On my readings today i have come acrosss an interview with cap[ret jet fighter pilot] ANDREW Nyerere, he talks about unknown side Mwalimu children including the whereabouts of his young brother capt[ret jet fighter pilot] JOHN NYERERE, ENG MAGIGGE, CAPT MAKONGORO, ANNA, ROSEMARY, MADARAKA and their mum. ============================ ============================ Although it is 30 minutes behind schedule, spirits soar when the boarding announcement is made. Among the passengers there is a powerful delegation of the Roman Catholic Church Bishops who, together with other guests, were coming from Butiama where they attended the inauguration of Mwalimu Nyerere's cause of canonization proceedings the previous day. I am honoured to be sitting next to Anna, Mwalimu's daughter. Behind my seat is the bubbly Makongoro Nyerere, chatting cheerfully with a fellow passenger sitting next to him. Right in front of Anna and I was Andrew Nyerere, Mwalimu's eldest child, sharing his seat with a tall American who could have easily passed for a Bongolander, for his near-perfect Swahili. At one point before take-off the mzungu turns to me asking whether I was a scribe. Andrew comes to my rescue when, embarrassed, I fumble before nodding my head in affirmative. "Oh, yes, he is", the soft spoken Andrew cuts in cheerfully. "His name is…" If I am humbled by the introduction, then I am taken by complete surprise when Andrew goes further to breaking the ice by asking me if I had any questions that I would like him to answer. He even bails me out of my indecision by suggesting that I jot down the question and he would be more than willing to respond. After all, he adds with the famous Mwalimu chuckle, we have over two hours to accomplish this. Embarrassingly, I fish out my notebook from the back pocket of my battered jeans. My biro, whose cap I am nervously nibbling even before the ‘buckle your belts on' notice (courtesy of my fear of flying) and go to work. The ATR plane is taxiing along the dusty Musoma Airport apron, a few minutes later we are soaring up the skies when I hand over my notebook to Andrew, not sure whether my handwriting done with trembling hands would be discernible to him. About three hours later, as we are about to touch down at the Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere International Airport in Dar es salaam, the simply dressed and unassuming eldest son of the Father of the Nation hands over my notebook and pen, a shy grin painted on his modest face. Allow me to share with you the questions and answers that Andrew and I exchanged in mid-air. Please note that all I have done is to pound down the material as they are in my notebook, with minimum alteration… Question: How can you describe Butiama, now, six years after Mwalimu's death? Answer: Six years after the death of Mwalimu, Butiama has not changed much. Butiama is a nice place, quite, serene, peaceful, a place where you can think. It has the quite life of the village. I think, many other villages in Tanzania, or in Africa, are like that. It is far away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The greatest problem I see there is the infrastructure. Especially, the lack of communication. I went there with my tiny Japanese transistor radio, but I could not pick up the stations clearly. I could hear the BBC and VOA, but the reception was poor. And this, I think, is a big problem, which I hope the fourth (phase government) republic will deal with. Q: What are your comments on the cause of canonization of Mwalimu? A: When I came here to Butiama two years ago, the priest had mentioned that they are thinking of starting an enquiry concerning the life of Mwalimu, to determine if he had lived a life of glory. When I heard this I thought that was just idle talk. I thought that Mwalimu was a fine person, but all talk about making him a saint, surely this was an exaggeration. But now, when I think of the life he lived, the way he went to church every morning, I think there is a case for this. In the last years of his life, he went to church for mass every morning, since 1973 till he died; he went to church every morning. So I think that it is lucky that we have had this mass (of cause of canonization), and that His Holiness Polycarp Cardinal Pengo came here to conduct the mass, and also, Monsignor Joseph the Vatican envoy, and all the bishops and priests and nuns who came. So now, they intend to ask many people about the life of Mwalimu. But the beatification and canonization is not just about listening to accounts about how someone lived an exemplary life. It is also about miracles. There have to be miracles, one or two miracles, something which seems to have happened by Divine intervention. Usually, it is a medical miracle, and doctors would be called in to certify that a miracle has happened, and then the person is beautified. And this is a miracle which has happened after the candidate has died for over five years. Which means that if now, if a person would claim that he prayed to God, and asked Mwalimu to intercede for him, or if he prays that Mwalimu should intercede for him through Jesus Christ, the Lord; if he should have a miracle happen, then this is how Mwalimu would be beatified. And then, later, after beatification, if again there are two miracles, then Mwalimu would be called a saint. So it would be good to allay the concerns of anyone that there could be bribery in the way Mwalimu is canonized. During the event on Saturday, not only was there a mass, but after the mass, there was the session in which the process of beatification was started. And I hope that this will encourage other Christians to WANT to be saints, because the whole idea of the church declaring anyone to be a saint is that they want the person to be a role model. And it is not only the Christians who are saints, even the Muslims have saints. So, we should think of this sainthood as something to strive for, like when people go for medals in the Olympics. And this business of sainthood, if you read the works of the fathers of the church, like St. Augustine, or St. John Chrystostom, or St. Basil, or St. Ambrose, you will see how it is like a logic Olympiad. And Mwalimu used to read the works of these saints. Q: If Mwalimu was to come back and see the development near his home at Msasani, what would he say? A: Of course, like anybody else, he would be surprised by the rapid development there. However, nothing much has changed at Mwalimu's Msasani home, except that now we are building a wall around the place, which we hope will make the place look better. I think they will finish in ten days time. And after they finish, we hope that we will be able to say mass there and maybe we will be able to invite people for mass, not necessarily Christians, because we all saw Yassir Arafat would go to Bethlehem every year for Christmas, and also last Christmas Mahmoud Abbas went to Bethlehem to celebrate mass there. Q: How did you address Mwalimu in his life time? A: When I addressed Mwalimu, I addressed him ‘baba', or I would call him ‘mzee', because customarily when a person is old, he is called ‘mzee', like how the way they used to call Jomo Kenyatta. When I talk about him, I call him ‘Mwalimu' because that is what everyone called him. So I call him Mwalimu because it reminds me of the first republic, the power and the glory of the first republic. Q: How is mum doing? A: Mama is doing well. She is well advanced in age. She seems to have recovered from the shock of Mwalimu's death. Q: Can you describe yourself… A: Well, that is a tricky one… I just like to stay at home and listen to the radio. Mostly I listen to BBC news, also I listen to ‘Majira', ‘Nipashe' and ‘Harakati' and all radio programmes. Also the morning programme from Zanzibar. Every morning I listen to Radio Tumaini for the gospel, and the ‘Saint of the day' programmes. Q: How active is the Nyerere family in sports A: Very active. Mwalimu did calisthenics everyday. I remember one day there was a match arranged at the Karume Stadium. It was between ministers and members of parliament. Mwalimu was the referee, Karume and Kawawa were the linesmen. I wonder if a picture of this match can be found. The two linesmen were dressed in black shorts and black shirts. Mwalimu also was in black. The MPs won the match that day. And I remember two MPs talking as they were leaving the field "wale hawatuwezi sisi" meaning that the ministers were no match for them. No, the Mwalimu Nyerere family are not opposed to sports. Magige Nyerere used to box and run for the school team. I do calisthenics everyday. And since the ‘daladala' fare was raised, many times I have had to walk to save money. Sports is good for the body. If a person can dribble a football for a few minutes, this is good control of the body. Q: Let's talk about Mwalimu's children. Who are they and who is living where and what are they doing? A: I am the first born. I retired from the army, I stay at Msasani. Then comes Anna, she lives in Dar es salaam, and she is closely associated with the Faith Healing Group at that is at Riverside, Ubungo. Next comes Magige, who is in Butiama and then John, who is also at Msasani. Makongoro Madaraka is in Butiama and there is Rosemary who lives at Upanga, Dar es salaam. Q: Do you have a family re-union? A: Yes, we do. We meet every Christmas in Butiama. And now, ever since Mwalimu's death, we come to Butiama on October 14, to commemorated the day he died. This is now the official family re-union day when we meet with the children of Joseph Nyerere, Mwalimu's young brother, other relatives who are in and outside Butiama, friends, clan members and the wa- Zanaki tribe.