Unilateral Tug of War
Just in terms of numbers, South Africa and Zambia cannot be equated. Of course. The former outstrips the latter by far: from territorial boundaries dimensions, population sizes and overall demographics, natural resources endowment, optimal economic potential and actual performance, to military power. Numbers don’t lie.
It goes without saying, therefore, that at any one time, any one variable or all highlighted above considered, South Africa will, in real terms, be a much more complex society relative to Zambia. Meaning that politics in South Africa will, correspondingly, be a more challenging enterprise for those involved in the national political leadership arena, whether in ruling power or in the opposition.
Needless to say that there are, indeed, countries smaller than even Zambia, but happen to have much more intricate political intrigues than South Africa. Another time and another place for the last observation raised.
A simple Google search will either confirm or debunk my assertions above, much as it will do with many of my postulations throughout this presentation.
Politics is the science of government. Government is the collective of institutions, including their constituent leaderships and functional personnel. They are created to enforce societal progress rules and policies that are arrived upon by the representatives of the body politic.
The government, or the state, will often reflect the interests of the dominant political parties. However, through corruption and greed, the dominant, ruling political parties may themselves be subtly steered by peripheral influential, manipulative economic forces. These may either be local or international actors, if not a combination of both. In South Africa, the concept called “State Capture” describes the collusion between the powerful economic elite and the government.
Notwithstanding the “State Capture” phenomenon, the interests of the respective political parties are often shaped and differentiated by their cardinal ideologies. An ideology is the summation of ideas based on theories and policies of political and economic engineering of society.
Ideologies are applied in varying ways to indoctrinate particular societies to address and find solutions to existential questions and challenges in certain pre-determined, and non-variable methods. Therefore, ideologies are not only critical for shaping individual countries’ internal living conditions, they also influence individual countries’ international relations premises; i.e. which countries will have mutually cordial diplomatic relations with one another, which supranational institutions the countries will be members of, which international solidarity causes countries will engage in and at what cost, etc.
In contemporary times, historical factors leading to the creation of specific nations often contribute to the kind of ideology adopted, developed, or redefined to suit local conditions. A nation’s wealth, often with particular reference to its relative strategic significance to the major economic and political nations and power blocs in the world, will also have a bearing on the nature of the dominant ideology. A subservient country’s geographical location on the globe can further add to, or reduce its strategic value.
At any one time, a quick reality check will show that relatively newer and smaller nations with both perceived and real strategic importance to the major political and economic giant nations, e.g. the industrialized Western world, have a hard time determining their own, sovereign national ideologies.
Old ties bind some of these emergent states with their former colonial masters from the Western world. Others will be held in infinite indebtedness to comrade states from the Eastern socialist, or communistic countries that helped in their liberation struggles for independence.
It is in the light of all the above that I choose to look at the comparative legacies of Nelson Mandela of South Africa, and Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia. Comparative because of the many critics of Nelson Mandela, who, in my view is unfairly battered in relation to the critics’ view of to whom real Southern African statesmanship ought to be accorded contra Kenneth Kaunda’s legacy too. I specifically address myself to Zambian critics.
Before I proceed, I wish to make a few salient personal points:
- I must declare that this is a non-solicited presentation. It is only an outcome of the involuntary workings of my critical thinking mind and its creative processes. It is my subjective, free world intellectual response to the foul anti-Mandela vis-à-vis Kaunda sentiments I have seen expressed in the various social media platforms, particularly Facebook, for many years.
It is not my goal to want to be malicious against anybody. Neither is it my intention to seek or expect approval, favours, or rewards from anybody.
This is an honest, independent expression of my thoughts and feelings with nothing but the very best of intentions. All this is done with the utmost respect both for Mandela and Kaunda, their respective families, and their followers through their respective foundations and other fora.
Because I fully appreciate the emotive nature of this topic, I have consciously strived to be as levelheaded as possible in this piece. Therefore, it is my prerogative to want to request anybody who might want to engage with me, to manifest the same human decency as I have sought to demonstrate hereby. In the event that somebody gets offended, anyway, I sincerely offer my apologies in advance.
I am certainly not qualified to judge as to who, between Mandela and Kaunda, is more worthy of recognition as a more genuine freedom fighter and liberator of African people; or who has betrayed Africa or not. Neither do I even feel up to it, anyhow. In my view, it is fallacious, and philosophically vain to want to compare the two, who, each in his own right, is a giant in that regard.
Below, I intend to argue that Mandela and Kaunda, as state presidents, functioned under totally variant material conditions, in as variant epochs. Under no practical circumstances could either ever replicate the other’s work, or contribution towards the liberation of Southern Africa, and the subsequent sustenance of the same. Nobody ever can.
With regard to more international honours being unduly bestowed upon Mandela instead of Kaunda, I shall argue further that the manners in which their respective countries have handled each their legacies have a lot to say.
Soon after Kaunda so very honourably relinquished power, Zambia treated him like a criminal, for example. The 2nd Republic’s leadership even went to the extent of shedding doubt unto KK’s actual belonging to Zambia. If I recall, issues were raised about his extraction. The first cut is the deepest. And personal branding’s full impact is attained whilst the Super Star is still hot. Zambia missed the opportunity there and then. Forever.
In the meantime, South Africans cannot seem to get enough of nurturing the so-called myth of Mandela global statesmanship accolades bandwagon. The marking of his centenary year started with predictable pomp in Cape Town, on Sunday, February 11, 2018.
It is what it is: the people’s own unhampered eternalization of their national hero by themselves, for their own sense of pride, and hope amongst nations of the world. The “Long live Mandela!” victory cry ceases not to accrue its legitimacy and relevance in this way.
For those that might wonder, I am a Norwegian. In the deepest recesses of my being, I carry a combination of profound South African and Zambian heritages. No one can take that away from me. That’s just the way it is. Take me, or leave me. Love me, or hate me. Same difference. Just refrain from wanting to harm me, and my own in any way. All I want is peace. All I want is love. Simple.
- My admiration for both Mandela and Kaunda is profound. That derives from, shortcomings granted, their respective work towards the attainment of the relative national peace, stability, prosperity, and well-being my people and I enjoy, with human dignity, in both South Africa and Zambia.
Each in their own ways, Mandela and Kaunda have contributed enormously into the spaces filling up the area defining the extent of my personal moral compass as a man, an intellectual, or critical thinker, and political analyst animal.
I know many college and university educated Zambians of my generation. Some of them are close personal friends. Others may be acquaintances; I may have had one thing or another to do with them from our student days, socially, or professionally in later years. Almost without exception, this whole lot, especially the men, have sickeningly grandiose intellectual egos. I am not any different.
The intellectual sophistication I manifest in my thought expressions through my writings is entrenched in Kaunda, KK’s educational system offering to Zambia during his time presidential era. From primary school through to university, we got the best education. We were taught by some of the very best world teachers Zambia’s copper-tinted money could buy. All for free. Thank you, KK! Payback time has arrived.
- To this day, some of KK’s Zambian educated men and women occupy many key leadership and productive positions in the various sectors of South African big business, the professions, and academia. Thanks to Mandela for having averted a racially instigated civil war in 1994.
Now, it’s all speculation, of course, but, had it broken out, that war could, potentially, have led to dire consequences for the entire Southern African subcontinent. The country’s historical strategic importance to the Western monopoly capital-industrial complex’ hegemony and its continual expansion tendencies is well-documented. Therefore, the war could have had as dire global relations consequences as well. I cannot help but admire Mandela and his team for superb negotiation skills exertion in this regard.
For the religious fanatic, perhaps, through Mandela, God not only saved South Africa, but the whole African continent and the world, a potential human tragedy of untold proportions. Today, all things considered, the country remains a model for democracy and economic development in Africa. As a model for national conflict resolution methods evolution and application, the whole free world looks to South Africa for inspiration and learning.
Hence, in our time, the country is sure the place to be. Otherwise, I know, that the hottest Zambian brains keeping the economic and academic machines of South Africa running would have long returned home.
The country remains a land of opportunity, a land of hope for all ambitious Africans, regardless of their countries of origin, their skin colour, creed, or sexual orientation. Oh, yes, once again, thanks to Mandela.
Mandela critics insist that the old man spinelessly succumbed to “selling” South Africa cheap to the whites and their monopoly capital. If that delivered us from miseries and tyrannies of a full-scale war, it works for me.
- I love both Mandela and Kaunda at least as profoundly as I admire them.
Sentimentally, as an African child, I viscerally feel Mandela as my symbolic grandfather. He not only has some resemblance to my maternal grandfather, but they are contemporaries as well. His eldest children were also born at about the same time as my mother was. Therefore, according to my black South African clan customs, Mandela qualifies to be my mother’s father, and, as such, my grandfather.
The physically nearest I have come to Mandela was to get to shake his hand. I was part of the multitude that had come to greet him upon his coming to collect his joint Nobel Peace Prize, with another prominent political figure. It was in Oslo, Norway, that many years ago.
Several years later, in the same city, I got to meet one of his biological grandchildren. I was honoured to have the opportunity to break bread, and share tea together with him.
This fine young man effortlessly exuded the social skills that were characteristic of his legendary grandfather. His warmth of personality, humility, sharp mind, and sense of humour touched me to the core. I knew, then, that “this was my blood”. Our ancestral spirits must have facilitated our meeting! In our African traditional way of interpreting reality and our relationship with it, as I was raised to believe, encounters of this nature do not occur by accident.
Inkosi, Ta’mkhulu Mandela, Tata Nguwe wedwa, akukho’ m’nye!/ Thank you, grandfather Mandela, Sir Madiba. You are the only one, there is no other!
As regards KK, Super K, I feel him as my father, symbolically speaking also. When it comes to resemblances, I see him in my biological father’s younger brother, my uncle, in Lusaka. There is a way their faces light up similarly when they either smile or laugh.
Against their darkest skins, their whitest eyes and teeth seem to shine like the stars of the night. They both have killer senses of humour too. Truly intelligent and inspirational African men. For a long time, I have dreamt of modelling a protagonist of one of my novels after them.
I happen to have a personal relationship with two of Super K’s sons. Over a period spanning a little over forty years now, I have had reason to consider them as my brothers. This, then, seals the explanation for my taking KK to be my father, the love for whom I can declare without fear, favour, or prejudice anytime, any place.
Over the years, I have found the Zambians’ Mandela criticism, dislike bordering on hate, and disrespect I have come across very disturbing, to say the least. For my sanity, I have decided to reduce all this to deliberate, uncultured misrepresentation of the facts, or simply, deep-rooted, preposterous ignorance. I can’t help but sense high levels of envy towards Mandela and his country as well. If I am right, then, this is a terribly regrettable state of affairs. Pathetic.
Only an even more uncultured, a “Stupid idiot!”, would ever want to dare to trivialize KK’s immense contribution towards the liberation of South Africa. Super K’s further highly enthusiastic work towards asserting the African continent’s right to claim greater space, and honour in global political power platforms can only be disputed by morons.
His apparently boundless levels of personal energy, his eloquence and clarity of thought in all the local and international causes he pursued, carried by the aura of his imposing figure, won him many admirers across the world. Fact. Few have remained loyal. Many ditched KK right from the time Zambia was conspiring to treat him as a pariah. Thus faded the once upon a time hugely influential KK image from global political power domains.
By the time Zambians came to their senses, their efforts to revive the past KK international glory failed to work. Probably because, amongst other factors, the post-1994 Mandela star shine had already superseded KK’s by awesome leaps and bounds, to the present.
It’ll be even more grossly primitive and lunatic of anybody to stand up and want to belittle the economic and social hardships Zambia had to endure as a result of KK’s legendarily hardcore stance against the then extremely ruthless apartheid regime in South Africa. As the anti-apartheid liberation struggle intensified on all fronts in the 1980s, for KK, the impasse could not be addressed without the release of Mandela from prison.
Meanwhile, the people of Zambia experienced untold sufferings from acute, long-term shortages of all essential commodities and medicines. All enlightened political brains of Southern Africa know that Mandela owed his release from prison to Kaunda, who relentlessly spearheaded the anti-apartheid struggle.
Super K’s commitment was so intense that it seemed as though he cared but little about the welfare of his own Zambian people. Herein lay, I am convinced, KK’s source of his lasting unpopularity in certain powerful quarters in Zambia. I believe that I am adequately informed about this because I was also caught up in the middle of it all when the people of Zambia’s social welfare sufferings were at their most acute; I was there.
It should be a no brainer, therefore, that KK ought to be considered, unequivocally, as the father of Southern Africa’s liberation, making him, therefore, a greater giant than Mandela. That’s as far as it goes, and, it is worth noting, it remained true to the extent that Mandela was in prison.
Mandela’s release, and his subsequent rise to the South African presidency changed the ball game altogether, much to the permanent detriment of KK’s already declined international stature, as I have already demonstrated above.
Maybe I am missing something. Maybe I am not as intellectually brilliant as I like to believe Super K’s Zambian education has made me. But, I, honestly, do not understand the extreme animosity some Zambian thought leaders seem to have towards Mandela, South Africa, and segments of the international community that esteem the Mandela legacy highly.
Many argue that Mandela did not do enough to show appreciation to Kaunda and Zambia for the colossal sacrifices they made towards his release from prison, and the liberation of South Africa. It is as if, after the latter got rid of one country, Mandela should have co-opted Zambia and make it mighty South Africa’s tenth province.
In this set-up, KK would have been Vice-President, or something in those lines, perhaps. And, then, all of Zambia’s problems would have been solved. Consequently, Zambian people would live happily ever after as Mandela grandchildren in the greater, new South Africa. Absurd.
I have yet to come across a former South African exile in Zambia that has no admiration for KK and, indeed, the people of Zambia for their untiring efforts during the liberation struggle days.
It is my strongly held view that Zambians owe it to themselves that Super K’s legacy does not enjoy, at the very least, the same supreme universal prestige that Mandela’s does. It is said, in some spiritual quarters, that leadership is the reflection of the collective consciousness.
I extend that thought by postulating that, indeed, ultimately, the collective consciousness itself has the power to either brake or make its own leaders. Zambians themselves broke Kaunda, whilst the South Africans continue raising Mandela’s pedestal to ever higher and higher levels.
Needless to say, Mandela and KK are, in the end, human like everyone else; subject to making serious errors of judgments too. If they were perfect, I wouldn’t waste my time and energy on them. However, the good they stood for, and have achieved, far outdo their mistakes. My opinion is that it is at this human level that the two legends can sit on a par with each other.
With regard to the merits, or demerits, of their leadership styles and outcomes thereof in their respective countries and times, none can be compared to the other. They each faced different sets of challenges, in different spaces, and different dominant paradigms with respect to local, as well as global political and economic conditions.
As time continues to unfold, Kaunda’s failings during his heydays are beginning to be understood in a positive light, given emerging better understandings of the overall social and political power dynamics of his time. Like one of my Kaunda brothers said to me not so long ago, at the State House in Lusaka, they had to learn everything from a clean slate.
They had no direct relational previous experience sources to refer to. It was a case of swim or drown; regardless of whether you could swim or not from before. So, Kaunda, together with his successive governance agents, did what they had to do, for Zambia, under extremely trying conditions.
The above said, now is the opportune time for Zambians to divert their energies to rekindling Super K’s legacy glory with more focused vigour. It can be done. A lot can be learnt from how the South Africans manage the Mandela legacy.
Sustained hate for Mandela will not take anybody anywhere, really. As things stand today, anybody who wants to destroy the Mandela legacy will have to take South Africa down first, starting with me. Good luck, I say!
Lastly, Mandela did not run around the world begging for recognition. Nobody does it on his behalf either. The prestige that Mandela’s legacy enjoys comes over of its own volition. That’s what happens when deeds surpass the man. All that the South Africans do is normal PR and marketing work that any brand worth its salt will have its people do to keep alive over and over again, for years on end. Really that simple.
Everybody loves a Super Star. But, if those for whom, or upon whom the star shines do not cherish the star, it is only natural that outsiders wouldn’t be much thrilled to follow the starlight to the source. If South Africans do it so well with Mandela, I fail to see how Zambians can fail with Kaunda.
Assuming non-existence of the same because I’ve never heard of any before, immediate Commencement of an annual series of auspicious “Kenneth Kaunda Lectures” could be a cool endeavour to embark upon. Food for thought. By the time somebody comes up with “Kenneth Kaunda Memorial Lectures”, it’ll be far too late.
It wouldn’t be a bad idea, though, if people ceased to exploit the KK legacy for their own personal aggrandizement needs. If their genuine intents are about working towards elevating KK’s legacy contra Mandela’s, then the “Kaunda Rights” activists have to demonstrate more selflessness in their efforts. As a classic selflessness concept and practice model, the old man himself is still alive and jiving in our midst. Learn while the legend still rocks! In graceful ripe old age.
Finally, I’m, nevertheless, ever so curious as to whether KK really cares about this outrageously petty attempt to pit his and Mandela’s legacies against each other. Absolutely regressive. Adds no value to post-apartheid national developmental goals pursuits neither in Zambia nor South Africa.
Mandela’s grandeur is such that I am convinced that he wouldn’t waste his breath on the thought. If there are any South Africans preoccupied with the subject at the trivializing of KK’s stature as a statesman and person, then, I have yet to be aware of their existence.
It’s time people grew up and moved on with the times. It’ll be long, if ever, before anybody can successfully crush the so-called “Mandela myth”, purportedly spin-doctored by, and groomed to serve “white monopoly capital” interests in South Africa.
South Africans walk into the future on a path that is lit up by the spirit of Nelson Mandela. Thanks to Kenneth Kaunda. He knows. No doubt. For that, he, KK, shall live forever in his own right: a unique icon of freedom comparable to none.
February 13, 2018
1. What spurs a nation or a people to attain heights of development?
2. Is it a collective that is the main driver or a leader with “Intrinsic Motivation”
The article below is motivated by Mr Fisho Mwale. It arose from a Facebook interaction yesterday, Thursday, January 08, 2018. I was one of the respondents to his posting, “BUSINESS IDEAS”. In it, he referred to his personal family experiences to highlight some cultural impediments towards following up emergent business opportunities in our society.
Mr Fisho Mwale, summarizing his bone of contention, wrote, “Sometimes out of the box great business ideas do not work due to many factors such as timing, cultural values and lack of guts. You have to believe in your ideas and it’s important to get ‘buy in’.”
In agreement with him, I responded:
“… Great real-life entrepreneurial development case study material, …. Thanks for the insights, Sir! I wish to also add lack of what I call “Intrinsic Motivation” to the list of factors inhibiting follow-throughs to great business ideas and, indeed, opportunities arising from given circumstances.
“Intrinsic Motivation is an active killer-instinct driven desire and determination to achieve set goals, and beyond. That arising, perhaps, from chance opportunities, or those created in response to certain apparent societal, if not bigger natural conditions and/ needs. E.g. the cholera epidemic mentioned above. It works independent of external deliberate or unintended hindrances, and is often a profoundly personal journey. Seen from the outside, people in “Intrinsic Motivation” mode can appear to be selfish, reckless, one-track-minded, and defiant, amongst other negative personal attributes.
“This kind of motivation is ignited by desperate survival need circumstances too, if not a pure natural curiosity state of being. When pushed against the wall, without any possible manoeuvre or exit, fearless, “thrill-seeker”-type-people with strong wills to live will find the most ingenious ways to survive: creativity kindled to find the most unconventional solutions that could be developed into business models, subsequently.
I believe that we have to teach ourselves to be hungry enough, curious enough, and afraid enough to ignite our “Intrinsic Motivations” in order that they, pushing the continuum farther, ignite the killer-instinct guts necessary to get us to see things through, no matter the odds. It is a mind, attitude thing, really. Doable.”
The reply from Mr Fisho Mwale was gracious. He concluded by throwing me a challenge, “Thank you and I would love for you to expand more and discuss it from a National context …”
The latter got “… my Intrinsic Motivation to find, and engage with like-minded people about national development issues, plus possible solutions …” to shoot to the roof.
DEVELOPMENT: Attainment, Nurture, Sustenance.
In Social Science, the concept of Development is defined in terms of upward qualitative and quantitative transformation of society over time. Operationally, it means that from society’s observable benefits of this positive change, people will reflect higher and enduring frequencies of subjective states of contentment, hope, and belief in an ever bright future for all.
This state of affairs will be a manifestation of societies ability to provide for all the people’s basic short-term and long-term needs and wants for successful living from day-to-day, all their days: food, shelter, health, education, security, and more. Abundance is when society has a constant surplus of all the resources that are necessary to ensure that the people’s contentment levels do not dramatically spiral downwards in cases of natural calamities, wars, and, especially, population growth in time.
The objective side of Development is, therefore, operationally seen in the growth, in sheer numbers and magnitudes, of material and service values of all the tangible and intangible aspects of societal management towards lasting prosperity attainment. Herein come elements of:
- Infrastructure – water reservoirs, food production facilities (agricultural land, food processing plants, etc), housing, roads, hospitals, schools, power stations and grids, telecommunications, and others.
- Services – the entire spectrum of social amenities and necessary operational personnel across the board (health workers, engineers and other scientists, entrepreneurs, R&D, and many more), national security (police, military), including culture, i.e. the whole possibilities field of the creative arts.
- Longevity – In sustained development states, short of mortal accidents of all kinds, under variable circumstances, people tend to live into ripe old ages. Absence of private and societal want, as well as a general sense and state of well-being in society tend to have a life prolonging effect on the people: resilience against various life-threatening illnesses, and ever improving medical treatments of the same.
Because Development is about growth, and is forward-looking, it can be encapsulated in the concept of progress. This means that stages of development can be measured, and isolated in terms of space and time. Viewed in this regard, it ought to be understandable that Development entails a rise in complications of societal management and administration.
In the context of this presentation, management is about the allocation of resources in appropriate quantities to relevant material and service needs in developmental work. Administration, then, sees to it that resources are applied for their originally intended purposes, and according to stipulated rules with regard to predetermined decisive conditions.
Therefore, from the point of definitions above, for Development to succeed, it is imperative that it is spearheaded by people of at least as intellectually and culturally progressive as Development itself is inherently, and necessarily entails on its reality.
“INTRINSIC MOTIVATION” FOR DEVELOPMENT: The Collective? A Leader?
On the one hand, human beings are inherently self-centered as individuals. On the other, because human beings are, actually, also very smart, they realized a long time ago that to survive in an inherently hostile nature, they had to learn to live in collectives. We, as humans against other earthly creatures, owe our position at the top of the food chain to our ability to work together in our necessary efforts to tame aspects of nature for our, yes, Development (-al) needs.
Collectives will, naturally, because it is in our genetic make up, comprise people of combinations of all kinds dispositions, dreams, strengths, weaknesses, and a myriad of all other aspects of creation that make us human. Therefore, we can, from the latter observation, extrapolate, that people will, indeed, be driven by as infinite mutations of “Intrinsic Motivation” triggers in the pursuit of their respective survival needs. This is where and when leadership need arises. The incumbent leaders may or may not emerge spontaneously, depending on the prevailing circumstances, space, and time.
Regardless of how leadership and its moving agents emerge, its essential role is to coordinate the processes that the complex developmental needs and wants of the collective, or society, impose on limited resources within given spaces in time. In a perfect world, leadership ought to serve society. Leaders need not rise in order to use, or exploit society towards their own selfish gains, subjecting the latter to much undue suffering as Development stalls, or ceases altogether.
It goes without saying that when Development collapses, the fabric of the collective, or society disintegrates. Civil unrests, some culminating into endless civil and regional wars, then; this is observable in some countries not too far away from our borders in Africa.
I contend that, in our modern societies, set Developmental goals need to be spearheaded by leaders whose “Intrinsic Motivation” for aspiring for positions of power is driven by unconditional idealistic values of service to humanity. These kinds of leaders are those selfless human beings who derive joy, and see value in their own existence only when their societies are thriving in peace and prosperity.
Deriving inspiration and guidance by a deep understanding of their people’s (the nation) own collectivised “Intrinsic Motivation” sources and objectives, these progressive leaders can instigate relevant paradigm shifts according to the state of affairs in their own societies vis-à-vis the rest of the world.
The pervasive positivity these leaders spread across their societies has an infectious effect on the people. It often inspires dreams, performance, and excellence because the benefits of everybody’s outcomes of each their own “Intrinsic Motivation” productive ventures are experienced equitably, variable relative individual needs and wants considered, of course.
What I find especially fascinating is that even if the leadership may be perceived to be despotic by the outside world, to the extent that the leadership delivers well the people’s basic needs and more, the “bad” leadership can be tolerated somewhat. Look to Singapore and, yes, South Korea.
The problem arises when the leadership’s “Intrinsic Motivation” is driven by overt, unilateral greed; also abuse of power to safeguard own interests against imminent judicial repercussions for the inherently criminal acts that facilitate this behaviour. Look to South Africa right now.
My view is that, from a national context, what spurs a nation or a people to attain heights of development is a combination of the nation’s realistic needs and wants relative to both the qualitative and quantitative natural endowments of their land.
Creation of an environment in which people are not afraid to dare to question the status quo of society’s relationship to nature and its ramifications is crucially important. As crucially important is the cultivation of a culture of sophisticated intellectual and philosophical flexibility in relation to changing local and global societal management and administration paradigms.
The above is attainable only if and when the collective’s and its leadership’s respective “Intrinsic Motivations” for Development share, as close as possible, a commonality of visions for the benefit of all, the people, and their leadership servants themselves.
To seek as much compatibility as possible between the aspirations the people have and those of the leadership is more the responsibility of the latter than the former, really. No easy task at all. As such, people seeking to serve their nations, whilst intrinsically motivated by pecuniary gains out of the potential of plundering state coffers, are in a wrongful vocation.
Business, entrepreneurship is ever waiting for gold-minting-inspired visionaries. People intrinsically motivated to serve the people in order to earn millions upon millions of US Dollars have almost unlimited possibilities in the world of business, instead. It just requires a little more imagination, hard work, and, yes, courage. Simple.
Tel: +27 813185271
February 09, 2018
SCIENTIFIC MAN OF GOD
Epigenetic inheritance theory has captured my fascination in a profound way. It has cast new insight into how I now think about the nature of man. That with reference to how I relate to man in the spontaneous, continuous process of writing and playing my own story as I go through the labyrinth of life. Some call it legacy.
But I don’t really care much about “the legacy I shall leave behind”. If I do have a legacy, it has, actually, built, and shall sustain itself for as long as time wants it alive. Nevertheless, immortality is the goal. Who wants to live forever? I do. Why not?
All I care about is the integrity of the authoring of my life story lines as I dance my way through to my exit point of the maze that far, far away.
My hope is that my life story shall be read and judged with open, scientific minds, both whilst I still walk the face of the earth, and when I’m dead.
Thanks to epigenetic inheritance theory, I have finally seen the light: yes, the human body is, indeed, a temple of God. By extension, any other creature that subscribes to, and lives according to tenets of any prescribed faith, has its physical body as the temple of God; at least in the Western world’s perception of the Deity.
Even more precisely, the philosophical duality of God and her anti-thesis, Satan, is not only a construct of the core of man’s existential questions’ thinking: their abodes, heaven and hell, respectively, are, in fact, in the DNA of man.
There is no place called heaven outside the realm of man’s existence on earth. Neither is there a place called hell in the same illusory domain. Heavenly rewards, or satanic retributions for our virtues and sins, respectively, we live them accordingly right here on earth. When we die, we are dead: our DNAs have switched off from our consciousness, and so have the ideas of God, Satan, heaven, and hell.
It is only the unenlightened that fuss about life after death for the deceased. The human soul leaving the dead is as real, as independent, and as infinite as the universe. So, leave it alone. It knows how to take care of itself. Ever heard of a buried soul? They failed to bury Jesus.
It ought to make perfect sense that life-after-death is, indeed, a reality for the living only. Life goes on. But, living in the dark, and confronted with challenges of life with nature, the survivors seek answers outside of themselves. Finding no workable solutions out there, panic grips them. Fear of the unknown rules over their lives through and through.
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, some hustlers found out that they could profit from the fear-induced ignorance of the living. That was how all kinds of faiths were born. Depending on set locations on planet earth, faiths would be lifelines between a mysterious, omnipresent, all-knowing God. This God would, in accordance with predominant cultural practices from space to space, be represented in various forms and attributes. Thus paving the way for the near countless religious denominations we have in the world today.
That humanity, in the name of these gods, carries out the most outrageous murderous acts against itself is more than enough to dismiss the whole idea of their existence, and, thus, their value to mankind. The real, and only viable God is the God inside of man in the living, right here on planet earth, right here and now.
In my involuntary anticipation of a “…one tantrum away …” nuclear war outbreak in my immediate lifetime, I’m not sure of who North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un’s God is, though. The American President Trump prays to the God of the Christians. If the God were real, he wouldn’t appear to be indifferent to whether a nuclear war would breakout or not. As if he wouldn’t have learnt from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A tantrum is personally willed from inside the man.
Therefore, as for me and my own, each time I, both as a virtuous man and a sinner, pray, meditate, and humble myself in front of my God, I look into myself. The answers, my friends, are not blowing in the wind after all. What blows in the wind are weapons of mass destruction used all over the world in the name of some external Gods.
The answers are lying in the deepest recesses of my DNAs universal constitution. Everything I see up in the night sky and more, I see it in here. I live with no fear because God lives in me. I don’t need any guns or bombs to convince anybody. It’s all about science. Simple.
Epigenetic inheritance theory is about the extent to which we have the capacity to, both instinctually and consciously, continue to learn, retain, and advance new knowledge vital for survival in life. This knowledge is essential in the present, and is carried forward to the next generations through procreation.
From the outset, we are born with predetermined survival instinct information programmed into each our individual genetic material. This is as directly personal inheritance as we can get from our parents.
In order to survive, by perpetual adaptation imperatives in ever-changing internal and external environments, subtle changes continuously take place at the sub-atomic levels of our DNA molecules. Connected to the central nervous system, there is a bilateral relationship between aspects of learning and the process of mutation in the very core of the DNA.
It is, therefore, important to be aware of what formal and informal adaptive skills we, in the present, learn in society. The kind of material society we build today is, of course, important for future generations. Ja, ja, ja, phhh, legacy!
However, more importance should be focused onto what kind of knowledge and potential positive creative capacity we genetically pass onto our progeny.
If we want our grandchildren to live to see their own grandchildren live in a better place than our world today, we must all begin to acknowledge and internalize the knowledge that God is in each and every one of us alive. Am I, then, saying that there are as many Gods as there are people alive on earth at any one time? Yes!
The elegance of the ultra-faceted God I am presenting here is that she collapses into just one concept that ought to unify mankind: love. There is no greater truth than “The Greatest Love of All” is the love of the self. If that is the case, then, the only meaningful way to God is through knowing and honouring the self. And, the self has value only to the extent that it has others to relate to, society.
I often wonder:
- What would happen if in their war slogans, those who cry out loud “God is great!” simply kept quite and mantrat the slogan in silence unto themselves?
- How does the line “We are the champions, my friends, and we’ll keep on fighting ‘til the end!” morph in context when repeatedly uttered quietly inside oneself?
Going by the quality of the mass of global political and economic leadership today, it is clear that we live in an age where, in some parts of the world, education is failing society grossly. If science is not debased here, it is used for purposes negating human progress. The investigation into the essence of man from the inside, both as an instigator and propagator of God is negated.
It beats me that there are hordes of world leaders who have a more passionate relationship with the extraterrestrial God than, for example, the scientifically verifiable fact that the current global warming phenomenon is a real threat to the future of our planet. Were this God for real, he would be an absolutely raving lunatic of a sadist to be watching us, his own creation, working so systematically towards self-annihilation.
Only man can save himself from himself, and other enemies of human progress. That can be attainable through a deeper level of self-knowledge, starting with the study of epigenetic inheritance theory, among other scientific fields of knowledge pertaining to the understanding of the inherent earthly nature of man and his perennial existential questions.
December 19, 2017
HUMILITY NEVER HURTS
Because I’m, in this posting, addressing myself to psychopaths, I’m going to be linear in my thought expression. I’m going to deliberately make non-substantiated claims. I am not opening a discussion. I only need to let my frustration out. That is because I need to breathe, so that I can continue enjoying the made-to-last freedom and peace of my motherland, South Africa.
But, that does not mean that those strongly wishing to respond are prevented from doing so. There is one condition I demand to be fulfilled, though: substantiation and logically structured, mature presentation of opinions, agreeing with me or not. I shall not tolerate personal attacks and insults. If necessary, I’ll only engage with those whose views I regard to reflect a respectable degree of wisdom and intellectual sophistication, if not substance.
Psychopaths have no sense of right or wrong. Psychopaths have only one view of the world. Psychopaths see and interpret the universe only according to how their faultily wired perceptive and analytical senses relate to impulses emanating from their immediate and distant ecologies. Psychopaths lack empathy.
A fifty-six year old man progressively screws and holds his own country and people to ransom for thirty-seven years. Because he is a psychopath, Mugabe holds on to power even in senility. Wasted at age ninety-three, he continues clinging on to the no longer functional national presidency; totally oblivious to the real danger he personally, not to mention the almost 16.5 million people of Zimbabwe, is, are exposed to, that after a rather long overdue but, thank goodness, well-orchestrated military coup.
The Zimbabwean military intentionally chose not to assassinate Mugabe because of the non-psychopathic nature of the key generals and others involved in the coup, and his subsequent peacefully coerced resignation from power two weeks later. However, in their psychopathic minds, Mugabe and his like-minded have no comprehension of this fact.
Mugabe is finished. Mugabe is a lost cause. It is not worth wasting any more of my little breath left on him. I want to, now, address myself to the 5 million Zimbabweans who escaped from Mugabe’s tyranny to find protection in South Africa. 5 million is the whole population of a country – Norway, for example.
Other common and non-mistakable traits of psychopaths are acute arrogance, lack of respect, and ingratitude towards others, especially the generous, kind, and tolerant. (Originally) utterly desperate refugees from war torn Middle Eastern countries, and beyond, encounter rapidly growing hostilities from ordinary citizens in their Western Europe host countries.
The refugees do not understand how their religious and cultural chauvinism continually feed their hosts’ ill will. They are incapable of appreciating challenges around their own lack of willingness to change and adapt to the dynamics of their new environment. They are psychopaths. Thanks to them, the ultra-right wing wave keeps growing across Europe. Thanks to them, we now have Donald Trump as the most powerful man on earth.
In South Africa, there are Zimbabwean psychopaths who manifest exactly the same tendencies as above. Zimbabwean psychopaths in South Africa go around the country enjoying the very best freedoms and democratic rights no other African country can equal. Yet, the mentally deranged Zimbabweans behave so dishonourably towards their South African hosts it’s disgusting. And, then, naturally, they do not understand where the so-called Afro-phobia violence in the country comes from. Sickening to the core.
Human intelligence is an inherent facet of human nature; it’s either one is born clever or plain stupid. Simple.
Education, formal or traditional, enhances the functional capacity of the intelligent brain towards uplifting and life-supporting human endeavours creation and sustenance. To a stupid, less intelligent brain, education often spells disaster for humanity.
Black Zimbabweans are NOT more intelligent than South Africans. I do not care about white Zimbabweans in the context of this presentation.
From colonial days, little black Zimbabwe had more access to western education than black South Africa. With approximately 60 million people (5 million of them being Zimbabweans, lest it’s forgotten) living in the country today, South Africa is little Zimbabwe’s big brother by far. Respect, please!
With his notorious seven university degrees, Mugabe became the infamously most highly educated president in the world. With that, he went on to make Zimbabwe one of the most impoverished and least respected countries in the free world. It took 450 000 very intelligent black Zimbabwean farmers thirty (30) years to produce maize targets previously harvested by only 15 000 white farmers previously, when the country was called “the bread basket” of Africa. Give us a break!
With only one university degree, Mandela turned South Africa into the small African paradise where everyone, including, of course, mentally deranged Zimbabweans, live happily ever after.
If the psychopathic Zimbabweans living in South Africa are as hot as they like to think they are, they must go back to rebuild their broken country. And “broken” is the key word. Which means that, really, they can only continue from where their psychopath ultra-grandfather left. With psychopaths, it can only get worse. Prove me wrong, if you can.
My humble (because I am a Madiba child) advice to those shallow-minded, intellectually bankrupt Zimbabweans living in South Africa is: learn to be at least as humble, stay here and continue to thrive. Despite the Msholozi-Guptas-StateCapture-White-MonopolyCapital hustle, South Africa is still the land of opportunity for all decent human beings. Starting from scratch in your screwed up country will simply kill you, if your own people do not kill you first themselves.
I do this because I love Zimbabwe and its people. Deeply. Actually. In many ways, my initiation into adult manhood commenced here. My own psychopathic tendencies have played themselves out in a big way in this country before, starting one year after Mugabe became president. It was with Zimbabwe I first suckled the sweet taste of international game changer mind games. Lovely. Payback time. Take me, or leave me. No panic. Free spirit.
Now, I can breathe!
November 26, 2017
SOUTH AFRICAN FARM KILLINGS: Another Perspective
I do not condone murder of any kind. Murder is murder, regardless of how it is classified on various platforms. No murder is worse or better than another. In the free world, we are all humans with infinite variable attributes, but equal in the face of the law of the land.
In the purest manifestation of God, we are all supposed to be equal because she created us that way, in her own perfect image.
Whilst I do not condone murder, left with no alternatives against any real, particularly unjustifiable, threat upon my life, or that of my beloved ones, including my lands, I could kill without thinking twice about it. In my world, there is no “turn the other cheek” contra injustice and evil intentions, or practices. If evil plucks out one of my eyes, I’ll pluck both of theirs, and more. It is what it is.
If I am a racist, it is more a circumstantially reactive tendency on my part, rather than it being an inherent disposition of mine. I hate racism with such passion I cannot help but want to give racists a taste of their own medicine whenever I encounter them in South Africa, and anywhere else in the world I find myself at any time; two eyes for an eye. Reconciliation modern South Africa style has its limits for me.
In characteristic, yet another demonstration of arrogance of power and privilege, a section of the white South African populace sensationalizes the killings of South African white farmers. As if these killings are a calculated, lopsided affair sponsored by the South African state, or some other organized, black peoples special interest entities.
As a humanist, whenever death strikes anywhere in the world, my heart ever goes out to the deceased and their bereaved families. The killing of a white South African farmer is no different from any other killing in the country, or anywhere else in the world. Therefore, I cannot feel relatively any more, or less empathy for the white South African farmer victims and their own.
Beyond the rhetoric of potential forced land grabs by EFF’s Julius Malema and other black radicals and nationalists, there is no evidence to the effect that the seemingly epidemic kill-white-farmers wave is organizationally steered. In this segment of society too, criminals randomly execute the murders.
As long as everyone acknowledges and blends supremacy of the South African constitution in their rhetoric, no white or any other colour farm will have “their” land repossessed without compensation. For that to happen, then, the constitution will have to be suspended. In that case, so, God help the people of South Africa – absolutely all of them.
Radical South Africans must not allow themselves to be inspired by Mugabeizm in Zimbabwe. The latter county’s relative value to Western monopoly capital is miniscule compared to what South Africa has had to offer over the last four hundred years or so. Therefore, Mugabe can experiment all he can with his non-progressive governing policies, and the powers that be in the world will just wag somewhat their little fingers and do nothing real to save the suffering Zimbabwean people: symbolic sanctions here, symbolic sanctions there.
Were anybody to concretely seek to pursue the Mugabeizm path in South Africa, there’ll be no sanctions here, but a full-scale war outbreak that was averted in 1994 to this day. That’s what happens anywhere in the world where significant Western monopoly capital interests are seriously threatened.
All manner of crimes, violence, and murder are an endemic feature of South African life. South Africa has one of the highest murder rates in the world. What appears in the public eye is that the poor steal from the rich. When things go wrong, somebody dies. If it’s the poor that gets killed, nobody cares. However, when it’s the rich that die, all hell breaks loose.
Miserable, thoroughly downtrodden, and hopeless in the townships and the impoverished rural areas, including many white-owned farms, black South Africans kill one another by their hundreds every day. The rich, the whites do not give a damn. Black curse.
In South Africa, the richest people by far are the whites. It should be a no brainer, therefore, that, mainly, poor black people will target them. This is hardly a new phenomenon. Wealthy black South Africans also feel the pinch. All across the land, the economic elite, irrespective of race, go to extremes to protect themselves and their own. It is not for nothing that, at more than R.50 billion annual revenues, the private security industry in the country is the fourth largest in the world.
There are more factors than mere economic inequalities to consider in this rather emotive subject. As demonstrated during the last so-called Black Monday, largely insolent white farmers’ protest, a significant part of the white populace of South Africa is still painfully ignorant of the historical improprieties of this country. These people have not really fathomed the extent to which black South Africans have had to bend backwards to accommodate them in the name of freedom and democracy. No wonder Nelson Mandela’s critics go around postulating that he actually sold the new South Africa to the whites. Load of crap.
There is a heroically suppressed under-current of extreme anger and bitterness flowing in the blood vessels of many a black South African. This horrendous feeling is not necessarily intrinsically anti-white South African farmers especially, but has been historically induced by them, the latter. Reproducing itself from generation to generation, it is as old as the oldest white South African farming family in the country.
The cruel, demeaning brutality with which many white South African farmers have systematically treated their black workers from the time they first tilled South African soil in 1652 is hair raising, to say the least.
Being the first routinized labour employers in the country, I contend hereby that, from a historical perspective, the white farmers set the tone of the social and economic inequalities we live with in South Africa today. All other subsequent South African black labour exploiters learnt it all from the original white farmers and their descendents to this day. Colonialism and apartheid rested squarely on the foundations laid by the white farmers since day one.
White South African farmers have, for centuries, broken the spirits and humanity of black South Africans in untold ways. This has culminated in the now overt, post-1994, reactions of the people in the unfairly sensationalized, fallaciously believed, by the aggrieved whites, to be centrally planned somewhere. The dead deserve more honour than this outrageous enduring racism-driven stand taken by old-fashioned, parochial, frightened, and privilege-spoilt modern day white South Africans.
On my mother’s side, I am a direct descendent of two lines of families who were born and raised on white-owned farms, all the way from the Northern Cape to central Free State provinces. The youngest of my mother’s paternal uncles, grandfather Heirulf Serame Mabote, was still labouring on a massive white-owned farm in Brandfort as late as 1998.
Well into his 70s, Rre-Mogolo/ Grandfather Serame died in 2006. He was already a moving corpse of a man then, indifferent to the elements and sensations of hunger, chronic alcoholism being the only thing that made sense to him. Many, many other black South African families can surely identify with this scene here.
Historically, and equally true in contemporary times, I reckon the worst part of being a black worker-slave on a South Africa white-owned farm was being a girl, or a woman. Many white farmers raped the women at will, treating them as regular sex slaves delivered to them by some mad, racist God. Many mixed-race, bastard children were sired this way. In time, reproducing amongst themselves and other “pure” racial groups in the land, a new ethnic group, Coloureds, emerged and relatively thrived, especially during the apartheid years. Of course, black men have been sexually abused too. But, under normal circumstances, men do not bear children.
The sad aspect of this outcome of our fore-grandmothers’ sexual abuse by evil-intentioned white farmers is that, today, there is a lost generation of millions of black South Africans who are not too sure of their real family origins. They suffer from identity crisis issues. In this sate of affairs, many live in denial of white or black genetic material in their familial bloodlines. Talking about this subject is a living taboo in many such families to this day. The real paupers of South Africa are found in this group. Should there ever be an explosive revolutionary, planned or spontaneous, rise against insensitive, impunitous white privilege in the country, it will start here. Mark my word.
Thus, there is more to South African black people’s irate behaviour and resentment towards their fellow white countrymen, starting with the latter’s original symbols of power: from the farms, to monuments, and the education system. The education system still furthers the inequalities prevailing in South Africa.
The least the influential white farming community can do is to be humble and, for example, channel their energies towards improving the lot of their fellow black countrymen’s standard of living. Investing in the modernization of the South African education system and the children and youth of the country would do better honour in the memory of criminally murdered South Africans of all races and social standings. This is what the FeesMustFall movement is all about, essentially.
In political and corporate governance, educated people, black South Africans in the context of this article, resolve their issues over conference tables, golf courses, and rugby clubs, to name but three avenues. I have yet to hear that a black South African university graduate has been involved in any criminal, so-called farm killings so far.
Tel.: +27 626 219 288
November 08, 2017
REMEMBERING A SENIOR WARRIOR:
It is almost two weeks since Svein Sørlie died on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 in Norway. He shall be buried on Tuesday, August 29, 2017. I believe that wherever his soul is in the grander universe, it is thriving in the best conditions of the afterlife; resting in peace, hopefully. There is no rest for the hearts of gold. Gold is forever; larger than life. Such was Svein Sørlie as I knew him, feeling as if it had been all my life.
Svein Sørlie: my student, my friend, my mentor, my protector. In time, he grew to represent a formidable father figure for me as I strove to curve a space of my own in a land that is not of my forefathers, Norway. With his death, it feels like a large chunk of Norway has just been ripped off my heart. The hurt I feel is profound.
I have known Svein, since March, 1989. During much of this time, I’ve watched with awe how he would ever so elegantly balance, sometimes in one and the same space, the role of a father, grandfather, brother, uncle, lover, in-law, friend, teacher, student, colleague, citizen, and community member. I could never get enough of the warmth and love that, on the one hand, Svein exuded, and received, on the other.
It did not matter whether we were in Norway, or travelling in Greece or the UK; he was ever so easy to get along with. I guess it had to do with the aura of humility and compassion he radiated, long before he would open his mouth to greet people, and introduce himself to strangers.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall; dojo, camping, competitions, seminars, party, home, city centre, beach, everywhere: Svein Sørlie was the ever green, the ever wonderful. An IT expert, a former naval officer, and Judo adept, he was a knowledgeable and wise man; a man of the world. His terrific sense of humour made it a joy to talk with him about many subjects of common interest, any time.
On Wednesday, March 29, 1989, Anne-Britt Nilsen helped me arrange and host a public meeting to introduce Karate in the local community of Blåbærstien, Nesoddtangen. I was accompanied by my first ever Norwegian Karate student, Knut Arild Midtbø, who I had already started to train in Oslo since October, 1988. He would translate my message, since I hardly spoke a word of Norwegian, then.
In a packed, rather small community hall, the reception we received was mixture of curiosity, enthusiasm, scepticism, and outright hostility. During an altercation between my assistant, Knut, and a man who was totally against our mission in his neighbourhood, my eyes fell on a bespectacled older man. A little girl was sitting and playing at his feet. As our eyes met, the man gave me a gentle, reassuring smile; I thought the look on his face told me something like, “Never mind him!”
The friendly man was Svein Sørlie, and the little girl was his youngest child and daughter, Toril. For the next ten years or so, the Svein-Toril family duo would be the heart-beat of Blåbærstien Karate Klubb, now Nesodden Karateklubb. It was such that at a time when I had to make one of the most decisive choices in my life, I weighed my options against, amongst others, the joint pillar of strength Svein and Toril jointly represented for me in the club, if not the country Norway.
When I, sometime in October, 1991, received a deportation letter ordering me to leave Norway by November 11, 1991, I showed it to all my key people at the club, my school (then BI Sandvika), and my social network in Oslo. The reason for my deportation was that I no longer had access to the Norwegian State Educational Loan funds for the sponsorship of my continued studies at BI. We were all shocked, and, for a while, didn’t know what to do. This was unchartered waters for all of us.
Although I was prepared to leave, I didn’t know where to go: for political reasons I could neither return to South Africa nor Zambia. However, Svein came up to me, one day, and whispered, “But, Simon, you know, you cannot go away. The children will be very disappointed, you know!”
By that time, Toril and Erlend Dresskell were both about ten years old. They had recently acquired peewee Brown Belt status. I had forgotten that, when they first started training two years earlier, I had said to them that it took three to four years to get to Black Belt level. That assumed that one worked very hard, training at the dojo at least three times a week throughout the year. A lot more training had to be done privately also.
Being the sharp and ambitious kids they were, and still are, they had already figured it out that, if they had started to train Karate in 1989, then, they could have a shot at the Black Belt gradings in 1992 or 1993. They wanted it in 1992, of course! There was no way I could go away, then. Svein was right.
1992 came and went. Norway got the first under-twelve Karate Black Belts in Toril Sørlie and Erlend Dresskell, setting a trend. Their big brother, Mattias Jahr, and Big Daddy Svein had also graded for their junior and senior 1st Dan Black Belts, respectively. I had then kept my word, and the children had deservedly received their accolades. Now I could leave Norway, yes? I felt I had to, because the authorities were still not deciding whether to let my appeal to stay in Norway pass or fail. I was so fed up, then, it no longer mattered where I would go to after leaving the country.
In the meantime, I had fallen in love with a sweet girl called Birgit Lunden. Birgit has a son, Ludvik Møystad. Ludvik and I had already become the best of friends, of course; and, he had started to train Karate with me in my other club in Oslo.
Another day, Svein pulled me aside again, “Simon, you know, you have a family in Norway now. Erlend and Toril are still too young to leave alone with their children’s Black Belts. And you have said they will convert to adult grades when they are sixteen years old. That is, maybe, five years more. So, you see, you cannot go away for a long time now, you know!”
That is how I came to extend my stay in Norway, until I would, eventually, become a citizen ten years later – all for love and Svein Sørlie’s Karate kids: Toril, Erlend, Ludvik, and many others of their time. There are also hundreds of others who have since followed their footsteps in my Nesodden and Oslo Karate schools. The rest is history. Being Svein Sørlie’s fellow countryman felt, and still feels like the most natural thing. It is an honour and privilege to have him as one of my references as “The Best of Norway!” example of a real fine gentleman.
Through Toril, I extend my deep-felt condolences to the family, and Norway, on their loss. Thank you all for all the love and care you have shown me all these years. There is so much of Svein in all of you. His spirit lives in you, I know. I hope to see you all when I am back in Oslo in the coming months.
I want to especially thank Svein for having brought Toril into my life, and allowed me the pleasure of seeing her grow up as an absolutely top class Karate Kid Super Star of mine. On and off the floor, Toril has given me some of the most memorable experiences of Sensei-student relationship in all of my forty-plus Karate practice and teaching years. As a friend, she has remained supportive and loyal throughout. I shall remain eternally grateful for both Svein and Toril as an indelible part of my life story in Norway.
About Toril, Svein has said to me once, “You know, Simon, soon after Toril was born, she was brought into my arms. Our eyes met and locked immediately. We remained in that position, in silence, for what seemed like a very long time. Then, she yelled and cried as if into my face. At that moment, I knew that I was going to be together with her for the rest of my life.”
Svein continued, with a chuckle and a twinkle in his eyes, “And, you know, Simon, Toril has been yelling since then. Everyday! You are a good teacher for her. Thank you for that!”
If ever I become a father to a baby girl, I know I’ll aspire to be like the good father that Svein was to Toril; not forgetting her siblings, Svein (Jr), Ann Karin, and Tim Kristian. In that regard, I saw, in Svein, a lot of my own father, Mr ELW Chilembo, also late. The mutual love, respect, and admiration may not have been accidental, therefore.
August 28, 2017
GROWING UP IN TEN YEARS
It is not as if much has changed since I entered the afternoon phase of my life. In my younger, less restrained rock and roll days, going out to a party meant, amongst others, getting told that I talked too much, too loud. Getting laid would also come as a matter of course, although not necessarily as a must; just a cool endeavour to engage in to seal yet another successful party night out.
On the afternoon of Friday, July 27, 2007, I embarked on a cross-border trip from Oslo, Norway, into Sweden. The destination was a recreational cottage village on the outskirts of the south-western city of Gothenburg. I know now that I really had not been keen on doing that trip. But I had to: duty called; business. I was exhausted after a hectic two weeks’ business tour across much of South Africa, from which I had arrived in Oslo the previous day.
There was also a distant, yet distinct enough, uneasy feeling about the double-events calling for the visit: a business partner’s birthday celebration on the day. The following day, July 28, it was scheduled the inaugural shareholders’ meeting for our newly-registered trading company.
I had had a theoretically substantiated notion that, despite the negative vibe I felt, everything would end up well. I couldn’t help but see the millions of dollars we were going to make as we went on to transform and dominate the Scandinavian health foods market. On my part, I already saw how I’d use my share of the millions to help even more of my needy South African relatives’ children acquire decent education. The poverty levels of some of these people sear my heart ever so too much for comfort on any day.
Apart from a few new dark suits, a new Mercedes, and a new apartment in Oslo, I really had no reason to blow the monies on any more of my vanity needs. I already had my gold Rolex. So, I was cool.
As, on the morning of Saturday, July 28, 2007, I found myself driving my former business partner’s car on some unfamiliar country road, I immediately understood that something terribly wrong had happened. I wanted to believe that I was seeing myself in a nightmare, up until an almost frontal collision with an oncoming vehicle. Things had terribly gone wrong, alright. But, how?
Nothing made much sense to me. Alcohol consumption during dinner the previous night did not make me feel any fresher. As usual, I got scolded for being too loud and taking too much space. The slowly-healing scar after a major abdominal operation three months earlier was sore. I didn’t get laid, which was just as well under the circumstances. To this day, I still haven’t figured out how and where I found the car keys, scaled over an at least 1.2m high gate to get into the car, and drove off, through a never used rocky and difficult terrain, to get to normal roads.
When I lost control of the car and drove off the road, I knew that things were moving from “terribly wrong” to “serious trouble”. Realizing that crashing into a roadside ditch was unavoidable, the situation degenerated from “serious trouble” to “things fall apart”. Things happening real fast now, I recall not worrying about injuries, or worse. But, in an instant, I saw my millions flying out of the window; and, through the windscreen, I thought I saw my business partner dancing, saying to me, “See, you are not as hot as you think you are. Let’s see how you come out of this one!”
As the car rammed into the ditch, I recall acknowledging to myself that, yes, the unthinkable had just happened: my world had just fallen apart. I was finished, then. Getting out of the car stuck in the ditch, I concluded that the solution to all the inescapable impending challenges arising from this involuntary misadventure lay in me staying calm and strong throughout. I resolved that que sera sera. I’d pay my dues with dignity and honour, even if I’d have to lay my life on the line.
Such began my steep fall from economic might and glory. Little did I know that the blow would reverberate throughout about all the most decisive aspects of my being; changing the course of my life in ways I could never before envisage even in my worst nightmares.
Ten years on, I’ve yet to recover; having lost everything symbolic of economic success in life. I’m officially insolvent, and haven’t had any source of income since the first half of 2013. Prior to that, I had to endure near debilitating punitive actions arising from the car accident, both in terms of financial and legal imperatives. Seeing my business collapse in front of my eyes, and, subsequently closing down my clinic and training centre in Oslo, remain some of the most unsettling moments during that time.
Through it all, however, my staying strong resolve has never been an option. My senses of dignity and honour are still intact. Solid as a rock, I’m standing tall. The worst is over. I feel and see, like I used to before the fateful July 27-28, 2007 night and day, the pulse of my fate in my hands. I’m here. I live. I love. Again. I’ll soon return to my world in Oslo, Norway, and continue from where I left; stronger and wiser than ever before.
To mark the 10th year anniversary of my fall in opulent society, I offer the electronic version of my first book, When the Mighty Fall – Rise Again Mindgames for free. In the book, the story leading up to, and after July 27-28, 2007, plays itself out. The free offer shall be from Thursday, July 27 to Monday, July 31, 2017. Order, read with an open mind, enjoy, and be inspired.