Msanii, mwandishi na mwanablogu maarufu, Freddy Macha, ameandika feature katika gazeti la The Citizen. Inahusu sinema za Josiah Kibira, Bongoland na Bongoland II na jinsi waBongo wasivyothamini kazi za wenzao. Na anasema kweli. Sisi waBongo tuna tabia mbaya sana ya kupondana. Ukiona mtu anafanya mema unajaribu kumvuta chini ili muwe sawa!
Kutoka gazeti la THE CITIZEN
Saddening indifference to Tanzanian Trailblazers
I am watching Bongoland Two, the movie by Kibira Films, for the third time now. I have seen it alone, with a filmmaking colleague and, tonight, with a group of friends of various nationalities. For those who do not know Kibira films, it is a company run by US-based Tanzanian filmmaker Josiah Kibira.
"He is pressing the right buttons," I am saying at the end.
"Ah, this is a load of rubbish," a fellow "Bongolander" chips in.
"Rubbish?" asks Raul, a Brazilian friend.
"I would not waste my money buying this."
"Waste of money?" Zak from Pakistan interjects, incredulously.
Bongo guy: "No one would behave like Juma. Such an ugly girlfriend?"
Juma is the main character of the Bongoland series. In both Bongoland One and Two, Juma is frustrated by his employers and community.
In Bongoland One he finds life in the US tough after he was made redundant. Soon, he is lodging at a friend's flat where he cannot pay the rent. He then breaks up with his white girlfriend whose father is a racist.
The American authorities discover he is an illegal immigrant and finally we see him driving to the airport, hoping for a better life back in Tanzania.
Bongoland Two sees Juma settled in Tanzania with a good job, a place to live and a local girlfriend. Problems, nevertheless, still thrive. His boss favours a lazy colleague, who happens to be his girlfriend.
The place he lives at is noisy and people smoke indoors. When he complains to the landlord or his corrupt boss he is told he is arrogant because he has been living overseas. Top that with a serious family crisis, and life remains a struggle.
At the end of Bongoland Two, we see an introspective Juma walking along a beach, most probably in Dar es Salaam. Josiah Kibira manages to show that Juma's problems may not be resolved by moving from one country to another.
Maybe we shall see Bongoland Three. Maybe the two flicks are enough to make us reflect and create a hypothesis. One of the roles of cinema is to stimulate social thought.
I am interested in two things ? what my fellow viewers are debating about and the implications of the Kibira Films venture.
I notice that all the foreigners in my flat are surprised at the negative reaction of some of my fellow country folks.
Raul, the Brazilian (cameraman and freelance filmmaker), has very captivating views.
"You guys have to thank God that this guy, what is his name again?"
"He is trying to make a non-Hollywood film. Personally, I did not know there was a language called Swahili. I did not know Tanzania. I had never heard the word 'Bongo'. I have heard there is a Brazilian coach teaching your national team. But there is no information. So making such a film is a good thing. It opens the eyes of people from other countries."
One of the "Bongo" guys is sneering and making faces. He is clearly not amused.
"Won?t you even support by buying the films?"
It is sad and shows how we see each other.
Here is a man trying to sell us globally. Unlike those films you see from home made in a rush, with inferior sound and acting, Josiah Kibira strives towards quality.
Tanzania has not made a significant film since Fimbo Ya Mnyonge back in the mid-1970s. Some American television stations have even interviewed and spoken about these Swahili films. Kibira has already been invited to major international festivals including the prestigious Edinburgh and Zanzibar events.
Not only is he smart at marketing himself on the Internet, he is giving old and new Tanzanian actors a chance to be seen on the screen. He works with American film crews and technicians, consequently broadening working relationships between the two countries.
This is history in the making. In other words, it is the future of our entertainment industry. Although the $30,000 Kibira invested in the venture might be a small amount in terms of filmmaking, this is an expensive enterprise that demands a lot of time, determination and commitment, and should be applauded by every ?Bongolander?.
We should ask ourselves how various world-famous brands (be it Japanese cars or Bollywood films) came to be established.
We need to support the Buy Bongo, Buy Tanzania brand such as the Kibira Films venture. For more info visit http://www.kibirafilms.com/