Saturday, April 09, 2011

My Time as a Student and then Resident in the UK

(Pichani Mlevi akiwa Hoi huko kwenye Baa fulani Dar)

Haya ni Maoni ya Mdau Fatima Husenali. Lazima niseme kaongea kweli tunaelekea wapi?



Let me add the benefit of my time as a student and then resident in the UK - and I live in Dar now. The first thing that I discovered about UK-born, white, English undergraduates was that all of them did holiday or weekend job to support themselves - including the children of millionaires amongst them. It is the norm over there - regardless how wealthy their
parents are. And I soon discovered that virtually all other foreign students did the same - the exception being those of us status-conscious Tanzanians.

I also watched Richard Branson (owner of Virgin Airline)speaking on the Biography Channel and, to my amazement, he said that his young children travel in the economy class -even when the parents (he and his wife) are in upper class.

Richard Branson is a billionaire in Pound Sterling. A quick survey would show you that only children from Tanzania fly business or upper class to commence their studies in the UK. No other foreign students do this.

There is no aircraft attached to the office of the prime minister in the UK - he travels on BA. And the same goes for the Royals. The Queen does not have an aircraft for her exclusive use.

These practices simply become the culture which the next generation carries forward. Have you seen the car that Kate Middleton(the lady soon to marry Prince William) drives? VW Golf or something close to it. But there's one core difference between them and us(generally speaking). They (even the billionaires among them) work for their money, we steal ours!

If we want our children to bring about the desired change we have been praying for on behalf of our dear country, then please, please let's begin now and teach them to work hard so they can stand alone and most importantly be content, and not having to "steal", which seem to be the norm these days.

"30 is the new 18", which seem to be the new age for testing out the world in Tanzania now. That seems to be an unspoken but widely accepted mindset among the last 2 generations of parents in Tanzania.

At age 18 years, a typical young adult in the UK leaves the clutches of his/her parents for the University, chances are, that's the last time those parents will ever play "landlord" to their son or daughter except of course the occasional home visits during the academic year.

At 21 years and above or below, the now fully grown and independent minded adult graduates from University, searches for employment, gets a job (could be in another city from the parents) and shares a flat with other young people on a journey into becoming fully fledged adults.

I can hear the echo of parents saying, well, that is because the UK economy is thriving, safe, well structured and jobs are everywhere? I beg to differ and I ask that you kindly hear me out. I am a UK trained Recruitment Consultant and I have been practicing for the past 10 years in
Tanzania. I have a broad range of experience from recruiting new graduates to executive
director level of large corporations. In addition, I talk from the point of view of someone with relatively privileged upbringing. Driven to school every day, had my clothes washed for me, was barred from taking any part-time job during my A-levels so that I could concentrate on
studying for my exams?! BUT, I got the opportunity to live apart from my parents
from age 18 and the only time I came back home to stay was for 3 months ever
summer, before I got married!

Am I saying that every parent should wash their hands off their children at age 18? No, not at all, of course, I enjoyed the savings that I made from living on and off at my parent's house in London - indeed that is the primary reason for my being able to buy myself a 3 bedroom flat in
London at age 25 with absolutely no direct financial help from my parents! For me, pocket money stopped at age 22, not that it was ever enough for my lifestyle to compete with Paris Hilton's or Victoria Beckham's.

Meanwhile today, we have Tanzanian children who have never worked for 5 minutes
in their lives insisting on flying "only" first or business class, carrying the latest Louis Vuitton ensemble, Victoria 's Secret underwear and wearing Jimmy Choo's, fully paid for by their "loving" parents.

I often get calls from anxious parents, my son graduated 2 years ago and is still looking for a job, can you please assist! Oh really! So where exactly is this "child" is my usual question. Why are you the one making this call dad/mum? I am yet to get a satisfactory answer, but between you and I, chances are that big boy is cruising around Dar with a babe dressed to the nines, in his dad's spanking new SUV with enough "pocket money" to put your salary to shame. It is not at all strange to have a 28 year old who has NEVER worked a day in his or her life in Tanzania but "earns" a six figure "salary" from parents for doing absolutely nothing.

I see them in my office once in a while, 26 years old with absolutely no skills to sell, apart from a shiny CV, written by his dad's secretary in the office. Of course, he has a driver at his beck and call and he is driven to the job interview. We have a fairly decent conversation and we get to
the inevitable question - so, what salary are you looking to earn? Answer comes straight out – Tshs 250,000.00. I ask if that is per month or per annum.

Of course it is per month. Oh, why do you think you should be earning that much on your first job? Well, because my current pocket money is Tshs 200,000.00 and I feel that an employer should be able to pay me more than my parents.

I try very hard to compose myself, over parenting is in my opinion the greatest evil handicapping the Tanzanian youth. It is at the root of our national malaise.

We have a youth population of tens of millions of who are being "breastfed and diapered" well into their 30s. Even though the examples I have given above are from parents of considerable affluence, similar patterns can be observed! Wake up mum! Wake up dad! You are practically loving your children to death! No wonder corruption continues to thrive. We have a society of young people who have been brought up to expect something for nothing, as if it were a birth right.

I want to encourage you to send your young men and women (anyone over 20 can
hardly be called a child!) out into the world, maybe even consider reducing or stopping the pocket money to encourage them to think, explore and strive.

Let them know that it is possible for them to succeed without your "help". Take a moment to think back to your own time as a young man/woman, what if someone had kept spoon feeding you, would you be where you are today?

No tree grows well under another tree, children that are not exposed to challenges, don't cook well. That is why you see adults complaining, "my parents didn't buy clothes for me this christmas", ask him/her how old-30+. Because of the challenges we faced in our youth, we are where and what we today, this syndrome- my children will not suffer what I suffered is
destroying our tomorrow. Deliberately reduce their allowance or mum- don't cook on Saturday till late afternoon or evening-do as occasion deserve.

I learnt the children of a former Tanzanian Senior Official with all the stolen
(billions) monies in their custody, still go about with security escort as wrecks. They are on drugs, several times because of the drug, they collapse in public places. The escort will quickly pack them and off they go, what a life. No one wants to marry them.

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.- Henry Ford. Hard work does not kill, everything in Tanzania is going down, including family settings. It is time to cook our children, preparing them for tomorrow. We are approaching the season in Tanzania where only the RUGGED, will survive. How will your ward fare?

If the present generation of Tanzanian pilots retire, will you fly a plane flown by a young Tanzanian pilot, If trained in Tanzania? People now trave first class, who cannot spell GRADUATE or read an article without bomb blast!

Which Way Tanzania!, Which Way Tanzanians!! Is this how we will ALL sit
and watch this country SINK?


Anonymous said...

Mtu akienda kufanya kazi kwa mzungu analalamika oh mzungu anamfanyisha kazi mno. Kumbe sisi hatujazaoea kufanya kazi!

Anonymous said...

Kweli dada uliyo yasema niya ukweli mtupu. Ila uko Londoni ulifika je mtoto wa mkubwa serikalini au mtoto wa tajiri??!!.

Rik Kilasi said...


Anonymous said...

what you have said is tue on one side of it, in the other side are wrong in my opinion. i believe you cannot compare to things which are differently structured.the UK economic structure is quite different from TZ . for instance jus compare the education syllabus of the two, and see how far different they are, which do not reliev a tz child to do extra curriculum activities apart from studing studin and studin.

also compare the job opportunities the are available btn the two places..youll see that its hard getting a job in tz without having someone you know or somthing of that sort

i remember geting a job while i was in form four,at my dads friend organisation, but as you know i couldnt hav the job while attending school, its totally impossible, i had to let one go, and that was the job.

so, leaving like childrens in THE UK is impossible, unless the whole education system is restructured, and the like.

regard natzir


Nakubaliana kabisa na comment ya natzir

Godfather said...

Tanzania tuna utamaduni wa ajabu. Tusidanganyane! Watoto wa wakaubwa wengi hawajui maana ya kufanya kazi. Wamezoea vya dezo. Hao wazazi wao wakifa wanakuwa na hali mbaya kwa vile hawajui kazi ni nini. Fikiria hwajui kupika, kufua,hata kuandika barua ya kuomba kazi. Wanajua party life tu!

Anonymous said...

TUTAKE TUSITAKE HUU NI UKWELI MTUPU...TAKE FIVE THE WRITER!!!Wabongo wengi uliyosema wanayo sana ndo maana wanaogopa shirikisho la EA..wengi wao ni wazembe watoto wa mama.

Anonymous said...

Some of what you wrote are true some are not. I think most young men/women (including teenagers) would have loved to work and earn their own money and being independent but the opportunities are not there.
You compared with UK where you can be well compasated by doing low level jobs such as working in fast food restaurants or being a sitter. I'm still trying to figure out how you can earn Tshs 250,000 and still be able to pay your rent, transportation, food, misiba & harusi, somehow you will be still dependable to your folks.

Eng. Gwakisa G. Mwakyusa said...

Habari yako dada,

Nimetumiwa barua pepe leo nikasoma ikanipeleka kwenye blog yako kuna kitu kimeandikwa na Fatima Husenali anaelezea kuhusu matajiri wanavyoishi na nimeona na we umeunga mkono kuwa ndivyo ilivyo. Naomba nikushauri kitu dada yangu wewe kama muandishi wa habari naamini ungeweka hilo wazo la mtu tu na ukaacha usikie maoni ya watu. Kunavitu vimeongewa humo haviko sawa kabisa amejumuisha kuwa sisi watanzania tunapata pesa kwa kuiba no si sawa labda ameathiriwa na jamii inayomzunguka inamfanya aamini kila mtu yuko hivyo wezi kwenye hii nchi wanahesabika na mimi binafsi nafahamu watu wengi sana ambao hawaishi maisha hayo.

Bila utafiti hunahaki ya kuongea naomba tuwe na utaratibu wa kumfikishia mtanzania taarifa zilizo sahihi. Kama huwa tunasoma Marehemu Mahatma Ghandi Alisha wahi kusema hahitaji India iwe kama Wingereza kwasababu hiyo haiwezekani kabisa kwakuwa Wingereza imejengwa kwa kupora robo tatu ya mali zilizo humu duniani kipindi cha ukoloni kwahiyo leo hii hatuna sababu ya kuanza kusifia nini wanakifanya hao waingireza ambao walishiriki kutufikisha hapa tulipo. Na wapo matajiri wengi tu uko uko wingereza ambao watoto wao wanaishi maisha ya kifahari sana.

Ni mawazo yangu tu na nimeona nikuandikie baada ya kuona ile kauli yako

"Haya ni Maoni ya Mdau Fatima Husenali. Lazima niseme kaongea kweli tunaelekea wapi?"

Alichoongea si kweli kwani amejumuisha watanzania wote si kweli kabisa hii nchi ina wachapakazi wengi sana na wanaoiharibia sifa nchi yetu wanahesabika na wengi wao wanajulikana.

Asante na kazi njema.

Eng. Gwakisa G. Mwakyusa

Anonymous said...

utawasikia mimi si mtu wa shift, wakati hata hela anayotumiwa anataabika nayo, na wanatamaa ya kuwa na vitu vizuri its sad. Matokeo yake kutafuta boy friends au gilrfriends wa kuwahonga au kusaidiana, madisco kutwa, na bahati kumaliza shule hawa watu ni starehe kwenda mbele.

A Tanzanian said...

This is a good article with a strong and clear message but I must say that there were a few grammatical mistakes that confused me. Nonetheless you made good points whilst considering various factors such as culture, education and the economy and interlinking them in a coherent manner.

I myself am a student in the UK. My mother is paying for my first year but I will be paying for everything myself for the next three. This includes tuition fees, accomodation and living expenses. We are not wealthy and it is VERY expensive living in the UK as an international student, but I have had a good upbringing. I am glad i was forced to wash my own clothes by hand, I am glad that i was given less pocket money than my friends, I am glad that I wasn't allowed to drive a car like my friends. From these various experiences I learnt valuable life lesson such as diligence, restraint, humbleness and so on... yet I know I have much more to learn!

The best type of LOVE is TOUGH LOVE! Forcing me to WORK to get what I want is the best thing my widowed mother could have done for me. I hope that this message may be spread to all.

Anonymous said...

You are right unfortunately it doesn't apply to Tz kids. It also applies to affluent kids from any third world country as well as developed countries like India,China etc

SaHaRa said...

Yaani!!! I so feel her! She couldn’t have said it better!

I don’t think it’s over parenting though, ni ulimbukeni. Any smart parent, and wako out there, would kick their children’s behind and teach them the value of hard work. But we’re so concerned with “if he’s not seen in my Mercedez, my friends will think I’m a loofer, a mlalahoi. Ulimbukeni!!!

Ndo hawa hawa who will not let their daughters, erm young women to lift a finger and do chores. “Noo!” She will shriek so loudly you’d think she’s just seen death, “dada yupo! She will move and wash the dishes! She shouldn’t ruin her manicure!” I swear I have heard one utter this nonsense. I’m not kidding you! This lady had three teen daughters who can not even boil an egg between the three of them!

Na ndo hawa hawa (I know another, planning kumnywea nilewe them nimseme one day) who give their 18 year old daughters $600 hair extensions – ile less hair, sijui less wig, sijui hairless – six f**king hundred dollars for vipodozi! What the f**k are you teaching them? And it doesn’t end there, the daughter is also given a car, fueled to the brim and enough money to go to Java Lounge. Jamani! What are you teaching her? Halafu a few months later akiwa na a sugar daddy you wonder how? You never taught her the value of hard work, that she should be proud of her sweat! You have instead taught her that just bat your eyelids, pout your mouth and daddy will dish out. And that she will do! To all men!

And if the batting and pouting fails, she will steal na kuchuna of course! This young lady will never think of getting employment unless push comes to shove. Yaani Fatima couldn’t have said it better! Thinking, striving and exploring – unless it’s who to chuna – is a mystery to many Tanzanians of our generation.

I worry a whole lot more about the Tanzania girls. Tunafunda high class prostitution.