Kyungu is grateful to have returned home

But apart from this, the Mikocheni-Dar es Salaam-based married father of three has also engraved his mark, as a popular cartoonist, under the name of Dav Kyungu. Take a look at local newspapers in the late 1970’s and the early 1980’s, and you’ll see that he was one of the few people successfully pushing this line of work here.

“I had a cartoon series called ‘Karikenye’ and another dubbed ‘Matatizo’. In them I used to depict daily problems in the streets then. Later-on, after studying mass media communications, in which I specialised in TV productions, for many years in Germany, I became more of a TV Producer,” Kyungu told the ‘Daily News on Saturday’ while on a visit to his studio and home during the week.

Yes, you heard right, after his spell abroad, Kyungu the cartoonist is back in the country and keeping busy with a number of activities, as he did in Germany for almost 23 years. Born in Tukuyu, Mbeya, it was in Europe that he received his higher levels of formal education after completing his schooling in Morogoro and Tabora regions, where he finished his formal education before coming to Dar es Salaam to work for a number of newspapers.

As a young 18 years old he got a scholarship to continue his studies in media for one year in Italy. Then on his return to Tanzania after six months he was successful to secure another one to Germany, dealing with media communications.  By this time the slightly older 20-year-old thought he would never be returning to stay here again. “My intention by then, truly speaking, was not to come back here on a permanent basis. I was still young and as was the case with all young people then, dreamed that once you leave this country and go to the West; you cannot think you’ll ever come back here again.

So that was it. I went to live in Germany and stayed there over two decades. However, I came back to Tanzania late 2003,” he explained. Given the younger Kyungu’s mindset to stay in Germany then, the rationale behind his return to the place, which he was so glad to be getting away from those years before, seemed the most obvious place to carry the conversation.

After-all, he was quite relaxed and appeared to be in a mood to share more of his pass with anyone, who he thought was seriously interested in it; for the right reasons off-course. “I think after living in Europe, especially Western Europe, Germany to be precise, for such a long time, there came a time when I started thinking much about myself and my home.

The first issue was the (extended) family issue, which plays such a great role in one’s life. But also the daily life in Europe, whereby you live there and you feel you’re not useful enough for that society because that society is gone already. You feel you can be more useful and productive within your own society,” he simple replied.

The now adult Kyungu went on to explain that the language used there is strictly German and the daily bombardment of questions an African has to face in the streets or anywhere, irrespective of the number of years that individual has been there or how good one speaks the language is always, “What are you doing there, how long have you been there and when are you going back home?”

For those asking these questions it seemed quite normal but for him, who was expected to answer them, he started thinking as to why he was being repeatedly asked them in the first place.  It was after such personal self-examinations that he came up with another query, as to whether or not they thought he had not got a home? Such frequent occurrences eventually got him thinking of coming back home to Tanzania.

Nine years later he tells the ‘Daily News on Saturday’ that he’s very grateful for having made that decision to return here, then.
Had he not done that then, he believes that today he would have got completely lost in that society. Please don’t misunderstand; Kyungu refers to having lived in Germany for all those years as being “very good”.

 It’s only that the time came when he had to do something else; therefore it was right to leave there when he did. Some facts of that reality is that he had gone there a single young man and had his first child, a daughter, with his former German girlfriend.
Years later after that relationship collapsed he came to Tanzania, married a local girl and went back to Germany with her. By the time they came back to Tanzania in 2003, they had two children.

Presently, his first daughter, Neema, with the German lady is now 21 years of age. She makes trips here to visit her father and siblings and is currently studying at Berlin University there. His second child, Bona, the first with his local wife, is a 13-year-old son, who lives together with them and a 10-year-old younger sister, Tala, here in Mikocheni, where they are attending secondary and primary schooling respectively.

Kyungu explained that he had got to know his wife while making regular work visits to Tanzania from Germany, when it was his base. They had a friendship, which lasted some years and by the time they were getting married he had lived in Germany for about 15 years. This was when he thought it was necessary for his new wife to know the society that had played such an important part in forming the character he portrays today. This he thought would help her to know him better.

“That means my whole twenties and thirties was with the Germans so I had a lot of changes in me. It could also be said that I have a lot of German in me. I thought it was so important for our relationship, which would help her to know me better within my surroundings, which by then was in Germany. So this is why I took her to live with me there for about six to seven years after we got married. All of this was part of the preparations for me to come back home,” he clearly pointed out.  

Another reason why both he and wife thought it was best to return home to Tanzania, he said concerned the up-bringing of their children. They had clearly seen, through other couples how African families there in Germany, had to undergo “very difficult times” partly due to in-built complications there, in the area of child up-bringing. This often resulted in a large number of separations between these parents and their children. The Kyungu’s wanted to avoid this happening to them.

His wife, a nutritionist, had taken her PhD in Germany and now works for a locally-based ngo. She also had taken advantage of being there to continue with her studies and according to him agreed that Tanzania is the best place for her to be now using her skills. She also has to handle a husband, who is not quite your ordinary run-of-the-mill Tanzanian. Some time in the conversation went towards explaining what is being seen as peculiar traits of her husband.  

As a member of the family, Kyungu himself admitted that in certain aspects he has “typical German ways of doing things”. As a man he participates more than is normal, for a Tanzanian household in domestic chores, which include handling the children.  This he calls, “The positive up-bringing” that he has taken from the German society in which he lived well over 23 years. It’s a process, he says, which is un-going and is now still going through further changes while here, despite him having a strong basic core from the influences he received in Germany.

There are even cases now when certain friends here will accuse him of being an “Mzungu” because of the kind of domestic chores he involves himself with. However, he remains adamant to maintain his style of life, even though it may include certain aspects locals are not used to. The important thing is that the man, wife and children are happy with present arrangements and learning much from being back home in Tanzania.

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