An Interview with Chabaka Kilumanga

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Get to Know Chabaka Kilumanga, New Nafasi Board Member

Chabaka Kilumanga, from Moshi, Tanzania, is a career civil servant and diplomat who has lived and worked across the globe. He served as Deputy Private Secretary to the President during 2006-07, Deputy High Commissioner at the Tanzanian High Commission in the UK from 2007-2013, and as the Ambassador to the Union of the Comoros during 2013-17. Prior to his retirement in 2017, he was decorated with the Highest Civilian Medal of Honor by H.E. Azali Assoumani, the President of the Union of Comoros. H.E. Kilumanga has long been an art collector and supporter of various Nafasi artists. He was elected to the Nafasi Art Space Board of Directors in December 2018.

 

Nafasi Art Space:

When did you become an art collector and why?

Chabaka Kilumanga:

When, I can’t say exactly when but it’s been quite some time. It has been for the past 20 years or so. I have been collecting all different kinds of paintings. I buy art for my personal collection and also give artworks as gifts.

NAS:

What draws you to the artworks that you choose to collect?

CK:

The moment when I walk in and see a painting, if I feel a connection with it that’s when I know I would like to add it to my collection. It is in response to that first emotional reaction.

NAS:

Who are some of the artists that you have in collection?

CK:

I have works by Thobias Minzi, David Kyando, Rogers Kasoyaga. I have quite a few works by Masoud Kibwana. I also have some paintings by an artist called Ras.

NAS:

You are a new board member to Nafasi. What was your motivation to join the board?

CK:

Because I have visited Nafasi before, and I have seen the artists working and been impressed by what I have seen. I believe there is more that we can do and I feel that I can contribute something to Nafasi.

NAS:

Do you have any big ideas? What would you like to see happen?

CK:

Well, I would love to see a state-of-the-art Nafasi gallery. Dar es Salaam needs a really proper gallery where artists can exhibit and sell their work. So we need to upgrade.

NAS:

What do you like to do in your free time?

CK:

I like reading a lot. I love sports — although I don’t play any myself– but I love watching football, and I like socializing, too!

NAS:

You have had such an impressive career working on behalf of the Tanzanian government. What are some of the things in your many years experience that you have enjoyed most or that you feel most proud of?

CK:

As a career diplomat one of the most important things I was able to do was to build a close relation between my country and the host country that I have been sent to serve, so I feel we’ve done a lot in that aspect. I have served in so many countries like the former Soviet Union; I have served in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; I have served in the UK and Comoros.

NAS:

What do you think is the role of art in society?

CK:

It is an expression of life and culture. Everything is in art — the way we think, the way we perceive the world, everything is there in art.

NAS:

If you were to say something to the public about the arts what would you say?

CK:

I think people should invest in the arts, and in buying artworks. I think we have a lot of very good artists but very few people know about them. I think art tells a lot about yourself, it tells a lot about your culture, it tells a lot about the history of where you come from. So, I think that is another avenue that people should invest in.

NAS:

Thank you Chabaka, and welcome to the Nafasi family!