A few phone calls and some text messages later and the story began to take shape. Tanzania had lost its first ever film star on the night of April 7, 2012. At 28 year old of age, Steven Charles Kanumba, had passed away and left the nation in shock. And just as he lived his life, is death resembled a movie.
Speculation flew from all directions on what and who killed him. Police are still investigating though unconfirmed reports say he death is associated with misunderstandings with fellow artiste with whom they had intimate relationship. What followed was a host of activities resembling a visit from the Circus.
Everyone had everything to say. Radio, TV and social media all dedicated to remembering Tanzania’s young and upcoming film star but also digging up whatever nasty they could. The circus was in town and everyone wanted their 3 minutes of performance time. By performance, I mean lime light, and by lime light I mean flood lights.
And this light was going to come at whoever’s expense. And it was during this time that we all got a closer look at a new urban culture which is emerging in Tanzania. This culture belongs to the youth and it basically goes against everything you were ever taught by your grandmother.
Everything. No manners, respect for the dead or any of that. Its every man for himself however he sees fit. Among many other things, this culture dictates men dress in super tight brightly colored pants wore on the buttocks with equally brightly colored shoes which may not necessarily match.
Color coordination is not important. This culture also dictates that women expose their bodies as much as possible and plug on eyelashes that make it nearly impossible for them to see where they are going. This culture dictates that you look like you are about to jump on stage and perform, all the time. And this is how most of the people turned up at the funeral to bid farewell to Tanzania’s film star.
One of the more popular Bongo Fleva artist turned up dressed like he was about to give the performance of his life. This fella had the nerve to seek Kanumba’s grieving mother to consul her. He got his spot light as people couldn’t stop talking about him and his outfit. Another light was shone on a self proclaimed ‘socialite’ who blogged that she would attend the funeral only if there was a special VIP seating area.
The area was to have a tent, cooling facilities and refreshments. Not to be left behind, government aficionados flocked the funeral looking somber one moment but managing to look crispy for interviews with the media. They didn’t wear brightly colored anything, opting instead to stick to the national government outfit, alias, the Kaunda Suit. These theatrics aside, a strong 25,000 people to come out to truly pay their respects and remember Kanumba.
Some even lined the streets to wave farewell to Tanzania’s film star. A man who was ridiculed by some for his ot being able to fluently speak English, but loved by many for being able to communicate with the Tanzanian masses. A man whose drive to introduce Tanzania to the international Film scene won him recognition and respect among his peers. Steven Charles Kanumba brought Tanzania to a united moment of silence when he was laid to rest. The ultimate spot light shone on him will continue to shine on his memory.
Rest in peace Kanumba, The Great.