Cultural Note: The Kanga

images 2014-05-31-15-35-28--243726405

I have talked about the (in)famous piece of cloth that is known as kanga (or leso, across the border to the north) when I posted on Taarab Music (you can find the wee extract here ). But I was pleasantly surprised to find a whole article dedicated to it in one of the leading newspapers in the region and wanted to share it with you.

It gives a good insight into the history, use and benefits of the kanga and also the cultural importance attached to it. Very interesting and informative read. Rather than me quoting bits and bobs of it, you’re better off reading it in its entirety methinks. Check it out

LESSON #90: Methali…#8

“Ponda mali kufa kwaja”

Ponda- crush

Mali- wealth/money

Kufa- dying/to die

Kwaja- is coming/cometh

As you may have already figured out this means spend/enjoy your wealth/money because eventually death awaits you. Very sobering message if you ask me! And thats my message for the weekend, live life but live it wisely cuz death does await you 😉


Translation Challenge #9… (swa-eng)


Jana nimebahatika kutazama filamu moja yenye asili ya Kichina iitwayo “Under The Hawthorn Tree”. Filamu hii inatokana na kitabu kimoja maarufu sana chenye jina hilo hilo ambacho kimeuza nakala zaidi ya milioni moja nchini China tu.

Kwa ufupi hadithi inaelezea mapenzi kati ya msichana mdogo maskini na mvulana aliyetoka kwenye familia yenye uwezo wakati wa miaka ya sabini nchi ya China ilipokuwa kwenye kipindi kigumu cha mapinduzi.

Kwa kweli filamu hii ni nzuri mno na waigizaji wakuu walifanya kazi ya kusifika kabisa. Kama hujaitazama au kusoma kitabu cha hadithi hii ningekushauri ufanye hivyo na nakuahidi utakuja kunishukuru. Ila nikupe tahadhari moja tu-hakikisha una kleenex mkononi kwa sababu ninakuhakikishia utaihitaj!



Bridal Send-off party, Tanzanian Style!

Been a long time indeed, ila nimerudi tena. Been too busy, between making a living and frequent gym visits (aiming to lose 10 kgs by my birthday in July!) I haven’t had a minute to myself,nawaomba mniwie radhi kwa hilo!

Anyways I had a free minute yesterday and went to a sherehe (event/party) called a send-off, as in bridal send-off. It’s the last celebration before the wedding ceremony and this is all for the bride although the groom is invited as well but no one pays him much attention cuz it’s not about him-though you may argue since when was any part of the wedding about the groom?- I rest my case!

It’s basically when the bride’s family officially hands her over to the in-laws and of course there’s also loads of gifting going on to the bride and mother of the bride as well, just a little kudos for raising her daughter and stuff.

Anyways if you live in Tanzania you’ll come to learn that the final week before the wedding is mostly spent on sherehe. There’s the kitchen party (equivalent to hen party), then the send off, then the mkesha wa harusi and lately I hear men have started having stag dos (the actual name escapes me). So yeahs basically weddings are a big deal here (as they should be methinks) and for that reason we find any excuse to party right until the wedding day!

I took photos of cuz (hopefully no one sues me!)

Here’s two, enjoy!


The bride and guests shaking a leg-you know that famous wedding dance that African Americans have to perform at weddings? We used to call it shuffling, I don’t know what Americans call it.


The bride (in pink, in front) going to search for her groom amongst the guests-one of the highlights of the event, you get single men trying to woo her like are you sure you’d rather not have me? It’s a good laugh!