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.
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.
Rikki Stein was Fela’s friend and manager for 15 odd years. He spent a decade with Fela’s blessing, digitally re-mastering and releasing his entire catalogue and was involved in the creation and production of the Broadway musical Fela! This is the obituary Rikki wrote about his friend, following Fela’s passing on August 2nd 1997.
Timothy Murere Njoya is a retired Presbyterian minister, a human rights activist and a theologian. During the repressive Moi regime, Njoya turned the church pulpit into a platform to demand for political and social justice reforms in Kenya. Njoya was among the leading lights in the 80s and 90s from the church who mustered the nerve to speak out against the brutality of Moi’s government. He is also a prolific writer and as I came to learn, an ardent student of philosophy. Njoya is the personification of courage and purpose.
I was eager to grab a copy of Timothy Njoya’s memoir, We the People, published by WordAlive, that was launched on July the 3rd at Daystar University in Nairobi. Unfortunately, there were no copies for sale. Njoya in his address claimed that the book had been delayed deliberately by saboteurs. 30 years on, the words of this small bodied man with a wicked sense of wit still makes the authorities tremble. It was a compliment to his work that some busy bodies in government had to go through such extreme measures to stop Njoya’s ideas from spreading. The publisher reassured us that the challenges at the port would be resolved…soon.
By Mark Karanja
Traveling while African can be a pain and it all starts with visa denied.
I am enraged by my position, because this is the second time I am here.
I dared believe that I was somehow different from those I stand with in the land of the undesirables. Those of us who hold the all true blue Kenyan passport, that repels Western visas like no other.
I will start from the beginning.
I am a social introvert. Simple social encounters are reduced to managing awkward stares and inappropriate questions often hurled at me. So over the last couple of years I have found myself relying heavily on the internet to form connections with people all across the world. It is easier there. It is a wonderful world of possibilities online. I have formed meaningful, even long lasting bonds with digital penpals turned good friends.