IN many countries including Tanzania, 18 years is regarded as school age, but it is quite different to the multi-talented Afraaz Mulji.
Tanzania-born Canadian Mulji came to be recognised as a distinguished guest, who has on multiple occasions lectured and taught at the Creative Arts Faculty of the University of Dar-es Salaam (UDSM) first when aged just 18 in 2017.
The pianist, organist, Indian drum player and guitarist’s work as a composer, curator, multidisciplinary artist and philosopher have been duly noted by the Faculty of UDSM. H is disputable work is also recognised by Kedmon Mapana (PhD) Head - Department of Creative Arts at UDSM.
Mulji, now 22, built a remarkable reputation at such a young age because of excellent work that he has done, saying he is kind of a person who likes to ask tough questions.
A very thoughtful youth, Mulji, is a person who does not like to set boundaries thus expressing his music contains spiritual contents, which are not based on any specific religion.
Most people also tend to be paid after working hard, but for Mulji is a different story. H e said, “I get paid to think, and I mean that!
Thus why am I a public intellectual, because that is what my role is as a builder of civil society, it’s my role to think, and to think critics.” “I started lecturing at university when aged 18.
My first ever course was art of improvising and creative freethinking, I taught students on how to push bouldering or envelope of what’s possible through artists,” he said.
Mulji was born in Mbeya and raised in Dar es Salaam before later going to Canada for studies. He says in his heart he is a Tanzanian.
“I started music when I was 3 years, I started with Indian drum(kawali), I know I started at a young age, but I believe there is no specific formula in this,” he said.
He is excellent work paid off, as he said; soon he is going to sign a memorandum of Understanding with UDSM that aims to support the country’s students.
“UDSM has been very good to me. They know that I am somebody who understands Tanzanian culture and development of the country.
To me family is more than blood; Tanzania is my family and I have been given a warm welcome here so I feel at home.
“I’m looking forward to leaving legacy here and see one day Tanzania becomes a hub or centre for culture learning and understanding.
He said is looking to help local students to have scholarships, especially in a department of arts.
“I think Tanzania has a big potential in the art sector, artists and musicians think a lot, I think it is for me to leave a legacy by building the potential of art in Tanzania and stimulate it.”
He said he likes tribal music and to his point of view, Bongo Flava is not Tanzanian music, as he believes a true Tanzanian music should come from tribes and Bantu ethnic instruments.
Adding he says tribes like Masai whose dance involves jumping has remained forever as their legacy that people from outside should know about its richness.
Mulji stated the are over 100 languages spoken in Tanzania and that richness need to be documented and that is part of what Mulji wants to leave as a legacy in the country.
“I would argue that Africa; especially East Africa has done really well in music.” “When you listen to music whether it is jazz or hip hop the way they rap it’s like chocolate and what do they think they came from, actually that directly comes from African music,” he insisted.
He added that music has created wonderful philosophy that even if somebody does not have ears can also understand it.
“This philosophy is also very important when you look at future of Tanzania and future of Tanzania art, we can say we are unique, we have our own legacy, ” he said.
Mulji said if the whole world starts speaking Swahili that is a big business, it is important to export culture as most parts of the world speak English and that is what a soft power is.
“For the new President Samia Suluhu, I congratulate her, I wish her success as she has a vision to promote culture in the country,” he added.