Its his beard. It grabs your attention, overwhelming the features of his face, demanding a private audience, a gatekeeper to his thoughts that I have to pay tribute to before I can be granted access. Beards and whisky. It is the latter that I am supposed to be mulling over but I cannot get past the full growth of his beard.
Bagamoyo is in my 10 historic destinations to visit in Africa. Also on the list is the House of Slaves and its Door of No Return museum on Goree Island in Senegal that is a memorial to the victims of the Atlantic Slave trade. However, it is Bagamoyo that I have to start with next door in Tanzania. For a long time Bagamoyo was a name out of the sketchy history lessons in school. I knew little about the East African slave trade, the notoriety of the slaver Tippu Tip and the slave markets of Zanzibar. My reading of slavery in pre colonial Africa dwelt on the Trans Atlantic slave trade that devastated Central and West Africa.
When was the last time you had a comprehensive health check?
My last one was during the Nyayo era. Nothing to be proud of. I am stubborn man who has no patience with illness and my wife can attest to it, even though I am vulnerable to malaria and the flu. When I get a fever it becomes a seizure, grounding me for up to a week but if you asked after my health, I would insist that, “It is just kamalaria kidogo.”
You cannot sing African music in proper English – Fela Kuti
Now, more than 40 years later, it might be difficult to imagine that Kenyan Benga music was associated with freedom fighters in Rhodesia’s Bush War (the Chimurenga) in the late 1960s through to the late 1970s. In the fight to end white minority rule for the soul of a new Zimbabwe, the homeland of a black majority, Benga music embodied the liberation spirit. The music of D.O. (Daniel Owino) Misiani, George Ramogi, George Ojijo, Collela Mazee and Victoria Jazz is what Zimbabweans in the 70s in rural townships stamped their feet and swayed to in the hope of a new future for Zimbabwe.
Catholic Father, Evans Juma Oduor was the presiding priest of Nyabondo Parish in Nyakach. At a funeral service, he called out president Uhuru Kenyatta and asked him to stop killing innocent Luo protestors. Following the disputed August 8 elections, that the Supreme Court of Kenya nullified on September 1st, Kisumu city has become the epic centre of a brutal police crackdown. It was these incidences that involved shooting of demonstrators and supporters of the NASA coalition led by Raila Odinga, that Father Oduor was referring to. In a bold move, he dared those who might have any case against him, to seek him out at his home address in Kisumu county. It was a bitter lament from the Catholic father against the killing of demonstrators, who were dissenting within their constitutional rights.