Don’t Drink the Maji Maji Part 1

Once upon a time in real world land, in the country now known as Tanzania, lived a man named Kinjikitile Ngwale who felt he was divinely possessed to lead his people against the oppressive German colonialist empire. These hundreds of thousands of East African people felt the power of Ngwale’s words and made the decision to take a collective stand against further German subjugation. There was however the dilemma of attaining weaponry. The Germans had a strong arsenal of machine guns and other modern murderous technology that could wipe poor rock-throwing people off the map. But Ngwale had a solution – he gathered the people to introduce their armor. He held out his hand to the water that lie before them and announced that this water not any regular water, but “maji maji” – water possessing the spiritual force to protect them against German bullets. The people were ecstatic! Kinjikitile had lived up to his word and delivered their safeguard! They would finally be free of the tyrant’s iron fist. The people drank the maji maji and went out to face the German troops with empty hands, demanding freedom. Thousands of eager East Africans were brutally slaughtered by German troops’ machine guns. The maji maji did not work. Kinjikitile was captured and hanged for treason. (“Kinjikitile Ngwale,” 2010) Though this a great tale of the courage and spirit of a people, it also leaves an even greater lesson for us all.

The maji maji will eternally represent the power that we seek outside of our selves. Many time we get caught up into drinking our own “maji maji”, whether it be in an addiction, relationship, political party, organization, religious group, or leader. We place our power in addictions, claiming that we cannot overcome smoking, sex, or overeating because of reasons outside of our own control. We place our power in relationships, claiming that we cannot reach our goals because our partner will not allow it; because they continually present obstacles to us reaching our full potential. In our affiliations, we hope that the democratic party will “turn this all around”, that we “have no hope” without this or that Party, or that the Republicans will “not allow” any real change to take place for the people. Or else, we say that we “are nothing” without our church, mosque, or spiritual society; feeling enslaved to participation, as if we could not carry on as a human being without this social structure. Or worse, that we would be eternally punished for opting out. So many times in history, millions’ hopes have been destroyed by empowering their leaders at the expense of themselves. The leaders either fall tremendously short of the saintly status they have been lifted to or are assassinated; which unfortunately often does irrepairable damage to or altogether extinguishes the movement.

This is not to speak against creating social fellowship out of common interest, maintaining hope in leaders, or adhering to the moral and ethical structure of a religion – these are all important to the fabric of society and may need to be continued to prevent chaos. This is about where one’s true sense of power originates, within or without. With realization of the power inside, no leader’s immorality or lack of immortality can diminish one’s drive for social justice. We would continue the mission ourselves, knowing that no one can stop us but us. With acceptance of our own ase (power), it does not matter if the Republican Party or the Third Reich held the national political majority. We would disregard it and execute our plans of entrepreneurship, education, and establishing institutions by ourselves for ourselves. Ultimately, yes, it is up to us, to move forward to purpose whether or not we can get a support group, signature, or start-up stipend. The church may not stand behind us. Our wife or husband may say our ideas are stupid and we need to grow up and get with the program. The world may say we do not have enough tenure, experience, or that we have never really been successful at anything else but our depressing job or failed marriage and it would just be stupid to take the risk of doing anything else at our age. But we will stand up and refuse to drink the maji maji! We will reclaim the power that never left us – the ase within – and boldly proceed ahead knowing that we cannot fail because we were not put here on this earth to fail. We were put here to succeed and succeed grandly!


Kinjikitile Ngwale. (2010). Wikipedia the free encyclopedia. Retrieved June 8, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinjikitile_Ngwale

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