Santa Monica is an international hub not just for people on vacation, but for people all over the world seeking a new life. In this article we highlight one such immigrant, Chindo Man. Chindo Man, aka Jonas Lotuno, is a Swhaili hip hop artist and music producer from Arusha, Tanzania. Anyone who has been to Tanzania knows Arusha as the gateway to all the safari parks and trekking Mt Kilimanjaro. Chindo Man has long been an inspiration in his local community in Arusha and is a chart topping artist in Tanzania, he now lives in Santa Monica with his wife and daughter. He recently released a solo album
What is inspiration for the song?
The song talks about where I am from, Tanzania, and where I am at now in Santa Monica, Los Angeles. I reflect on my Maasai ancestors in light of the present world that values materialism. I speak about how being low key, working hard and maintaining a low profile helps me to find peace in my heart despite the struggles of life. No matter the set backs or the come ups, I am still simply me. The song is really about that no matter where I go, how far away from my ancestors’ roots; I will always be a humble and low-key person. I value peace, more than possessions.
What is the inspiration for the video?
My ancestors, the Maasai, are the inspiration. I respect how they can maintain their culture and traditional way of life even into modern times, till this day. Rather than seek a life of material wealth, they remain culturally wealthy. As I travel out into the world, I realize how invaluable cultural wealth is. In Los Angeles there is a melting pot of cultures, which is great, but there is also a loss of unique cultural identity which is why I find the further I go from my homeland the more I identify with it.
Speaking of your homeland, what brought you to Santa Monica from Tanzania and do you plan to return?
I moved to Santa Monica almost three years ago from Arusha, Tanzania. I met my wife in Arusha while she was there working for a safari company. We lived together there for several years before we decided to move to America to start our family. Probably the major decision was health care for my wife, and for me, the ability to work and earn an honest income. In Tanzania, stable employment and opportunity is very rare. I am very lucky to be in country where I can work and be paid. For the immediate future we plan to raise our daughter in Los Angeles and only visit Tanzania.
What is your favorite part of Santa Monica and what do you miss most about Tanzania?
I love the beauty of the ocean, the pier, and walking my dog through the manicured neighborhoods. I was shocked to find that Santa Monica is full of dog lovers as I brought my street dog from Africa to Santa Monica and he loves it here too. We do not have public parks in my country so I enjoy taking my daughter to Douglas Park and hiking the many trails of the Santa Monica mountains.
Tanzania has a laid back lifestyle. Mostly because there are no jobs, everybody just kind of hangs out all day every day. There is no rush, as we all know the saying, “Hakuna Matata”, No hurry in Africa. I like the slow paced, easy going lifestyle. However, not being able to know where my next paycheck will come from is also very stressful and why I prefer to live in USA. You cannot have it both ways, the ancient and the modern, the relaxing low-key life and the material life of cars and wealth. There is a trade off and that’s what the song reflects on. Jumping from English to Swahili. It’s the struggle of the world, but also within myself to find balance.
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