IF like me, you are the owner of something called Tanzania, on the constitutional basis of which you can proudly refer to it as “nchi yangu”, noone, except a gigantic idiot, can report you to the police for spreading a controversial rumour.
You will certainly agree with me that, dramatic technological changes have taken place over the years.
But hang on, but don’t hang yourself; we still need to have you around to engage in the sweet drama of terrorizing ‘ugali’ and boiled beans, instead of nursing memories of you as a blessed God’s creation who had been a “mwenzetu” only the other day.
Miracles are virtually nonexistent nowadays. There’s zero point zero (0.0) per cent likelihood, for instance, that even if it were allowed to have 33 players, two-thirds above the allowable 11, Shimo La Matope FC can emerge victorious in a match against the Spanish football team Barcelona.
So, the likelihood of you resurfacing after being laid to rest (the expression ‘being buried’ is perceived as impolite) is thus as out of the question as it is out of the answer.
There are two categories of Tanganyikans. One hosts “early comers” like me who witnessed Tanganyika’s birth on December 9, 1961.
Late comers joined us after the country had ceased to be known as Tanganyika and had become Tanzania, thanks to the wise decision by Tanganyika and Zanzibar remembering that they were brothers and sisters who had accidentally been separated, and set things right.
As a short-lived Tanganyikan, and a longerlived Tanzanian, I recall that, things have truly changed dramatically.
I am an old-fashioned creature of God who is fancifully referenced by even youngsters with whom I am not even zero percent associated biologically as Babu Kai.
Its English version, Grandpa Kaigarula, would not sound as exotic! One of the challenges of being a senior citizen is that I don’t fall in love very easily with some complicated technological items, mainly due to my being too slow to learn how to apply them.
Periodically, I stumble upon technological functions that scare me, and revive some nostalgic memories of the short-lived Tanganyikan and early Tanzanian era.
The other blessed day when I was not building the nation but resting at home because I was what is curiously known as “off”, I pumped a constitutionally sanctioned amount of ‘ugali’ and ‘kisamvu’ into my hopefully blessed stomach.
I dreamt that I had become the MP for Minazi Mifupi constituency in the next elections, and some friends were assuring me that I could be elected at least a deputy minister in some ministry.
Upon waking up and discovering that the electoral victory and ministerial appointment was a mirage, I toyed around with a ‘simu janja’ that had been given to me as a birthday present by my better half (as if there can ever be a worse half!).
One of the discoveries I made was a video function focused on how the facial features of specific individuals change as they grow older… from ‘toddlerhood’ to old age.
I was somewhat alarmed, as I watched how, progressively, the facial features of an originally handsome boy or a beautiful girl undergoes a cruel revolution, and the person ends up as, well, to sound innocently (?) mischievous, “something else”.
It isn’t something that seemed entirely strange, for someone can’t remain the same from babyhood to “senior citizen-hood”. The problem lies in someone being informed, pictorially, how he or she would look like, 50 years, beyond, say, five years.
The video show I referred to above reminds me of how far relatively senior citizens have come. Back then, many of us didn’t have reliable updates of how our faces looked like because mirrors were rare items.
Three groups shared one mirror each– parents, boys and girls. Over time, mirrors became so numerous that even people who are not keen on knowing how old they look are betrayed by mirrors fixed in several places, including in toilets.
Then came a chain of revolutions, including neon lights. In the 80s, disco lights (vimulimuli), were a source of fascination, at night clubs and elsewhere.
Early owners of mobile phone handsets were perceived as a special species, some people encircling and marveling them as heroes and heroines during outdoor conversations.
Even street beggars now have access to them! While I was killing evening time at a recreation centre recently, pandemonium broke out after a “CORONA-CORONACORONA” red-coloured message repeatedly winked from several rectangular objects fixed on the walls of the hall.
Most people, people, me included, scampered out for safety. The schemers harvested much cash, mobile phones and even vehicle keys. It wouldn’t have happened if we had applied a bit of intelligence to detect the fakeness of the drama.
But then, we wouldn’t have had the ‘wajinga ndiyo waliwao’ saying, a creation of an obviously intelligent person; Would we?