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History behind Magufuli’s name, Pombe

A funeral mass was held on Monday for the fallen Tanzanian president John Magufuli in Dodoma, where the history behind his name Pombe was finally revealed to the public.

Tanzania Minister of Foreign Affairs Prof Palamagamba Kabudi revealed during the mass acquired his surname from his late grandmother.

Magufuli, who died on March 17 from what the government said was heart complications, was the third born in a family of 12 children, said Prof Kabudi.

He said that on the day he was born, on Thursday October 29, 1959, his grandmother brewed a local liquor popular among the Sukuma tribe known as ‘Walwa’, loosely translating to pombe in Swahili, and that is the name she chose to give his grandson.

“Siku alipozaliwa bibi yake alikuwa amepika pombe ndio akampa jina la ‘Walwa’ kwa lugha ya  Kisukuma ambayo kwa Kiswahili maana yake pombe. Hii ndio asili ya jina Pombe,” Prof Kabudi revealed as he read the late president’s eulogy on Thursday in Dodoma.

President Magufuli’s remains were ferried from Dar es Salaam to Parliament buildings in Dodoma for the Members of Parliament to pay their last respects to the fallen leader.

The MPs were joined by a total of 17 seating African presidents, including Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta.

Magufuli married his only wife Janeth Magufuli in 1989 and has left behind seven children and 10 grandchildren.

In his eulogy, President Kenyatta congratulated the late Head of State for proving to the world that African countries are capable of depending on themselves without foreign aid.

“Kwa muda wa miaka michache, ameonyesha sisi kama Wafrika tuko na uwezo wa kujitoa katika dependence ya watu na nchi za nje na tuko na uwezo kama Waafrika kusimamia uchumi wetu na kuhakikisha kwamba wananchi wetu wametendewa haki. Kwa muda mfupi tumeona kazi ya mabarabara, tumeona kazi ya stima na mambo mengine mengi itakayokuwa manufaa kwa Tanzania na sisi wana Afrika Mashariki.”

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