Tanzania: What’s wrong with Shikamoo?

From: Fakhi Karume

Youth in Tanzania face challenges because they are not taught to question, criticize and create. We have learnt from Richard Mabala that our education system is not functioning. Youth need to fight and advocate for their rights. We see social movement and the general youth taking different stances these days than past generation.

There is need to empower youth to take risks and fight the exploitation in the community, youth need to demand their local leader present information to them. Start a village/community discussion or newspaper.

image; Me caught on camera insists on something…

This can only be achieved if we change the nature of relationship between children/youth Vs adults/parents as it is well stipulated by Rakesh Rajani on one of his papers “What’s wrong with Shikamoo”- 1995 unpublished paper. Rakesh challenges among other things the way we salute our adults in Tanzania, usually young would say “Shikamoo” which means I am on your knee and the elder will respond by “Marahaba” that means “alright”. The salutation was brought by Arab Sultans during slavery in East Africa in 17th century to undermine our elders creating inferiority complex by making our elders feel small or be on their knees towards Arabs. Hence it was not an appropriate salutation for people with equal relationship unlike for the one who is a master and the other one as a slave.

This goes far, when a pupil/student “’Shikamoo” their teachers it means they surrender their equal participation/engagement in learning that’s why mostly when students challenge or ask questions most teachers get irritated and respond to their engagements by canning students.

Check the paper by Rakesh on the link: What’s wrong with Shikamoo?
<a href=”http://http//www.popline.org/node/295562″>http://http//www.popline.org/node/295562</a>

I was privileged to work with one of Rakesh’s initiative Hivos Twaweza in 2012-2013 I have learnt so much about education sector in Tanzania among other things and from himself as the head and thought leader in International Development will always impact my professional life. It is a relief to know that being persistence, challenging or asking questions doesn’t mean one is a naughty person.

It’s encouraging to have people such as Rakesh Rajani who encourages the culture of questioning, challenge and encourage citizen agency in making things happen. Tanzania would improve tremendously; empowered citizens develop the country through their agency. Imagine the teacher who encourage his/her students questioning, challenge and motivate them to imagine, imagine a teacher who don’t hold a stick while teaching? Imagine citizens who questions development plan of the local/central government that affect their life?

Stop listening and start doing… stop “Shikamoo”, create mutual relationship between young and adult

<a href=”http://thinklessandactmore.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/whats-wrong-with-shikamoo/”>http://thinklessandactmore.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/whats-wrong-with-shikamoo/</a>

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