Wednesday, 26 December 2012


One of the comments in this interview with the Nigerian writer and Nobel Prize laureate, Wole Soyinka (below), notes that  no writer across the world would dare utter the things that he said concerning the issue of religious extremism....

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Monday, 17 December 2012


Ben Taylor's  remarkable well planned screen outline resembled a miniature school lecture that  showed the "who is who " of Tanzanian media...

Twenty eight bodies and minds in one of those upstairs rooms at SOAS...and three main lessons.
First, those who have lived and worked in Tanzania, those who have interacted with the people never forget it. I spoke to someone who could even remember local bamboo beer called ulanzi...he left 40 years ago yet still loves Tanzania, and can blurt out coherent Swahili phrases and sentences.
Secondly, the caring means recent developments in the media bring out concerns, i. e. the  killing of journalist Daudi are things these days compared to Nyerere times? What does democracy mean? How is the press managing? Who is benefiting and what is going on?
Thirdly, the need to discuss, follow the news, be concerned and interested. What is going to happen after the 2015 elections?
 Following pics may shade more light  on the evening of Thursday 6th December...organised by Britain Tanzania Society...
Display table with Tanzania Development Trust's...merchandise  propagating images, projects and the beauty of the country.

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Wednesday, 5 December 2012


Britain Tanzania Society -BTs has been running a series of short seminars on various crucial topics since October. Thursday 6th November, a two hour seminar on Tanzanian media is expected to be held in Room 4421 of the School of Oriental and African Studies-SOAS from 5-7pm.
 Anyone can attend and entry is free.

According to BTs, the theme is; “Media and Democracy in Tanzania.”
Main speaker will be Ben Taylor of Daraja which runs newspapers in Njombe and Iringa, south Tanzania. Ben Taylor has been involved in development projects in Tanzania since 1999 and has connections to some of active media personalities for example, Maggid Mjengwa of Kwanza Jamii Blog. Kwanza Jamii has built a name highlighting rural and lives of the poor people outside major towns.

Freddy Macha, writer and columnist will be chairing the seminar which is expected to be attended by many interested in Tanzanian media issues.

Last month BTs organised a talk by Tanzanian Transport Minister, Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe who addressed the meeting at the Central Hall, Westminster, regarding the ongoing constitutional review. Minister Mwakyembe who had allegedly two attempts on his life has been accredited for renovating the ailing transport system in Tanzania by introducing trains in congested filled  streets of Dar es Salaam.

More info read here...

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Friday, 30 November 2012


Living in London last couple of years I have never heard so much shock and sadness. News of  Broadcaster Freddy Mtoi’s death in the early hours of Saturday 17th November hit the Tanzanian community unbelievably hard...
The late soft spoken broadcaster (right) interviewing local Tanzanian celebrity musician Amani Temba of the Wanaume band in London last year. Pic by Urban Pulse...

Freddy Mtoi was a part-time journalist with BBC Swahili Radio and in the eight years he had lived here, maintained a low profile, out of bounds – a very quiet, modest, highly intelligent reporter and researcher who cared so much about his work that nothing else was known about the University of Dar es Salaam law graduate. In my personal experience with him - he was punctual, cordial, honest and very good at bringing the best out of you. He interviewed me several times in a wide range of issues- arts, music, social affairs and politics. Mtoi always made me play my music to accompany the programs- a great appreciator of other people's efforts and labour.
Freddy Alex Mtoi- described as kind, disciplined and very well mannered by all those who knew him...

In a statement released by BBC Swahili tonight, it is said the 39 year old broadcaster who began working in media over ten years ago, was doing his Masters in Digital Media before his death. 
A special service will be held in his memory  on Saturday 1st December, 11 a.m. at St Anne's Lutheran Church, Gresham Street, London, EC2V.
Mtoi's body is expected to be flown to Dar es Salaam by British Airways on Monday and burial is expected in Kinondoni grounds- Wednesday 5th December , 3 pm  after  a service at Tabata Lutheran Church.
More info Contact:

Zawadi Machibya
BBC Swahili Co-ordinator of the memorial service

May God Rest his Soul in Peace Amen! 

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Friday, 16 November 2012


Introducing Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe, Tanzania's Minister for Transport last weekend at the Central Hall, Westminster, London chair for Britain- Tanzania Society, William Fulton's tone and words showed immense appreciation and respect.

A people's leader...Minister Dr. Mwakyembe besieged by folks of all shades, gender and colour.

 At the end of his talk which covered two main topics: the re-writing of the Tanzanian constitution and state of travel industry,  MP and Minister Dr. Mwakyembe was thanked by Camden Town councillor Valerie Leach...
Councillor Councillor Leach thanks the Minister for his integrity a rare quality among current African leaders...pic by Rashid Dilunga.

Ms Leach who spent years working in Africa and Tanzania- in particular- addressed the minister in Kiswahili "Mheshimiwa" saying he reminded us all of the times of Mwalimu Nyerere...when "accountability and anti- corruption" were part of the political menu.
Julian Marcus (left) and Ron Fennel of the BTS...

Dr. Mwakyembe started out as a lawyer, BTs Chair Mr Fulton said then became Kyela MP in 2005. Thereafter he led the investigation into the Richmonds corruption scandal (2008) which saw resignation of top government guys including Prime Minister, Edward Ngoyai Lowassa...
Soon after Dr. Mwakyembe narrowly escaped a car accident  then the mysterious skin disease in 2011. Speculation to both cases has become the subject of intense media analysis....
The guest speaks; flanked by BTs chair, William Fulton (left). Pic by Rashid Dilunga...

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Saturday, 27 October 2012


Hackney is buzzing. Why? Two words...

I had heard about this small intimate venue for many years... but never ventured in. So on 13th October, three Saturdays ago I popped in to see two amazing acts.

First was the five man percussion- led by visiting Mali Djembe master-drummer Djembe Thunder  with Siemy Di (Congo) on Kit drums, Williams Cumberbache (Venezuela) on Congas, plus another Mali player and wizard musician...Abdullah Samfo, all on fire. 
Or should I say fire and water...for the sound was very balanced.
Idriss made the crowd crazy. He was energetic and the team played along with him. The best thing about this set was the way ... experienced and technically able quartet let one another play. No-one showed off or competed. A master class of dynamics. This made the rhythms audible, clear and easy to hear. Which made all of us in the audience enjoy being at Passing Clouds.
Next set was the host himself. Always positive in the way he presented other musicians and how he spoke to the warm and receptive audience. Planetman (shown on his new CD below) is an example of the entertainer, educator and artist musician all rolled into one.

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Friday, 12 October 2012


Seen here in his final days, Alan Hayman the late  South African musician who died on  Wednesday 5th September, 2012 in Xerem,  Rio De Janeiro....this is typical Alan- at his best, a dictionary of music theory and percussion,  a guy who loved humanity, adored working with young people and  mingling with folks of all kind, colour, age...

Born in South Africa in April 1949, having showed his distaste for the abhorring Apartheid system , he moved to the UK where he met Virginia, married and together had a son, Joshua in 1982. 
Josh Hayman is now  an upcoming  magician who can be seen everywhere in the UK.
After a huge contribution in the multi-cultural  world of the UK (including being one of the founding members of the London School of Samba in 1983) Alan Hayman emigrated to Brazil in the mid 1990's where he continued with his active and positive life. One of the main projects he was heavily involved with was working with ill provided communities such as orphans shown in these pictures. Thanks to Vera  Lucia Perreira da Silva his life long partner and confidant in his august years for providing us with these rich,  precious images. 

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Sunday, 23 September 2012


A fascinating mix of martial arts, music and poetry...that was Friday night, 21st September, at Charlton House, Greenwich...

The bill was headlined by jazz singer Sarah Moule in her show : Femmes Fatales; the honey voice transported us through history by standards from different times. By her side was amazing pianist, composer and husband Simon Wallace, a man with a long successful history in show business...
Watch a minute and  half of their show here...
The gig began with a newly created jazz duet combo- with Andre Mathurin on bass and Robert Stekelenburg on piano...see a brief moment taken from their 15 minutes wonderful symbiosis here...

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Wednesday, 19 September 2012


Song writers, poets, novelists, bloggers, social analysts, journalists – they were all here around the Kitchen Table. Thanks to Global Fusion Music and Arts...

First Angela Aimes and Sandhya Kaffo, proudly, showed their new poetry collections. Then Wendy Higgs exhibited her jewels from Egypt, the work of a man called ...what was the man’s name? Adel. Not the famous English musician, but an Arab designer. Fascinating colours: emerald, ruby, purple, name it. 

Appreciation was shown in different ways- some touched, some said their favourite ones, others bought one, two, three pieces for themselves, wives, friends, etc.
Then it was time to read new works.
Angela Aimes shows her new book : Peace for Sale...

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Wednesday, 12 September 2012


A few days ago when I broke the death news to Jazz musician, Claude Deppa, after the initial shock, the charismatic Claude remarked : "He was too fast for London. No wonder he moved to Brazil.  Alan was ahead of his time."

There are two types of human beings.
 Those whose goals are achieved in their country of origin; and ones whose dreams are fulfilled in foreign lands.  Like Mohammed Farah who moved from Somalia and is now a celebrated athlete in the UK; or the Jewish thinker and author, Karl Marx who fled  Germany in the 19th century and died in London. Remmy Ongala left Congo in 1978 and brought prestige to Tanzanian music, died and was buried in Dar es Salaam two years ago.
Living in a huge, cosmopolitan city like London makes you meet such individuals.    300 languages are spoken here. In such a maze of cultures and nationalities, I met Alan Hayman, a South African community enthusiast and musician in 1991.

Alan Hayman (first right, seated on his beloved Congas) in his hey days with Sambatucada band. One can see how  Alan enjoyed working and collaborating with others...Pic courtsey of Vera Lucia Pereira da Silva.

 Back then I was living in Rio de Janeiro and had reviewed an international film festival for a London magazine. While visiting the country my agent (who was based in London) said she had got a call from this African guy.

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Friday, 17 August 2012

My Recent Poem


I was talking to a snail
Yes you may smile!
I saw a snail walking ( or should I say ) gliding
Near the rail
Not far from the major road
I felt sad
I said
Look dear fellow (assuming it was my sorrow)
Not concerned snail kept strolling and sliding

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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

CEZELINI- Tanzanian songwriter, rapper and musician

Music is in my DNA, he says, jubilantly

Upcoming composer, Cezelini ( pictured) has been creating and making music for a along time. While living in Kenya he collaborated with celebrated hip hop artist Delta 14 released 2 albums in Nairobi. His new CD "Song for You" was described as having a unique blending of genres in a review by Ricky Ruto on CD Baby site.
WE chatted recently. Cezelini is expecting to shoot a new video in Dar es Salaam in the next few weeks.
Congratulations for your album “Songs for you”- how long did it take to make and did you do it yourself or was backed by a recording company?Thank you Freddy, it took about 3 years to complete and we did it independently under our record label called Time Wreakords.

Cezilini on stage in North America...recently. 

How many CD’s released? Are they selling well?
We released 500 CDs, they are selling okay, not as well as I would like due to a lack of adequate promotion. So far a little more than half of the CDs have been sold plus about 100 internet downloads.
How is it going for a Tanzanian musicians living in Canada?Firstly, there isn't a big Tanzanian artist community let alone a Tanzanian community in Canada compared to West Africans. Secondly, the two main languages in Canada are English and French and Thirdly, the music industry in Canada is a tough one to break through hence a lot of big Canadian artists re-locate to the U.S. So it's tough but for the love of the art we persevere and adapt regardless of the hardship. You'd find Songs For You is made up of mostly English lyrics and little Swahili and Swanglish due to my second point and it's difficult to get managers or financing to promote a product that's not entirely Canadian.

Your album has a rich mix of hip hop, Swanglish, well thought lyrics, reggae, electronics, excellent guitar chops -was it easy to do?Thank you. I'd say fun rather than easy. They were definite hardships but I enjoyed facing the hardships and getting the project were I wanted it to be. I love doing this.
Who are your audiences? North Americans , East Africans? Who are you aiming for?With this project I was aiming for everyone hence the title Songs For You. There's a little bit for rockers, hiphop/RnB lovers, reggae lovers etc. which I believe are located all around the world. Also by doing this I was expressing my love for the genres.

Do you have a band, or these are session artists?I do have a band currently but that wasn't the case when I was working on Songs For You. Along with being my recording engineer, Scott Walsh played bass, guitar and banjo on the project and he's also a very good friend. Most of the featured artists on Songs For You are Canada based Africans whom I went to school with, with ethnicities including Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria and Eritrea. And one singer born in Canada from Caribbean parents.
What are your aims and goals and ideals? Making music? Become a star? Make money? Change the world?Right now my aim is to keep perfecting my music and hopefully change the world with a positive message. I think a lot of these messages have already been said or written before but not via my voice and music. So I hope my voice and music reinforces the message.

Talking of changing the world. Your site advertises a charity project in Rombo, Kilimanjaro. Helping those afflicted with HIV and AIDS, poverty and improvishment. How is it going?

It’s going really well for the kids. The main issue they struggle with is donor support.
Can music help heal the world? What is the role of music to you?
I believe music heals. I use it in most of everything I do, to get me going; when I wake up in the morning, alter my mood when it needs altering e.g. relaxing or getting hyped, creating an atmosphere in a room or area. I can go on forever but creation wise, I just love making music, it’s in my DNA.

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Saturday, 7 January 2012


At last Tanzanian cultural promoter of cooking and web designer, Miriam Rose Kinunda has announced her book is out soon.
Read more here

Famous Tanzanian buns known as Maandazi.
Mmmmmm...delicious. Such tantalizing recipes will be found in Miriam's coming book.

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