The Daily Grind Video

It has been 14 years now since I last saw my mother’s smile. Every 21st of May is a difficult day for me. Even though time does heal the soul and the pain dulls, the sense of loss is ever present.  The day my mother died, 3 days of national mourning was declared, not because she was so singularly important but because her death was one of the nearly one thousand (1,000) deaths that occurred that day on Lake Victoria.

Next to my mother, was my beloved cousin who also perished with my mother. For Tanzanians, the name MV Bukoba says it all, but for non Tanzanians it says nothing. May 21st 1996 MV Bukoba – a steamboat that carried hundreds of passengers across Lake Victoria from Bukoba to Mwanza sank and nearly one thousand people died. 

Why and how it sank and who is to blame, is something that the media has chewed over again and again every year but not as much attention has been given lately to the loss that ordinary Tanzanians have suffered.

My family was not special that day because we mourned with thousands of Tanzanians who lost their loved ones.  


This is the first time that I have publicly opened up about my loss and it has not been easy. But I feel that sharing this loss with people especially with Tanzanians might help those ones who suffered similar losses on that day, to re-live it in a more public manner and to know that we are not alone. Since I received the news and followed the tragedy unfold on radio on that fateful day, I know I changed. I came to realize how fragile we all are and how important it is to use every minute and hour in the present, because time fleets by. And I try to live every minute and second of my life to the fullest.We all changed that day and the one who came out the strongest was my father. He had to overcome his grief of losing his wife, and he raised us as a single parent. He is our father and our mother rolled in one, he is our anchor, our support, our hope.

My Dad means the world to me and to my siblings. Looking back I know that I can never truly know how difficult it was for him, yet he remained patient, gentle and loving with us, he was never bitter or desperate but held us all together and gave us strength to move on. His love for us is exemplary and his courage is heroic.They say that with time our memories of past loved ones fade and their faces blur, but my mother’s smile and face is seared in my mind.


To me, she is still with me even if not in body. I know that every step I make she watches over me, and she lifts me up when I stumble and fall in my life.  Her love nourishes me to date and has propelled me to where I am today. Even if for a brief while, I had you, Mama, and I am thankful to God that you were in my life and you continue to be with me.