This evening, I board my spacecraft Apollo 2019 and enter the space with strategy, gust, gusto and guts. I am not flying to go hang out with Martians. I don’t want their sweet and charming serenades. I am hovering in the space and time: My eyes trained in Tanzania and my face centred on history. Music is my target. Culture is my object.
Music is the language of imagination, and my mind must engage the imagination gear to fly smoothly and smokeless.
I arrive at Julius Nyerere International Airport, and I’m greeted with an appetitive smell of Mkate wa kumimina. While there, I meet one Shaban bin Robert. But right now I’m not interested in the Kusadikika. Probably Maisha Yangu na Baada ya Miaka Hamsini will do the trick. However, I’m biased towards Maisha Yangu na kabla ya miaka Hamsini. ‘Shaban Robert, maybe we try, Wasifu wa Siti binti Saad!’
So I move on, I don’t decline to board dala dala. I want to go past Kinondoni. And I don’t want Country roads to take me home to West Mugirango. I slam into Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, yet I’m not fascinated with nationalism and Ujamaa at the moment. ‘Ujamaa, do you remember you terribly failed to lift my brothers and sisters from poverty?’
I’m not boarding. I’m not going back home. I’m staying here in Tanzania for more days.
I move further east towards Morogoro and meet Mbaraka Mwinshehe. I am tempted to chat with him but, guess, he will start telling me about, Shida haina Mwisho when I know shida ina mwisho. He may also tell me Tina Rudi, when I don’t want Tina back. Possibly he may say Hakuna Dawa Ya Mapenzi , of which I agree with him. Though I also know that Hakuna kabisa,Dawa ya makosa,Yakututakasa,Ila damuyake Yesu.
So I pass over to meet Mirambo. His name means corpses. I don’t want corpses. I want to live. Mirambo can plot to sell me as a slave to Arab Merchants in exchange for muskets. The idea of ending up as a slave to one of the Three Musketeers sends shivers down my spine. It is the season of Liberty and the Presence of God, not Slavery and the Absence of God.
Nyungu ya Mawe is beckoning me to join him in the Ruga Ruga Empire. I do not want to be a piece of cake when the Germans dismantle his hegemony.
Unfazed, I soldier on to encounter Jamhuri Jazz Band in Tanga. It is a detour. I want Marashi ya Tanga and not Marashi ya Pemba. Let me tarry in Tanga for a while, for I have heard some sweet lyrics, Mwenye Shingo Ya Upanga, na hatua za hesabu.
I have remembered something. Before I boarded my avant-garde spacecraft, I saw a school bus in Bungoma written on ‘Sigalame High School’. I have a friend who has kept me on toes to find Sigalame. He is in the fifties and tells me that Sigaleme lives where I was born. A man called Issa Juma stated that many years ago. Thus I ask Issa Juma of Super Wanyika Stars, and he narrates me ‘Nimemuona Sigalame huko Bungoma. Na huko Bungoma anafanya biashara. Na hizo biashara anajua mwenyewe….’
While still in phantasms, Ndugu Benjamin Mkapa agrees to accompany me. He is an authentic gentleman. His smile is neither plastic nor synthetic. He invites Tido Mhando, but I don’t want BBC News: ‘Kiongozi wa kiimla wa Nigeria Sani Abacha ametangaza kwamba serikali yake haitmsamehe Mwandishi maarufu wa vitabu Ken-Saro Wiwa…”
Perhaps Ndiugu Mkapa would have called Mwamoyo Hamza.
As we drive along the Dar es Salaam-Iringa road, Ndugu Mkapa switches on the stereo, and I can hear Vigelegele ndio furaha…..
We only make 300Km before Ali Hassan Mwinyi phones to inform me that my spacecraft imeisha mafuta and I can’t go back. Guys, msinisingizie, shida zote zimeletwa na nyinyi.