboozled by the hisses & calls from the chefs at each stall. 

Spikes where meat from the slaughter
is hung at the Msalato Mnadani
market ready for barbecue
Msalato Mnadani market gained popularity after the closing of it’s neighbouring  seasonal market ‘Maili Mbili’ in 2015. Since then it has become somewhat of a tourist attraction with it’s assortment of open barbecues.  It opens every Saturday from late morning to night fall, the city authorities encourages the business as it employs many youths.

 “After the veterinary officers certify the meat we select then buy the meat. For every cow we pay 12,000Tshs  & 4,000 for goat as tax…I am very happy with the turn out this season. Normally by this time you wouldn’t see this many people but as you can see it’s a good turn out, which means by night fall it’ll be quite hectic.” Amani Kudei, another vendor at Msalato sharing with us, how local government works with them to keep this business safe for it’s residents.

Despite Dodoma’s semi desert climate this market showed me the robust of its residents, be sure to drop by when in Dodoma.

@mkeka-mag- Instagram, @CarolAnande-Facebook, @CarolAnande-Twitter

Thursday, 21 December 2017

So much to experience in Tanzania SiTE

Cooped up in the city you can easily forget you live in a country where majority of the population lives in ‘rural’ areas.  While the word rural seems blasé, in Tanzania it uncovers all manner of touristic attractions. 

A real Leopard post mortem, dried  property of TANAPA
exhibited at the SiTE Tourism Expo 2017
With seven of the world’s heritage sites found here including; the highest free standing mountain in the world Mt Kilimanjaro. Second largest game reserve in Africa-‘Sealous’; Serengeti National Park’s Ngorongoro crater; the ruins of Kilwa and Songo Mnara. As well as Zanzibar’s Stone Town and Kondoa rock art site in the centre of Tanzania.

Bismark rocks on Lake Victoria
in Mwanza City Northern Tanzania. Photo courtesy of TTB
This was well emphasised at this year's SiTE-Swahili International Tourism Expo in it’s third annual showcase. That happened this October  at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in Dar es Salaam. Tanzania's Tourism Board launched this expo since 2014, to open Tanzania’s doors to the world & its residents but mainly to “…provide networking opportunities between various tourist stakeholder businesses, all over the country. Also to link them with international buyers in the tourism sector. Who we’ve flown here to foster a lasting business relationship with our tourism industry.Geofrey Tengeneza-Principal Public Relations Officer Tanzania Tourism board (TTB)

On the left Viazi vya Juu & Viazi vikuu
 (Upper Potatoes & Main Potatoes) the
viazi vya juu grow above ground this
 is Linus Kalisto showing
me to them from the cultural tourism stall 
This year the expo had the highest recorded exhibitors in its history 114, ranging from travel agents, hoteliers, souvenir shop owners, safari tours guides as well as Tour Operators in culture tourism.  A facet of tourism that is gaining ground in Tanzania with over 60 programs running across the regions of Tanzania. Offering tourists close encounters with the local population, inviting the visitor to participate in daily activities like coffee farming. Cooking local cuisines, fishing as well as an array of guided tours to treasured local spots. 

The 'Ibucha' Kata at the
Culture Tourism Stall inside
 the SiTE Expo 2017
“Water or mbege (a local brew of the Chagga tribe in Kilimanjaro)  that you drink from the ‘kata’ (an elongated cup of the calabash), has a better taste than that drunk from a plastic cup or a glass. Now because of globalisation and the cheaper availability of plastics the tradition of the kata is suffering. You see to have a Kata, you have to grow its plant for a year…you can’t leave it in the sun it can break…In our tours we allow our visitors to drink from these katas… This is the ‘ibucha’ kata which is bigger. It’s used in social gatherings passed on from person to person, as a gesture of support and kinship…Linus Kalisto of ‘Mkuu Cultural Tourism Enterprise’ in Rombo Kilimanjaro, explaining to me why in his stall he had katas hanging on it’s ceiling.

This Expo managed to bring 25 international buyers invited by TTB apart from those who flew in on their own. The buyers mostly from Europe were well appreciated by the exhibitors, who this time around also came from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mauritius & Madagascar. “I remember when we started only Uganda was here from outside of Tanzania…Nassra A Haji Marketing Officer Zanzibar Commission for Tourism-ZCT

“We ended up in SiTE because we’re ready to be here, we’re competitive enough, confident in what we do, so why not come to the market and face it.” Fransis Kato Sales & marketing officer of Ahadi Lodge
Francis Kato with his colleague Ignor of Ahadi Lodge
in their stall inside SiTE expo 2017

He shared that Ahadi lodge was with new management for the past six months or so, that through participating in two similar expo’s earlier this year namely Karibu & Kili Fair.  Where the organisers of Kili Fair also organised this year’s SiTE “We've grown from 4-5 operators to now having 21 tour operators. Since we participated in these fairs for the last six months…”  Francis continued, he added that Ahadi lodge expects with SiTE to hire even more tour operators.

He did express concern on local tourists, a market he didn’t see enough of at the expo. “TTB is doing a great job but they are like an arrow pointing us where we need to go…but we need Air Tanzania right there. That’s a first key player…they’re the only ones who will make ‘utalii wa ndani’ (local tourism) really work.”

Photo of local Queen taken in the early 20th Century,
 shownat the cultural tourism stall inside SiTE Expo 2017
The slogan ‘utalii wa ndani waanza na wewe’ (local tourism begins with you) has been harped on by TTB and ZCT adamantly with efforts including. Adverts in the local media, sponsored school trips for students, tourism promo tapes on local buses going up country running fairly regularly. 

Our research in 2008 let us know that there’s been wrong perceptions among Tanzanian’s on tourism. Thinking it’s for foreigners only or that it’s too expensive. (Tourist Cite entry fees in Tanzania are halved for the locals, a sentiment that many tourist businesses echo) Basically a stickling to habits that say relaxing only involves, time at the local pub or a visit to the local beach. When we began our campaign back in 2009, statistics showed that 200,000-250,000 local tourists toured per year. Till now the figures have risen to almost 1,000,000 local tourists per year…Mr Tengeneza from TTB

Though a significant bump, compared to our population of 50,000,000+ there’s still aways to go in harnessing this local market. Plus challenges that face the tourism industry in Tanzania, also lie in pulling sufficient foreign tourists to the country.  As overall prices are still high in comparison to neighbouring countries like Kenya. Part of this has been due to expensive travel, a factor that was made worse with the lack of local air travel. Which is why since last year with the resuscitation of the country’s airline ‘Air Tanzania’. Local tourist businesses like Francis Kato’s have big expectations.

We are back & strong looking to serve our clients, as one of the main sponsors of this expo our aim is to announce to the public. That we are here to make travel, particularly within Tanzania more efficient. Already I am amazed in these three days at the tourists who on seeing our stall are like, oh we didn’t know you were flying there… We have regular flights to Mwanza, Kilimanjaro, Dodoma, Songea, Mbeya, Zanzibar, Mtwara, Tabora & Kigoma within Tanzania our rates are affordable with 27 kilos allowed for economy & 7 as hand luggage…” Lily Tungamtama Acting Public Relations Officer Air Tanzania. 
Matema each in mbeya along side lake Nyasa. Photo courtesy of TTB

Prodding Lily to share on what Air Tanzania is doing in order bridge, what is still a wide expanse of destinations. That though with big tourist attractions the airline doesn’t fly to like Iringa, that has the Ruaha National Park. She conceded that costs like expensive landing fees by the government are making it difficult to expand rapidly.

Speaking of challenges professional services is another area that Tanzania has received criticisms within its tourist industry. Speaking with Nassra of ZTC on this, she affirmed that the infrastructure is there with 17,029 beds available on the island ranging from 5 stars to lower level guest house as of 2016. Whereas of July this year the islands received 263,551 tourists. She acknowledged the personnel services have to improve if the figure is to rise to 500,000 tourists per annum. As is the projected vision by 2020 with the ZNZ government.   

Until recently Zanzibar’s colleges only offered courses in tourism up to diploma level…In efforts to upgrade, our college ZIToD (Zanzibar Institute for Tourism Development) is linked to SUZA (State University of Zanzibar). Where SUZA has now started to offer degree courses in Marketing Tourism and Hospitality… Nasra A. Haji-ZTC

Zebra's in Ruaha National Park in Iringa Tanzania
photo courtesy of TTB
When you go online to know of Tanzania’s touristic attractions,  you’ll realise it has a lot to offer in its docket, compared to other countries in the region. However it seems its government has yet to listen closely to the needs of its stakeholders in this industry. For despite its efforts to revive air strips like the one in Ngombe & Katavi. The resulting high landing fees don’t equate progress.

“Say in Kenya the entry fees to tourist attractions are more affordable for foreign tourists than ours, their government has subsidised those fees. Our visa’s are more expensive, basically the process from booking to arrival is more cumbersome for us comparatively…we still face challenges in our laws. Like last years vat increment of 18%, which were given immediately with no grace period to let our clients know. Our clients book 1 year or 2 years in advance or even 3 years. Now I have a booking for 2020 and the agent has already paid 50%, so when you come back to them a year later saying there’s an 18%. It ruins your relationship… Luice Sales & Marketing- Antelope Safaris Tanzania 

These links & contacts below are incase you'd like to visit or know more of the various tourist packagaes in Tanzania. As gained by me from this EXPO

Seedlings at the Cultural Tourism stall inside SiTE expo 2017,
on Rau Eco & Cultural Tourism table. These seedlings are
of an endangered tree in Northen Tanzania, that tourists
get a chance to plant on their offered packages
Tanzania Tourism Board info -- 'Cultural Tourism registry in Tanzania'' +255 22 2116420,

Cultural Tourism & Tours info --= +255 769 335 359,, -- +255 686 908 137/ 784 769 795/ +255 27 2050025; +255 754 960 176/ 764 557 748/ 756 981 602;

Red Banana's grown only in Mto wa Mbu
and the experience offered showed
to be my Wesley Kileo
of Mto wa Mbu
Cultural Tourism Enterprises 255 787 855 185/ 767 855 185/ 715 855 185/ 784 243 042;,, +255 767 606 644/ 784 606 654; +255 752 420 026/ 717 003 078; +255 788 523 463/787 183  087;, +255 22 215 3361-3, +255 756 981 602/ 754 960 176/ 764 557 748; -- + 255 629 952 842/ 629 952 842; -- +255 769 335 359;; -- +255 765 143 737/ 782 324 121;

Tonga Textile's stall selling products
from Zimbabwe inside the SiTE Expo 2017 
Made in Tanzania products info

Honey +255 767 163 360/ 622 678 066,

Moringa, Mlonge Products (I was given a tester, I totally endorse them.)

Tanzi Farm
Frank Komba-- +255 665 928 080;; Uhuru Heights, mezanine floor, Posta, DSM, TZ

Furniture from local Tanzanian Grass

Mazengo; +255 764 557 748/ 677 557 748

You can follow me on @CarolAnande-Twitter, @CarolAnande-Facmebook, @CarolAnande-Instagram

Monday, 4 December 2017

On FreeQuency's anecdotes of 'Becoming Black'

By +Caroline Anande Uliwa

Photo courtesy of Mwende Katwiwa's website
Coursing through the pages of ‘Becoming Black’, a poetry anthology by a native Kenyan living in the USA, has a resuscitative effect. As your jolted awake from the fog that we of  ‘African descent’, live in a world of equal opportunities.

“With a name like Mwende Kalondu Katwiwa, the jokes will come, do not envy your brother David or blame your mother Lucy and the way their names roll smooth, off foreign tongues is proof that colonisation and assimilation go hand in hand.” - Lessons on being an African immigrant in America-Becoming Black by Mwende Katwiwa a.k.a FreeQuency

Stripping the layers of what allows minorities like African American women, continue to be the poverty stricken, disease prone part of the population. FreeQuency translates the divides on the ground in a ‘post racial’ society and through her roots in Kenya. Licks the reality of what it means to be free in ‘post colonial’, Africa through this her debut anthology.
I stumbled into this author last month, when she was visiting Tanzania to feature as a workshop leader & performing artist, inside a youth poetry festival called ‘Paza Sauti’.  Before climbing on stage to perform some of the poems in this book. 

She gave us a short introduction to this work. Explaining that growing up in America as  an Immigrant she found out quickly. That her identity of a Kamba, Kikuyu, Kenyan ,meant little as now she was just ‘black’. Her journey in understanding this new ‘identity’ is what she chronicles so poignantly in this book.

“Black father tells daughter that she is now Black…but Blackness is something her child mind is not yet able to understand…thinks to how the most evil of villains are the ones who dress in black who shroud themselves in the perceived terror of its darkness…daughter decides she does not want to become Black. She has yet to realise that Black father never gave her a choice, that Black father was never given a choice that he stumbled upon this newfound Blackness the hard way…” My Father’s lesson-Becoming Black

The book smells of activism peeling curtains of what we’re ready to talk about, like the effects of the heroines we leave for our children. The  ‘strong African woman’ adage, propagating the woman who doesn’t complain, cooks for the family meal in meal out, tends the land, raises the children, slowly leaving her education, her dreams, her voice behind. 

When Mwende visited Dar es Salaam
here performing inside CDEA for the
Paza Sauti Festival in Nov'17-Photo

by Salim Ally Malimbika
”LOOK UP IN THE SKY!…IT’S A STRONG BLACK WOMAN! you know who I mean, a sista who achieves by any means but understands the necessity of putting her dreams on hold to uphold the community….what the hell is the point of teaching them to be superwomen when they don’t have super powers?…when we are history’s caged birds who were never taught to sing, locked in cages till we animorphed into bird brained beings, chicken heads ‘cluck clucking’ in video scenes…” Embracing weakness-Becoming Black

The poem in this book which Mwende dedicates to Trayvon Martin titled ‘The seven deadly American sins” is perhaps the climax of it. This poem also featured in "Trayvon Martin, Race & American Justice: Writing Wrong”; a collection of critical writing offered for undergraduate and graduate classes across universities.  Reveals the tensions of ‘white privilege’ befalling African Americans in piercing lines. “I wonder if his grave bears his name or…if they replaced ‘rest in peace’ with ‘no justice no peace’”-7 deadly American sins-Becoming Black
Photo courtesy of Mwende Katwiwa website

Mwende Katwiwa is an activist, a writer, an Honors graduate of Tulane University with a B.A in Political Economy, International Perspectives and African & African Diaspora studies. A performer, she is a 2017 TEDWomen speaker, ranked 3rd at the 2015 Individual World Poetry Slam. She is currently working at ‘Women With A Vision’ an NGO advocating for ‘reproductive justice’, LGBTQ advocacy , HIV+ Women’s advocacy, Sex worker rights and Drug Policy reform. 

She herself has worked inside the #BlackLivesMatter campaign and her poetry has been featured in. Upworthy, OkayAfrica, TEDx, the New York Times, For Harriet, Teen Vogue, Huffington Post, Everyday Feminism, & other outlets; you can get a copy of this book through her website The book was self published in 2015 with Cover art by Sol Galeano, based on original design by Devin Reynolds, Layout by Geoff Munsterman, it’s in its second edition.