ANNUAL commemorative events are significant, because they enable those directly targeted, and those enjoined to support them, to reflect on whatever themes have been crafted as the focus of attention.
As a member of the global family, Tanzania dutifully joins the rest of mankind in commemorating the events, branded ‘Day This’, ‘Day That’, or ‘Day The Other’. Exceptions are the ones in which it doesn’t closely relate, or does so remotely.
Examples of the exceptions include French Language Day on 20th March, and Chinese Language Day on 20th of April. But, like do the others, the major focus is on the local aspects of a particular issue or sector, which is then blended into the global whole, since, ultimately, it is enhancement of the welfare of mankind at large, that is at stake.
The importance of the commemorative days is that they serve as a reminder of unfinished business on particular issues, or, as a wake-up call, by way of the need to chart strategies for whatever problem for which none, or very little of them have been initiated.
We need to exercise caution, however, on the specific annual commemorations, lest – as seems to at least remotely seem to be the case – they pass off as purely festive events.
The trend is that, at regional and national level, many people gather at particular venues, at which a fiesta-like atmosphere reigns, characterized by brass band music, choirs, and traditional dance s and acrobatic shows. They are climaxed by speeches dwelling on problems that should tackled or for tackling them more seriously.
The festive bit isn’t entirely off-the-mark, for even if some of the issues at hand are sorrowful, such as the plight of the girl child for whom October 11 is devoted as a special day for reflection, the mood of the commemorators need not necessarily be sombre.
For the days to be concretely meaningful, however, they should be coupled by thorough assessments, to determine what has been done between one anniversary and the next, and the next… We aren’t implying that this is wholly lacking, but rather, that, it should be undertaken where there’s none, and reinforced where it is in motion.
That way, we would be pursuing a beneficial roadmap approach on challenges related to, among others, malaria, child labour, desertification and drought, illiteracy, the plight of elderly persons, and female genital mutilation.