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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 … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It”. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)
February 13, 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 … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It”. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)
December 19, 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 … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It”. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)
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? … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It”. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)
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 … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It”. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)
Simon Chilembo, 6th Dan
Tel.: +47 92525032
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 … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It”. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)
June 16, 2017