Kijamanda cha nyanya, kimezua mambo

Kijamanda cha nyanya, kimezua mambo

BIBI TITI MOHAMED, Simba Jike, is trending as ‘the flavour of the time.
Time was, when it was considered not only bad form to even mention the dreaded name ‘Bibi Titi Mohamed’, but it was considered treason, albeit by the tongue and vocals, to talk about Bibi Titi Mohamed.
Even in the context of her most private life, and not her public, political life, it was taken to not only be ‘bad taste’, but it was also perceived as being perfidious, and totally lacking in moral values, and loyalty to the Republic, to even mention the name Bibi Titi Mohamed.
Those who discussed her, did it in the form of jokes, turning her into a caricature, who didn’t speak English, and who had the impudence, the gall, the lack of patriotism, to go against Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere’s Decision and Stance on Ujamaa na Kujitegemea.
Bibi Titi Mohamed was relegated to the annals of history as a Bad Person; a woman who went against the welfare of her nation; a politician who ‘failed’ and out of malice; ambition; and greed for power, made the effort with a group of people, to ‘remove’ Kambarage from power, and establish a government which would go against the grain of Ujamaa na Kujitegemea.
Bibi Titi Mohamed had become not only a political pariah, she had also become a social outcast, which forced her to become a recluse, always looking over shoulder, unwilling to trust most people, because those she had called her friends, in fact turned out to be the very ones who ostracized her, turned her into a butt for derogatory remarks, and who participated in her purge.

Now Bibi Titi Mohamed has become ‘kosher’ and a great many people I know, and some I do not know, have started ‘claiming Bibi Titi Mohamed as a woman they knew, had interacted with, and even claim kinship with her.
This, is a fine example of the Yo Yo Effect of political propensities.
I smile!

I was first introduced to Bibi Titi Mohamed by Dada Maria Shaba, when she told me “let’s go to see Bibi Titi Mohamed” and I was left open mouthed. “You mean THE Bibi Titi Mohamed?” I croaked.
Da Maria Shaba said “The same one, and close your mouth, flies might get in there”.
This was in 1991.
I was the young Editor of Sauti ya Siti, and Editor of books in TAMWA.
TAMWA is like that, a question would come up “who’d be Editor?” And everyone would chime “Huyo chakaramu wetu, she’s not in full time employment, so let her be the Editor”.
So I found myself holding the ambiguously powerful position of Editor. I even made up the title, Managing Editor 😩.
Da Maria Shaba and I went to see Bibi Titi Mohamed, to invite her to a function which TAMWA was hosting, The Kanga Festival.
She, Bibi Titi Mohamed took one look at me, and said “nshakuona kwenye TV ukitangaza kipindi”.
I immediately fell in love with her. I mean, I want to be recognized as a Star, and Bibi Titi Mohamed recognize me as a Star.
I was beaming and kissed her hand in the Swahili way, and there, started a friendship between Bibi Titi Mohamed and TAMWA, and with me, because all I could do, is look at her in awe!
I pinched her hand to see if she was real.
She asked if her favourite taarab songs would be performed at The Kanga Festival, and I breathlessly said “Yes”.
I cleverly gave the list

  • Mazoea yana taabu, by Bakari Abeid
  • Alinidhani bandia by Machaparala Etc.

Smart of me, because those were among her favourite songs.

Back in TAMWA, they asked me “who is going to sing those old songs?”
I chirped “Egyptian Musical Club”.
I went to see Al Ustadh Issa Matona and requested he sings ‘Kimasomaso’.
I cautiously told him “Bibi Titi Mohamed would be present at the function.
He exclaimed “how did you get her to accept? Siku hizi hatoki”.
I fobbed off the question by putting on my most beaming smile, and said “Ni rafiki yangu, Bibi Titi Mohamed”.
Ustadh Issa Matona then suggested I talk to the Muchachu Taarab Group, because the Egyptian Musical Club was doddering “hawana vyombo”, said Ustadh Matona.
I went to see Al Anisa Siti Sabah Muchachu and told her of the dilemma, and that Titi would be there.
She took pity on me, and the Muchachu Taarab Group came to the Kanga Festival, and sang with Ustadh Matona, and Bibi Titi Mohamed sang an old love song.
We in TAMWA just looked at her, The Legend!


Leila Sheikh

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