"Mr. Bomani began his martial arts training in
Africa in the 1906s. By 1968, Mr. Bomani, had traveled to Okinawa and began training with Eiichi Miyazato Sensei at the Jundokan. Mr. Bomani was a student of Miyazato Sensei’s, until Miyazato Sensei passed away in 1999. Since that time he has trained under Koshin Iha Sensei.
Mr. Bomani was responsible for introducing Jundokan Gojuryu to
Tanzania and he founded the Tanzania Okinawa Gojuryu Karate Association. Mr. Bomani was also instrumental in spreading Jundokan Gojuryu through out the United States. He founded many dojos in New York, Washington, Kentucky and Ohio. He has left several yudansha spread across the United States and Africa."
After not being in touch with Bomani for over 20 years I finally tracked him down and we were to meet this Spring as he was leaving the country for awhile. His son called me last week to let me know he had past, he found one of my messages and realized I was not aware of his passing.
Sensei Bomani, though our time together was brief, had a get effect on me. I was surprised his son knew of me and said his father had spoken of me many times. Bomani gave me a way of looking at Africa, past the bullshit, past the vagaries of expatriatism. He showed me how to blend, and communicate with people in a place foreign to me. So it was not foreign to me for long. Knowing him, people took time to know me.
He walked among the common people of Tanzania with respect and love, having married a Tanzanian woman and living in the community instead of the usual expatriate abodes, separate and apart from the real community. He lived with his wife in a simple 2 room dwelling and she cooked on a a small charcoal stove, fresh whole wheat chapati, he was vegetarian and we had that in common. Dar Es Salaam was the easiest African city I have ever been in to be vegetarian. I was hard core back then. Bomani and his wife's extended family taught me how to live like a Tanzanian, away from the restaurants in hotels so many many of my fellow African American expat acquaintance frequented. There was a strong indian presence in Tanzania so I could get dal and puri and whatever veg Indian cuisine I desired back then.
I remember being to his house for dinner many times and a chorus of frogs outside his window during dinner, so loud we could hardly hear sometimes. Chapati and Spinach curry, coconut rice, with fresh baked chapati on a charcoal stove. I learned to make the coconut rice, from a whole coconut, shredding the meat and socking it, making coconut milk.
I remember making the long trek from his home back to the Chicken Farm, where i was staying at the time. I took the last bus and my two mile walk in the dark on a side road outside Dar, re-examining parts of our conversations about identity, nationality, struggle, mission, purpose, and quantifiable results. It was a good time in Dar Es Salaam, the times of Tanzania's first President Mwalimu Julius. Nyerere. We would see him on the beach some mornings when we did sunrise workouts. President Nyerere would wave, alone walking in solitude like he had not a care in the world. Certainly the Moranguzi (Secret Service)was not too far away.
I almost drowned one afternoon workout when I walked far out into the sand to the pictures and the tide of the Indian Oceans started coming in. When I got to shore the water had almost been up to my shoulders and I was trying to save my cameras. Bomani did warn me when I walked out there. He said he figured I would eventually float back to shore one way or another.
He had hundreds of students. I remember the 5 mile runs in formation. Bomani always leading. He was a hard taskmaster. A good friend in the short time I was there. I think we both had malaria at the same time. I left Dar for awhile after that, as my recovery was good but I was having some strange recurrences. I really looked forward to our meeting this Spring. I am really sad about this.