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Latest Voices From Swahili Blogosphere

The big question in Swahili blogosphere remains: who deserves government assistance and how should the Tanzania ‘s government assist financially all eligible higher education candidates?

Recently, sudents at the University of Dar-Es-Salaam held public demonstrations to protest against their colleagues who were dropped from the Higher Learning Students Loan Board (HLSB) list of beneficiaries, delayed disbursement of their loans, and the poor state of key social amenities at the university.

Charahani is of the opinion that the new system of granting loans to higher learning students is discriminatory, therefore favoring the rich.

Na hadithi hii inakuwa chungu zaidi. Wakati tuisheni ikilipuka juu, fedha ya mikopo ya serikali inazidi kuwa finyu na hivyo kuwafanya wanafunzi wengi wakiwa watoto wa wakulima na wafanyakazi kubeba zigo zito la kulipa tuisheni.

The story gets even bitter. While tuition keeps increasing, the government keeps reducing the amount of loan and therefore creating a huge financial burden to students, most of whom come from peasant and working class families.

Mjengwa views the new higher education loans system as a betrayal to the ideals that Tanzanians have held for the past forty-five years when access to education was a national priority. He cites a popular nationalistic song the protesting students were singing, “Kama si Juhudi Zako Nyerere” (Were it not for your efforts, Nyerere), to remind those in power of Nyerere's vision of education for all. The song pays tribute to the efforts of the first President of Tanzania, Mwalimu Nyerere, in building a nation based on his humanist vision of justice and equality, particularly for the poor.

He argues that if it were not for government's help, those in power today would not have entered college:

Leo hii, wengi wa waliokuwa vijana miaka ya 70 ndio wanaoshikilia nyadhifa mbali mbali. Miongoni mwao kuna Wabunge na Mawaziri. Sehemu kubwa ya safu ya uongozi wa juu serikalini ni wahitimu wa Chuo Kikuu cha Dar Es Salaam, Rais wa nchi, Jakaya Kikwete ni mmoja wao. Wengi wa hawa ni watoto wa Makabwela wa nchi hii, watoto wa wakulima na wafanyakazi. Wengi wao hawakuwa na wazazi wenye uwezo wa kuwasomesha shule za msingi, sekondari na hata chuo kikuu. Kwa jitihada za Mwl. Nyerere, TANU na Serikali yake, iliwezekana kwao kupata elimu yao bure. Naam. Kama si jitihada zake Nyerere, waheshimiwa hawa wangesoma wapi?

Today, those who were young people in the 1970s are holding important positions in the government. Most of the members of parliament and ministers including the current President, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, have college education. Although most of them are children of poor workers and peasants, it was because of efforts by Mwalimu Nyerere and the government at the time, that they were able to receive education.

Writing about the same issue (students’ loans), Kitururu wonders whether Martin Luther King's speech “I have a dream” is relevant to Tanzania. He comes up with his own “I Have a Dream”:

Nina ndoto kuwa Tanzania itafikia kuwa elimu ni jambo ambalo Mtanzania akiamua kulipata, hulipata bila ya kipato cha familia au chake kuwa kama ndio kithibitisho cha upataji wake wa elimu.

I have a dream that one day Tanzanians will be able to receive education regardless of their family or financial background.

Dar es Salaam-based popular photoblogger, Muhidin Issa Michuzi, writes in English and Swahili about the violent murders of two Tanzanian students – Walter Mazula (28) and Vonetha Nkya (27) in Detroit , Michigan. He also posts their photo.

Reporting from New York about the incident, Michuzi writes: “Tanzania's Ambassador to Washington, Mr Andrew Mhando Daraja, confirming the reports here last night named the deceased as the late Walter Mazula and Vonetha Nkya. Mr Daraja said the two met their violent deaths in the East side of Detroit late Saturday afternoon.

Ndesanjo Macha reminds those who did not listen to Ted Turner's interview with Reuters (UN: Will they listen?) to read Rebecca's piece.

Swahili bloggers’ works are not immune from copyright infringement. Ndesanjo writes about a recent incident involving a food blog, MiRecipe, and a news and entertainment website in Tanzania, Dar Hotwire. Dar Hotwire published content (text and photos) from MiRecipe without her permission.

He discusses copyright laws, media ethics, the Berne Convention and emphasizes the need to respect bloggers’ works.

He writes:

Bado ni kosa kisheria na pia sio ustaarabu kuiba kazi za mtu mwingine (iwe ni maandishi, picha, filamu, muziki, n.k.) bila idhini ya mtu huyo. Hata kama kazi hizo ziko ndani ya blogu. Inawezekana baadhi yetu tunadhani kuwa sheria za hatimiki na pia kanuni na maadili ya uandishi havitulindi wanablogu. Yaani mambo tunayoandika ndani ya blogu zetu ni sawa kabisa akitokea mtu yeyote akaamua kuyatumia (iwe ni picha, mashairi, hadithi, makala) bila kutuomba ruhusu na wala kusema ametoa wapi. Hatutakubali jambo hili litokee.

It is illegal and unethical to use literary works without permission even if those works are in a blog. It is possible that there is a general assumption that copyright laws and media ethics do not apply to blogs. This assumption might lead some to believe that bloggers’ works such as photos, poems, stories, and feature articles can be used by anyone without seeking permission or giving credit. We will not allow this to happen.

A Boston based Swahili blogger, Chemi Che Mponda writes about a Tanzanian model and author, Tausi Likokola. Tausi has modelled for famous brands like Gucci and Christian Dior. Chemi reckons that Tausi will be a positive role model for many young Tanzanian girl:

Zaidi ya kazi za urembo Tausi amekuwa akifanya kazi ya kusaidia wagonjwa wa UKIMWI kupitia NGO yake iitwayo Tausi AIDS FUND . Aliaanzisha baada ya ndugu na marafiki wengi kuaathirika na huo ugonjwa hatari.

Apart from modelling, Tausi has been helping AIDS victims through her non-profit, Tausi AIDS Fund, which she started after many of her relatives and friends got infected.

Tausi plans on bringing together people and resources to help those affected by HIV/AIDS.

Harakati doctors a photograph to show that the former Inspector General of Police in Tanzania, Omar Mahita, is a school-age kid following a civil case against him for abandoning his child.

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