15 Apr 2023

Fishermen land their wooden boats on the beach in Tanzania, one of the countries involved in the genetic analysis of the Swahili people. Gideon Mendel/Corbis via Getty Images

Chapurukha Kusimba was a young boy in Kenya in the 1960s just as many African nations were attaining independence from western European countries. The power and success of African nationalists impressed him. So did the archaeological discoveries of ancient humans by the Leakey family showing, as he saw it, that "to be human is to be African."

But he was confused by what he was learning in school. "There seemed to be very few incidences in history where African or Black people had actually attained anything or contributed much to global civilization," he says. "Something wasn't quite right."

Kusimba grew up in western Kenya and is not Swahili, but he became fascinated by the thousand-year-old culture of the Swahili people, who live along the coast of eastern Africa and early on built cosmopolitan city-states. Through his 40-year career as an archaeological anthropologist, including stints at museums in the U.S. and Kenya, professorships at several U.S. universities (he is now with the University of South Florida) and authorship of a book, The Rise and Fall of Swahili States, the question dogged him: Were the earliest Swahili from the African continent, or did they migrate from somewhere else?

And now he's the senior author of a research paper published in March in Nature that has the answer.

The research shows that the Swahili civilization British colonizers encountered was not primarily foreign, as they believed. Nor was it primarily African, as has been more recently thought. The study uses DNA analysis to show that it's a mix, as Swahili oral tradition has said for centuries.

In addition, Kusimba and his colleagues found that the ancestors of today's Swahili people were African women and foreign men. As they note in their study, ancestry narratives for the eastern African coast have a complex history, and the genetic findings add to the complexity.

The politics of ancestry

When British colonizers came into eastern Africa several hundred years ago, they credited the origins of Swahili civilization to foreign traders from India and Persia. "The good was always attributed to non-Africans," says Kusimba. Colonial archaeologists thought Africans lacked the initiative and agency to build Swahili culture. "And colonial archeology was very powerful," says Kusimba. "Any views that were divergent to what was the then-mainstream view of the Swahili would either be silenced by not getting published, or people just wouldn't believe it." Some nationalist politicians emphasized a foreign origin to whip up anti-Swahili sentiment and consolidate power.

But all along, Swahili people knew they were a mix. Their origin stories told them so.

To research the beginnings of Swahili people, Kusimba began working with an American biological archaeologist on bones from archaeological digs along the Swahili coast. The shape and size of bones can hint at origins. Wider bones in the nasal area for example, can suggest African heritage. The bones they were examining looked more African than Asian or European.

Other archaeologists and historians were coming to believe that the original Swahili people were mostly African because Kiswahili, the Swahili language, clearly has its origins in the Bantu languages known to be native to Africa.

The American archaeologist thought genetic science might help sort things out. So did Kusimba. He contacted geneticist David Reich at Harvard, an expert in ancient genes, who agreed to help.

What the genes reveal

Kusimba and colleagues in east Africa collected bones and teeth from seven burial sites, checking with local religious and community leaders for permission, and sent the samples off to Harvard. Once the bones arrived in Boston, the genetic work had its own complexities. The work had to be done in special "clean" labs to prevent contamination with modern DNA. And the group at Harvard couldn't get a clear read on all the samples, because some were degraded.

Ultimately, they were able to analyze and compare 80 samples from people buried between 1250 and 1800 C.E. in sites found mostly along the coast in modern-day Kenya and Tanzania.

They looked at bits of DNA known as single-nucleotide polymorphisms, DNA that varies from population to population.

The genetic analysis showed the mixing started out around 1000 C.E., about the same time that Islam, a hallmark of Swahili life, became widespread in the area. The new genes initially were Persian (essentially modern-day Iran), and eventually, Indian and southern Arabian.

Esther Brielle, a postdoctoral fellow in Reich's lab at the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard, worked on the genetics. She and others calculated that from the people they studied (whom they surmise were elite because they were buried in cemeteries near the main mosques) the male ancestors of elite Swahili people were a mix of approximately 83% south Asian (about 90% of that Persian, and the rest Indian) and 17% African. The female ancestors were less of a mix – appearing to be 97% African, and 3% south Asian. (Female analyses were based on DNA from mitochondria, that are passed down by the mother, and for males it was DNA from Y chromosomes, which come from the father.)

Brielle loved working on the project. Oral tradition as well as some writings told of Persian princes coming across the Indian Ocean. "It was very satisfying to get results that verified what they say about their own history," she says. It was also a chance to even out a scientific imbalance. "Everyone focuses on European genetics and I think that we owe it to other places in the world to focus on them," she says.

Kusimba, for one, was pleased that the results backed up what Swahili people thought. "I have no reason not to believe in the authenticity of oral tradition as a legitimate source of historical knowledge," he says.

"This work is really exciting," says Peter Schmidt, an emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of Florida who was not involved in the Nature study. "It's the finest example thus far of how DNA can help to correct and rewrite African history." And, he says, it's a chance to reflect on how scholarship sometimes swings like a pendulum to satisfy social and political needs.

But what about that male/female imbalance – that in male Swahili forbearers, foreign genes predominated, and Swahili women were mostly African? In the U.S., white male genes in African Americans are markers of sexual exploitation of female slaves. Were African women raped by foreign invaders? Probably not, says Kusimba. The local culture was (and is) matriarchal — women hold the power. "The men likely weren't predators," he says. They came with all sorts of coveted goods, like spices and cotton from India, and silk and porcelain from China.

Foreign traders, it turns out, were probably marrying into powerful women-led families. "In this small sample that we have, we have a situation whereby African women are opportunistically making a decision that is going to be good for their own families," says Kusimba.

What's next for Swahili ancient DNA research? "The rich and famous often have the last say, because their remains are more often preserved," says Kusimba. Maybe not this time. He's now in Kenya, picking up artifacts and human remains he excavated in the mid-1990s. The remains come from common graves, and could show whether the Persian-African mix held for non-elite ancient Swahili people as well. They'll be incorporated into the Harvard study and Brielle is tremendously pleased. "We're trying to understand things that people want to know," she says.


15 Mar 2023

Tanzania itakuwa mwenyeji wa mkutano mkubwa wa Afrika wa masuala ya chakula na kilimo utakaofanyika Septemba 5 mpaka 8 mwaka huu.

Ijumaa wiki hii (Machi 17), Rais Samia Suluhu Hassan atazindua maandalizi ya mkutano huo Ikulu, Dar es Salaam, hii ni kwa mujibu wa Mkurugenzi wa Mawasiliano wa Ikulu, Zuhura Yunus.

Mkutano wa Afrika wa chakula wa Septemba unatarajiwa kuhudhuriwa na watu takribani 3,000 kutoka sehemu mbalimbali barani Afrika na duniani, ikiwemo marais, mawaziri na wakuu wa taasisi za kimataifa.

Mkutano huo utaweka msisitizo kwenye Vijana na Wanawake kama Msingi wa Mfumo Endelevu wa Chakula.

Tanzania imechaguliwa kuwa mwenyeji wa mkutano huo kutokana na hatua kubwa za kimageuzi ambazo serikali ya Rais Samia Suluhu Hassan imezichukua tangu alipoingia madarakani miaka miwili iliyopita.

Hatua hizo ni pamoja na kuongeza bajeti ya Wizara ya Kilimo kwa mara nne kwa mwaka wa fedha 2022/2023, jambo ambalo halijawahi kutokea tangu tupate uhuru.

Serikali ya Rais Samia pia imetambuliwa kwa mradi wake wa ubunifu wa Jenga Kesho Iliyo Bora (BBT), ambao unalenga kuwawezesha vijana, ambao ndiyo nguvu kazi kubwa nchini, kuingia katika kilimo.

Serikali yake pia imewekeza kwenye miundombinu ya umwagiliaji, huduma za ugani, pembejeo na ruzuku ya mbolea na mbegu kwa viwango ambavyo havijawahi kufanyika miaka ya nyuma.

Serikali ya Rais Samia pia imekuwa ikitekeleza mpango wa kilimo unaojulikana kama Ajenda 10/30 yenye lengo la kufanya kilimo kiwe cha biashara na kikue kwa wastani wa asilimia 10 kwa mwaka ifikapo 2030.

26 Feb 2023

21 Feb 2023

Kundi la viongozi wa kanisa la kianglikana kutoka sehemu mbalimbali duniani wamemkataa Askofu Mkuu wa Canterbury, Justin Welby, kuwa kiongozi wao baada ya Kanisa la Uingereza kuunga mkono maombi ya baraka kwa wapenzi wa jinsia moja.

Maaskofu wakuu wanaowakilisha majimbo 10 kati ya 42 katika Ushirika wa Kianglikana wametia saini taarifa wakisema hawamfikirii tena Bw Welby "kiongozi wa ushirika wa kimataifa".

Waliongeza kuwa Kanisa la Anglikana "lilikataliwa" kama "Kanisa Mama" lao la kihistoria.

Ni mara ya kwanza kwa uongozi wa Askofu Mkuu wa Canterbury kukataliwa na kundi kubwa la makanisa.

Tangu ilipoanzishwa mwaka wa 1867, Askofu Mkuu aliye madarakani wa Canterbury amechukua nafasi ya kiongozi wa kiroho wa Ushirika wa Kianglikana, ambao ni ushirika wa kimataifa wa makanisa 42 ya Kianglikana.

Hana mamlaka rasmi - badala yake, ana mamlaka ya kimaadili na anaonekana kama "wa kwanza kati ya walio sawa".

Lambeth Palace, makao rasmi ya Askofu Mkuu wa Canterbury, ilisema hakuna mabadiliko rasmi katika muundo wa Ushirika wa Anglikana yanayoweza kufanywa bila idhini kutoka kwa "vyombo" vyake vinne vya utawala.

Maaskofu wakuu 10, pamoja na wawili kutoka majimbo ya kihafidhina yaliyojitenga nchini Marekani na Brazili, wanapinga kubariki au kuolewa kwa wapenzi wa jinsia moja.

Wanaunda sehemu ya wanachama wa kikundi kiitwacho Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA), ambacho kinadai kuwakilisha 75% ya Waanglikana duniani kote, hasa kote Asia na Afrika.

Waliotia saini ni pamoja na mwenyekiti wa GSFA, Askofu Mkuu Justin Badi wa Sudan Kusini, pamoja na maaskofu wakuu wa Chile, Bahari ya Hindi, Kongo, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Uganda, Sudan, Alexandria na Melanesia.

Katika taarifa ya Jumatatu walisema "hawana uwezo tena wa kumtambua Askofu Mkuu wa sasa wa Canterbury kama kiongozi wa kwanza kati ya viongozi sawa wa ushirika wa kimataifa".

"Kanisa la Uingereza limechagua kuvunja ushirika na majimbo hayo ambayo yanasalia kuwa waaminifu kwa imani ya kihistoria ya kibiblia," taarifa hiyo ilisema.

Mapema mwezi huu Kanisa la Uingereza, ambalo linaongozwa na Bw Welby, liliidhinisha maombi ya baraka kwa wapenzi wa jinsia moja kwa mara ya kwanza. Hata hivyo, msimamo wake kuhusu ndoa za mashoga haujabadilika na wapenzi wa jinsia moja bado hawataweza kufunga ndoa kanisani.

Mipango hiyo, iliyowekwa na maaskofu mwezi uliopita , imekosolewa na wale wanaodhani wanaenda mbali zaidi - na wale wanaofikiri hawaendi mbali vya kutosha.

Msemaji wa Ikulu ya Lambeth alisema "inathamini kikamilifu" msimamo wa GSFA lakini akaongeza "kutoelewana kwa kina" kati ya Waanglikana juu ya kujamiiana na ndoa ni ya muda mrefu, na kwamba mageuzi katika jimbo moja hayaathiri sheria katika maeneo mengine.

"Katika ulimwengu wa migogoro, mateso na kutokuwa na uhakika, lazima tukumbuke kuwa zaidi hutuunganisha kuliko kutugawanya.

“Pamoja na tofauti zetu, lazima tutafute mbinu za kuendelea kutembea na kufanya kazi pamoja kama wafuasi wa Yesu Kristo ili kuwahudumia wenye uhitaji,” walisema.

16 Feb 2023

Meditation in Swahili


Karibu kwenye mwongozo wa tahajudi (meditation), unaojumuisha aina mbalimbali za tahajudi, maelezo kuhusu manufaa ya kila mazoezi, na mazoe ya sauti ya sauti kukusaidia kujifunza jinsi ya kufanya tahajudi na kujumuisha tahajudi katika maisha yako ya kila siku. Endelea kusoma ili kujifunza zaidi kuhusu misingi ya mazoezi haya ya kubadilisha ambayo hutuwezesha kupata furaha zaidi katika maisha ya kila siku.

Tunapofanya tahajudi tunaingiza manufaa makubwa na ya kudumu katika maisha yetu: Tunapunguza viwango vyetu vya mfadhaiko, tunapata kujua vyanzo vya maumivu yetu, tunaboresha umakini wetu, na tunajijali wenyewe.

Tahajudi ni nini?

Maelezo mafupi ya mazoezi.

Je, unajifunzaje kufanya tahajudi? Katika kutafakari kwa uangalifu, tunajifunza jinsi ya kuzingatia pumzi inapoingia na kutoka, na kutambua wakati akili inatangatanga kutoka kwa kazi hii. Mazoezi haya ya kurudi kwenye pumzi hujenga misuli ya tahadhari na kuzingatia.

Tunapozingatia pumzi zetu, tunajifunza jinsi ya kurudi, na kubaki ndani, wakati uliopo—kujikita hapa na sasa kwa makusudi, bila kujihukumu.

Kwa juu juu, kufanya tahajudi honekana ni kitu rahisi tu lakini kiuhalisia mazoezi ya tahajudi yanahitaji uvumilivu hadi kufikia hatua ya kumudu vizuri tahajudi.

Kwa Nini Ujifunze Jinsi ya Kufanya Tahajudi?

Uchaguzi wa manufaa ambayo yanahusishwa na kujifunza jinsi ya kufanya tahajudi.

Ingawa tahajudi sio ufumbuzi wa kila kitu, kwa hakika inaweza kutoa nafasi inayohitajika sana katika maisha yako.

Zana muhimu zaidi unaweza kuja nazo kwenye mazoezi yako ya tahajudi ni subira kidogo, upendo kwako mwenyewe, na mahali pazuri pa kuketi.

Tunapotafakari, tunaingiza faida kubwa na za kudumu maishani mwetu. Na bonasi: hauitaji nguvu yoyote ya ziada au kulipia kozi za gharama kubwa.

Hapa kuna sababu nne za kufanya tahajudi:
  1. Kuelewa maumivu yako

  2. Punguza msongo wako

  3. Boresha umakini

  4. Punguza mazungumzo ya ubongo.

Mwisho wa somo

Jiunge tena katika sehemu ya pili itakayofundisha jinsi ya kufanya tahajudi. Ikikupendeza, mfahamishe ndugu, jamaa na rafiki aje kujumuika nawe hapa na kunufaika na ujuzi huu muhimu.

CHANZO: AdelPhil Online Academy

6 Feb 2023

Watu wengi wanafahamu faida ya mazoezi ya viungo, na sehemu ambayo watu wengi hupendelea kwenda kufanya amzoezi hayo ni kwenye gym.

Kama ilivyo kwa viungo, ubongo nao unahitaji mazoezi. Na kuufanyisha ubongo mazoezi kunaelezwa kama “kuupeleka ubongo wako gym.”

Na kama ambavyo mazoezi ya viungo hayahitaji ushinde gym kutwa nzima, mazoezi ya ubongo nayo yanahitaji muda kidogo tu. Na kama ambavyo huwezi kupata “six packs” baada ya kuhudhuria gym siku chache tu, kuvuna matunda ya kuupelekea ubongo wako gym hakuwezi kutokea kwa muda mfupi tu.

Kwahiyo, kama ambavyo unahitaji ratiba ya mazoezi ya viungo, mazoezi ya ubongo pia yanahitaji ratiba.

Mazoezi hayo ni kama ifuatavyo

Kuupigisha ubongo push-ups

  1. Andika shukrani kuhusu kitu kimoja ulichofanya au ulichonacho. Kuna uthibitisho wa kisayansi kuwa shukrani zina faida kwa ubongo. Neno la kimombo ni gratitude.

  2. Fanya tahajudi. Zoezi rahisi kabisa la tahajudi ni kuvuta pumzi ndani kisha kuibana kwa sekunde chache kisha kutoa pumzi puani au hata mdomoni kisha kuibana tena. Unaweza kufanya raundi 4 au zaidi. Tahajudi kwa kiingereza ni meditation.

  3. Pima uwezo wako wa kukumbuka vitu. Andika vitu viwili vitatu kisha jaribu kuvikumbuka baada ya saa moja hivi bila kuangalia ulichoandika.

Jiandikie mwenyewe

  1. Chagua mada yenye umuhimu kwako.

  2. Andika bila kuwa na hisia kuwa unachoandika kitasomwa na mtu mwingine.

  3. Usijali kuhusu makosa ya sarufi au mpangilio wa unachoandika

Baada ya siku nne, unaweza kuacha zoezi hilo, na baadaye unaweza kurudi kusoma ulichoandika japo sio lazima. Umuhimu wa zoezi hili haupo katika ulichoandika bali kitendo cha kuandika.

Jifunze kitu kipya

Kuna faida lukuki za kujifunza kitu kipya.Tafiti zinaonyesha kuwa moja ya njia za kuufanya ubongo wako kuwa makini ni kujifunza kitu kipya. Vilevile, kukifunza kitu kipya husaidia kukabiliana na msongo wa mawazo.

Baadhi ya njia za kujifunza kitu kipya

  1. Soma kitabu

  2. Sikiliza podcast (haya ni maongezi yanayorekodiwa, yaani kama YouTube vile lakini ni ya sauti (audio). Mfano wa podcast ni hii ya Jasusi

  3. Jiunge na kozi ya mtandaoni. Unaweza kuanzia hapa “AdelPhil Online Academy” ambacho ni “chuo cha Jasusi”.

  4. Shiriki mdahalo.

  5. Jifunze lugha mpya.

  6. Angalia video za TED (haya ni maongezi ya watu mbalimbali - wengi ni maarufu - kuhusu mada muhimu).

  7. Jifunze ujuzi mpya.

  8. Mfunze mtu kitu flani (hii ni njia nzuri ya kumudu kitu hata kama unajifunza kuhusu kitu hicho. Kufundisha husaidia kukidumisha kichwani kitu unachofundisha).

Kuwa mbunifu

Sayansi inathibitisha kuwa shughuli za ubunifu kama muziki, kuchora, kuchonga, kufinyanga, kufuma, nk “hutekenya” ubongo. Uzuri ni kwamba kuna makundi mbalimbali mtaani au hata mtandaoni yanayojihusisha na shughuli za ubunifu.


Endapo unahitaji msaada wa ziada katika eneo lolote kati ya hayo yaliyotanabaishwa hapo juu, wasiliana na kocha wako wako.


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