But in daring to dream, people , as it is with nations, must temper their dreams with realism. There is absolutely no point in plunging straight into pipe dreams and pretending that we are giving truism to the dare to dream mantra.
The idea is to dream and work on attaining the dream. Fact is , it does not matter how grand one’s dream is, but for the life of me, we must wake up and put some brick and mortar to make the dream come true. The East African Breweries has for the past 4 years been conducting a very popular and much watched TV musical talent show, Tusker Project Fame. It is while watching this production the last 4 weeks that it occurred to me why the Five , soon to be six , East African Nations must temper their dream of a Federation with realism.
The talent show gives young people and, as it turned out, not so young people, an opportunity to sing their way into winning a recording contract with a reputable record lable, cash and winning ways. Sounds good enough so far and it gives the contestants the opportunity to Karaoke any which way one wants.
In the last 2 weeks , we have watched contestants in Kigali, Juba, Nakuru, Kisumu, Mombasa , Arusha and Dar es Salaam. Dreams are on the way to fulfillment, one might say as an opportunity such as this is a rare one for this part of the world.
However, the drama we have witnessed across East Africa on Royal Media Services ,Citizen TV , is in the Karaoke part , where the dreams are born and die all in quick succession . The dreamers must have been aware they were on to an opportunity and chance for the biggest breakthrough in their lives.
They must have thought about it. Like someone going into a Final football match, they are supposed to have had a plan and a strategy. They must prepare judiciously about the competition. Surely they must be aware that the competition out there is fierce. They possible cannot sit on their laurels and hope that by some happenstance, they are going to make it to a big pay day in their lives without breaking a sweat.
It was important to temper their dream and enthusiasm with some accompanying hard work. Get a couple of brothers sister, friends even an unfriendly crowd to test your Karaoke on. Unfortunately, many of these up and coming talents, seem to have done nothing of the sort. From the Radio DJ in Juba who could not remember his lines in the song he chose, to the Kisumu singer who cannot sing though to Artiste Mkude in Dar es Salaam, who clearly has a dream of singing which is best left in the morning bathroom shower sessions period.
It seems to me of late that millions of young East Africans are ‘thinking’ that music is an “easy’ career. That all one has to do is to love a Rihanna song and that makes one a singer. I have news for young and not so young talent. A career in music takes much more that an ability to sing along when a song is baring away on Radio.
Most of the musicians we adore have made sacrifices, some of them very painful sacrifices before they became the musical pop Idols and masters of the game that we all idolize. Michael Jackson sacrificed his childhood for his dream to be achieved. Madonna lives an eccentric life to achieve her goals . Nearer home, Mbaraka Mwinshehe died fairly young with a life one can say was unfulfilled.
These are people with outrageous talent, but the talent was not good enough without the sacrifices. They had to make painful sacrifices to pursue and attain their goals least of which was just wake up one morning show up at a venue in Dar es Salaam and wallah, one has become a star overnight.
There is no such gold paved road to success in life. Similarly, Tanzania in today’s matrix mst decide if it wants to remain the hand-maiden, or become the bride in consummating the East African Federation dream. No half measures here and it must be worked on by preparation, training, facing up to competition and being alive to the challenges.