PERSON OF INTEREST: Mrisho ‘Mjomba’ Mpoto.

Cover Mjomba.jpgTanzania is blessed with talented celebrities, who make good use of Swahili to a good effect. Among its most celebrated personalities, Mrisho Mpoto makes the cut as a national hero. Professor J, Diamond, Juma Nature, Ali Kiba, Rose Muhando, Dully Sykes are some of the many names of modern artists originating from Bongoland, each unique in representing their genre of music. I remember when I first listened to his master piece called Mjomba Nikipata Nauli, I sought out to find more about him and his mastery of methali and mashairi. The story telling was so good, with mastery of Swahili saying and poetry wrapped into one, to a nationalistic audience. It was a master piece that you could listen to with your father and mother, and watch the video with out getting embarrassed by the twerking, semi nudism and lovey dovey songs that appeal to the youth now days.

Tanzania is blessed with talented celebrities, who make good use of Swahili to a good effect. Among its most celebrated personalities, Mrisho Mpoto makes the cut as a national hero. Professor J, Diamond, Juma Nature, Ali Kiba, Rose Muhando, Dully Sykes are some of the many names of modern artists originating from Bongoland, each unique in representing their genre of music. I remember when I first listened to his master piece called Mjomba Nikipata Nauli, I sought out to find more about him and his mastery of methali and mashairi. The story telling was so good, with mastery of Swahili saying and poetry wrapped into one, to a nationalistic audience. It was a master piece that you could listen to with your father and mother, and watch the video with out getting embarrassed by the twerking, semi nudism and lovey dovey songs that appeal to the youth now days.
MRISHO-MPOTO.jpg

Mrisho Mpoto, popularly known as Mjomba is a professional artist in music, poetry, dance, storytelling. His strong vocals in his unique presentation of his master pieces make one stop, listen and seek to find meaning in his coded messages. He really punches home his messages in using the poetry recitals in oral performances, as catchy choruses that emphasize his messages, amid the sweet African beats (drums, flutes and guitars) beat in the background. Some of his songs include Nikipata Nauli, Adela, Samahani Wanangu, Deni La Hisani, Waite, Njoo Uichukue, Kitendawili and others.

Angalau ramba utamu wa mziki wa msanii huyu maarafu Africa Mashariki (Here have a taste of his music and artistic storytelling, samples from some of his songs)
Nikipata Nauli
Pole sana Mjomba, na kibarua kizito cha kutaka dunia nzima kuwa kijiji. Hongera! Kile kiitikio cha globalisation kimeimbwa vizuri sana ijapo kingekaririwa. Nasikia wageni wamefurahi sana kuisikia sauti yako, tena wanafuruahishwa na iule ubeti cha mwisho ulioongeza wa mbio zetu kutoka uhuru mpaka hapa tulipo.
Mjomba, hapa nyumbani tuna hadithi na misemo mingi kuihakiki. Maana lake mtu halimtampishi. Lakini kukumbatia maji kama jiwe ni ujinga. Juuzi walisema kuwa wageni kikalani tukasema tuwape muda. Jana, tumbo kali kashikwa na kuku wa jirani, nikasema imewauma sana ila bado tuwape muda. Eti kidhibiti cha mwizi wa kuku ni sharti ashikwe na mchuzi au kipande cha mnofu….
Asanteni kwa kuja
Ndugu zangu, jamaa na rafiki zangu, wanene husema:
Usimuhadithie mtu ndoto yako jana ya usiku
Lakini hapa ni tofauti.
Siri tunasema bayana tunaficha
Poleni sana kwa kuja, najua…
Wakati ni mali, wakati ni ukuta
kama neno litokalo mdomoni.
Kama sauti na pengine ni kama moshi ukitoka haurudi.
Lakini ni kwanini dobi kutakasa kaniki ali tunajua rangi ya nguo ndugu zangu ukiona paka kakubali kulala chali anza kuomba ruhusa kazini.
Najua, mila na desturi zakwetu huruhusishwi kusema, utaambiwa una gubu una hila uchuro, huna malezi ya pande mbili na kama watakuwa wamechukia sana watasema ulianza kutoka miguu badala ya kichwa yaani huna adabu.
Asanteni sana kwa kuja, mimi sikuwa naijuwa safari hii kabla japo nilitegemea sana wazazi wangu waliwahi kuniambia kuwa ipo siku nitasafiri. Nilicheka sana lakini wao walicheka mara mbili. Walinitazama kasha wakacheka, tena mara ya tatu, tena kwa nguvu. Basi kama tofauti za vicheko vyao nilingejua usiku wa jana kabla ya leo nadhani ningeuridhishia uma ule usemi wa kuwa: riziki ni kama ajali, hautambui siku ya kuja. Cha kushangaza baba alishika swali, mama akanipa jibu.

Njoo Uchukue

mrisho
Ama kwa kweli kama hujui kwenda huwezi kupotea watu kukimba wakozika hudondokea kwenya maiti nyama.
Siku zote naamini mtu huwezi kulala kwenya mto hata kama umekauka.
Na uktitaka kujua mwendo wa mjinga mpe kilemba uone.
Hili ni ombi langu toka kwangu kuja kwako’
Kama ya kwangu itakusaidia chochote kwenye ushindi wako niko tayari kukupa ila uifuate nyumbani wala sio mbali!
Nakukumbusha ukitaka nzi wasikufuate acha kula vilivyooza; chuki humchoma aliyeihifadhi kwenye moyo siku zote.
Nakuuliza unataka kuja mchana au jioni maana kila njia ina muda wake.Najua mara nyingi ungependa kuja mchana ili uonekane.
Naomba nikuelekeze; hivi pita uwanja wa taka hadi mfereji mchafu
Kisha kibanda cha mbavu za mbwa katiza usisike na mtu njiani endelea kuja.
Ni kioo tu pekee yake ndo huonyesha doa la kweli kwenye paji la uso.
Katiza choo cha gunia pembeni maskani Taliban camp
Ukisikia harufu kali bana pua haraka hapo choo kinapakuliwa…
nakutia moyo tu njoo unakaribia kufika.

Mrisho Mpoto was born back in 1978 and lives in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. His dreadlocks, African attire, strong commanding voice and mastery in poetry recitation uniquely identify him and his genre. His story telling are entertaining and have deep rooted in tradition, with messages to the society. He made me love Swahili, its sayings and wisdom cleverly presented in form of poetry. Tanzania certainly has many artists who make good use of poetry, but Mjomba comes out as a master, with original compositions and powerful messages incorporated to a good effect.

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