38 YEARS AN EXILE: XXIV
HOME AT LAST! Part 24
– Life After Death? –
Existential Questions In The Diaspora
Especially due regard to all those who depart of this our plant earth in the most untimely, the most tragic manner and circumstances – Victims of global terrorism, wars, and all sorts of violent crimes, including competently ill-managed curable maladies, as well as all kinds of accidents, and natural disasters. I also declare solidarity with, and the most humane sensitivity possible to the ever deep sense and feelings of loss, as well as distress, to all who lose/ have lost their beloved ones in any way the ever sad eventuality occurs/ has occurred.
There is no life after death. Death is an express one-way ticket ride, out and far away from planet earth. If it has a distinct destination, then the place death takes souls of the dead to is a place totally unlike earth, totally detached from earth, totally giving bull about whether planet earth exists or not. When you die, no matter how, when you are dead, there not only is no turning back; there is no looking back either. Death is an absolute end to life and its attributes on earth, as well as the rest of the fathomable universe. We live only once, that’s it.
There is no place called hell located somewhere in the darkest of recesses of the universe beneath planet earth somewhere. You burn alive for your sins in numerous ways and possibilities right here on planet earth. When you die, often doing so as you lived as a sinner, you thank God it’s over, for, you know, it is here on earth the fire is real. Phoenixes rising from ashes are things of mythology meant to inspire ideas of reflection, and critical thinking about life, and the living here on earth.
You atone for your sins, God rewards you with heaven thrown into your hands in the living here on planet earth. If you are not living it already, the day you wake up not only feeling it, but also knowing with tangible earthly evidence in any recognizable form that you are living your consciously and deliberately chosen dream as a free citizen in a free world, then you have received heaven in your hands. You can then design and build your world according to your visions and tastes, populating it with all the beauty, joy, and happiness you choose; sharing it all with all those you choose because you love them. Heaven is a place called earth, living side-by-side with hell; two sides of the same coin eternally turning round and round till death calls. When you die, you thank God for the music, the light, the blessings, the abundance of it all on the heaven side of the coin you chose to live. You lived, you created, you loved; you played your game well. Amen. But your heaven, because it is an earth thing, remains behind as a matter of course. Yes, Jobs’ gone, Apple’s here; keeps the world moving. Life goes on.
Overwhelmed by maddening real flames of earthly hell fire, and through ignorance and fear of the unknown, those remaining behind will construct giant pyramids and shrines, thinking and solemnly believing they are preserving for you the heaven you created for yourself while in the living. What bull, you ain’t gonna come back, you ain’t gonna look back. Any archaeologist knows this fact just too well. Hello, Tutankhamen! Then, evil reigns, creating myths and monsters, supreme Gods and holy angels for those remaining behind to blindly worship and glorify. These, not knowing, or not wanting to take responsibility for creating the hell they have arsoned for themselves on earth, transposing heaven to such fantastic outer realms of human existence it is possible to get there only by living life on earth in line with the most impossible, if not most grotesque rules, rituals, and life choices human beings on earth can be subjected to. Some are even willing to offer and pay the ultimate price in their ever futile and doomed efforts to knock on non-existent heaven’s doors ludicrously and falsely envisioned beyond planet earth.
It is both scientifically and philosophically not objectively possible that hell and heaven are experiential realms outside the material world, the material universe, as we understand them to be today. Hell as a place of endless super heat flames of fire functioning as the final perpetual roasting place for sinners negates contemporary moral and ethical thought. So does heaven, if the way into it has to be the longest, the most arduous; turning people into social deviants, psychopaths, as they live in constant extreme fear of/ for failing to live up to the commands and demands of their religions. These commands and demands often go against the most basic natural aspects, and instincts of being a free human being, both in thought, sentiment, and action. Religion and its beliefs being used as the vehicle to heaven, where God supposedly abodes, is in parallel used by some to get many a made psychopath to execute some of the most abominable acts of violence against humanity, all in the promise and outrageous belief that the perpetrators will have free and direct access into heaven somewhere above, to enjoy a never-ending life of super opulence, with ever abundant supplies of nubiles for all-time satisfaction of needs of the flesh. All this is self-contradictory, non-scientific, amoral, and non-ethical, defying progressive modern, free world conventional and radical philosophical thought, as well as practice.
Upon my having become a certain critical age a lifetime ago in Lusaka, Zambia, my father carried out a special male bonding cleansing ritual at dusk of this one day. Afterwards, I had to join him to go out and dispose of the concoction of stuff used in the ceremony. We had to find a busy, but distant pedestrian crossroads from our neighbourhood. Rolled in a piece of chitenge cloth, we lay the mixture in the middle of the crossroads, but only after having made absolutely sure that we saw no one coming by. It was equally important that nobody saw us at this point either. Done deal. Before we turned to walk away, with darkness now upon us, Pappa, in an uncharacteristically guttural voice, commanded me not to look backwards once we’ve taken the first steps to walk back in the direction of our house. “Remember the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible, Buti!” He further implored me to avoid finding myself in this part of the neighbourhood for as long as possible. I never looked back, never went back.
Pappa would later explain three full moons gone later, “What is supposed to happen is that anytime from as soon as we’ve turned our backs on the parcel to dawn, one of your most ancient vagabond ancestors will come to clean up the crossroads, taking with her the parcel further in her wonderings. Legend has it that she is so old, and elements-beaten that the sight of her is scarier than the most scary horror movie character you can ever conjure up. Were you to lay your eyes on this figure, you shall live, but you’ll never be able to tell the story. How many plausible tales can a mentally deranged person tell, Buti, my son?
“Occasionally, it does happen that some stupid person arrives at the disposal scene before the ancient one does. If they see, but ignore the parcel, all shall be well with them. Were they to step on it intentionally, or touch it in any way, an abnormal physiological condition incapacitating coherent speech, and ability to describe things in any way shall befall them. Were they to take and open the parcel, then, instant mental derangement, as well as incurable blindness shall be their fate. Therefore, you are not to look back because were you to see a person begin to suffer as a result of messing around with the parcel, dire emotional issues will burden all your living days on earth. You will never, you can never ever be free as a human being from seeing another human being suffer as a result of fallouts of your traditional life rituals, or beliefs.
“Symbolically, the parcel contains unwanted, dead aspects, call them sins, of each our own lives shaping our mutual relationship with each other as father and son. The crossroads reminds us that although life can be lived in any direction, it ultimately all culminates at one point in the centre, death. Placing the parcel at the crossroads represents burial. What happens after death is really worry for the living, not the dead. The symbolism of not looking back is that death must never hold the living back, life must go on. While allowing for natural human curiosity, ideally, once buried, the dead ought to be left alone. Those who through, wilful intention or otherwise, temper with the dead may discover things too heavy to make sense of for an ordinary human mind in the living. That explains the great personal misfortunes upon the one who shall touch the parcel. Why not bury the parcel totally out of sight underground, then, you might ask? Well, Buti, beware of temptations. If and when you delve into the unknown for whatever reason, there may be dire outcomes. A man shall deal with them as they come, the good and/ or the bad consequences of his own actions”
Indeed, life on earth must go on because there really is no life after death. And life on earth is good for the sound-minded and rational. If, for argument’s sake, there is life after death, then it’s a paradise teeming with raving mad lunatics. They look back, and return to earth, calling it reincarnation, and yet again fail to make sense of it all the good life of the living on earth. Turning planet earth into hell, they then engage in orgies of the most horrendous of murders worldwide. People have died by the millions over time, others continue killing themselves by the thousands, yet no heaven’s doors beyond planet earth ever seem to open. The situation gets worse all the time. If God is there somewhere above, I am convinced he is stone deaf, blind as a bat in daylight. People sing glory in his name at killing everything and everybody, including their own. But nothing ever changes for the better. This God must be lame, and neurologically incapable. In that case then, here is yet another negation of any possibility of any existence of life after death. If there is, it’s not worth the extreme troubles many believers go through in his name. Life begins, and ends here on planet earth. Punktum. Face it!
Tel.: +27 717 454 115
July 01, 2015
HOME AT LAST! Part 23
WALOBA AWARD 2015
Diaspora Friendship, Brotherly Love Celebration
To introduce the recipient of Waloba Award 2015, I take the liberty of reproducing an edited version of my speech to him on his 50th birthday earlier in 2015:
- You don’t know what it’s like
To love somebody
To love a Brother
The way I love you …
- Modern, enlightened, liberated men happily declare their love for one another openly even if their love is not of a physically intimate nature. Some call it Bromance. In any case, in South Africa, land of the free, home of the brave, people love who they love, as provided for, and enshrined in the constitution of the land.
- I’ve heard it said somewhere that if you are not grown up yet by age 50, forget it, you’ll never grow up.
– But you, Boyzz, grew up long before you turned 18!
– When I first met you at 12, you had the wisdom and courage that make many 50+ men I know even today, crawl kilometers far behind you.
– You have by 50, done, achieved, and experienced what many 50+ year old men can only dream of, if at all.
– So, today, while not trivializing the very significant milestone turning 50 is, I want to postulate that we are not celebrating your coming of age as a fully grown man entering the autumn of life; we are taking time to celebrate a life of strength, courage, wisdom, love, and happiness. A life of the future. A life of inspirational success.
- Since as long as I can remember, I’ve been going round with this heavy load of severe inferiority complex issues …
– But thanks to you, Boyzz, in my adult years, my inferiority complex is my power. You were 12 years old, and I was 17, when you most unequivocally elegantly ordered me to stop comparing myself with other people, and be you assured me that you knew I was not stupid, and, therefore, I could be anything I wanted to be, on my own terms. I grew up overnight, and my life was never to be the same again. Look what we got!
You are a powerful empowerment, empowering force and agent…
- When I am in dark spaces, and life is hard, much like it’s been the past 7 years or so, your voice echoes every so often: “Stay strong, Si! lt’ll be all fine in the end, my man!”
– You are my reference point whenever I say I have hope, and I know that I shall soon rise
– As you well know, if and when I finally respond to people who are not nice to me, I can be extremely ruthless and mean, unforgiving … However, it’s because of the pivotal role you continue playing in my life that I still have faith in the good of people ultimately, despite everything else … You are a great source of inspiration in my daily efforts and work at being a good and decent man of the world.
- When so far in my life, marriage and biological children just haven’t
happened yet for me, you’ve gone out and done it twice. You’ve allowed me to be part of your family, an act the internal dynamics of which I have felt and seen strengthening the bonds of our friendship and brotherhood in most profound ways over the years. Thanks for the children. I will love them all, all of my days. Thanks for S’thandwa, whose own wisdom, as well as her constantly declared support and faith in me are unparalleled. Your loyalty and devotion both, as well as your huge generousity and kindness are a blessing I’m privileged and honoured to enjoy. Thank you very much!
And, at my 55th birthday party in June, leading on to announcing the 2015 recipient, I went on in an unread, prepared speech:
- I love men, all kinds of men: My fathers, uncles, nephews, Godchildren, friends, teachers, coaches, mentors, and many others. It is those who ever inspire me to be the best man I can be today than I was good yesterday, who get closest to my heart. Two of these men are meeting here tonight. In the one corner is my Father. On the other corner is the one man who always reminds me that I am my Father’s son every time he catches me going astray when I’m naughty and wild. In 2011, under the auspices of my Chilembo Warrior Moves Karate Development, I introduced an annual Waloba Prize in memory of my father, the late Mr Elias Lazarus Waloba Chilembo, to recognize, highlight, and celebrate the value in my life of some of these men:
– 2011: Stephen Chan
– 2012: Eyvind Elgesem
– 2013: Daniel Sønstevold
– 2014: Øyvind Ask
The Waloba Award 2015 diploma is hereby presented to absolutely the finest of them all historically, a perfect gentleman, my dearest best friend and brother, Anele Malumo, the man to whom I owe my life in more ways than one. Congratulations!
Anele was also my first ever Karate training partner in Lusaka in 1977/ 78. About Karate, he has said somewhere, “… I endured the very often arduous training sessions because with Karate, it did not matter so much that I was small. Through Karate, I learnt the meaning and value of what sports commentators call ‘heart’. I also learned that it is much better to confront your fears head on because after that they generally do not look so daunting”
He would later become a champion High School and University Basket Ball Super Star player, as well as Coach. About Basketball, he says, “Basketball afforded me my most memorable experiences of the thrill of winning and being publicly acknowledged for success”
Tel.: +27 717 454 115
June 26, 2015
HOME AT LAST! Part 22 IN PRAISE OF PUSSY – A Song – Diaspora Poetry Inspired by: Åpne din bergsprekk – Det er på tide å ta fitta tilbake/ Open Your Crevice – It’s time to get the pussy back.
The most beautiful thing
I wobble down on my knees for you
To bury my face inside of you
As if to pray
To the highest God
In holy revelation
In my Son of The Soil Garden of Eden
Dedicated to your splendour
I watched honeybee
Busy inside a rose the other day
Petals in non-modest reddish-pinkish-orangish-yellowish-golden glow
As if source of the sun
Pollen in opulent provide
I caught the musk of your innermost depths
Went giddy in my head
A tingle arose
From the base of my feet
By the time it merged
At the base of my spine
To the top of my head and back
I thought I was dying
So, I took the last bite of you
The throttle of your desire
As if a living heart
Split into two
You squeezed and churned
Fluids of your love
Now, the rod of my manhood
Weighs my loins upon you
You look too sweet, too fragile to roughen
So I enter with tenderness
The like of a baby angel
Like I’m riding rough seas
Pussy, my darling
Here I come
All my days
For you are so beautiful for life
You grace the crotch of
The most beautiful woman on earth
For you are
Creation’s greatest gift to man
©Simon Chilembo, 17/ 06- 2015
Tel.: +27 717 454 115
June 17, 2015
HOME AT LAST! Part 20
SOUTH AFRICA AFRO-XENOPHOBIA – WHEN BUSINESS DIES …
My younger sister is angry, very angry. She’s extremely bitter. She hurts so very much. She’s so angry, if the new-on-the-block business rivals knew, if they had any empathy at all, they’d either leave town, or better, listen to the extreme dissatisfaction my younger sister has over their unfair and dubious business practices. My younger sister is not alone. But, they, the new-on-the-block business rivals, don’t seem to care. The relative peace and stability of the post-1994 democratic South Africa allows them to exercise extreme forms of arrogance and insensitivity to their South African business competitors; family mothers, family fathers.
See, these the new-on-the-block business people, almost all of them come from an African Super Power land, the largest economy in Africa, the most populous African nation. They have the right to come and make as much money as possible anywhere in South Africa, at any price, as quickly as possible. It’s their entitlement, of course. Don’t you know that South Africa owes it to them? Their great country contributed to the liberation of South Africa from the shackles of Apartheid slavery and brutality. Payback time. Stop whining, man.
My younger sister and her extremely provoked colleagues are, fortunately, very tolerant and patient. Difficult and trying as the situation may be, they desist from any hostilities directed against these new rivals with rather special methods of doing business. It’s almost two years now since these special African people entered the scene. But they don’t seem to see or feel the bad vibe undercurrent pervading the part of Welkom CBD they operate their unpopular businesses in. To them, in this particular case, South Africans are just stupid fools to be messed around with at will. “They take our kindness for weakness!” I heard someone say the other day. What these people don’t seem to know is that Welkom has always been a melting pot of African Diasporants, especially for those from the entire Southern African hinterland. Hence Welkomites’ relatively greater tolerance and patience towards people of the world. However, bad things have happened to people here before. This is still South Africa. Everyone has a tipping point, even Welkomites.
I hate Xenophobia with passion. I have a very deep, lifelong relationship with Xenophobia. I am a born and bred Xenophobia target child. Xenophobia follows me everywhere I go, everywhere I am. Depending on where I find myself at any one time, Xenophobia comes to me packed in tribalism, nationalism, regionalism, or racism. I constantly have to defensively explain myself whenever I meet my people for the first time, with specific reference to South Africans, Zambians, Batswanas, Basothos, Zimbaweans, Malawians, and, to some extent, Tanzanians, and Angolans: ‘Well, my father was a Zambian. I was born in South Africa, of a South African mother. On my father’s side we have people all over Central Africa, as well as southern parts of East Africa ….’ became a part of my first-time self introduction a long time ago. To White Trash, I’m just another Black fish. They are incapable of seeing how big a fish I am; Whale, actually. On the other hand, in London, responding to my being introduced to him as a South African refugee, an English senior university Professor says, “That’s odd! Chilembo is a Zambian name. Perhaps Malawi. But you must be Zambian” There we go.
Behind my Super Man façade, I carry with me deep Xenophobia induced emotional scars. But they have yet to kill me. So, I get stronger each and everyday that comes and goes.
My father knew well how bad Xenophobia is. That is how, and why, even long before we managed to escape to Zambia in 1975, it has been a family tradition to, when approached, without any strings attached, help anybody from Africa settle in South Africa, if that’s their wish and need. Clean and legal all the way. Pappa was very good at helping and teaching foreign brothers practical things as to how to go about living successfully in South Africa, from fixing jobs, to languages, to car driving. There are several families in my old location, Thabong, who came to being through Pappa’s facilitation. In Zambia, Pappa would further facilitate safe passage in and out of the country for many a South African freedom fighter, regardless of political affiliation, although we were/ are an ANC family through and through. In our homes in Lusaka, we provided, as a matter of course, shelter, comfort, some sort of family setting, and the like for many a young immediate post-Soweto 1976 generation South African in exile. Although South African refugees, particularly the inexperienced youth from uptempo South African townships, notably Soweto, had their bouts of madness in Zambia, on the whole, South Africans left a respectable reputation in the country. Other countries will have their own to speak for themselves.
In a perfect world, competition in business should lead to favourable pricing for the customer, inspiring constantly improving quality of goods and services in the market. Winners in business are those who have the most enduring customer loyalty bases arising from a holistic Satisfied Customer Service Package, which will include goods quality, goods origin/ sourcing, packaging, presentation, Brand identification, business location, premises, hygienic conditions, staff customer relations, customer confidence, and, above all, perceived and actual cost effective pricing apparently favouring the customer. Stayer winners in business are also those who constantly strive to set, and maintain high standards, following managerial and Public Relations practices consistent with what would qualify for acceptable Business Ethics, as well as Good Corporate Governance classifications. This is of universal application, regardless of enterprise size, and scale of operation/ -s. And lastly, but not least, the most successful and lasting business enterprises are those which never go out, intentionally or otherwise, to weaken, or bring to disrepute their industries in anyway, including active competitors.
My younger sister is very, very angry. When she hurts, I hurt too. Last Christmas she desired so much to see her first and only grandchild, who lives in Durban. No deal. On the grandchild’s 1st birthday a month ago, she still was not able to see the little boy. She’s broke. Yet she goes to work everyday. No business, no job. No money. This is one lady who, in her mid-late 30s went back to school to study for a Diploma In Cosmetology. 1 ½ years of expensive, privately financed education at Tshwane North College. She worked very hard, getting top grades, way above her youth classmates in their late teens/ early twenties. Upon graduation she opened and ran a successful Beauty Care salon in Pretoria 10 years ago. Seven years ago she came back home to Welkom, continuing the success from the major league Gauteng market. All good until about two years ago, when an unprecedented new group of Nigerian Beauty Care entrepreneurs hit town. Well-capitalized, they acquire about all there is of prime business premises. No problem. Welcome, our people! The more the merrier. Competition? Bring it on! There is enough bounty for everyone in Welkom. Alas, the Nigerians want it all for themselves.
The new arrivals come with the most aggressive marketing campaigns. No beef. Wake everybody up. Enliven the market. Bring new ideas, new styles. Give Welkom ladies more Afrikan fire, the time has come for them to rock for real with Afrika woman she dance fire dance … She go say, she go say I’m a lady’o … Oh, yes, Africa Unite! Cool! But, and a big BUT, it seems the Nigerians mean Afrikans unite in Afrika, but not in South Africa. Remember, Mandela sold South Africa to White people and the international Western imperialist forces. We are here to claim our share at all cost before everything is gone.
These Nigerian entrepreneurs have gone about their business totally the wrong way, upsetting many people, including my very angry and bitter younger sister, as well as her other South African colleagues in the Beauty Care business in the city. In their aggressive marketing campaigns, the new comers have defaced the Welkom CBD with very ugly, non-professionally done advertising posters and street boards. This once prestigious, modern business zone looks now more like an informal market place anywhere in Afrika.
The greatest beef with these brothers and sisters of ours is more in the pricing of their services, which are so ridiculously low that, according to my very angry and bitter younger sister, they cannot be logically explained, or even be sustained, given just the cost of materials necessary to perform the various Beauty Cares jobs they do. For example, one basic nails job most popular with clients used to go for R.250.00 per service unit. Factoring in all ordinary material and service provision costs, including effort time, this price would allow for a small but fairly comfortable profit margin; the higher the volumes, the better the profit returns recorded. So, enter the Nigerians, who by some inexplicable miracle manage to slash the price to a banal R.50.00 per unit! Of course, customers rejoice for this. My very angry and bitter younger sister and her colleagues are then ditched for the very, very cost effective Nigerians, the true Afrikans. But experience shows that the latter can charge such outrageously low prices because they are indeed cheap, using non-recognized materials like industrial Super Glue to attach nails. Their service personnel don’t have any evidence of serious relevant professional Beauty Care training, or education. People are injured here, some incurring long term, if not permanent damage, depending of treatment form performed.
My very angry and bitter younger sister now lives off repairing bad jobs done by many a Nigerian so-called Beauty Therapist in Welkom. But there are not many such jobs coming because, more often than not, the affected ladies will have in fact used up much more money in the bad job shops. Affected first time customers often become disillusioned, and therefore, lose interest, or faith, in the Beauty Care business. This is how the Nigerians Beauty Care entrepreneurs have tarnished the industry in Welkom, killing business for my younger sister and her other South African colleagues. These people seem to have no idea about what Customer Relations Management is, not to mention Business Ethics, or Corporate Governance, not in the least Public Relations, or Stake Holder Management.
So, my younger sister is angry, very angry. She’s extremely bitter. She hurts so very much. She’s so angry, if the new-on-the-block business rivals knew, if they had any empathy at all, they’d either leave town, or better, listen to the extreme dissatisfaction my younger sister has over their unfair and dubious business practices. The powder keg is on the verge of exploding. I see it on her face, I see it on her every step, her body language says it all every evening she comes home from work. Heaven forbid! Many mornings she oversleeps, unmotivated to go to work. There is no joy in business any more. The fire, the passion is gone. Future looks gloomier every passing day. Yesterday, I ask her how her day was at work. She, in a stinging melancholic voice, replied, “It looks like I go to work only to pay visits all day at the salon these days”
I once again maintain that the so-called violent Afro- Xenophobia in South Africa does not feed of itself. South Africans do not just wake up one morning and decide that they hate African immigrants. There is more to this scourge than meets the eye. South Africans can, and will receive the entire world’s condemnation; South Africans will be castigated by their own leaders for their unbecoming behavioural patterns and expressions through Afro- Xenophobia manifestations. And, those committing criminals activities during all this shall be brought to book, and be punished accordingly in terms of the law of the land. But to the extent that the African, as well as other immigrants are not made aware and appreciative of their own responsibilities, duties, obligations to basic human decency towards their South African hosts, their unbecoming behaviour will never change, or improve. Such that South Africans will go round with this never healing anger, frustration, and bitterness, which keep Xenophobia alive. Only a matter of time before a new round of violence, which, as experience shows time after time, does not take much to ignite and keep it aglow for a time, taking many innocent lives unnecessarily. My thoughts go to all those who have fallen in these tragic times, with deep-felt condolences to their families and loved ones everywhere.
The cure for Afro- Xenophobia in South Africa lies in the hands and minds of both the victims and the perpetrators. Simple as that. It’s more about attitudes than competition for limited resources and spaces. If it’s acknowledged to be fair, just, and humane, respecting the values, identities, beliefs, and socio-cultural dynamics and relations of the people, it wins the people’s hearts. It is called love for fellow human beings, Humanism. Peace, harmony, and life-supporting co-existence are a natural outcome, then. Of course.
Tel.: +27 717 454 115
April 23, 2015