Thursday, March 23, 2017

Mpiga Debe wa Vitabu Amenifuata

Jana niliandika katika blogu hii kuhusu programu inayowapeleka watu wa Nebraska Tanzania, ambao wanashauriwa kusoma Africans and Americans Embracing Cultural Differences. Nilikiri kuwa niliandika kama vile ninajipigia debe, lakini nilipendekeza utamaduni huo.

Ilikuwa kama nimeota, kwani leo nimepigiwa simu na kuletewa ujumbe na kampuni ya Readers Magnet inayojishughulisha na utangazaji wa vitabu. Mama aliyenipigia alisemaa kuwa wanakifahamu kitabu changu kutokana na taarifa za wasomaji katika mtandao wa Amazon. Wangependa kukijumlisha katika orodha ya vitabu wanavyovitangaza, akafafanua mipango yao, ikiwemo kuwakilisha katika maonesho ya vitabu ya Frankfurt.

Kwa kuwa maelezo yalikuwa mengi, nilimwuliza kama anaweza kuniletea kwa maandishi, akakubali. Ameniandikia ujumbe, ambao unaanza hivi:

Your book, Africans and Americans: Embracing Cultural Differences, was recommended to us by our Book Scouts. We believe and we have validated that your unique book has the potential and our goal for your book is to be recognized or acquired by specific decision makers like book store owners, librarians, and traditional publishers who have connections and contacts to help you reach out to your target audience and increase your returns. Your book is sure to capture a lot of attention this coming 2017 Frankfurt International Book Fair in Frankfurt, Germany dedicated for titles like yours and positively we will be able to give them the same impression as we have realized to entice investors for your book.

Baada ya kusoma na kutafakari maelezo yote, nimekubali kushiriki mpango huo. Katika mazungumzo ya simu, Sophia alivyoniulizia mikakati yangu ya kutangaza vitabu vyangu, nilimjibu kwa uwazi kuwa mimi ni mwalimu na mwandishi. Sina uzoefu wa biashara, wala mkakati maalum wa kutangaza vitabu vyangu, bali kwa ujumla vinatangazwa na wasomaji wenyewe katika maongezi yao, mawasiliano yao, mitandaoni, kama vile blogu, na kama alivyojionea hapo Amazon. Kutokana na kwamba sina mkakati wala uzoefu wa kibiashara, nimeona kuwa sina hasara kuipa kampuni hiyo wadhifa wa kutangaza kitabu changu. Zaidi ya kwamba sina cha kupoteza, nimevutiwa na maelezo ya faida za kufanya hivyo.

Nimejisikia vizuri kutokana na mawasiliano ya leo na Sophia. Alivyonieleza namna walivyokifahamu kitabu changu, na nikatambua kuwa wanakihitaji, nilijikuta nikimhoji na kumwekea vizingiti. Sikutaka kuweka hata chembe ya fununu kwamba ninahitaji huduma yao. Ni wazi kuwa kama mtu una kitu cha thamani, una uwezo wa kuonyesha kuwa unajiamini. Utamaduni wa kujiamini na kujithamini ni muhimu kwa mtu binafsi, kwa jamii, na kwa taifa. Ndio maana, bila kusita, nilimwambia Sophia kuwa aniletee ujumbe wa maandishi ili nitafakari.

Nimeelezea ujumbe huu hapa kwa kuwa ninaamini unaweza kuwa na manufaa kwa waandishi wengine. Vile vile, ni jadi yangu kuandika katika blogu hii mambo yanayotokana na uzoefu wangu na ninayojifunza kuhusu masuala ya vitabu.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Kitabu kwa Wasafiri Watokao Nebraska

Leo nimeona taarifa kutoka sinodi ya Nebraska ya Kanisa la Kiluteri la Marekani, kuhusu maandalizi ya safari za kwenda Tanzania. Safari hizo zimefanyika tangu miaka iliyopita. Kuna sehemu iitwayo "Preparatory Reading," na kama miaka iliyopita, katika sehemu hiyo kitabu changu, Africans and Americans: Embracing Cultural Differences, kimependekezwa kwa wasafiri hao:

For those persons wanting to more deeply explore cultural differences between Africans and Americans, the book Africans and Americans: Embracing Cultural Differences by Joseph Mbele is recommended. The book is available at www.africonxion.com.

Kwangu kama mwandishi, hii ni habari njema, ingawa si mpya. Viongozi wa programu kama hiyo ya Nebraska wana uzoefu wa miaka mingi wa kwenda Tanzania. Wana uzoefu wa utamaduni wa Tanzania. Kuendelea kwao kukipendekeza kitabu changu ni ushahidi kuwa wameona kinawafaa wa-Marekani wanaowapeleka Tanzania.

Watu kutoka Nebraska wanaosairi kwenda Tanzania nimewahi kuwataja katika blogu yangu ya ki-Ingereza. Ninajisikia kama vile, kwa njia ya kitabu changu, nina uhusiano wa kudumu nao.

Nimeandika nilivyoandika, ingawa ninafahamu kuwa kwa mujibu wa utamaduni wa leo wa Tanzania, tunaogopa kuambiwa tunaringa. Ninaamini kuwa ni sahihi mtu kujivunia kazi yake na mafanikio yake, kama wafanyavyo wanamuziki wetu, ambao aghalabu tunawasikia wakitamba wanapoandaa albamu au wimbo wa kutupagawisha. Tunapowasikia wakisema hivyo, tunafurahi na kusubiri kwa hamu.

Lakini ni ajabu kuwa tunaona si sahihi kwa mwanataaluma kujivunia kazi yake. Lakini ninaona tujikumbushe kauli iliyomo katika "Azimio la Arusha" kuwa katika nchi yetu, kazi iwe ni kitu cha kujivunia; na uvivu, ulevi, na uzembe viwe ni vitu vya kuvionea aibu. "Azimio la Arusha" linazungumzia kila kazi yenye manufaa kwa mtu na jamii.

Kama kichekesho, ninakumbushia methali iliyomo katika riwaya ya Things Fall Apart ya Chinua Achebe: "The lizard that jumped from the high iroko tree to the ground said he would praise himself if no one else did," ambayo inamaanisha kuwa ukifanikisha jambo, usichelee kujisifu mwenyewe. Labda huo ndio utamaduni tunaouhitaji.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Nimenunua "Two Thousand Seasons" (Ayi Kwei Armah)

Leo nilienda St. Paul, na wakati wa kurudi, nilipitia Apple Valley kuangalia vitabu katika duka la Half Price Books, kama ilivyo kawaida yangu. Hilo duka lina maelfu ya vitabu, na wateja wanapishana humo tangu asubuhi hadi jioni.

Kila ninapoingia katika duka la vitabu, ninajikuta nikianza kuangalia kama kuna vitabu vipya juu ya mwandishi Ernest Hemingway. Leo sikuona kitabu kipya juu ya Hemingway, nikaenda sehemu nyingine humo dukani, kwenye kona kabisa, ambapo sikosi kupitia.

Hapo, katikati ya msitu wa vitabu, niliona kitabu cha Ayi Kwei Armah, Two Thousand Seasons. Sikutegemea kukuta kitabu cha Armah. Nilikichukua hima, huku nikikumbuka enzi za ujana wangu Tanzania, kwani ni wakati ule ndipo nilianza kusikia habari za Ayi Kwei Armah.

Tangu nikiwa mwanafunzi sekondari, nilikuwa nafuatilia sana fasihi ya ki-Ingereza. Somo la fasihi ni somo nililolipenda na kuliweza sana. Nilipoingia Chuo kikuu cha Dar es Salaam, mwaka 1973, ndipo nilipofahamu kuwa Ayi Kwei Armah alikuwa anaishi Dar es Salaam. Alikuwa anafundisha chuo cha ualimu Chang'ombe, lakini tulishangaa kwa jinsi alivyokuwa hatumwoni kokote, hata chuo kikuu. Tulitegemea angejihusisha na chuo kikuu, lakini sidhani kama aliwahi hata kukanyaga pale.

Jambo hilo lilitushangaza, hasa kwa kuzingatia umaarufu wake kama mwandishi katika Afrika na ulimwenguni. Tulisoma riwaya yake, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, na mimi binafsi nilisoma pia Fragments, Why are we So Blest?, na Two Thousand Seasons. Ayi Kwei Armah tulimfahamu pia kutokana na insha yake, "African Socialism: Utopian or Scientific?"

Nilijua tangu wakati ule kuwa wahakiki walikuwa wanalumbana kuhusu uandishi wa Armah. Baadhi walilalamika jinsi anavyoielezea Ghana katika The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born. Anaelezea uozo wa kina namna. Wahakiki na wasomaji walishangaa kwa nini aliamua kuanika uozo huo machoni pa ulimwengu.

Two Thousand Seasons inahusu biashara ya utumwa iliyosababisha mamilioni ya wa-Afrika kupelekwa bara la Amerika kama watumwa. Armah kwa kushughulikia mada hii, alikuwa anaendeleza jadi ya waandishi wenzake wa Ghana, kama vile Ama Ata Aidoo katika tamthilia zake mbili: Dilemma of a Ghost na Anowa.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Maktaba ya Chuo Kikuu cha Minnesota

Mara kwa mara, ninaandika kuhusu maktaba ninazozitembelea, hapa Marekani na Tanzania. Mifano ni maktaba ya John F. Kennedy,  ya Brookdale, ya Southdale, ya Moshi, ya Tanga, ya Iringa, ya Dar es Salaam, na ya Songea.

Jana, nilikuwa Minneapolis kwa shughuli binafsi. Baadaye niliingia katika maktaba ya Wilson. Nimezoea kwenda kusoma katika maktaba hii, ambayo ni moja ya maktaba za Chuo Kikuu cha Minnesota. Kati ya hizo, hii ndio inayonihusu zaidi, kwa sababu humo ndimo kuna majarida, vitabu, na hifadhi za lugha na fasihi.

Ingawa chuoni St. Olaf ninapofundisha pana maktaba kubwa, ambayo imeunganishwa na maktaba ya chuo cha Carleton, maktaba ya Wilson ni kubwa zaidi.

Picha zinazoonekana hapa nilipiga jana. Hiyo ya juu ni ubavuni mwa maktaba, na hiyo ya chini ni sehemu ya mbele, kwenye mlango. Ardhini inaonekana theluji, kwani ni bado kipindi cha baridi.


Monday, March 13, 2017

"The Fear:" Shairi la Robert Frost

Leo nimesoma "The Fear," shairi la Robert Frost, kwa mara ya kwanza. Limenigusa kwa namna ya pekee. Shairi linavyoanza, tunaona kuwa ni usiku, na kuna watu wawili, mwanamme na mwanamke, nje ya nyumba, na kuna mwanga kiasi wa taa. Lakini giza imetamalaki. Mwanamke anaingiwa na hofu baada ya kuona uso wa mtu gizani, lakini kwa sababu ya giza, hajulikani ni nani. Wakati mwanamme anasisitiza kuwa hajasikia wala kuona chochote, mwanamke anataka kwenda kuangalia.

Si vizuri niandike muhtasari, bali ni bora niliweke shairi hapa. Baada ya kulisoma, nimeangalia namna wahikiki walivyolichambua, nikaona linavyowakanganya. Hatimaye, nimeona mtandaoni jinsi mama moja anavyolisoma shairi hili, nikavutiwa sana na usomaji wake, kama unavyosikika hapa:




The Fear

A LANTERN light from deeper in the barn
Shone on a man and woman in the door
And threw their lurching shadows on a house
Near by, all dark in every glossy window.
A horse’s hoof pawed once the hollow floor,
And the back of the gig they stood beside
Moved in a little. The man grasped a wheel,
The woman spoke out sharply, “Whoa, stand still!”
“I saw it just as plain as a white plate,”
She said, “as the light on the dashboard ran
Along the bushes at the roadside—a man’s face.
You must have seen it too.”

“I didn’t see it.

Are you sure——”

“Yes, I’m sure!”

“—it was a face?”

“Joel, I’ll have to look. I can’t go in,
I can’t, and leave a thing like that unsettled.
Doors locked and curtains drawn will make no difference.
I always have felt strange when we came home
To the dark house after so long an absence,
And the key rattled loudly into place
Seemed to warn someone to be getting out
At one door as we entered at another.
What if I’m right, and someone all the time—
Don’t hold my arm!”

“I say it’s someone passing.”

“You speak as if this were a travelled road.
You forget where we are. What is beyond
That he’d be going to or coming from
At such an hour of night, and on foot too.
What was he standing still for in the bushes?”

“It’s not so very late—it’s only dark.
There’s more in it than you’re inclined to say.
Did he look like——?”

“He looked like anyone.
I’ll never rest to-night unless I know.
Give me the lantern.”

“You don’t want the lantern.”

She pushed past him and got it for herself.

“You’re not to come,” she said. “This is my business.
If the time’s come to face it, I’m the one
To put it the right way. He’d never dare—
Listen! He kicked a stone. Hear that, hear that!
He’s coming towards us. Joel, go in—please.
Hark!—I don’t hear him now. But please go in.”

“In the first place you can’t make me believe it’s——”

“It is—or someone else he’s sent to watch.
And now’s the time to have it out with him
While we know definitely where he is.
Let him get off and he’ll be everywhere
Around us, looking out of trees and bushes
Till I sha’n’t dare to set a foot outdoors.
And I can’t stand it. Joel, let me go!”

“But it’s nonsense to think he’d care enough.”

“You mean you couldn’t understand his caring.
Oh, but you see he hadn’t had enough—
Joel, I won’t—I won’t—I promise you.
We mustn’t say hard things. You mustn’t either.”

“I’ll be the one, if anybody goes!
But you give him the advantage with this light.
What couldn’t he do to us standing here!
And if to see was what he wanted, why
He has seen all there was to see and gone.”

He appeared to forget to keep his hold,
But advanced with her as she crossed the grass.

“What do you want?” she cried to all the dark.
She stretched up tall to overlook the light
That hung in both hands hot against her skirt.

“There’s no one; so you’re wrong,” he said.

“There is.—
What do you want?” she cried, and then herself
Was startled when an answer really came.

“Nothing.” It came from well along the road.

She reached a hand to Joel for support:
The smell of scorching woollen made her faint.

“What are you doing round this house at night?”

“Nothing.” A pause: there seemed no more to say.

And then the voice again: “You seem afraid.
I saw by the way you whipped up the horse.
I’ll just come forward in the lantern light
And let you see.”

“Yes, do.—Joel, go back!”

She stood her ground against the noisy steps
That came on, but her body rocked a little.

“You see,” the voice said.

“Oh.” She looked and looked.

“You don’t see—I’ve a child here by the hand.”

“What’s a child doing at this time of night——?”

“Out walking. Every child should have the memory
Of at least one long-after-bedtime walk.
What, son?”

“Then I should think you’d try to find
Somewhere to walk——”

“The highway as it happens—
We’re stopping for the fortnight down at Dean’s.”

“But if that’s all—Joel—you realize—
You won’t think anything. You understand?
You understand that we have to be careful.
This is a very, very lonely place.
Joel!” She spoke as if she couldn’t turn.
The swinging lantern lengthened to the ground,
It touched, it struck it, clattered and went out.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Mashairi ya Robert Frost

Leo nina jambo la kusema, kuhusu mashairi ya Robert Frost, ambayo nimekuwa nikiyasoma sambamba na kazi zingine za fasihi au taaluma. Ni mazoea yangu kusoma kiholela, kama nilivyowahi kuandika katika blogu hii.

Mashairi ya Frost ninayoongelea yamo katika kitabu kiitwacho Robert Frost: Selected Poems, ambacho binti yangu alininunulia. Wakati ule, nilijitahidi kuyasoma, lakini ninayafurahia zaidi wakati huu, labda ni kwa kuwa akili yangu imetulia kuliko wakati ule.

Leo, kwa mfano, nimesoma shairi liitwalo "The Black Cottage." Tunaelezwa kuhusu watu wawili wanavyoijongea nyumba ndogo iliyofichika nyuma ya miti na nyasi mbali na barabara. Wanaikaribia na kuchungulia ndani. Mmoja wao, ambaye ni mchungaji, anafahamu habari za nyumba hii ambayo sasa haina watu.

Anamweleza mwenzake kuwa bibi kizee aliyeishi humu alifariki, na watoto wake, wote wanaume, wanaishi mbali, ila hawataki kuiuza nyumba wala chochote kilichomo. Walipangia kuwa wanakuja mara moja kwa mwaka, lakini mwaka huu hawajaja. Baba yao alikufa katika vita ya wa-Marekani wenyewe kwa wenyewe ("Civil War"), eneo la Fredericksburg au Gettysburg.

Sehemu kubwa inayobaki ya shairi hili inaelezea fikra za marehemu bibi kizee kuhusu masuala mbali mbali yatokanayo na vita ile, kama vile malengo ya vita, na usawa wa binadamu. Mchungaji anaonesha kuwa fikra na mitazamo ya bibi kizee yule ilikuwa ya pekee na pia ya kutatanisha.

Hata mimi siwezi kusema nimeelewa vizuri mtazamo wa bibi kizee huyu, ingawa nimelisoma shairi hili na kulirudia. Itanibidi nilisome tena na tena. Vile vile, nimeona itakuwa jambo jema kufanya utafiti ili nione kama kuna tahakiki za shairi hili ambazo zimechapishwa. Daima, hii njia bora ya kujipanua upeo kuhusu utungo wa fasihi.

Kama kawaida, Frost anaandika kwa mtindo unaokufanya msomaji ujisikie kuwa anafanya nawe maongezi ya kina. Unawajibika kumsikiliza huku ukitafakari asemayo. Kusoma shairi hili, kama mashairi mengine ya Frost kunahitaji akili  tulivu.

Jambo moja linalonivutia katika kusoma mashairi haya ya Frost ni kuwa ninasoma alichoandika yeye mwenyewe, sio tafsiri. Ni bahati kuwa na uhusiano wa moja kwa moja na mwandishi namna hiyo. Ninakuwa na fursa kamili ya kuguswa na umahiri wa mwandishi katika kuelezea mambo, kuanzia hisia na fikra zake na za wahusika, hadi vitu na mazingira.