My name is Pete Mhunzi, lover of Kiswahili. I study, teach, translate, interpret and communicate in this language and have been doing so for almost fifty years. I am a retired professor of history with a MBA from UCLA. I am starting a blog and invite all who are interested in this language to read the introduction that follows and respond to my request for criticisms and suggestions. http://petemhunzi.wordpress.com/
KARIBUNI KWA MSIMAMO
(WELCOME TO MSIMAMO)
“MSIMAMO” means position or stand on a particular issue or set of issues. The language of origin is Kiswahili, the most widely spoken language in East Africa and the national language of Kenya and Tanzania.
This blog is dedicated to presenting my stand on issues important to the development of both Tanzania and the United States. My stand is not an ideological one, it is an informative position. I want to contribute to the dissemination of information on issues that I am stressing the importance of.
My stand stresses the importance of language to social development. I am an advocate of the usage of Kiswahili on the intellectual level. So I will publish articles written in Kiswahili as well as in English.
My advocacy of Kiswahili is the result of the positive influence this beautiful and profound language has had on my intellectual, scholarly and moral development. I have been a student of Kiswahili for forty-four years. I began this study when I enrolled in college at age thirty-two. I want my experience to be a source of inspiration to students. I want to introduce or reintroduce the literary wealth of Kiswahili to the world. The literary history of Kiswahili spans 500 years.
The poetry of Kiswahili has reinforced the moral lessons and intellectual challenges that I received from my parents. The historical reality of an African language legitimized the moral and intellectual challenges on a standard unreachable, in my opinion, by the English language.
Basic to my advocacy of Kiswahili is my policy on acceptance of articles written by authors other than myself. I will make a dilligent effort to reject articles that disrespect the language by incessent usage of English terms and phrases that appear to result from an attempt to think in English and express those thoughts in mundane, superficial, crudely constructed Kiswahili.
I am obligated to remind those comfortable with this approach that they join hands with the advocates of the colonization and slavery of Africans. In their view, colonialism was the beginning of civilization for Africans who were not kidnapped and sold into slavery.
For our specific ancestors, we who are African American, slavery, in the opinion of the advocates of colonialism and slavery, was the beginning of Christian and therefore moral redemption and civilized life.
The ending of slavery in America and the ending of colonialism in Africa were justified by the premise of the human potential for equality. Language is a primary instrument for the expression of ideas. Ideas are basic to human development and the solving of problems and setting of goals. To say that a language developed by African ancestors is devoid of the potential for modern development endorses the racist evaluations of Africans both at home in Afrtica and abroad in the Diaspora by non-Africans.
The offerings in English are intended to provide important information about the opportunities found in and historical realities of the United States of America. The first posting includes an article on the uniqueness of the American system of higher education. It gives my interpretation of the perceived benefits to students by fulfilling general education requirements. It contrasts the U.S. system to European systems pointing out that our system is directed at all students who aspire to attend college, irrespective of class or age; not focusing exclusively on the upper classes and the wealthy which has been the norm in Europe.
The initial posting offers examples of my own attempts to express myself in Kiswahili. One is a reprint of an article published by MWANANCHI intitled: “Je, Kwa Nini Kiswahili Kifundishwe Marekani?” Another is, “Historia ya Chama cha Republican Enzi Zitanguliazo Vita vya Wenyewe kwa Wenyewe Marekani.”
Beginning with the second posting, I will offer articles written by others. For example, the article entitled “Human Capital” by Thomas Sowell, the distinguished African American conservative scholar. From Tanzania articles are presented by Stephen Maina and Gadi Solomon, journalists with the exemplary Tanzanian newspaper, MWANANCHI. These astute gentlemen consistently write challenging articles on the importance and correct usage of Kiswahili and its intellectual and moral importance to the social development of Tanzania.
Journalist, Jenerali Ulimwengu, of Raia Mwema, another excellent Tanzanian newspaper, is an excellent historian. As his name implies, he has a universal understanding of historical developments and places Africa in general and Tanzania in particular, in the universal development of human beings and their social progress.
In the third posting I plan to include examples of the genius of Shaaban Robert, poet extraordinaire. I am endebted to him for the challenges and grace of linguistic expression that he so humbly shared with all who have read his prose and poetry.
Please share your ideas and preferences for articles, subjects, and viewpoints. I assure you they will be taken seriously.
Pete M. Mhunzi
Editor in Chief