Let 2017 be the year of closer family ties

Masembe Tambwe

HAPPY New Year! My apologies for my absence last week but I was under the weather and was unable to have something ready on time. How is the year 2017 treating you so far?

Are there any telling signs that it will the year where your dreams and aspirations will be met? I certainly pray that it is for all of us. In all the 365 days of the year, there is none I like more than January 1. Not only is it the start of a fresh year but most importantly, it is my dad’s birthday.

It is an opportunity for the whole Tambwe clan to get together for lunch, later cut cake and get to listen to him share stories of his youth and give advise on how to deal with today’s challenges. Of recent my dad’s talks rarely misses on marriage.

Before decided to get married, I always dreaded this talk because I always knew my name would be mentioned. This year, I am happy that that uneasy feeling was felt by others. This year, my dad shared how marriage helped him in many ways, one being how to dress right.

For as long as I can remember, my dad has always been an immaculate dresser and so hearing this credit going to my mum was an ear popper. He said that when he was still single, he dressed up with little care, the whole issue of matching colours was alien to him.

At this point I tried to picture him like a walking Christmas tree but the image was hazy. When I sit down now I can stop myself from rolling around the floor with laughter because he must have been quite an eyesore to see.

I am a diehard fan of music dating back in the 70s and I have seen numerous videos of the type of attire they had then and the colours that existed. To get the right colour combination requires skill and if you don’t have this skill, I am sure there would people in the office who look forward to your coming to brighten their day.

Several years ago I wrote an article on this column about some offices demanding their employees wear ties and the challenges that came with this order. For a while after the order you could have sworn that colour blindness among Tanzanians is a huge problem but later thanks to globalisation and the Internet, walking Christmas trees along Samora Road became less and less.

Apart from preaching to those who still scared to dip their feet into the deep end of marriage, my dad also talked about the importance of family, about being together, keeping in touch physically and not only on WhatsApp groups. On this aspect, I am totally with him.

Almost a decade ago, he being the head of the Tambwe clan suggested that we have monthly family meetings where each month, a different person will host it and the venue will be at the person’s house.

This will help other family members know where one lives as well as help keep the bond together. At the start I never got the logic but with time it trickled through and I have to congratulate him for this ingenious idea.

Today most of us know where the other lives in case of an emergency, the meetings have made it easier to resolve conflicts when they arise, our children through these meetings have to come to know their cousins, uncles and aunties and have helped build a bond.

If it was my wish, I would have wanted 2017 to be the year of many things, good health, prosperity, promotion but I doubt I can have them all and so I pray it is the year of closer family ties. The thing about family is it doesn’t have to be blood relations only, family include friends and anyone you hold dear.

I believe that when families become closer, all the other things we pray for will come into play.


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