A TYPICAL scenario in any suburb of Dar es Salaam city (which is replicated in ‘junior’ urban centres elsewhere) is that, when day breaks, it becomes a human beehive, as people literally engineer themselves into what may loosely be called activists.
Activists, that is, not in the context of the species of ladies and gentlemen who advocate for this or that cause that falls under the sweet-sounding slogan ‘human rights’.
They are activists, rather, in the context of being super-active by setting out to various other parts of the city for official, social and economic engagements.
These include adults heading to their work-places in offices and factories, others ferrying an assortment of merchandise to their commercial centres, upcountry travelers heading to bus terminals, pupils heading to school and relatives delivering breakfast to beloved ones who are patients admitted in hospitals.
Something tragic happens here and there, which, naturally, attracts considerable public attention.
It may be a motor vehicle accident in the form of, say, a collision between two commuter buses, in the wake of which a couple of passengers die and others are injured.
But here are incidents and incidents. Tragic and sad though a traffic accident is, it is, put in simplistic terms, ordinary.
Naturally, of course, kind-hearted people, a species of which we, as Tanzanian nationals aren’t in short supply, rush to the aid of the injured, pray for the quick recovery of the survivors and wish those who perish a peaceful eternal rest.
Now, here comes a shocker, whether full-scale, partial, or maybe no big deal at all, being up to you to judge.
One day several years ago, a residential house in a Dar es Salaam city suburb became a centre of attraction and attendant huge crowd puller.
The house was encircled by people attracted to the site the way iron fillings are to a magnet, ‘thanks’ to a sensational story that had done the rounds extensively.
The curiosity was focused on a closed window of a bedroom in which, so the presumably juicy report implied, a male and female lover had failed to disengage after a love-making session.
As usual in such circumstances, salt and pepper were literally added to the story, by individuals who claimed to have been ‘privileged’ to cast a glance at the couple.
Incredibly, however, the window was firmly shut, setting someone wondering how the witnesses witnessed what they did!
But since love for sensation is so overpowering, the crowd kept broadening. And, incredibly still, some reports suggested that no such incident had taken place, but that it was the creation of someone’s fertile mind, who sought to experiment on and eventually prove, how easily people, including adults, could be turned into big fools!
That issue (or non-issue, depending on how you view it) transports my memory back to two incidents that took place when I was a teen-aged boy in the 60s.
The first had distant echoes of the controversial Dar incident. A young girl who became pregnant became the talk of the village, as that was a virtual abomination!
We, the youngsters, accustomed to seeing pregnant mature women, found it strange that a girl could be in such a situation!
Well, the situation has, over the years, undergone revolutionary changes. It is no longer news for young girls in my home village to become pregnant, but virtually news when even an unmarried one doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to become at least a single mother!
The problem, has actually taken on new and worrisome dimensions. In yesterday’s edition of this newspaper, for instance, we published a story focused on the concern raised by Mbulu District (Manyara Region) Chama Cha Mapinduzi parents wing, over the problem.
It was prompted by reports of a 23-year-old woman dumping a baby into a bucket of water, causing its death. The wing’s chairperson, Ms Zainabu Sige, attributed the baby dumping trend to lack of solid parenting.
Well, according to preliminary reports, the sorrowful young woman was driven into the cruel action by economic hardships.
Solid parenting is critical, sure, more-so in a situation whereby strictness is being subordinated to global village considerations of “moving with the times”.
We’ve to strive to fix Street begging
Gigantic successes have been recorded in fixing previously bothersome areas as grand corruption, administrative ineptitude and tax collection, how come street begging seems to be a really hard nut to crack ? This is an issue that should be critically looked into. One may mischievously argue that, the capital cities of some economically advanced countries host beggars. I would beg to vastly differ! It is as well that we should remind ourselves that, we are essentially a rich country. As such, street begging spoils what should be a good show!