Media must maintain spirit of late Ruge Mutahaba

04Mar 2019
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Media must maintain spirit of late Ruge Mutahaba

MONDAY March 4th is the climax of undeclared national days of mourning in the wake of the death of Clouds Media Group initiator and chief of operations, who passed away in South Africa mid last week due to kidney operation complications.

As Tanzania is a country where recognition for those making a mark in society easily transcends ethnic and religious boundaries, the breadth of the country registered a profound sense of loss in uncountable interviews and impromptu remarks elicited from all corners of the country. It often takes the death of an individual for society to realize the breadth of his imprint, the feelings his/her name evokes, etc.

In the specific case of the late Ruge Mutahaba, he has been recognized as among the pioneers of what is usually known as talent searching, moving a stage further to actually incubate such talent so that it matures and is able to display itself to stakeholders near and far.

In addition to talent, the late entertainment executive made strenuous efforts to light up the path of opportunity for many youths, when he picked up what was coming up simply as an annual music bonanza and added an element of identifying opportunities and making use of them. It is hard to say how far this effort succeeded, but there were numerous stories of those who were inspired, assisted by him.

While this inspiring work was definitely attributable to empathy, sense of care or concern on the part of the media entrepreneur and communications specialist, there was also a silent aspect to that work, namely the sort of empowering environment both for himself and those who heeded his voice - or his personal example for that matter.

Born in 1970, he was still a teenager when the second phase started, where the spirit of enterprise started being nurtured in earnest, as Tanzanian society broke free from first phase days when officials were sent to bars to count beer bottles that a public officer would order or drink, etc. He matured in the third phase.

Despite plenty of controversy on the third phase if it was awash in privatisation or halted privatisation and started pursuing partnerships to no avail, much of the spirit of the second phase remained.

In addition, late second phase measures like bank sector liberalization (opening bank branches with no questions asked) provided an opportunity for obtaining loans, with a modest collateral.

Only in the past few years with a steep change in consumer culture did this window appear to close off, and perhaps it is fate's way of registering the shift that an ardent believer in mass opportunities has to leave.

We need to take note that despite the reduced sphere of workable initiatives compared to the past, plenty of what the late Clouds Media Group initiator stood for is still practicable.

Those he worked with in the media company have plenty to proceed from, and many others must by now have grasped how he worked, by hearsay and intermittent reiteration of experiences. The spirit of solidarity in the market place ought to be maintained.

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