2 January 2013

Tanzania: Arts Council Welcomes 2013 in Fitting Style

JUST in case any local artistes had not realised 2012 was ending on Monday, the National Arts Council (BASATA), made sure this message came out loud and clear on the day.

They took advantage of it being the day of the week when the Art Stage ('Jukwaa La Sanaa') is erected, to put on a special open-air function, to bid farewell to the old 2012 and welcome the new 2013 in perfect local traditional fashion with a touch of the modern.

For the occasion the Arts Council's organisers had invited the local singer-songwriter Vitali Maembe, who came not only with his guitar and deep lyrics but also his ten-year-old son, Mawila, on electric bass guitar. They were one of the acts that made the event more of an entertaining extravaganza, with very little talking.

This was in total contrast to the customary discussion sessions that are usually being held at the Bungoni-Buguruni venue every Monday morning in an enclosed hall. Also in presence providing an assortment of colourful costumes and movements, together with some rich vibrations of traditional musical sounds, was the Iritungu troupe from Mara Region.

Their presence and performance stood as proof that local traditional music and dance is very much alive and is still being greatly appreciated by residents. For those who might have had a doubt of this, the audience's excited cheers and applause to these men and women's performance should have been enough to rectify their misconception.

As if to add another aspect of local art to the occasion, the organisers had invited some members of the Musoma Handicraft group to brighten-up one side of the grounds with their artefacts. In a style that suited the unique and original way in which visitors were received at the Arts Council on Monday, their Executive Secretary, Ghonche Materego, waited until those present had a good helping of entertainment before he took the platform to address them.

It was then that he reminded the audience that the Jukwaa La Sanaa had started on February of 2010 and Monday's episode was the 143, since then. And just in case anyone had forgotten the reasons why this platform was started in the first place, Materego reminded them, for he strongly felt that to date it had fulfilled its goals, which were listed in six clauses.

"The first is to provide the opportunity for artistes, arts and culture stakeholders and the general public to get news concerning the arts and culture. The second is to build the connection between artistes, stakeholders of the arts and culture sector and the media.

Thirdly, to help enable stakeholders of the arts and culture sector to put out any news they may have so that it can reach nationals everywhere within the country and outside of it," Materego said. He went on to spell out the other three goals as being to enable the media to get accurate art and culture news to put out through their respective organs.

Fifth was to help build-up a culture whereby media representatives paid frequent visits to the venue, which they regard as a special place to get news on the arts and culture. Sixth and last, he said was to officialise the venue as being a place where discussions took place between the media and stakeholders of the arts and culture segment on the future fate of the sector.

Amongst the things he mentioned as achievements that have been gained partly because of the art stage was the formalisation of products being put on sale from the music and films divisions, which started yesterday. In fact, the Executive Secretary firmly said the entire process had started there on the Jukwaa La Sanaa with artistes' complaints.

To bring a touch of the present times to the festivities, soon after Materego's speech, which went on to briefly mention some of the other topics that were brought-up on the Jukwaa La Sanaa platform, five bottles of non-alcoholic champagne were opened and distributed between all present so that a toast could be made to welcome in the New Year in fitting style. After this the Iritungu troupe came back to perform one more time and were followed by Maembe, which brought the event to a natural end.

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