This year I completely forgot Tanganyika's Independence Day when writing the column for the EA. Which is a really embarrassing slip-up: one of the underlying motivations that helps me survive a weekly deadline come hell or high water is my pro-Tanzanian agenda in the regional newspaper. But I have just committed the kind of offense that gets one thrown out of the patriot club.
Of course I have excuses and stuff. But underlying them all is the fact that... well, 51 years. It's easy to come up with grand statements for a major jubilee, but every year? Ha! Last year was a fever of anticipation. This year is like the early hours of the morning after a great party: still picking up plates and glasses, kind off exhausted, quiet. Nonetheless I took the opportunity to address one of my greatest irritations: our intractable belief that the government should fix our problems:
"It can't be enough to mark our progress according to what the state hasn't done for us lately. More interesting would be to mark what it is that we have done for ourselves, each year, until that becomes habit. So we spent the first half century learning how to function independently from the imperial powers. We can spend the next few decades learning to reduce our dependence on our increasingly problematic government, and get rid of at least some of the general discontent before it gets too bad. Also: we could stand to have a national concert on Independence Day, we're practically overrun with musical talent. And because surely this 1960s approach to national celebrations could do with a bit of 21st Century polish, for the sake of our collective enjoyment."
Hey. Retro chic is always good with me, I like nostalgia. But if the anticipated fifth administration doesn't radically revamp the independence day celebrations at our brand new (Chinese donated) national stadium, it's really going to a sign that we've voted in the wrong kinds of people. I've already given up on the fourth and it's limited imagination.