Worthy to be illustrated......


“Ngosha” is an a.k.a name that covered our media landscape recently and now it seems to be forgotten. That late Mzee Francis Maige Kanyasu did claim to have designed our nation’s “Coat of Arms’ back in early 60s.

Many Tanzanians, including academicians disputed and argued about this claim. It came to a point that other names emerged towards the same ownership. In fact, the debate was quite unnecessary, if our government would keep records of all our heroes in all sorts of fields, instead of depending on this “wahenga” style of expecting someone to say “Wee, Unajua mie nd’o nilie nani hii! Muulize hata nani hii!” C’m’on guys, let’s be serious, otherwise we might end up accrediting many fake personalities.

Well, I hope this undisputed hero, Paul Peter Ndembo alias ‘mchora sura’ (illustrated here) will awaken all of us! I mean, especially the authorities, to rethink about honouring and properly recognizing our own heroes even from those ‘unknown’ sectors. Now in his late 70s, the man had already created and produced so many artistic images around.

“Actually, it was during my secondary school education at the St. Joseph Chidya, where a South African Bishopf and educationist (T. Haddelstone) recognised my talent and introduced me to a visiting Makerere University lecturer who came to draw pictures in our church.

That encounter opened the door for me to join Makerere University (Uganda) in 1966. I would say, my contribution to my country did begin with my teaching Art at the Teachers Training Chang’ombe, after graduating from Makerere in 1971.

During the same time, I did assist Prof. Ntiro and Prof. Jengo at the University of Dar. Later, I assisted Prof. Ntiro as commissioner for culture, ministry of Education, before going back to Makerere for further studies.

On return, I began free lancing for several institutions, including: Tanzania Posts Corporation (Designing stamps), specialized in drawing portraits, illustrating books painting of Mural painting on the wall of the Institute of Adult education, along Bibi Titi road etc.”

By the way stamps: Ndembo has been designing stamps for almost 3 decades now! Sure, these modern communication facilities might somehow be seen as the cause for stamps to be unpopular.

Truly, in the developed countries, the respect stamp designers (like mzee Ndembo) receive in terms of status and money is just immense.

“I am blessed by the fact that I ‘ve played my part in promoting my country all over the world through my capability of designing stamps. God has enabled me to portray all four past presidents of our country and presented my work at Ikulu to each one of them.

I am now looking for an opportunity to finalize my over 5 decades career by portraying ‘mzee wa Hapa kazi tu!” Truly, we are grateful to still have such patriots like mzee Ndembo, although they also need to survive with dignity too.

Now, how do we award such a personality? I mean, instead of just gazing or even paying a lot of money to acquire those ‘ununderstandable’ Van Gogh’s impressionist style or cubism style by Picasso etc. just to make ‘them (wazungu) accept us’ or assimilate ourselves accordingly, it should be an issue of valuing our own contributors too. Well, to my question, “why does he like his country?

He says: “I ‘ve been travelling to many countries around the world for exhibitions etc. I always carry my Tanzanian flag within my heart.

That’s more than enough to show my love for my country.” I totally believe him, as a young artist myself, back in the late 70s, it was this man who did not hesitate to show me the right way for an artist.

I hope, his contribution to our nation will not be dealt in mzee Ngosha’s style! After all, the Tanzania Posts Corporation knows exactly how worthy this man is to the institution.He is quite worthy to be illustrated,

  • David Kyungu is a veteran cartoonist, actor, illustrator, journalist, film, radio & TV director/ producer based in Dar-es-Salaam. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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