Witches? Wizards? Spells? Halloween? Yoga? Meditation? Have you ever been as exasperated as a helplessly trapped bush rat when most of the entertainment available for your child contains any or all of the above?
A seemingly harmless animation about a dancing princess has a Magician weaving spells and hexing his opponents in a fit of rage.
I watch and I am perplexed; do children really need this sort of edutainment?
These content are not obviously tailored for African children, and we sit as though powerless and watch our children assimilate a culture totally alien to their motherland. Parents long for the good old days of Sesame Street but are coerced by the zeitgeist into accepting whatever they have been served.
Anganile Mwakyanjala of Tanzania is cut from a different cloth though.
A Producer of programs for children and a documentary film maker, this young man has chosen to act instead of talk.
He has become a voice for African children, producing programs that have the capacity to impact meaningfully in the lives of these young ones and give wholesome entertainment in one breath.
As a TV producer, Anganile has had the opportunity to partner with NGOs such as Plan International, UNICEF, PACT and Child Dignity Forum in respect of his children programs.
According to his blog, a milestone in his career was an interview which he curated with the past Tanzanian President, Dr. Jakaya Kikwete, where children were able to communicate first-hand with the President and task him on issues affecting their well-being and development.
He is also one of the founding members of a not-for-profit organization ‘AMKA’ whose mission is to utilize every form of broadcast media as a tool to empower and educate children to ‘use the camera as a pen to document their stories and lives and use it as a tool to protect and promote their rights.’
It also serves to depict the challenges they encounter, and will hopefully persuade Africa’s leaders to formulate and implement policies that will protect and provide for the interests of children.
Anganile runs a project, HURU which is the Swahili word for ‘free’; it also stands for ‘Hear Us Reach Us’, and is a project that uses multimedia, pop culture and entertainment as a centre stage for children in Tanzania to get their voices heard in their own words. [http://anganileinitiative.blogspot.com/]
“Working with children for three years and producing children programs for the National Broadcast Network, I encountered children across Tanzania from the remote areas in the coastal towns to the highlands of the lake regions in Mwanza that despite the enormous hardship and plight that these children -most living below the poverty line- face, all they desire is to have their own options in their lives and have the opportunity to get their voices heard. In recognition of this, WITO came up with a sustainable project that will incorporate all the media channels that can communicate to today’s world so as the problems, trials, tribulations and stories of survivals are told by the children, it will reach a huge mass in order to bring change and improvement to their daily lives.”
The first leg of his HURU project campaign will integrate documentaries and music; the children are given the opportunity to relate their own stories of struggle and survival.
One of such documentaries is the story of a child who contracted HIV through breastfeeding at the age of eight months, was orphaned before he turned three and now at the age of eleven, he recounts his struggles and the story of his survival.
According to Anganile, the problem of children has been around for decades, and it seems as though the world has ceased to pay attention.
“Not because the world stopped caring, but because the world needs to hear the children’s problems through their own mouths and that’s why in this HURU project we give children the centre stage to speak for themselves. Recognizing the need for renewed approach in disseminating children’s issues to the world, we use multimedia and art through documentaries, songs, drama, movies, poems and all other form of entertainment that will appeal to the youths and the world.” http://anganileinitiative.blogspot.com/]
Another HURU documentary is on Child Marriage in rural Musoma- Tanzania, and Female Genital Mutilation, where girls as young as eight undergo female genital mutilation so they can be culturally accepted and married off at 13.
Anganile believes in creativity;
He knows that Africans must get educated in order to overcome and prosper and one of his greatest ambitions is to portray the beautiful sides of Africa by telling its stories, and somehow, he finds the time to be a puppeteer as well!
What are your thoughts on Anganile’s HURU project? Think you can you initiate a similar process in your country? Leave a comment and let us know!