Coffee & Complications

Gathering random knowledge

Photo courtesy of Thinkers Tech/Imani Nsamila

The most common beverage for me and most people I knew back in college days was coffee. It still is to this day at Thinkers Tech where I work and surround myself with people who love arts & technology. I am not implying that artists and technologists are the only people who tend to love coffee yet it was common (at least around me). Coffee consumption is more of an artificial way of rebooting to stay active after hours and hours of working on a project than relaxation. Pain and pleasure.

Why Coffee?

Apart from being one of the oldest beverages known in human history it is also consumed in most parts of the world with roots from Africa. In Tanzania coffee is famously known as ‘kahawa’ which was borrowed from Arabic word ‘qahwa’ and it is widely consumed almost every where in this country for as cheap as 100 Tanzanian shillings per cup. The weight that coffee carries can be witnessed in lives that it impacts (even though most farmers are not rewarded fairly for their input compared to prices that a cup of coffee fetch in Europe, America and other parts).

Coffee because I have held countless conversations while consuming it. Coffee because Tanzania farms and exports tonnes to different countries. Coffee because a lot of software products have been made in its presence. Coffee because it holds powerful substances that can stimulate and catalyze brains to ideas that could lead to massive amounts of knowledge and innovations.

The University of Dodoma, Tanzania. Photo by Ng’winula Kingamkono.

It is Complicated

I’m expecting to visit my former university and speak to members of University of Dodoma community. It is really not me speaking to them but it is about sharing knowledge among each other over cups of coffee.

I exhibited during the Dutch Design Week through the Age of Wonderland fellowship in 2016. Early in 2017 we were visited by Age of Wonderland organizers from Holland (Christine & Arne) to kick off 100 days of learning.

Branly Lopez (Guatemala) and I in Amsterdam during Age of Wonderland residence. Photo by Age of Wonderland/Hivos

During the meet up for 100 Days of Learning I shared an open letter to my little brother, Goodluck, who now attends the same college I went to back in 2009. You can read the letter here.

Posing at the university of Dodoma — young, naive & ambitious. Photo by Jackson Twalipo/Ng’winula Kingamkono

The reason I chose the university of Dodoma is mainly because I understand what goes on in there or at least I did. The amount of coffee that turns to lines of codes, inspiring animation clips, music videos and all types of talents should not go to waste because someone wasn’t prepared enough for the world beyond classroom walls. I run into newly graduates from the university of Dodoma (and other colleges) every now and then packed with amazing talents, ambitions, will and energy yet they fail to break into their industries because of same mistakes I made. It is really complicated trying to convince someone who believes everything that is required for them to succeed is compacted in their certificates. Yet, knowledge must be shared.

Coffee is not so complicated, is it?

Life’s but a timeline of choices and decisions. Decisions are based on intentions and these can be good or bad. It is human nature. Therefore as it is for the various ways of brewing a cup of coffee in this world it is almost synonymous to all choices one can take in life. Coffee can be easily prepared and cost just 100 Tanzanian shillings yet it can get really complicated to being digested by palm civet/civet cat and passed down through feces to becoming the most expensive coffee known as kopi luwak.

The College of Informatics and Virtual Education (CIVE) where I attended at the University of Dodoma. Photo by Ng’winula Kingamkono

Therefore I tend to also look at life the same way. One can pick the easy route and not achieve the most (but will serve the purpose) or they can go through heat, feces, trouble to become valuable eventually. The choice is ours and the question is, do we know the formula to being the kopi luwaks of technological scene in Tanzania and the world? I don’t, may be we will find out from the day of learning that I am organizing and set to attend with the members of the university of Dodoma community.

The title of this article was inspired by the name of the song “Cigarettes & Coffee” by Otis Redding.

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