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.
STEPHEN CHAN’S PIONEERING ROLE IN ZAMBIAN KARATE
Accomplishments and Impact in the Transformation of Martial Arts Culture
- This article is in response to a request by my friend and Martial Arts brother, Raymond Mbazima, Sensei, in June 2016, “Could you do a write-up of Professor Stephen Chan Sensei’s Pioneering Role in Zambia – in particular what he accomplished and his impact in the transformation of martial arts culture?”
- The article is an honest account of events as best as my memory serves me. I must apologize in advance for any inaccuracies, or misunderstandings that might arise. The names of the various people mentioned in the article are done so with but only respect and the fondest of memories. I’ll be failing if I didn’t acknowledge many of them as having helped mould the kind of man I am today, both inside and outside the dojo. None of them is directly responsible for my madness, though.
- Regarding the main subject of the article, Stephen Chan, the tone the article has taken is as it emerged from my heart, without fear or favour. That, in line with how my mind has interpreted the execution of his Martial Arts teacher and Godfather role towards me over the years; in four countries, Zambia, UK, Norway, and South Africa.
I have never felt that Stephen was compelled to work with me, neither have I ever felt that I was unduly expected to feel indebted to him for all that he has done for me. Therefore, I am under no obligation, I have no pressing need to aspire to sanctify, or flatter him. There is nothing egotistical to gain, nor intended to.
All this I shall summarize in Stephen’s own words in a correspondence pertaining to the article, “I do hope it is a lot more to do with mutual respect and camaraderie. I always pitched in with you on the floor – so we all suffered together.”
The article here initially covers the years 1981-85, a period of my first ever direct observation of Stephen’s physical presence, and martial arts work in Zambia. It will partially describe my personal experience of training and studying Karate with him as my Sensei at the UNZA Karate Club (UKC) in Lusaka. Little did I ever think then that thirty-five years on, the special student-master relationship would still be going strong; not only with me, but with many others of my generation the world over.
Following Stephen’s footsteps as a diverse collective spread across many parts of the world, the at least five generations of top-flight Karateka my contemporaries and I have produced continue to grow and benefit from his profound knowledge of, and love for the Martial Arts. Above all, perhaps, his broader love for, and service to humanity through his exemplary professional work and career continue to inspire many of us.
Secondly, the years 1986-88 are, in my opinion and personal experience, the period in which the relevance of Stephen’s impact on me would be tested to the limit. It would also test the unity and commonality of purpose in the then Seidokan Zambia core group he had developed at UKC.
Furthermore, this period would, by extension, define whether Stephen’s legacy in Zambian Karate would live on or not. I dare say that the modern Jindokai Zambia/ Zimbabwe family we have today can trace their roots to specifically that period. Had we at UKC failed to keep it together during those two years, the Zambian martial arts scene would have swallowed up Stephen Chan’s legacy for good, I am convinced.
It may be safe to say that Stephen’s work in the wider martial arts fraternity, within and outside the then Zambia Karate Federation (ZKF)’s framework, raised awareness of, and interest in the arts to unprecedented levels in the country. The man was, after all, the nearest living thing to Bruce Lee the people ever saw, came close to, touched, and spoke to.
Stephen made a striking presence on Television Zambia (TVZ)’s Sports Review shows, speaking, as Dennis Liwewe once said, “… fantabulous, beautiful English, indeed!”
The late Dennis Liwewe became a legend already in his own time as a passionate radio and TV sports commentator. If President Kaunda was Zambia’s football number one fan, Dennis Liwewe was in a class of his own as maestro supremo football commentator.
It is at the height of our success at UKC, under Stephen’s guidance in the 1983-5 seasons, that new martial arts schools and styles emerged and hit the scene in Lusaka. Such that almost immediately after his departure for England in the second quarter of 1985, some of the new schools started coming to recruit his senior Black Belt instructors at UKC. The apparently entrepreneurial owners of some of these new schools flashed a lot of hard cash, US Dollars, to entice some of us. They also made some of us promises of scholarships abroad, especially Japan, closely followed by the Koreas. It didn’t work for me.
Thinking I was crazy to decline the potentially lucrative offers, a then confidant of mine lashed out at me, saying that I was driven by the desire to be boss of Seidokan Zambia. When I told him that it was actually more out of loyalty to my teacher, Stephen Chan, and his work than my own power aspirations, my confidant was not very convinced. At my mentioning further that Stephen had introduced me to a concept called giri, my confidant understood. He was Japanese. Giri translates to devotion, and obligation to duty. In the context of this article, giri develops around, and espouses mutuality of selflessness in a Sensei-student relationship. The latter relationship can last a lifetime.
I like to think that to this day, the concept of what I call his no-strings-attached giri continues to mutually bind Stephen Chan and his students the world over. I know it works for me. To such an extent that to me, he long ceased to be just a kind and generous Sensei. Although he can never be a relative in the real sense, he is as close to family as can be. I am inclined to believe that many others, at least those of African extract and cultural orientation, will more or less share the same sentiment.
The beginning of 1981 was extremely challenging for me. I was commencing the final year at high school, to work towards final examinations at the end of the year. The exams would decide whether I would make university studies or not the following year. At the same time I found myself taking the bull by the horns, briefly becoming de facto leader/ ‘Chief Instructor’ of the then Trinity Karate Club in Lusaka. The club was formerly run by Sensei Bonar Noble, 2nd Dan at the time. I was, then, 1st Kyu Brown Belt myself.
Sometime during the first half of 1978, there had been held, I was told, the biggest Karate Black Belt gradings ever seen in Zambia at the club. My would-be first Black Belt teacher, Tom Banda, graded here. If my memory serves me right, so did some of the biggest names of the time. These included Sensei Noble himself, my other would-be sensei and, later, friend, Anver Bey.
There would also have been Ronnie Sharpe, Eugene Moody, Yousuf Doodia, Che Mubita, and others who may have come from the Copperbelt as well. My other would-be Sensei and friend, Ajit Sam Mangali would grade in South Africa a short while later. At the same time, a new crop of ambitious Brown Belts was graded.
The Black Belt gradings were conducted by another original Japan Karate Association (JKA) legend from the early 1960s, Sensei Hiroshi Shirai, Italy. These were organized and facilitated by Sensei Bonar Noble at great personal expense. It was under the auspices of the then Shotokan Karate oriented Zambia Karate Association (ZKA), which was affiliated to the JKA, if I am not mistaken.
This was a great time to enter the Zambian Karate scene. However, in no time, what I now consider to be a normal organizational growth and development phenomenon bound to occur at some point in time, arose: mutiny and power struggle from some of the new Black Belts towards their teacher, Sensei Noble. The latter’s martial arts competence and leadership-style were suddenly not good enough.
When the new Black Belts began to quarrel amongst themselves, then, things got out of hand for real. Sensei Noble would eventually leave the club, which Sensei Ajit Mangali ably took over in 1979/ 80. When the latter also left Zambia abruptly, the responsibility of leading the club was thrust upon me by my fellow club mates.
But, by the beginning of 1981, the administrative burden was too much to bear for a school boy who couldn’t privately raise enough dojo rent monies when people didn’t pay their own monthly dojo fees. That led to the collapse of Trinity Karate Club. And I became a club-less Rōnin for the first time. The Evelyn Hone College Karate Club would occasionally kindly accommodate me, though; especially during the sessions in which Sensei Noble would be visiting them.
With the collapse of the then elite Trinity Karate Club, the Lusaka Karate scene lost an important competency, resources, and leadership centre. In fact, with Sensei Noble’s disengagement from club activity, the whole milieu was left in disarray because the great Sensei would participate less in ZKA activities. The most striking effect of that was that the high momentum and enthusiasm generated from the 1978 Black Belt gradings got lost within a short space of time. Some of the new Black Belts simply stopped training altogether.
By 1980/ 81 there was, at least in Lusaka, a large number of 1st Kyu Brown Belts hungry for a go at the coveted 1st Dan Black Belt gradings. I was one of them. However, without the deep pockets of a generous patron like Sensei Bonar Noble, the ZKA failed dismally in all efforts to harness sponsorship for tours of Japanese Sensei to come over and conduct clinics, as well as subsequent Black Belt gradings in the country.
A Japanese JKA endorsed Black Belt certificate was everything in those days. That remained true up until 1980/81 when a mad Chinese Sensei called Stephen Chan hit the stage via UKC. He began to ruffle feathers almost from the word go.
When I showed up at UNZA to watch the Zambian Karate Nationals sometime during the first quarter of 1981, I had carried along my Karate gi more out of habit than anything else. I had thought that being at the event would also give me the opportunity to see, and perhaps greet this new Chinese Sensei around whom there was so much positive vibe in town.
Getting in the changing rooms to answer the call of nature, I find this other man with long, dark hair standing there, facing the wall, responding to his own call. Figuring out too late who the man could be, I couldn’t help but proceed, anyway, to stand a respectable distance from him as I relieved myself too. As if on cue, we both simultaneously looked sideways and smiled towards each other.
“Sensei Chan?” I asked uneasily.
“You must be Sammy Chilembo,” he said without hesitation.
We both laughed heartily, bowing to each other with a mutual “Nice to meet you!”
Hand-shaking would be done another time, another place.
Stephen, “I’m looking forward to seeing you in action today. I’ve heard a lot about you.”
“Unfortunately I’m not participating today, Sir. I’ve just come to watch. I’m in a bad competition shape as I’m giving priority to my school work this year.”
Stephen, “You could win yourself a trip to Zimbabwe!”
I then changed into my gi, went on to fight my way to quarter finals in kumite, and won my first Zambian Karate Nationals kata gold medal. In April 1981, I was part of the Sensei Noble-led and sponsored Zambia National Karate team that met the Zimbabwean side. It was on the occasion of that country’s first year of independence anniversary celebrations. And the team composition was out of Stephen Chan’s first stint as Zambia Karate National Team Coach.
For the first time we are introduced to the concept of nutrition as part of our competition training and winning strategy. There would also be held a series of seminars on modern competition fitness training methods, competition rules, refereeing, and judging, as well as coaching. All this would make Stephen an invaluable asset to Zambian Karate growth and development. It became especially so because, in a climate of chronically hard economic times, Stephen never demanded any payments for the work he did both at UKC and the broader ZKA activities.
Actually, much like Sensei Noble before him, Stephen would sacrifice a lot of his own money and time in his martial arts related work in Zambia. He still does. This kind of selflessness touched, and has influenced many of us ever since. And, almost single-handedly, Stephen gradually helped mainstream Zambian Karate regain its self-confidence, and develop its unique style as would be spearheaded by many of his UKC students and their affiliates in later years, to this day.
By the time I came to UNZA (The University of Zambia) as First Year student in October 1982, Stephen had just done his first ever Black Belt student gradings in Zambia. He had unilaterally awarded, if I recall, Wycliffe Mushipi, Alex Simwanza, Raymond Mbazima, and Papu Siameja their 1st Dan Degrees. This was without the blessings of the ZKA. That act would be considered as a cardinal sin from certain powerful quarters in the then extremely conservative Zambian Karate establishment.
Their contention was that Stephen Chan was not only non-Japanese, but his Karate credentials had no Japanese accreditation either. If Stephen’s Karate was not JKA recognized, then it was not true Karate, they said. Moreover, were Stephen to be allowed to carry on the way he did, no Japanese Sensei would be keen to come to Zambia again, the critics maintained.
But in 1985, a powerful 4-man team of some of the highest ranked Japanese Sensei got to tour Zambia at Stephen’s initiative. The Sensei were:
- Grandmaster Toru Arakawa, 8th Dan, Wadokai,
- Master Toshiatsu Sasaki, 7th Dan Shotokan,
- Master Yokio Yojose, 5th Dan, Shito Ryu, and
- Master Shigeki Uyemura, 4th Dan Uechi Ryu.
By this time, though, Zambian Karate had locally already had a unique first-hand taste of some big time international Karate and other Martial Arts from outside Japan.
In February 1983, Stephen took charge and arranged the first ever all-styles Karate Nationals in Zambia. It was us, Seidokan Zambia, versus the rest of Zambian Shotokan. UNZA took all there were of top prizes, of course. I won my third national Kata gold medal. Awarding me my surprise 1st Dan Black Belt degree on the occasion, Stephen whispered to me, “You shall be recognized, you’ll see!”
The non-orthodox Sensei Stephen Chan’s gradings would eventually be recognized country-wide. Such that by the time he left Zambia in 1985, barely four years since he took everyone by storm, he was a respected and influential Karate master in the country. He had created a legacy that would stand the test of time in the land, and, eventually, beyond the Zambezi, in Zimbabwe.
Stephen first issued grading certificates by the American Jukokai International martial arts organization. It was headed by one of the time’s leading innovative American martial arts Masters called Dr Rodney Sacharnorsky, 9th Dan; and was affiliated to the All Okinawa Seidokan Karate Kobudo Renmei (AOSKKR).
Soon after, another legendary grandmaster linked to the AOSKKR, Jerry Hobbs, 10th Dan, hit the Zambian Karate scene at yet another Stephen Chan’s facilitation, changing the face of Zambian, and subsequently, Zimbabwean Karate forever.
Jerry Hobbs would visit Zambia 2-3 times in the years 1983-86, if I recall. His dynamic training seminars took our understanding of Karate for sport and self-defence to a whole new level. Refining further the Toide/ grappling and throwing techniques, including Kobudo/ weapons training that Stephen had already introduced to us, he worked to make us complete martial artists beyond just rudimentary sport/ self-defence Karate knowledge and practice. The seeds for Dentokan Zambia were sown here during this time. Needless to say, thanks to Stephen Chan.
In early 1985, by bringing in another AOSKKR international affiliated giant from Greece, Grandmaster Bill Zahopoulos, 10th Dan, and his crack team of top-flight 3rd-5th Dan Black Belts, Stephen introduced us to real high-level international Karate competition for the first time. At the UNZA sports hall and the Ridgeway Hotel, the Zambian public were treated to spectacular, unforgettable competition fights, kata, as well as close to reality self-defence demonstrations by the Greeks.
The Zambian National Team Coach, Stephen Chan, had but fielded the crème de la crème of our fighters of the time. These included Raymond Mbazima, Alex Simwanza, Lemmy Ngambi, Paolo Piccinini, Papu Siameja, and yours truly. Later on in December of that year, Stephen sponsored my travel and participation in a Pan-European Karate tournament organized by Grandmaster Zahopoulos. The event was part of the greater celebrations marking the ancient Greek city of Thessaloniki’s 1000th year anniversary.
That first visit to Europe, and first competition experience in front of a large crowd of more than a thousand people would have a lasting impact on me. Ten years since I had left apartheid South Africa, my meeting with, and talking to so many people from all over the world opened my eyes and mind to the reality that, as I would mention in my gratitude speech to our hosts, “We all are one, same universal person!”
I must mention also that the late Bill Zahopoulos and his team brought a lot of joy and pride to the local Greek community in Zambia. As did the Americans, the Japanese, and the North Koreans regarding their own visiting Martial Arts masters respectively.
The official receptions hosted by the various embassies, government representatives, and prominent residents in Lusaka gave some of us, Stephens’s senior students, the first real taste of mingling in diplomatic circles. It was a great extra-mural learning experience I personally value highly to the present day. Through Paolo Piccinini, another Seidokan Zambia Super Star who would leave the country for home in 1984/5, we enjoyed much goodwill from the local Italian community as well.
July 1988 saw Stephen meeting up with Papu Siameja, Steven Kamanga, Stanley Chiwambo, and I in Salamanca, Spain. We were attending a Seidokan Europe international training seminar hosted by another grandmaster in the system at the time, Sensei Boulahfa Mimoun Abdellah, 10th Dan. This provided us the unique opportunity to meet and train under the then head of the AOSKKR, Sensei Shian Toma, 10th Dan.
In attendance from Ireland was also Martin Rice. As a thirteen year old, he had returned home with a Seidokan Zambia 3rd Dan Black Belt degree three years earlier. It was a truly great re-union for all. From London had also come along Jerry Hobbs’ Hakko Ryu Jujitsu student, Angus Watson, a fine Budo gentleman who has afforded me the hospitality of his family home in London on more than one occasion.
I will, therefore, postulate that any talk about Professor Stephen Chan, OBE’s, Accomplishments and Impact in the Transformation of Martial Arts Culture in Zambia (and Zimbabwe) must necessarily take into consideration the internationalists that many of us have become as a result of having grown up under his tutelage.
Through TKD Black Belt, Jim Seeker, then head of the Marines Corps at the American Embassy in Lusaka, Stephen brought home the elegance and power of Tae Kwon Do kicking. An especially tense international relations moment arose when one day in, 1984/5, I think, Stephen arranged for Jim Seeker to do a demonstration of his American-South Korean brand of Tae Kwon Do. He would do this side-by-side with a visiting senior Black Belt Tae Kwon Do team from North Korea; all in the presence of the North Korean Ambassador to Zambia. Jim did his entire part with his back to the Ambassador.
Exposure to TKD further took our Karate kicking technique at UNZA to another level. Developments at UKC would, of course, be passed on to our satellite clubs at the Green Buffaloes Karate Club, Bank of Zambia Karate Club, and Ridgeway Karate Club.
As a martial arts teacher and leader, Stephen Chan embraced everyone who came his way. I often saw him demonstrate extreme tolerance with all kinds of people. He also demonstrated just as extreme levels of endurance and compassion.
In 1983/ 84, by getting the whole available UNZA Black Belt team to do a “1000 push ups Karateka” fundraising exercise for the Zambian Red Cross, he brought to me a new awareness and approach to philanthropy and community service. The same team would also run the first official Lusaka Marathon, drawing sponsorship from various donors in the same spirit of philanthropy and community service.
By these exercises above, I concluded that Stephen was teaching us that, as relatively more privileged and stronger martial arts students and artists, we didn’t want to alienate ourselves from the hard realities of the other side of society not having it so good in life. By extension, it is not uncommon to find Stephen Chan’s students and associates running Karate clubs in some of the poorest parts of the major cities in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.
Stephen would unknowingly put to the test the “extreme tolerance with all kinds of people” I thought I had learnt from him, pushing me to “as extreme levels of endurance and compassion” I had observed him do on so many occasions. This was during the years 1986-88, the second phase of his influence in me when he was no longer physically in Zambia.
The leadership vacuum he left upon his departure in 1985 created serious misunderstandings amongst the UNZA Black Belts, as well as the club administration. These two units, in essence, formed the core of Seidokan Zambia. I’ll skip the details, but what I experienced here during this time exposed me for the first time to the real ugly side and intrigues of power and leadership. I made many mistakes, and got burnt severely. Nevertheless, I grew up a lot; although I didn’t quite see it, growing up, at that time.
In the middle of all this, Stephen had ordered me to technically break down and build anew the Green Buffaloes Karate Club. The club had for many years been training a rather special kind of Kung Fu. They had joined the Seidokan Zambia, and, as such, had to demonstrate mainstream Karate qualities all-round if they were to be accommodated in the national, newly-formed Zambia Martial Arts Federation.
It was a daunting but fun task working with raw and tough soldier boys aged between 18-25 years. By the time I left Zambia in 1988, my soldier boys were some of the absolute hottest fighters and kata executors in the country. They kept the fire burning for many years thereafter, I have been told. Some of them are prolific senior Sensei in their own right today. I had passed my test with flying colours; and I am still well pleased with the work to this day.
Parallel to working with the Green Buffaloes Karate Club, I had the hyperactive Jimmy Mavenge to prepare for his special 1st Dan Black Belt grading in the pipeline. He had needed that in order to have a bit of hierarchical and real experience muscle for him to meet his ambition of breaking down the racial barriers in the old Zimbabwe Karate fraternity. Jimmy had a burning desire to “take Karate to the people” in Zimbabwe, come what may.
Although he had originally committed himself to paying me generously for training and helping him to get a genuine Seidokan Zambia Karate Black Belt degree, I declined the offer in view of the greater good that his aspirations my Stephen Chan-trained mind saw. Originally coming from apartheid South Africa, any struggle against racism was, and is, my struggle.
The resistance and animosities that arose against the Chilembo-Mavenge unholy alliance from the then Seidokan Zambia leadership were gross. Despite that, my will of steel determination to go ahead and work with Jimmy the way I did was not only a function of my natural-born madness, stupidity, and pig-headedness; I simply played out, all the way, what and how I believed Stephen Chan would have done under the circumstances.
Although the environment was different, I did exactly the same thing when I first got to Norway with Seidokan Karate. Thoughts of the origins of both modern day Zimbabwe and Norway Jindokai fill me with a lot of joy, hope, and pride anytime.
When in April 1988, with the UNZA Open Karate Tournament of the year, I pulled off, until then the biggest and most successful martial arts competition meet in the country, I had modelled Stephen to the letter, from:
- the administrative groundwork processes,
- event operations management,
- involvement of detractors and supporters alike (Motivation: cause for common good, ultimately),
- sponsorship sourcing involving families and friends,
- showing sensitivity to local political climate and leadership,
- special winning prizes,
- marketing and advertising,
- budget control/ management,
- transparency, to
- media relations. The mutual goodwill that Stephen had built with Television Zambia, Radio Zambia, and the mainstream national print media was taken to even higher levels at this event.
It would be hard to convince me that the massive success of UNZA OPEN 1988 did not contribute significantly to anchoring even deeper the nationally dominant position of the then Seidokan Zambia. This, in turn, would consolidate Stephen Chan’s legacy, thereby legitimizing his continued relevance to Zambian martial arts growth and development to the present day.
From the beginning, the megalomania in me had, indeed, had ambitions of making the tournament “the biggest ever”. This was because my bruised ego wanted to make a strong statement before I too would leave the country, heading for studies in Norway. However, the outcome beat my visions and expectations by far. If I recall, at least two hundred Karateka had participated, showcasing some of the very best Zambian competition Karate fighters and Kata performers of the time.
For the first time in the history of Zambian competition Karate management, we carried out elimination rounds on four competition areas simultaneously. All spread in the entire spacious UNZA sports hall facility. The audience was given a competition Karate feast of a rare kind. And, I can, with confidence, declare that the professionalism, with which the event flowed from start to finish, set a national standard for arranging and managing subsequent events of the same nature. This was documented in a detailed file I had left with the UKC for records. To the best of my knowledge, a report of a similar kind had never been done before. However, because of the unprecedentedly large sponsorship amounts of monies involved, transparency was a major preoccupation of mine in that regard.
Because I chose to do the undertaking at a time when my popularity with Seidokan Zambia was as low as could be, had it been a failure, I most probably would have sunk with the entire group. If they still would have come to being anyway, I think both Dentokan Zambia and Jindokai Zambia would have taken different forms from those we see today.
It was a fascinating process for me, from behind my madness façade, to observe and study quietly how Stephen ever so very elegantly danced his way through forces resisting change and new thinking in the entire Zambian Karate and Martial Arts fraternity.
“Rebellious Diplomacy” is my personal concept that describes and applies my observed and learnt Stephen Chan methods of pushing ahead, against all odds, with that which has to be done towards the attainment of certain predetermined goals. The assumption and conviction being that the outcome will be for the common good.
I know that there are some of my generation who do share the view that we learnt more about human relations than actual Karate training and skills from Professor Stephen Chan, OBE. Karate and the Martial Arts were, and still are, simply a tool, a platform for the unfolding of certain aspects of each our own human potential to the highest levels possible.
In conclusion, I contend, therefore, that it is in the focus on the humane aspects of the Martial Arts that Stephen Chan’s Accomplishments and Impact in the Transformation of Martial Arts Culture may be found. Evidence of this lies in abundance in all parts of the world, including Zambia itself, where many of his most outstanding students and Martial Arts associates are found, and continue to flourish.
Simon Chilembo, 6th Dan
Tel.: +27 81318 5271
June 16, 2016
Thinking about it as a grown up man, I’ve found that in my social interactions at all levels, I am driven by only two concepts: fairness and justness. The thesaurus lists the two as synonymous. Operationally, though, I take the liberty of applying “fairness” in relation to the good-bad duality; and “justness” to that of right-wrong.
I postulate, therefore, that if it is fair, it is good. It is uplifting. It is praiseworthy.
If it is unfair, it is bad. It is devious. It is condemnable.
If it is just, it is right. It is life supporting. It is revered.
If it is unjust, it is wrong. It is destructive. It is punishable.
When it comes to my friends, I have found fairness playing itself out in how they have accepted me in the way that I am. They have also allowed me to open doors into my life for them, equally accepting them for what and how they are. With the very closest of my friends, the mutuality of respect for one another’s strengths and fallibilities keeps me awake at night some times. It fills me with ever so much joy.
I have found justness playing itself out in hard times, especially.
It is the constant awareness of inter-personal fairness that keeps the love for my friends alive. Fairness constantly sensitizes me to elements of respect, tolerance, and moral codes cementing our friendship. These elements then extend to form the core of the interplay of justness as we all face and seek to overcome the intrinsic daily challenges of life, working either individually or collectively.
In hard times, when a friend has been overcome by misfortunes of some kind or other, those friends who are just, and able, will come forth and assist in any way deemed necessary. In principle, the friends will be motivated by the desire to help a fallen friend to come back on track and lead a happy and productive life again. Acting this way, they will be displaying moral rectitude, and honour.
Moral rectitude, or integrity, is an internal personal attribute. It reflects a person’s capacity to exercise fairness and justness. It expresses the good in us, our ability to empathise. A lack in this quality manifests itself in anti-social tendencies of, for instance, egotism, envy and spitefulness. The latter tendencies can lead to unjust acts vis-à-vis friendship moral codes, even to the extent of breaking the law.
Honour is external. It comes from the outside as a form of recognition of the good deeds attributable to a person of integrity. Therefore, in a perfect world, integrity serves, while honour acknowledges, and may reward; both occurring in a balanced climate of mutual respect. Bearing in mind that life’s pitfalls face us all equally; albeit in unequal measure and variable spaces and time. One of life’s guarantees is that one day, we all gonna fall. In that case, it should be a given that everybody needs a friend.
Driven by loss of integrity in desperate times, though, some people ever so incessantly push and cross the boundaries of common human decency with extreme insolence: they unjustifiably stab their friends in the backs. Trust betrayed. When justness is insensitively broken, there is no way the centre of a friendship can hold. That is how friendships die.
Tel.: +27 81318 5271
June 16, 2017