The world through my eyes

Misc.

Revisiting Pan Africanism: Defining a Pan-Africanist

 

 

 

what-is-pan-africanismWhenever I tell someone that I am a Pan Africanist, they look at me as if I have grown an extra head and/or I am speaking a whole load of rubbish. Or when someone describes something that resonates with the Pan-Africanist rationale and I tell them as much, they react as if I have insulted them and deny all affiliations with the ideology. In fact one of my friends went so far as to tell me that she believes in what Pan Africanism stands for, but doesn’t want to be labeled as such because of what people may think of her!

Pan Africanism has become this commercialized term in an effort to try to generalize and describe a diverse continent and thus watering down the term to become almost insignificant. I have come across people who call themselves Pan Africanist and I am disturbed at the picture they perpetuate by refusing to contextualize the essence of being a true Pan Africanist and twist it to try to make it marketable to the masses. I come into conversations with  people who call themselves Pan Africanists and they are to busy idolizing and worshipping the past to be to concerned about what it means to be a Pan Africanist today. Don’t get me wrong, anyone who knows me knows the amount of respect I have for the founding fathers and mothers of Pan Africanism and those who set to unite  a continent so divided. But what does it mean for me as a Tanzanian living in Africa? Or for the South African? Liberian? What does it mean to be Pan Africanist and how can I practically apply it to my everyday life?

To define Pan Africanism we must start at the beginning. Though there is no definitive definition of Pan Africanism, it started out as movement during the transatlantic salve trade and was more or less a social concept. During the colonial times it became a more political movement and during the post colonial era it became a more sociopolitical ideology for the unification of native Africans and those of African descent. A lot of scholars say that OAU, now AU, arose from the ideologies and sentiments of the Pan African movement as a means of uniting the continent in the light of globalisation. Slavery is not over as we are still slaves in today’s neocolonialism- ” The last stage of imperialism” according to Kwame Nkurmuh.

Pan Africanism isn’t just about getting down with my roots and connecting with the African in me and all the other Afrocentrism crap that appeals to cultural marketing schemes for black people. It goes beyond me wearing my hair in an Afro and rocking African prints. It is not a religious cult  or an anti white hate campaign created as a supposed answer to racism by promoting reverse racism.  I think it is great when I see people embracing what is African and celebrating their heritage and their God-given traits, but that is a very small part of what being a Pan Africanist is about.

A true pan Africanist looks at Africa as a country in terms of development economically, socially, politically and culturally. We always hear how Africa is richly endowed with natural resources and raw materials and how we have the potential to be a superpower if we learn to cultivate, produce, and manufacture our own goods. A Pan Africanist ultimate goal is not to have a United States of Africa (though I personally think that would be awesome) but an Africa  that has learned to share resources through trade and commerce for the economic empowerment of the country  and essentially the continent as the whole. Through economic empowerment can we experience a rich cultural and social interaction as the trade and commerce is not limited to commodities but the exchange of ideas and intellectual property as well, just to name a few.

Some may say this is idealistic, but when one grasps the concept you will actually understand that this appeals to both the capitalist and the socialist, the idealist and realist because everyone gets something out of it. We will spend less money if we trade within our borders, communication won’t be a major hindrance, and transport will be less thus saving money just to name a few benefits. This  is not to say that we should never trade with anyone outside of Africa. No! If I live in A street and they sold  apples in both B and F street (the distance being measured by the proximity of the letters) and I went only to F street though the apples in B street are better and not to mention closer but I have grown use to buying my apples in F street and have formed a good network so it is really hard for me to go to B street despite how good the apples are! That in a nutshell is the dilemma we are facing here in Africa. Now exchange A with any African country and B with any African country and F as any country outside of Africa and you will have a better understanding of the dynamics of some of the interactions.

Such organisations such as Africa 2.0 which is a “Pan-African Civil Society organization that consists of young and emerging leaders from Africa and the Diaspora who share a collective vision for Africa and a commitment to finding and implementing sustainable solutions that will in turn leapfrog the development of the continent.” <<< That is what we need to be doing as Pan Africanists! We need to be moving and consolidating our efforts as we are stronger together than apart. That is why I get annoyed when I hear people going on about how they are not going to succumb to the white ways and never wear a relaxer. That is all good and it carries its own empowerment but don’t end there, because there is always more that can be done!

Before I go, I stumbled upon this blog written by a pan Africanist and he goes more into detail about what I touched on here. I will encourage you to read it paying particular interest to where he talks about the African economic potential: http://therisingcontinent.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/pan-african-today/.

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Where is the Love?

Young man text messaging with young woman sleeping

 

“All men cheat!” Nope, this is not from a title of a song, though it has become a declarative anthem from almost all the women I speak to.  Now I will be the first to say that this generalisation does not hold true only because of the use of the  word “All” which makes the statement an unfair rationale. However the more I look into it and talk to both men and women who are either dating, in a relationship, or are married, it is almost impossible to find a man who doesn’t! Don’t get me wrong, I know a lot of women that do cheat and play the field while the man remains faithful, but it is still easier to find a woman who is faithful than a man who is (this is based on my experiences and some of my friends experiences). I remember talking to one guy and he told me that he doesn’t believe that man should be monogamous and the reason we see a lot of broken relationships and marriages only adds substance to the fact!

I am going to be honest and say I have never cheated while I have been in a relationship. At least not physically, my thoughts and my eyes have sometimes wondered, but when I am in it, I am in it. Now this comes down to a choice I have made for myself. It is not like I haven’t been approached by men whilst I have been in a relationship and there are times when the temptation is almost overwhelming, but I already know where I am weak and if I know I can’t say no, then I just choose to not put myself in that situation.  It’s hard, but not impossible.

But then someone asked me, “Would you ever cheat?”….. and that made me ask, “What makes one cheat?”  I know it is all relative, but I would like to think that there is something fundamentally there that when it boils down to it, it is universally true. Like the fact that we all want to be loved. I don’t care who you are or what you have been through, as long as you are human this holds true. Some people cheat because they are “Unsatisfied” (I use this term loosely) in their relationship, others cheat because they want to experiment, some cheat in retaliation, others because they are bored or a combination of all the above and others still just because they can. The list can be exhausting and I don’t have an answer to the question  on what makes one cheat, just my thoughts and speculations and my own life experiences.

Quite some years ago, I dated a guy that I thought was my dream guy. He had the looks, the charms, the name, the money, the entire package. Very shallow and superficial qualities, but hey I was young and I thought it was enough. It didn’t take long for that dream to turn into a living nightmare as I discovered things about him and myself that woke me up from dreamland. I  was warned left and right about this guy, but when you are ” in love” you don’t want to hear anything bad about your boo.  I gave up a lot for him, including my friends and family. I soon became this shell of a woman as this guy gained more and more power over me. I had always considered myself  a strong woman, but I had never felt so weak. With all the sh*t he put me through, I was appalled that I still loved him. It made me hate myself  because I was sure something was wrong with me. This guy was cheating on me and playing me for a fool  and I let him. When a friend confronted me with the truth, it hit me like a slap across the face, which was exactly what I needed. So I understand what it is like to be so caught up in something it is hard to see the truth or even accept it. I am thankful I came out of that relationship with only a broken heart, but I am also thankful for it because what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

It is very easy to blame someone else for our actions, but at the end of the day, we chose to do what we did and must live and deal with the consequences. No one knows you better than you, and you know what makes you tick and what gets you going. When you cheat, you make a conscious decision to do so, so please don’t blame it on the alcohol, the drugs, or the fact that you were seduced and you had no choice “but to do the deed.” It’s a new year, but that doesn’t mean we get to reset the past and have a clean slate. Instead of letting the past weigh us down, let’s learn from it and become better human beings for ourselves and those we love. Tomorrow is not promised to us, so let’s make today count.


2013: My Year of Love

I can sum up 2013 as the year I learned to love. Anyone who knows me, truly knows me, knows that I struggle to let people in. Yes I am a social person and yes I enjoy meeting new people, but very few people actually see beyond the surface into both the beautiful and the ugly.  This is the year I learned to love, to forgive, and to let go. I experienced some of the worst moments in my life so far as well as some of the best moments. I recall spending the first few months of the year virtually depressed and miserable and wanting to call it quits, I couldn’t understand why things were going the way they were going especially when I was so sure that 2013 would be my year and it would be smooth sailing. Ha! Joke was on me! Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. Just when I thought I had hit rock bottom, someone took a drill and a shovel and I fell further in. But it is during this time that I got to experience some of the strongest bonds of friendship and I also learned the power of prayer. And it was also during this time I learned to let people in.

I didn’t realize that a lot of the negative that was going on in my life had to do with my surroundings. My turnaround came after I started letting go of some people and some things. I slowly started coming out of the dark hole I was in and could actually see and feel the light. Not to say that all my problems miraculously disappeared, but I had a better grip on what I needed to do and doors started just opening everywhere and I was finally doing things that mattered to me such as my project African Queens.  2013 was also the time I met a man who showed me that good guys still exist and he had opened my eyes and my heart to a world of possibilities.

Just as doors had opened this year, others have shut, however I am not afraid of what 2014 may bring. I have never been so thankful for life as I am now, and though this year ends with an unexpected twist, I  can only take everything that I learned this past year and use that as my foundation for the new year. I look forward to continuing to strengthen my old friendships and to making new ones. I am excited for the new adventures that are in store for 2014 and I know a lot of people will be surprised when they see what I have got going on behind the scenes.

I also want to say a big thank you to all my faithful readers and subscribers of this blog in over 116 countries around the world. Wow! I am humbled and blown away. All I can say is you will definitely not be disappointed in 2014 as I plan to turn things up. I am going to really expose myself in the hopes that people learn from my mistakes and hopefully they will also see what I am doing right and apply it in a way that makes sense in their own life.

I leave you with this quote from one of my favourite authors: “Our histories cling to us. We are shaped by where we come from.” ― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

 

 


Julian Assange: True or False

This whole fiasco behind Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, got me reading into it even further because there is always more to the story. At the moment, what that “more” is, is yet to be revealed, but it doesn’t stop us from looking into the facts, cause no one can argue with cold hard facts, right?

Julian Assange, Wikipedia Founder and Political Refugee

1. Julian Assange fled Sweden to avoid Questioning: This is false. The facts stand that a Swedish court issued an arrest warrant for him on charges of rape made by two Swedish women, who were also former employees of Wikileaks. In fact, the case was dropped because it was too weak and he was given permission to leave Sweden on  15th September 2010. But after an intervention of a Swedish politician close to some American diplomats it was reopened again and a warrant for his arrest was reissued on November 2012.

(Source: http://justice4assange.com/February-Hearing.html)

2. Julian Assange will receive a fair trial in Sweden: This is false. Assange would be tried behind closed doors, which is contrary to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Art. 47 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the UK’s fundamental constitutional principles.  Assange would be held incommunicado and placed under solitary confinement and pre-trial detention would last for an indefinite period. If Julian is extradited, it is more than likely that he will be extradited to the United States where he risks being sent to Guantánamo Bay or executed as a traitor.

(Source: http://www.swedenversusassange.com/Prosecution#FUP)

3. Julian Assange was ordered by the British to turn himself in and he refused. This is true. While still at the Ecuadorean embassy where he was seeking political asylum, he received a letter from the Metropolitan police demanding that he surrender on June 28th, 2012 so that he can face extradition to Sweden. Julian denied the charges made against him saying that they are politically motivated and on June 29th, 2012 officially refused to turn himself in.

(Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57462889/u.k-police-demand-julian-assange-turn-himself-in/)

4. The British threaten to storm the Ecuadorian Embassy. This is false. They claimed that they would first revoke diplomatic status from the Ecuadorian embassy in Britain, thus no longer making it an embassy, which is allowed under the British Law. So technically if they go ahead with this plan they would not be storming an embassy, it would be a raid on a “building,” However Ricardo Patino, Ecuador’s foreign minister, told reporters, “The move announced in the official British statement, if it happens, would be interpreted by Ecuador as an unfriendly, hostile and intolerable act, as well as an attack on our sovereignty, which would force us to respond in the strongest diplomatic way….We want to be very clear, we’re not a British colony. The colonial times are over.”

(Source: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/08/16/us-wikileaks-assange-ecuador-idUKBRE87E16N20120816)

4. The UK does not accept Political Asylum seekers. This is false. The UK does, but the asylum seekers are scrutinized very carefully because of a lot of economic migrants claiming to be political asylum seekers. Though Assange was granted political asylum on August 16, 2012 by Ecuador, Foreign secretary William Hague said the UK does not recognize this and will not allow Assange safe passage to Ecuador.

(Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19281492)

Again these are just some facts and there is a lot more going on than is being revealed to the public. The fact that the British are willing to go to such extremes as to want to revoke an embassy’s diplomatic status to get a man who is vaguely accused of crimes with questionable evidence begs the question, why now? What is going on behind the scenes between Sweden, the UK and the US? What are they so afraid of now that they are willing to do whatever it takes to get Assange? I just want the truth and the truth will eventually come out.


Dala Dala Airways

That is what my mum nicknamed Ethiopia Airlines and rightly so. For those of you who do not know what a Dala Dala is, it is basically what we call buses that publicaly transport people in Tanzania. They are notoriously famous for stopping anywhere without indication and are rummored to have no brakes.

Well right now I am in Ethiopia staying at a hotel and the short version of the story on how I got here was basically I missed the connecting flight to take me to Ghana (their fault) which is my final destination. Long version of the story is that I stayed in Julius Nyerere Airport for 6 hours. The first 2 hours was because we came early and an extra 2 hours over time because the plane had to divert to another airport because of bad weather.

After hours of waiting and finally boarding the plane and then stopping 15 minutes later at Zanzibar to pick up more people (see why we call it “Dala Dala Airways”) we finally get to Ethiopia and have to wait some more cause our plane left and the next one is not till tomorrow. Well after a couple of hours of uncertainty, watching people come and go, and some exchange of words (not from me but I was tempted), they finally hooked us up at a nice hotel in the city center.

So I am not complaining, because I got to see some of the city, enjoying the perks of the hotel, and right now am chilling in my hotel room so I can share some of the photos with you guys over free WiFi that is relatively fast! Keep watching this space for more updates on my travel and time in Ghana for the Moremi Fellowship.

The reception Desk

Part of the hotel lobby. See what they did there with the window and painting?

I was starved. Some excellent choices!

Part of the gift shop. I bought a shot glass with a some guy playing Ethiopia’s traditional instrument. I forget the name. Every country I go to its either a shot glass or a coffee mug.

I love how they decorated this pole.

I loooove what they did with their bar and the different colors!

The arrangement of the whole place is just impressive.

My phone camera doesn’t do this window and its paintings justice.

Some of the beautiful artwork they got around the hotel.


A True Diva

I am part of this interesting group on Facebook called IMOW – “In My Own World – Where the Creative, Deep, Artistic, Esoteric and Wacky minds meet.”  A member of this group wrote something that left me shouting AMEN. So I wanted to share it with you guys, particularly females, so you can shout AMEN to:

Embracing My Inner Diva

Parting words of wisdom: embrace your inner diva! My best friend truly is a wise beauty. If you’re thinking that’s ridiculous or something to that affect then you, like me, have given diva a negative connotation.  So let’s start by reassessing the word diva.

Diva was originally used to describe opera singers with exceptional talent. Thank you Wikipedia! And there’s the urban dictionary definition which says a diva is…and I quote “a bitchy woman that must have her way exactly, or no way at all. Often rude and belittles people, believes that everyone is beneath her and thinks that she is so much more loved than what she really is. Selfish, spoiled, and overly dramatic.” The other option the urban dictionary gives us is “a female version of a hustler.” Makes me wonder if Beyonce uses the urban dictionary as a point of reference, or if the writers of the urban dictionary are huge Beyonce fans. Regardless, neither of those definitions are what I’m looking for.

So if I may, I’d like to make up a definition for myself. Being a diva to me will from now on mean loving me enough to treat myself like a princess. You don’t have to treat others badly or pretend that you’re better than others; you don’t even have to sing opera. Just love yourself enough to spend time on yourself, to spend money on yourself, give yourself a little TLC and then some. AND not feeling bad about it.

Here’s how I’ve come to see it, with a little help. If you don’t treat yourself like you’re worth something, no one else will. Why would your dream man surprise you with special things if you never do it for yourself?

You can’t be a great wife, mum or friend if you don’t give yourself some room to just love you. Those roles are privileges’ to be in and they should not feel like burdens…but of course they will if you never have time for you and you keep doing things for others. I’m a giver…I just give and give and give. I’m not going to try and change that, I’m just going to learn to give to myself.

This blog is about love, and I’m starting with myself. I’m going to romance myself and treat myself like the diva I deserve to be. Then I won’t have to worry about Mr Right coming along or worry about Mr Wrong manipulating his way in my life. You attract what you are!! I want to be the “me” that attract the best of the best. And I’m moving from a place of wanting to a place of taking. Pro-activeness!

AMEN


PMS

Men avoid it like the plague, women can almost get away with murder when she is on it, and it can drive a woman mad. What is it? No it is not a pregnant woman though it is close enough! It is PMS!

“PMS” has always fascinated me. Why do I feel all cranky, or pissed off, or eerily sensitive and can blame it on PMS and will almost always get forgiven. It’s like a pregnant woman, you can’t really blame a pregnant woman for crying one minute and then laughing the next!

So I did what every other person in this day and age does, I googled it a.k.a researched about PMS. I will have you know that men will also do good in reading what I found it.  We all have women in our lives if we are not ones ourselves, so we are prone to experience it directly or indirectly…

First of all: What is PMS?

According to Wikipedia Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) (also called PMT or premenstrual tension)  is a  collection of physical (so it’s not all in our heads) and emotional symptoms related to a woman’s menstrual cycle.

According to womensmentalhealth.org, PMS is common, affecting from 30-80% of women of reproductive age. The most common physical symptoms include abdominal bloating, headaches, muscle and joint pain, and breast tenderness. The behavioral symptoms most commonly observed in women with PMS are fatigue, forgetfulness, poor concentration, and mild mood changes, including irritability and depressed mood.

Psychological Symptoms

· Depression
· Anger
· Irritability
· Anxiety
· Sensitivity to rejection
· Sense of feeling overwhelmed
· Social withdrawal

Physical Symptoms

· Lethargy or fatigue
· Sleep disturbance (usually hypersomnia)
· Appetite disturbance (usually increased)
· Abdominal bloating
· Breast tenderness
· Headaches
· Muscle aches, joint pain
· Swelling of extremities


Monyaichi Shao Mangi

Always willing to try things even though your terrible at it!

I am dedicating this post and this day to someone who means the world to me and I credit to giving birth to me :-).I can go on about all the birthday parties you threw for me, or how you would indulge me when I was going through a “Spice Girls Phase” and wanted to be just like “Scary Spice.” Or even the long hours you would spend praying for me and for God to protect me and be with me in all that I do. You do and say all these great things. but I think the thing I appreciate the most about you (and it may not seem like a big deal to other people, but means a lot to me) is your sense of humor. Being able to laugh and enjoy the moment, even if it’s at your expense!

So this video is for the good old days when I thought I was the next Spice Girl, and I remember when this song came out and I would think how blessed I am to have you…..

This words to this song say/sing what I know I always should say!

Happy Birthday Mum and I love you!


My New Job!

Till now there are people who still think I am working at Capital Television and are shocked to hear that it has now been more than 3 months since I left there and have been working at my new job.  Why did I change jobs when everything looked so bright and happy over at Capital TV you ask? Well maybe this will help a bit:

So now you are wondering, what is this new job?

Well we recently launched our revamped website and thought I would share it with all of you so you can see for yourselves where it is I work and what it is I do: http://www.maanisha.or.tz

We also moved in to our new offices which I love at 1st Floor C&G Plaza, 672/2 Old Bagamoyo Rd, Mikocheni B, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I will be sure to put up pictures ASAP.

So until next time, keep well and be blessed!


2012: Bigger and Better!

This is my first post for 2012 and I am sorry for waiting so long, cause it has been a minute! As you can see from my blog title, my new motto for 2012 is to do everything bigger and better than ever before. A friend of mine this Christmas had given me a card and on that card he wrote something that both shook me and inspired me: “May the greatest of your 2011 be the least for 2012.” I know! Deep right?

So I made some resolutions (which I do intend on keeping) and one of them is to do my personal projects. Since the production of my first play in which I wrote and also starred in (inspired by my homeboy Mr Tyler Perry) it was like why stop there? I already have a new play down, one of the first movies I am going to be acting in, a magazine I am going to be the editor for, have ventured into the business world and have become a business partner, and other small various projects. The best part is, we only a little over a week into the new year!

May this inspire you to go bigger and better in whatever you venture to do, as you let go of the past and look into the future. This man is one of my inspirations: