SALES of the book, ‘My Life, My Purpose’, in which former President, the late Benjamin Mkapa reveals his personal life and leadership, saw a sharp rise last week.
Mkapa, who served as Tanzania’s third president from 1995 to 2005, died on July 24, 2020 at the age of 81 at a hospital in Dar es Salaam where he was receiving treatment.
He was laid to rest in his hometown on July 29.
According to the publishers of the book, Mkuki na Nyota, the sales went up as readers developed curiosity to know what the ex-Head of State said in the book, launched ten months before his death.
The Director of Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, Walter Mkuki, told the ‘Daily News’ that the past one week of mourning the great man of the nation saw the sales of the memoir surging.
However, Mr Mkuki did not go into details to reveal the total number of books sold during that period, arguing that exposing the figures was against his business principles.
“I admit that there was an increase of sales because readers’ curiosity to read about Mkapa increased during this time.
However, we could have sold more books if the price was affordable to low-income earners, at 60,000/- the price was high to most of the ordinary people,” he stated.
Apart from that, he said the language used (English) isolates many readers, who are Swahili speakers.
He said the work to translate Mkapa’s memoir was still ongoing, noting that though it takes time, they expected to release the Swahili version next year.
During funeral services at Lupaso home village of Mzee Mkapa, Dr Joseph Mkapa, a cousin of Mzee Mkapa, said that journalists and other members of the public have no reasons to ask about personal life of the former President, including his family, because he has written everything in the book.
During the requiem services at Lupaso village where Mzee Mkapa was buried, Songea Archbishop Damian Dallu, said the late Mzee Mkapa has written the book to make public confession, which is very difficult to most people.
The Archbishop said Mzee Mkapa has exposed where he succeeded and where he failed and through the book, he asked for forgiveness.
On November 12th last year, when the book was launched, the demand was very high, with the Publishers admitting that it broke the record since the company was established 30 years ago.
The book was launched on the birthday of the former President and people immediately started rushing to get their copies.
On the next day, the book was not on shelves at the Mkuki na Nyota book shops as they ran out of stock.
The book details the personal life of the former President, from his childhood, time in school up to university and his political endeavours.
In his memoir, Mkapa explains the highs and lows of his presidency between 1995 and 2005.
People were looking for where to get the book as they are eager to read about the personal life of the third phase President of Tanzania, who is credited with massive economic reforms of the country.
Mr Bgoya argued that there was high demand because it was for the first time ever in the country for the former president to write an autobiography.