Iddi is the only one of the Tinga Tinga painters to climb the highest African mountain Kilimanjaro. Here is his story: One day when I was sitting and painting when a Mzungu (a white man) suddenly approached me. His name was Paul Joynson-Hicks. He asked us a few questions. He asked when I started to work as a Tinga Tinga painter. I answered that I started in 1992. Then he asked me about my health. I told him I was healthy. (notice: Iddi is called sometimes “Mjeshi” which means a soldier in Kiswahili). Finally he told me. You will climb the mountain Kilimanjaro.
It was in 1998 in November. We took airplane from Dar es Salaam to Moshi. In Moshi I came to Marangu Hotel. We were 5 people there. The Mzungu was there too. At the hotel we got a lesson how to climb the mountain Kilimanjaro. Next day we went to the Marangu gate to start our trip. From Marangu we went to Mandara hut, the first station on the way to the top, we slept there.
Next day we went to Horombo. We slept there. During the trip we were told to act as actors. We were filmed when we climbed, when we ate, when we prepared our gear, when we went to sleep…The third day we came to Kibo hut which is directly under the top of the mountain. We slept there only 4 hours because we started our final trip to the top at 11 PM. We came to Uhuru hut at 7 AM. But not all of us reached there. Only three out of the 5 people succeeded.
When we reached the top, Paul took out a bottle of beer and started to open it as if it was at the marriage party. He said: “Now we establish officially the brand of Kibo Gold beer. And here we reached the top and we reached the aim.” During his speech I was so exhausted that I almost trembled and fall down in the snow. I was near to cry. But not cry because of sorrow but because of joy. I was proud to reach the top.
Iddi comes from the family of Hashim Bushiri Mruta, a big and recognized Tinga Tinga painter who passed away in 1999. He grew up in Mchuruka Village in Tunduru district and he came to Dar es Salaam to look for a job. Then he was introduced to Tinga Tinga by Rajabu Chiwaya, the father of Mwamedi Chiwaya. Now Iddi is living in Mbagala with his wife and children.