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Asked somebody on a Facebook group, The SA Political Forum.

©Simon Chilembo, 2014

©Simon Chilembo, 2014

A clumsily formulated, but interesting, question which has provoked extremely intense debate on the forum in recent days. The latter manifesting more the worst than the better of our views of one another in this part of the world: Nationalism, racism, tribalism, bigotry, parochialism, xenophobia, ignorance, primitivity, nauseous arrogance, pettiness, immaturity, insensitivity, paternalism, mental derangement symptoms, lack of imagination, intellectual poverty, academic disorientation, non-culturedness, superstition, spiritual emptiness, insecurity, dumb-headedness, self-destruction tendencies, predator mentality, terribly developed language/ communication skills, cheap rhetoric, thick-headedness, anarchism, mistrust, misinformation, information distortion, history misinterpretation, manipulation, wilful ignorance of facts, e-kassie mentality, ill-defined defiance, profanity, foolish pride, as well as threats; including leadership/ rule by fear.

I do not quite recall how my first year, 1965, at school in Lesotho unfolded. What I do remember well, though, is that it was a hell lot of fun learning how to read and write for the first time. Returning from what I had then understood to have been Christmas holidays, January 1966 I discovered that I had completely new classmates at my school. The others from the previous year were in another class I heard called Padiso/ Sub B. That didn’t bother me much, however; all I wanted to do was to continue learning how to read and write. It was ever such great fun, at the request of the class teacher, to stand in front of the class reading or counting for my new classmates. Nevertheless, I recall that at some point this whole thing began to bore me half way to death; I kept reading and counting the same things all the time. I felt it was time I went to join my old classmates who were now in Padiso/ Sub B. So, I stated my wish to the class teacher. The school principal wouldn’t allow that to happen, I was told. Why??? “Because you are just too intelligent for your age, Simon. Boko ba hao bo tla bola …/ Your brains will rot if you go to higher classes while you are still under age. People who get too much education while young get mad, you see. Don’t worry, you shall go to Padiso/ Sub B when you are 8 years old” the teacher resolutely told me. So, I stayed in Grade 1 for three years, 1965-67, to keep my sanity together. Jeeezuz!

During the years 1967-69, the only meaningful school activity I recall are the almost daily after school fights arranged by older boys and girls. The idea was that boys my age should/ would beat the brains out of me because teachers at the school never stopped talking about how intelligent I was. Sadly for the matchmakers and my opponents, I would win absolutely all my fights. There was no way I was going to allow these dumb heads to kill my brains. I was also a street-smart kid. The thing is, while these age mates of mine were still working round getting the alphabet, and numbers, together, I was already reading to my class teacher and my grandmother some passages from the Lesotho Times newspaper. I am a South African child begotten of a Zambian father. At this formative school of mine in Lesotho, there were many other mixed ethnicity parentage children (representative of the ethnic and racial diversity of the Southern African sub-continent) from relatively more resourceful families in the major South African metropolis, including Lesotho itself.

In 1970, going onto my tenth year of age, I find myself in a South African school classroom for the first time. The academic excellence self-confidence developed in Lesotho got acutely shaken by my failure to understand what the textbook I was given by the new class teacher was about. Reading comprehension, of course. I struggled through the assigned reading passage, and then answered the subsequent 10 questions best I could. I got zero out of ten. The teacher expressing dismay at my explicit lack of knowledge of Afrikaans, I couldn’t reveal that I had actually started schooling in Lesotho, where there was/ is no Afrikaans spoken or taught in schools. By the time of the mid-year exams in June that year, though, I was scoring the highest all-round grades in class. Upon return from winter holidays, my class teacher called me out to where she and other teachers seemed to be discussing something serious together with the school Principal. I was told that all had agreed that I deserved to be promoted to the next class because I was just too intelligent for Grade 3, which I had in fact been forced to repeat in the first place. I declined. Why? I was afraid my brains would rot, and I would thus go mad from too much education while still young. Bummer! I kept scoring the highest grade point averages at school in South Africa till end of 1974.

First quarter of 1975 I am in Lusaka, Zambia. No school that year. Very depressing. I have never felt smaller, and more insignificant. Shattered medical studies dreams. But then again, just under 15 years of age, I discover, and enter into a space called library for the first time in my life: Lusaka City Library, British Council Library, American Library. Book, books, and books everywhere, including my Uncle Oliver’s private library at home, as well as later, the magnificent UNZA library. And there were so many magazines, journals, and other publications of all sorts to read. I became a bookworm that year. A whole new world of thinking and dreaming was opened for me; and thus began my daily English reading and writing journey to this day.

Back to school in 1976. Forced to backtrack again because, my father was told, the then South African Bantu Education Grade 7 academic standards were lower than those of Zambia. But, as soon as I had gotten into the rhythm of things at school, I was topping class grade average points, as usual. I could never understand the Grade 7 failure panic and hysteria characteristic of the time in Zambia. I, of course, passed the final exams with flying colours later in the year. South African born, Zambian dad begotten man-child would show constant, and predictable, academic excellence throughout the entire Secondary/ High School career to university; crushing class- and schoolmates from many other countries/ nations of the world, including Zimbabwe. This, despite the fact that I didn’t know what a science laboratory was until I was 17 years old at secondary school. That Zambian school children had already been exposed to sophisticated scientific education for years had also greatly intimidated me at first. There was at that time an awesome Zambian youth scientific magazine called Orbit. The story would repeat itself in Norway, both academically and professionally in my adult years.

20 years ago, after failing a Drivers’ Licence theory examination in Norwegian language, a blue-eyed Norwegian young man, upon hearing that I had scored almost 100% in the same test, exasperates, “Fffæææn/ Ssshit, I never knew that there were in fact wise negrer in the world!” Another dick head bites the dust.

The moral of this story is that when you are hot, you are hot. Your origin, or Nationality, due to various objective and subjective factors, may have some, but certainly not, decisive bearing.

My initial response to the question on the forum went as follows:
NOT true! The 5 million or so … in SA should tell a lot about Zimbabweans’ smartness, with their country messed up by (one of) the most educated presidents in Africa. We have our Msholozi, we have our legacy of inferior, for Blacks, apartheid Bantu education. But, for one of many examples, and despite acute imperfections here and there, through SASSA, South Africa effectively distributes at least R 10 BILLION in various social grants a month. 

Ultimately, it’s not so much about how smart or educated Nation(-s/ -nals) are, it’s about how they apply these qualities to meet their people’s needs and aspirations as their nations develop and progress among nations of the world.

Simon Chilembo
South Africa
Tel.: +27 717 454 115
October 12, 2014



Nelson Mandela, PresidentComrades took with them apartheid catalysed eKassie violence to exile. In exile, many a Comrade enjoyed some dubious diplomatic immunity privileges. Many a Comrade lived an on-wrong-premises-protected lifestyle, no different from spoilt children at some juvenile delinquents’ institution. Returning home to Mzansi, many a Comrade brought back with them the impunity and arrogance of exile living fo sho. The country became a rainbow nation. All keep running and running in, naturally, ever so futile attempts to reach for the proverbial pots of gold at the end of the rainbows criss-crossing the land:
1) It’s here in the ground, Comrade.
2) No, it has to be over there where the rainbows end. Obvious, there is no smoke without fire, you know, Comrade. Get out of the way before I blow you off the face of the earth! This is my country. I do what I like. That gold is mine.
1) Run, comrade, run.

Trisha tells of how her husband kept lashing at her with his belt, striking her all over the body. This time, though, it felt as if the belt was leaving on her skin, lines of a special kind of warmth at every strike. With her hands flying all over the place in a vain attempt to protect herself, it felt as if her skin was peeling off from these warm lines induced by the belt lashings. Strange. Whole body begins to feel hot, and moist. Panic. She had begun to bleed profusely. Only then did she realize that the man was in fact chopping her with a panga. This time he means to kill me, she thought. Soon she felt no pain, no sensation at all as the man kept chopping on and on. It didn’t matter anymore. I might as well fall and die, she concluded. No talk of dying and resting in peace here. Blood everywhere. Bloody mess. This sure is no way of entering the kingdom of God in heaven. Ain’t going nowhere, my man. He never heard her.

When she came to, after lying one whole week in a comma at the exile hospital, it was in time to hear her visitors talking about the husband’s stated intentions to come to finish her off in the hospital. Other Comrades applied acute instant mob justice to the man. Trisha survived. Love for the man ended, for good. Divorce. Long healing process began.

Years later, exile ends. Everyone returns home. Mandela is back. Freedom is here. We see it, we smell it, we touch it, we sing it; we dance it. With freedom come home, gear up impunity and arrogance, then. The power is in our hands. Remember how we were Kings in exile, Comrade? Let’s do it again. So, Trish’s ex-husband resumes constant physical and emotional harassment of her. What can she do? We are home now, and I’m the man here, I am a guerrilla veteran. Top brass. The power is mine. I do what I like, divorce or no divorce. He thinks.

Trish: I’m home. This is my land too. This freedom is mine too. I defied death in the hands of the man so I could live and raise my children in peace in the freedom of my land. Here we are. Perhaps it’s time I gave the animal a taste of his own medicine.

A woman in love is soft as an angel, sweet like candy, vulnerable as a baby. A woman weaned off love is lethal. The man got to hear of Trish’s changed state of mind. So, when another day he decided to come and harass her again, he exercised his military training caution towards her for once, “I hear you have a gun these days. Is it true?”
Trish, “Yes!”
Ex, “The gun is licensed, I hear. Is it true?”
Trish, “Of course”
Ex, “You, who never wanted to do any military training while in exile! It means that you have taken shooting lessons, then?”
Trish, “Sure”
Ex, “Eish, can you really shoot?”
Trish, “I hit the bull’s eye at 50 metres any time”
Without a word, the man turned and walked away, never to bother Trish again for the next, and last, ten years of his life. As fire consumed the man’s corpse, Trish surrendered her weapon to the police. In peace.
Guns kill. Murder? Culpable homicide? Same difference. Same death. Guns kill.


Simon Chilembo
South Africa
Tel.: +27 717 454 115
September 23, 2014



If Youssou N’Dour plays Ethnic Music, then I am Ethnic Norwegian.

Simon Chilembo, Pres/ CEO, Chilembo EmpireEverybody loves a Super Star. The statement discounts snobs, fundamentalists, the ignorant arrogant, the uncultured, the uneducated, the primitive, the anti-social, the eccentric, the naïve, the narrow minded, the bigoted, the untalented, the gutless, the envious, and the jealous.

This posting is my message to 1st-Xst generation immigrants to Norway struggling with identity, as well as insecure sense of belonging in and to the country. These will be a mix masala mix of people from all countries of the world whose music Westerners refer to as Ethnic Music, collectively called The Third World. They will have skin colour tones divergent from the conventional European one, called White. These immigrants will have decided to make Norway their new home.  They will have adopted Norwegian citizenship, abiding by the laws of the land, and contributing to the growth and development of the country, each in their own ways in all areas of human endeavour. Singing Ja, Vi Elsker when and where appropriate will have become second nature to these people. Come 17. mai year after year, these people rise and shine in front of the King and the Royal family.

Those immigrants to Norway who are in the country temporarily in any capacity, here for 1- X years, need not bother to read this posting. However, reading it anyway, might help them with adjusting to the realities of their new national identity and its implications should they opt to stay in Norway, and become Ethnic Norwegians all the same, to live happily ever after. Addressing myself specifically to those who found refuge in Norway as they ran away from tyrannies in their own countries of origin, many in this category cherish the dream of someday returning to their non-functional, war torn beyond repair, and, in some cases, technically non-existent countries. These people are here but not here, leading miserable, eternally unfulfilled lives of bitterness and anger. Never satisfied with anything or anybody. Ever expecting, demanding more and more from Norway, giving little in return; only insults and insolence. Losers. Futureless. Living from day to day all days of their lives. No ambition. No drive. No success. Never could be Super Stars.

Ten years ago, in the middle of the night, I receive a phone call from an unknown person. It turned out to be a young man from another African country dismally failing its people. He had through various means found his way to Spain. However, his ambition was to come to Northern Europe, where he had heard that life and conditions for immigrants were much better. Could I help him come to Norway? No! “How can I be successful, and make a living in Europe, then?” he asks.
“Simple,” I say, “Just make yourself a Super Star!”
“But how, Sir? I have nothing, and I am nobody” he says.
I tell him, “Once you’ve settled down, make getting an education a top priority. Get yourself a skill, anything that can give you some documentation attesting to your training/ education, knowledge, competency, and experience. That way, it will be easier to get decent and well-paying jobs, or even start your own business, if you an entrepreneurial type like myself”

I went on to tell the young man that a good starting point would be to identify own inherent talents and skills, as well as interests and preferences, including strengths and vulnerabilities. Once that is done, it will then be easier to chart one’s own path to success and, by extension, superstardom. The secret is to be real good in whatever one finally settles on doing, aim to be the best in the field. Work and produce more and better than anyone else. Set standards, be a trendsetter. Be an example of, be a reference as the best there is in your field, or business. This is how Super Stars are made. And you get the rewards you deserve according to how you play your superstardom mind power games. Superstardom does not begin and end in itself. It is a lot of hard work. Maintaining and sustaining superstardom is much more work than getting there, actually. It takes a lot of pain and sacrifice to get there. When you are there, everyone wants a piece of you, for the good and for the bad. Everyone loves a Super Star. Superstardom is, also, intrinsically about values, ethics, and morals. Can you handle it?

At about the same time 10 years ago, an academic researcher comes to me to talk about the condition of being Xth generation immigrant sports Super Star child/ youth in Norway. She had come late for our scheduled meeting because, she told me apologetically, she had to sort out some unexpected ethical and professional questions with a colleague with whom she had another meeting prior to coming over to me. The colleague had expressed shock and scepticism at the thought and possibility of a Black African immigrant man having an office at Aker Brygge, the hub of Norway’s business elite, economic Super Stars.

The researcher asked: Are Norwegian sports Super Stars of mixed race parentage (particularly immigrant Afro – Norwegian) good at what they do because they are Norwegian? Or, are they Norwegian because they are good at what they do?
BOTH! was my answer. Norway has, by far, more and better resources, as well as conditions, making for successful grooming, growth and development of sporting talent and Super Stars across the board.

Norwegian sports Super Stars of mixed race parentage are, and will be perceived to be, Norwegians to the extent that they reflect conventional Norwegian values, both in and off the competition sphere. It’s never enough to be just the very best in the execution of one’s chosen sport, or vocation; one must be able to hold high the Norwegian flag with pride, dignity, and honour among nations. One must speak the Norwegian language. Broken to a thousand pieces, it doesn’t matter, just speak, it gets better all the time. And, above all, the Norwegian media must love our Norwegian sports Super Stars of mixed race parentage for them to remain relevant as Norwegians, both in real terms, as well as in the mainstream of thought and perception regarding who and who is not a true Norwegian in Norway by Norwegians.

The following are some of the cardinal rules by which any Super Star becomes, and remains a Norwegian in Norway (random order):

  • Fair play
  • Work, work, work, …
  • Total commitment to, total focus on winning
  • Killer instinct cultivation and sustenance
  • Do it right all the time
  • Never give up
  • Be methodical
  • Set priorities, and get them right
  • Humility
  • Manage scandals well
  • Marry, or at least have a long-term romantic liaison with a Norwegian Norwegian, or recognized Ethnic Norwegian. Make those sweet, chocolate babies fast
  • Kultur: Books, literature, kino, festivals, OBOS, Frognerparken, Sognsvann, dugnad, går tur, hund og/ eller kat, theatre, kunst, cappuccino, pils, rød vin, cognac, mat, ski, båt, fjell, hytte, jakt, Se & Hør, Vi Menn, Dagbladet, Cupido, Color Line ferry, Syden, osv.
  • In case of a fall, rise with dignity. You are only human like all Norwegians
  • Generousity: Social responsibility, philanthropy
  • Take a stand on pertinent local and global issues: Faith, religion, right of association, Human Rights, wars, politics, the environment, etc.
  • Join some mainstream special interest/ Civil Society organization/ -s
  • Be principled
  • Be tolerant
  • Be transparent without selling your soul to anybody. Be yourself
  • Never forget where you come from
  • Use social media: See and be seen
  • Skavlan is cherry topping. Skal Vi Danse? never hurt anybody either. Neither has a Reality show appearance or two on Norwegian TV

You want to thrive anywhere you’ve decided it’s your new home? Just be a good, decent human being sensitive to, and respectful of, the ways of your hosts, even if some of the ways may conflict with the fundamental principles of your own life and belief systems. For goodness’ sake don’t ever want to impose your own ways in your new homeland. That’s imperialism. If you cannot change, cannot adapt; if you and the things you do are not easily adaptable to, you cannot be a Super Star here. Better for all if you move on. The world outside Norway is big enough for all kinds of ordinary people. Some do the weirdest of things, including the belief that murder and suicide are express tickets to global superstardom, if not in a place called paradise somewhere in the realm of the dead. They say it’s in heaven above, and yet when we die, they bury us down below, as if to feed us to the belly of the earth. Genuine Super Stars are for the living, add value to life, inspire the living, give hope, and rekindle lost faith in the good of humanity. For the open-minded, liberated souls, Super Star opportunities in Norway abound. Feel at home, the sky above the country has no limits. I am a Super Star. I am Ethnic Norwegian. I know.


Simon Chilembo
South Africa
Tel.: +27 717 454 115
September 10, 2014



Simon Chilembo, Pres/ CEO, Empire ChilemboThank goodness it’s over! After a traumatic last three weeks of the Women’s Month 2014, my balls feel free again. I can breath again. I want to love again.

Midmorning of August 08, I’m driving up to Gauteng with The Queen Mother. At some point between Welkom and Kroonstad, we meet one of the most intimidating road blocks I have ever seen anywhere in post-1994 South Africa. The Army, Road Traffic Police, and South African Police Service (heavily-armed, Marikana-style) made a very, very strong presence. All women. Only a fool would want to fuck around here.

First check point is by four Army officers on us. They give us some road safety info materials, wishing us a safe and enjoyable journey further ahead. Very warm, polite, and happy. I’m thoroughly charmed. Now I am in my element, I thought quietly. One of the ladies even congratulates my mother on a great catch. All laugh heartily as Queen Mother replies, “No, no, no! This one is for you. Ke letsibolo la ka/ He is my first born, and he is single. Come on ladies, Twitter, Facebook!!!” This, of course, draws a lot of attention towards us, the police looking a bit uncomfortable a few metres ahead, though.

Next check point is Road Traffic Police. The seriousness, and hard faces of the lady officers here failed to warn me of the impending nightmare I was stopping into as we are waved to park our car on the road side. Document check.

I was born by a hard, tough, and strong woman. During my formative years I was raised by a High Priestess whose followers came from all corners of South Africa and beyond. My maternal grandmother was both a spiritual healer and medium. Despite a turbulent childhood till well into her teenage years, my younger sister has grown up to be one Super Woman in her own right. The vast majority of the women I know, or have heard of, on both sides of my family, in South Africa and Zambia, are very strong personalities whose presence is/ was noticed everywhere they are/ were. My male relatives, my closest friends and Brothers, the whole lot of them seem to fall for and marry the strongest of women. It’s no wonder, then, that strong women ever so fascinate me. I admire strong women. I respect strong women. I love strong women. I adore them.

I find power(-ful) women outside family ever so intriguing and sexy I’m not into War-of-The-Sexes, and the ensuing power struggle between men and women with respect to who shall rule over whom in society. My power women don’t have to strive to do anything to prove to me that they are strong women. They don’t ever need to squeeze and crush my balls to prove anything. I don’t need that. Totally unnecessary. I am a man. I am that I am. A man. I have nothing to prove myself. Punktum.

When I am in a bravado modus, bragging about my power, my strength, my physical and mental prowess, my energy, my Karate, my intelligence, my chic, my wealth, my countries, my people, my Rolex, my Mercedes, my women, etc., etc., it’ll often be when I am in a party mood, drunk or sober same difference, but certainly groovy happy, together with people with whom I share mutual love, trust, and respect. I will from time to time do this to get to the occasional bigoted, uncultured fool(-s), though. Deep down inside of me, I do not have any pressing need to want to prove anything about me, and the things I do, to anybody. So sure and confident of myself I am. I want my deeds, my work to speak for me, for themselves. I want to be judged by the outcomes and consequences of the things I do. If I’m good at something, I’m good at it. That’s it. If I’m bad at it, I don’t do it. Simple. If it’s important but I don’t know it, I learn. I get it, I get it. I don’t get it, I don’t get it. Pass! Chilembo means scripture. Therefore, my life is like graffiti, written on an open wall. Read it, interpret it as you will. I am a man. Any doubts? Try me! That’s how I roll.

So, deciding to make a fuss about my valid Norwegian Driver’s Licence, the Road Traffic Police Boss Lady chose to pounce on me. Feeling good and relaxed, given that I knew for sure that all of my necessary documents were good to go – the said driver’s, valid International Driver’s Licence, valid Norwegian passport, and a valid South African Permanent Resident ID – I got totally disoriented when the Traffic Police Boss Lady yells at me military-style, “So you think you are smart, ntate/ Sir? Well, tomorrow is Women’s Day, I am going to show you that us women can be tougher than men!” Felt like I just got a kick below the belt.

It is one thing to question the legitimacy, or integrity of an unfamiliar driver’s licence written in a strange language, even though the English translation is clearly printed. But to stubbornly and rudely dismiss my explanation of rest of the text, resolutely telling me what she and her colleague deduced from symbols and corresponding texts to be the only thing that matters for them to declare my driver’s licence not valid in South Africa, baffled me beyond words. As this confusion dragged on, with me getting more and more frustrated, beginning to wonder if I indeed were not speaking Norwegian or Latin to this hard-nosed Boss Lady and her junior colleague, their levels of ignorance bordering on stupidity, sense of insecurity, envy and jealousy, narrow view of the world, lack of history and cultural sophistication, and cheap arrogance of power began to emerge. It is at this point I thought it prudent to tell the officers that the old lady patiently sitting and waiting in the car was actually my mother. As such, I had no intentions or desire of getting on the wrong side of the law when I am travelling with her. They let us go only after confirming with the Queen Mother that I was indeed her son. Upon arrival in Gauteng, I discovered my passport was missing. It turned out later that the Boss Lady had for unknown reasons withheld it, without letting me know about that. Very strange.

In my travels across Europe, as well as partly USA, I have encountered extremely rude and power abusive women in uniform. But the Road Traffic Police Boss Lady here takes the cake. I have never been made to feel so small in a communication break down situation with a woman in/ with power in any setting. As I sat in the car to drive off, I squeezed my legs together. I didn’t feel my balls in place. I felt like a eunuch. I wanted to cry, but I heard my voice very thin and flat in my head. I didn’t want to alarm the Queen Mother; I am a big man now. Strong. Female chauvinists can fly to the moon.


Simon Chilembo
South Africa
Tel.: +27 717 454 115
September 03, 2014






Nelson Mandela, PresidentIn the short term, it is politically functional to create low value mass employment job opportunities on community-based menial work projects. This is not a functional poverty elimination approach in the long term, though. It is simply a way of managing poverty, as well as buying time to contain the potential outward expression of anger and frustration by the poor as long as possible. Service delivery protests currently ravaging certain parts of South Africa may be a sign of things to come, though, when this kind of poverty management is exhausted, and no better alternatives are in the offing.

Society will in the long term gain by far from investing in high value job creation opportunities across the board. The seemingly relatively fewer thriving in high value jobs as entrepreneurs, innovators, and experts in various technological, as well as societal management skills not only drive the economy through higher purchasing power arising from higher available disposable income, they in turn create job opportunities of a higher value than community based low value mass employment ones. And, they pay tax. For example, I’ll postulate that, all things remaining equal, and assuming rational behaviour, as well as economic expenditure and saving patterns in a dynamic economy, R.30 000,-/ month paid to one junior-middle level professional creates more real social economic value than the same amount paid to sixty low value mass employment workers receiving R.500,-/ month each. The thought that there are working people still taking home a net of R.500,-/ month in South Africa in 2014 boggles my mind.

“Forget it, man, you can’t have R.400,-/ hour in South Africa for reflexology, massage, or whatever it is you do. It just can’t work. Not in South Africa. No ways. You cannot make half a million rand per annum with this. Impossible. How many feet is that you’ll have to massage? Well, if you say you’ve done this before wherever you say you come from, you’ll have to show me your annual business accounts statements audited by KPMG or somebody, to convince me” said one of the judges at an entrepreneurship competition a few months ago; crushing my business concept to pulp, thrashing my ego to pieces.

He continued, “And what’s this about philanthropy? It’s only very wealthy people who do philanthropy. They do this only for tax rebates reasons. That’s it. You, you can never be any wealthy at any rate. So, forget philanthropy in your business fantasies” My Good Samaritan heart bubble got punctured big time. I wondered as to the extent of Mother Theresa’s personal wealth in her lifetime. Poor Lady. Time to call Melinda Gates.

Another judge went on, “You would have to do some real hard convincing to get me to pay that kind of money for a massage. And, I am not poor, you know. People like you come to us with fancy words like philanthropy and charity, and think we’ll be impressed. Well, I’m not!” My entrepreneurial visions in South Africa went crashing against a brick wall. Head on. I’m shattered.

Given my age, my level of academic and professional training, as well as skills, including my vast international work and life experience over a 40 year period abroad, R.400,-/ hour is the absolute minimum I can allow myself to work for professionally in South Africa. Short of that, I’d rather drive a truck, or, Goodbye, Mzanzi fo sho. I have not come back home to be poor. When in my own way I fought for the liberation of South Africa, it was not only so I could drink tea and wine with White, green, pink, yellow, and maroon people freely. It was, most importantly, so that I could also enjoy fully the wealth and fruit of my land through being rewarded fairly for my labours as I work to contribute, in my own way, to the growth and development of my country. My academic and professional educations are of high value. It goes without saying, therefore, that my jobs and businesses will be high value based. I make people healthy and strong, so that they can be more effective and productive in all aspects of their lives. The people I teach my knowledge and skills to become high value workers and entrepreneurs in their own rights. They must be paid, and earn accordingly.

High value jobs inspire. All things remaining equal, high value jobs motivate people to want to grow to be the best person they can be, both professionally and socially. High value jobs people inspire and stimulate growth and development. High value jobs people are role models for the young and the youth. They ignite ambition, drive, passion, and the desire to succeed and achieve. More often than not, high value jobs people are also generous, kind, and empathic. They have varying degrees of social engagements and interests, helping the needy and less fortunate in society: Philanthropy. High value jobs make more social economics sense, therefore.

Ultimately, where does it lead, what does it give, say, a thousand adults who are on a low value work skills training programme, sweeping township streets all year round? The R.500,-/ month net they take home being paid out 2-3 months late in many cases? These people just ever wriggle deeper and deeper into poverty in the long term, becoming permanent slaves to township micro financing loan sharks, among many other ills. The circle of poverty is complete. Flamboyant, rebellious, and defiant young politicians form political parties purporting to champion the plight of the poor. Having nothing to lose, the poor fall for the populistic rhetoric, and join the parties. The ring of poverty is closed. The orgy of destruction begins. Vandalism becomes order of the day. Anarchy reigns. And the poor don’t understand why they remain poor all their lives. Enter NGOs. The poor’s begging bowls grow larger from year to year. Poverty sinks the beggars deeper and deeper down pits of misery and dejection. So very exotic this is. Poverty is big business for some. Dangerous.

Fortunately, I am in a position where I can set value on my knowledge and skills without the risk of getting shot down because I don’t need to go out, armed with a stick, and toyi-toyi against global capitalist exploiters and the system, with combat-armed police there to ensure law, order and peace prevail. High value jobs allow for greater degrees of individual freedom to choose where and how to work, and for whom. High value jobs contribute to peace and stability in society, therefore. High value jobs come with high value oriented systems of education. I am not so very sure if a 30% Matric pass certificate in South Africa, without mathematics in some cases, helps anybody in kindling high value jobs aspirations, though.

Simon Chilembo
South Africa
Tel.: +27 717 454 115
August 18, 2014



Nelson Mandela, PresidentIn my mature age years, the one other ugly scar on my body bothers me only so very rarely. I see it every day, but I almost never notice it these days. My love in my 30s used to be fascinated by this scar, and loved caressing it with affection every so often. She would get confused when I expressed irritation at this, because it feels so very unpleasant when another person touches this scar.

Over the years, my enquiry as to how I got this scar has been answered dodgily by those for whom it would be natural to know how it happened. What I have gathered, though, is that, when I was barely 2 years old, while my parents were away on holiday, a man who had a xenophobia inspired hatred for my father struck me with a sharp object in an attempt to kill me. My resemblance to my father is very striking. I’m told that this man hated my father so much he meant that by killing me first would, naturally, make my father so angry that he, my father, would want to fight this xenophobic man. This way, the latter would then have a valid reason to kill my father also, claiming self-defence.

I do have some hazy visions of events prior to this point, but I like to set my initial world awareness juncture from my first conscious memory on my first school day when I was four and half years old. From then to about age ten, recollections of my life come to me in chunks of specific events in different times and situations. I will recall other things in occasional discussions with family and childhood friends also.

One of the things I recall very vividly from this stage of my life is the xenophobic man of hate mentioned above, making what I then considered to be a serious threat to kill me. It seems he didn’t have the guts to see things through because he attempted to kill himself first. He survived the cowardish suicide attempt because he went round the village announcing to everyone of his impending self-induced demise that particular evening. From this time till age fourteen, recollections of my life come in even larger chunks, and have more lively contents. If my memory serves me right, it must be about this time, soon after the death threat, I began to consciously wonder about things in a serious way.

I took my first sacrament at church about the same time too. The latter event may have played a decisive role as well, because I recall that, together with other children at the Catholic school I then attended in Lesotho, there was some preparatory work we were had to undergo. Whereas in the school classroom we were led by/ with “What?”, “Who?”, and “Where”, I remember coming across “Why?” and “How?” in the pre-sacrament preparatory lessons with the parish priest, as well as our very, very kind and warm school teachers, who were nuns.

From the teenage years to well into adulthood years, recollections of my life I can lump into years, seasons, months and weeks. These days, I can account for each and every day of my life. Such that should I die now, I will no doubt have, hopefully, satisfactory answers, if only for myself, to the (in any order) “How?”, “What?”, “Where?”, “Who?”, and “Why?” of my death. My soul will then rest in peace.

Had the xenophobic man who hated my father so intensely gotten to actually kill me when I was hardly 2 years old, a small child totally oblivious to the world and its ways, I imagine my soul would still be wondering erratically out in space, defiant to the earthly force of gravity. I imagine my soul would want to rather continue wondering and wondering in outer space till the end of time, not that time matters when dead, though. Who would want to return to a world that is so callous it kills cruelly, mercilessly, its children with the kind of gross impunity we see in our time? Spare me reincarnation stories, please. Tell it to holy cows somewhere.

Children don’t choose their parents; they don’t choose, when, where and how they will be born. The worth of humanity is not in how many children they breed, but how many they protect as they guide and help them to grow up to be responsible and value adding members of the global community; this, as a non-revertible human decency and moral obligation imperative.

I can’t help wondering as to how many millions of lost souls of our heartlessly murdered children are roaming the universe at this very moment. Do they even know they are dead, in the first place? Would pictures of disembowelled, charred, beheaded, limbless children’s corpses make any sense to them? How can anybody win freedom, or practice the right to self-defence and/ or self-determination at the expense of truly innocent children genuinely unknowing of the world and its ways? What do religions, what does politics of the world say of the inherent nature innocence of children? Forgive them, Father, for they don’t know what they do can never apply here, surely. There has to be other ways of solving all the major territorial and/ religious conflicts in the world today than through wars. Even if there may be places to hide when the missiles come, children just cannot run.


Simon Chilembo
South Africa
Tel.: +27 717 454 115
July 30, 2014


Epitome of Education?

Nelson Mandela, PresidentThe elegance of MBA programmes all over the world lies, among other things, in the fact that they are designed, marketed, and taught by great storytellers, super orators, impressive performers; illusionists par excellence. In a wonderfully crafted way, they sell to millions for millions the world over, the idea that, with an MBA from an internationally accredited university, you can snap a finger here, snap a finger there, and the earth will dance under your feet. Works for some. Disastrous for many. MBA programmes can produce boundless visionaries, eternal dreamers. And that may be as far as it goes for many.

In a pre-MBA course I got into a lifetime ago, I learnt that in much the same way Doctors- and Lawyers-to-be are trained, MBA education is about teaching the candidates information management towards sound, effective, and, ultimately, profitable critical decision making in business, big or small, i.e., where to find information, how to identify useful and relevant information, which parts of the information are relevant for which decision making processes at which level and when, how to distribute information according to intended audience or recipient/ -s, how to store information relevant to its value in the organization, how to discard no longer useful information.

I guess the super enthusiasm and passion many an MBA professor will exhibit during the teaching of the various prescribed courses during the programme may be based on the assumption that the candidates are either highly educated from before, and/ or are very intelligent. If that’s not the case, then, they will graduate with their prestigious MBA degrees very highly educated, and extremely intelligent business leaders and technocrats, ready to rule the world. However, many an overly ambitious, petty ego driven MBA graduate misses the plot; and fails to make any significant impact as practical, result-oriented business leaders, or entrepreneurs. They will, of course, see and understand how things work. They will be top experts at drawing and writing superlative business plans and all that goes with it. They will sell their illusions to non-suspecting potential business partners held in awe of the apparent superior knowledge and skills of the MBA graduate with, in a lot of cases, international exposure and experience. But they will always fail to get things off the ground, thereby disappointing many people who would have been promised lifetime riches, success, and influence in both big business and society in general. Many would have invested either or both large amounts of money and vast amounts of own time in the formation of the new business, which will in the end fail to be realized, leaving everyone with loads of paper and broken dreams of wealth and fame. Many an MBA graduate lacks real world people skills.

During the often intense and demanding studies during the programme, involving much compulsory reading and group work, it seems many an MBA candidate forgets that the real world of real entrepreneurs, big or small, does not comprise of regulated tutorial groups. In the real world, real people’s behaviour can be extremely difficult to influence, direct, and control in line with an MBA study group recommended text prescriptions. Here, the loser MBA graduate demonstrates that they have not understood the essence of education.

Education is not about how many university degrees a supposedly learned person has attained through so many years of hard work at university. Degrees simply confirm that we have read and written about this and that at a certain level of knowledge, skill, competency, and expertise, as well as academic sophistication and excellence. Congratulations on a job well done!

Education is about how we bring, and apply knowledge to life: Wisdom. It is about how, in co-existence with others, we can harness forces in our never ending pursuit of making life and living better for all on earth. The personal state of an educated person is about being able to see and appreciate relationships between and among things. From this, an educated person can predict behaviour and, therefore, likely outcomes. A more educated person will go beyond this level, wanting to study more closely the nature of the outcomes, as well as their components. How do these components behave in different conditions, for example? It is a sign of even higher level of education to enquire about what the behaviour of these components tell us about how they can be applied to existing knowledge in order to improve existing methods of performing certain processes leading to certain outcomes: Innovation. Subsequent enquiry into the nature of things beyond this level will be a reflection of an even more refined higher level of education. E.g., how does the new knowledge affect the established order of things? What are the consequences over the broader ecology? Will this be the new norm for doing things, a paradigm shift, then? Is it sustainable? Will/ does it have global acceptability? Affordability? Who gains, who loses what, to what extent? What next? Repeatable?

People skills is, therefore, related to education since it is also about the ability to answer hard questions from those you aspire to work with, lead, and inspire. The real world is bigger than any academic or professional training manual or text by far. It, as such, goes without saying that a delusional MBA degree holder’s prospective business partners will ask questions outside the book. An educated mind is trained to see connections and relationships between and among things, the structure and logic of things. Herein lie many answers. Herein lie the secrets of success for many a leader, with or without an MBA, in business, politics, and other areas of human endeavour. As given concepts, wealth, influence, power, as well as fame, are only what they are as they are as per their respective linguistic definitions. In practice, however, they may mean different things to different people. That being so, different things and different approaches will motivate different people in different ways with respect to whether or not they will want to be part of a business venture, new or established and running. Deal with it, Mr MBA.


Simon Chilembo
South Africa
Tel.: +27 717 454 115
July 28, 2014






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