Friday, September 17, 2010

My Articles in "Kwanza Jamii"

Early last year, Maggid Mjengwa, owner of Mjengwa blog, invited me to write a column for Kwanza Jamii, a weekly paper he was starting. For most of the year, I wrote this column. The paper appeared in print and online. The print version ended at the end of the year, but Kwanza Jamii online continued.

Today I went online and saw that two articles I wrote for Kwanza Jamii are leading in the categories of "most discussed" and "most read." My "Safari za JK Nje ya Nchi" has been "most discussed" for many months. Although a handful of readers agreed with my arguments or engaged in civil discourse, most railed against me, with some resorting to "ad-hominem" attacks, instead of dealing with the arguments, a trend that Professor Matondo roundly criticized.

The article that has climbed to the top of the "most read" list is "Tutabadilika JK Akienda Rwanda?" This is a pleasant and welcome development. There is a widely held view in Tanzania that readers of newspapers prefer sensational news, reports of scandals and similar stories, not serious writing. My article appears to challenge this view, even though it has taken many months for it to reach the top spot.

On both counts, I have reason to be pleased. I have a record of provoking debate and controversy, from my early school days, as principal speaker in debating clubs. In writing for Kwanza Jamii, I sought to stimulate debate. I subsequently gathered my articles and published them as book titled CHANGAMOTO.

"Changamoto," a Swahili word, means something that stimulates or provokes thinking. The book came out just a few months ago. I am pleased that my first reader in Tanzania is excited about it, as I reported here. This reader's response and the online evidence indicate that the book will provoke strong reactions, generating, I hope, not only heat, but also light.

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