5 January 2013

Tanzania: Sajuki Buried in King's Style

EVEN the rain stopped falling for the sun to come out on Friday afternoon, when the late Juma Salum Kilowoko a.k.a Sajuki's body was laid to rest, in a calm atmosphere.

Hundreds of people came to Dar es Salaam's Kisutu Cemetery, just to bid farewell to the young man, who had gained their love and respect through his work in the local film industry.

President Jakaya Kikwete was also present for the burial of the late Sajuki, who he said had displayed great talents, which won him the nation's love within his relatively short life. There and here within the crowd could be seen famous local personalities from various sections of the local entertainment industry.

This sent out a loud and clear message that someone important was being buried there to any passers-by.Immediately after the grave was finally covered, the late Sajuki's father, Juma Issa Kilowoko asked that he and his senior brother be given the time to say a final prayer at the graveside of their son before leaving.

Then followed a solemn moment in which the two senior brothers knelt down to say goodbye to their son, who had become a national figure within his 26 years.The President of the Tanzania Film Federation (TAFF), Simon Mwakifwamba, told the 'Daily News on Saturday' he was very pleased to see that the budget of 8m/- they had collected from artistes, stakeholders, government leaders, NGO's and fans, was sufficient to conduct the entire exercise. He also expressed his joy at certain realisations he got from the entire exercise.

"I'm so happy because we were able to achieve everything we planned. There is nothing as good as being able to bury your colleague with all the respect he deserves. No doubt you saw the kind of respect that was shown to Sajuki from the time he was sick, when people from all walks of life contributed towards the required funds for him to be taken to India for treatment and even right to his last journey here today. No doubt it will go down in history that Sajuki went like a king," Mwakifwamba proudly suggested.

This, he added, has shown members of the film fraternity the kind of value the community has for artistes. He mentioned that at a time like this before, high-ranking government officials would never come out for the burial of an artist. This for him shows the big role artistes can play in the community as messengers. The fact that the nation's president came to the burial, helped to emphasise this fact even more.

Also present at the graveside was the veteran actor, Ahmedi Oloto a.k.a Mzee Chilo. He warned young artistes, who came out in their numbers for the occasion, not to forget that there is a God and there is death when they see that they have attained some level of fame and managed to have money in their pockets. Before leaving, he explained to the 'Daily News on Saturday' why he thought the occasion was suitable for this message.

"I wanted them (the artistes) to realise and learn from the fact that although Sajuki was sick he never stopped working. So when someone gets a little malaria, for example, they should try not to be in a hurry to go and rest if they are able to work."

The Kilowoko family's spokesman, Cosmos Chidumule, who according to local customs is the late Sajuki's senior brother, although in European culture he would be considered his cousin, told those present that they are to wait for an announcement to be made at a later date when the date for officially closing the funeral, which would normally be 40 days after the burial, will be announced.

This procedure, which could be seen as a diversion from tradition is actually quite in order, he maintained, bearing in mind that the family's home is in Songea District, Ruvuma Region, while the funeral and burial took place in Dar es Salaam Region, where the late Sajuki finally lived and worked.

"The rule governing these things states that when Sajuki's father leaves Dar es Salaam and returns to Songea, there will be a gathering traditionally known as 'matanga,' because there are people there who played a role in the up-bringing of Sajuki.

They saw when he was born until he grew-up to be a young man. Now it was expected that the burial would be there but we saw that this funeral is not just a family affair but a national one, so thought it best to have everything here," Chidumule explained.

Now, there in Songea these people will sit together depending on the convenience of time available, bearing in mind that now is the time for farming. It is when they can all come together that they will be able to plan when this 40 days closing will be. It is possible that it will not coincide exactly with the 40 calendar days but whatever they say will satisfy the custom, Chidumule stated.

The artistes from the film industry, who played a big role in the funeral and burial process, he said, will also have a role to play in this, as they have been doing throughout the funeral and burial. It will be then that the funeral should bid farewell to the locally trained actor, producer and director, Sajuki, can be said has come to a close.

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