Tanzanians and their friends based in London were part of Commonwealth nations service held at the historical Westminster Abbey to commemorate 50 years of the Union on Thursday evening.
The sombre and spiritual service was attended by His Excellency the High Commissioner Peter Kallaghe, members of staff, representatives of the British Tanzania Society, media and all those wishing the best for our country.
Sombre, melodic and powerful live singing from the Choir of Lancing College decorated the one hour long ceremony at the highly respected building which is regarded as one of the most important sites in the UK. It was inaugurated by King Henry the third in 1245 and since 1066 has been the final resting place for seventeen monarchs and other notable figures in British society e.g. scientist Isaac Newton and writer Charles Dickens.
In recent times all sorts of ceremonies have taken place at Westminster like weddings of Prince Charles and the late Diana (1981) and their son William with Catherine in April 2011. Body of the late father of the nation, Mwalimu Nyerere was officially viewed by hundreds here before being flown to Tanzania – October 1999. Prayers for the late South African icon- Nelson Mandela were also held at the said omnipotent venue last month.
Speaking afterwards, in Swahili then English, High Commissioner Kallaghe thanked those who came by insisting the prayers united people of all races, faiths and gender for the good of the country.
“It is indeed a special privilege accorded to all of us in the Commonwealth community and reflects our continuous co-operation.”
A true reflection of Tanzania’s non-religious bias was seen in the broad number of attendees. Ismailia, Bohora, Muslim, Christian and even atheists were present. Zarina and Zehra Jafferji, of the Bohora faith both said they wished the best for Tanzania; so did Muslims Mr Abubakar Faraji,London businessman and Mariam Kilumanga, of TAWA- the UK Tanzanian women organisation. “ In my family we have people of all religion, and I am used to it.”
Miss Commonweath Africa 2013 winner from Tanzania, Malkia Kassu, said she felt at peace being in the Westminster Abbey and this was a good will gesture for our nation.
London based Sky presenter of the Swahili diaries, journalist Ayoub Mzee marvelled at the very many old songs sang during the ceremony. The preservation of history is what we should all learn from as I gathered from his reaction.