Last year I went up and down Uhuru Street in Dar es Salaam to find kangas for the Tropenmuseum in Holland and their exhibition on African president portraits - on cloth. Check it out here.
Just before I left Tanzania, I stayed with a good Tanzanian friend, who knows my interest in kangas. She opened her closet, and took out kangas as old as Tanzania.
50+ year old kangas, she had inherited from her mother, who again had inherited them from her mother or aunts. Colours and texture softened by many years of daily use, handwashing and charcoal ironing, but treasured as facts of one family's history.
I don't think Zitto Kabwe knows how many kangas I have bought since I arrived to Tanzania the first time in June 2004, but he has promised me one of these (photo) from his campaign to get reelected as MP for Kigoma North.
When it comes to Tanzanian political parties merchandise, I have no political affiliation, and I have already bought CCM merchandise back in March 2010, and would also still like to get one of their kangas.
The fact that Zitto Kabwe is reporting via Twitter, blog, Flickr and Facebook from Kigoma North, while at the same time operating an election campaing with traditional elements - like the ngoma and the kanga - is a clear fact of Africa 2010. An Africa in between tradition and modernity.
An Africa, we in the north gradually are realising is changing.
Zitto is not the only one doing so, President Kikwete's campaigning team is also busy on social media, on Twitter for starters - while handing out merchandise. A Tanzanian MP would obviously not get away with using social media if he/she didn't have their kangas in place.
For the more curious readers, do also read about another perspective of the elections, which I wrote about here in January.