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To Ban or Not to Burn

At eight-to-nine-years of age, 1968-69, I was too young to see the implications of not attending school for two years. My Grade 1 year at St. Rose Primary School, Peka, Lesotho, was a long one. It lasted from age four-and-half, 1965, to six-and-half years old, 1967. I, at instant notice and under dramatic circumstances, had to leave Lesotho in the earlier part of 1969. There was no time to acquire school reports and formalized school transfer documents to enable me to continue with schooling in South Africa. Not that I knew anything about such documents at that time, though. In any case, my expectation had been that I’d return to my school in Lesotho once the situation had become normal and safe again.

©Simon Chilembo 2022
Author/ Storyteller/ Poet/ Publisher/ Warrior/ Machona Son

Towards the end of 1969, I had already begun to discern the bigger social dynamics around me. That applied to both in my home and with regard to the extended family relations, as well as the wider society to the extent that a nine-year-old child can make sense of their world. It hit me like a bomb, therefore, when my parents unexpectedly made it clear to me that schooling in Lesotho was over for my younger brother, Thabo, and I. We’d resume studies in my mother’s hometown, Thaba Nchu, 210km to the south of my hometown, Welkom. We had been to the former to celebrate Christmas 1969 with my uncle Moses’ new and young family.

The anger and frustration I felt towards my parents at that time hurt me so much that it felt like I had river stones in my stomach. This feeling of profound disappointment and helplessness would last the entire two years that Thabo and I stayed in Thaba Nchu. That I’d have a bad relationship with my uncle Moses’ wife didn’t help matters much. I became a bundle of mental and physical tension. Otherwise a generally happy-go-lucky child up to that point, I became unruly in my uncle’s home.

Understanding Thabo and I’s plight regarding education access given our background, Mr Justice Mmekwa facilitated Thabo and I’s resumption of schooling in Thaba Nchu. Eldest son of my uncle’s landlady, ‘Masang, he was a respected primary school Principal in a neighbouring town called Tweespruit.  Without this kind man’s help, it would have been extremely difficult to find any school places for us in then Apartheid South Africa. As an independent, non-racial state, Lesotho represented values contrary to those of then anti-Black progress racist Apartheid South Africa.

I remain eternally grateful to Principal Justice Mmekwa for his assistance, support, and inspiration. He was a man of class; ever well-groomed. A fine family man exuding charisma that few of my adult male role models of the time had. Other than the traditional Barolong Chief, and Mr Ngophe the trader in the neighbourhood, the Principal was the only man with a car. The latter’s black Mercedes Benz power machine made my father’s then blue Opel Rekord car look like a toy beside the former. No doubt, the man is one of those lasting I wanna be like that when I grow up references in my life. I had already begun to be aware of my predisposition towards being there for the weak and vulnerable in times of need. Principal Mmekwa’s gesture enhanced that attribute in me.

©Simon Chilembo 2022
Author/ Storyteller/ Poet/ Publisher/ Warrior/ Machona Son

A fixed image of Principal Mmekwa in my head is that of him majestically stepping out of his car each time he arrived home from work; a rolled newspaper clutched under his left armpit, with a book in the hand. On the right hand he would be carrying the most beautiful leather briefcase I’ve ever seen. In tweed outfits (never a suit), a Stetson on his head, and a smoking pipe jutting from his mouth, he was a sight to behold. His “Dumelang, bana! Hello, children!” baritone voice resonates in my head to this day. His eyes were the suns.

In January, 1970, Thabo and I were well-received by the Principal of the then newly-opened Namanyane Primary School in Selosesha Township. The Principal, whose name I’ve forgotten, was another affable man. It was advantageous that it turned out that he was homeboy with my mother and uncle Moses from their village, Paradys, about 30km from Thaba Nchu town.

Thabo and I’s respective class teachers and others were really nice to us. That made the two years at the school very enjoyable for me indeed. Whilst at school, I could forget about the unpleasant atmosphere at home with my aunt. I had already experienced the joy of choral music singing in Lesotho. However, I got the first ever taste of inter-school choral singing competitions at the new school. In my head, it is as if there was singing every day of school during the years 1970-71. The sounds of rehearsals voices of different categories of singing according to age and song vocalization skills still buzz in my head in my moments of meditative inner silence.

I got the first taste of formal competition victory when my choir, the Junior Choir, won the regional schools choral music competition in 1970. The category song was called Mmino wa Pino/ Singing of a Song. It spoke about the universal appeal of music; how it, music, defied all the prevalent artificial discriminatory practices in society. My eyes began to open to Apartheid in a critical way at about this time. My life would never be the same again.

©Simon Chilembo 2022
Author/ Storyteller/ Poet/ Publisher/ Warrior/ Machona Son

It is also at this time that I began to consciously think about the big questions of life around hate, love, peace, and all other tendencies reflecting inequities around me. Inspired by the Apollo 11 moon landing in the previous year, I recall one day wondering if it were possible to relocate to another place far, far away from all the evils of mankind on earth.

At the same time, I discovered that whereas I was in Grade 3 that year, 1970, several of my agemates were two to four classes ahead of me. In no time I had figured it out that the situation was due to the fact that I had lost the two school years of 1968-69. The difference would probably had not been that much had I progressed normally from Grade 1 in 1965, I reckoned.

If I ever had a sore moment at Namanyane Primary School in Thaba Nchu, it was the illumination of how much schooling time I had previously foregone due to circumstances beyond my control. The school Principal, my class teacher and some of their colleagues also found it hard to understand how I could have academically stayed that far behind my contemporaries. This enhanced my new sense of bewilderment here. I was actually a brilliant pupil. And, ideas of what I wanted to be when grown up were already crystallizing in my head. I began to wonder some more about whether there didn’t exist another place far, far away where I could get educated quickly to be a doctor without having to bother about the other kids that I felt had had an unfair lead over me. Visions of living in other worlds preoccupied my mind from then on.

Thinking about the moon was not exciting because I had already learned that normal human life was impossible out there. But the moon remained a major point of reference until in my class we began to read stories and answer questions from books. We began to read and write down our answers to the questions set in the books. This was a major leap from verbally answering questions from texts our teacher would have read to us.

I don’t recall any of the stories the teacher ever read to us. But I know that listening to them induced in me a feeling of flying away like a bird during the reading séances. This gave me a special inner peace that detached me from my frustrations with my derailed academic progress. In this state of mind, negative forces around me ceased to matter. The challenge, though, was that the reading sessions were ever so short. Nevertheless, that made me to ever want to look forward to going to school the following day. Truly happy memories.

©Simon Chilembo 2022
Author/ Storyteller/ Poet/ Publisher/ Warrior/ Machona Son

We may have read more stories when the time came for us to read our recommended class text book on our own. That’s because the first two stories I remember, and got to make a lasting impression on me, were somewhere in the middle of the book. Both in appropriate condensed forms, the first story was about a man whose tragic life led him to unknowingly kill his father, and end up marrying and having four children with his own mother. The second story was about two men in an intense competition to reach the South Pole one before the other.   

My class teacher made it clear that the first story was not for real. It was created a long, long, long time ago by a writer and thinker from an overseas land called Greece. Although it was a story too difficult to discuss thoroughly then, she told us that its idea was that sometimes we cannot escape what destiny had in store for us. It was therefore important to aspire to be as descent a human being as possible, despite the troubles of our world. She went on to say that we were going to read even more books as we grew older and progressed with our education.

“Books are a safe store of knowledge about who we are; just like banks keep our money safe,” she concluded.

As regards the second story, it was from reality, the teacher enlightened us. The story highlighted the importance of determination towards the achievement of our goals as we grew older. She said that books that tell real life stories teach us about what it takes to attain certain goals. The books help us to learn not to make the same mistakes that the writers shall highlight in their stories.

“Real life story books teach us how to be human in ways we should easily relate to, even if we could never replicate events of the stories as they are narrated in the books,” the teacher said. She went on to say that it was the aim of acting in the bioscope and theatre stages to seek to bring book stories close to life as much as possible. Some of us would be actors when grown up, maybe?

Two years later, I’d see for the first time a professional theatrical performance: Sikhalo, by the legendary South African playwright, Gibson Kente. This play brought home to me a clearer picture of the Black condition under Apartheid South Africa. I got a better understanding of the monster. The monster had to die, even if many of my people had to die in the process. We could cry and laugh away our troubles through the arts. Education was a crucial weapon in our struggle for freedom. If education was found in books, then I’d  read and read them all.   

It was one thing to hear the teacher’s philosophical discourse on the stories and the value of books. From reading and understanding the essence of the stories, what happened with me was that my mind for the first time in my life saw the existence of other worlds on earth. I could, perhaps, escape to these new places for my peace of mind. The more I read, the more the world, life, made sense to me, for better and for worse. The more I wanted to explore human nature in order that I might better understand myself and my purpose in life.

The interesting coincidence is that I have now been living in Norway, the land of Roald Amundsen, one of the two South Pole explorers mentioned above, for nearly thirty-four years. Greece was my first encounter with Europe in 1985. Talk about fate!

©Simon Chilembo 2022
Author/ Storyteller/ Poet/ Publisher/ Warrior/ Machona Son

I came to Norway via Zambia, my fatherland. Landing in Zambia in March, 1975, would turn out to be a thirteen years’ enduring be careful what you ask for moment. Zambia took me down, took me up, tossed me mid-air in stormy weathers, took me up and up to finally thrust me even farther away to new lands in my pursuit of a suitable place for my peace of mind. Thanks to Zambia, upon my landing in Oslo in August, 1988, I was a mean physical fighting machine, a polished rising international intellectual powerhouse with, of course, a taste for the finer things in life. Zambia gave me tough lessons in how to be a man of the world. Such that, no, landing and eventually living in Norway has never been a culture shock trip for me.

The two years prior to my parents relocating the family to Zambia, 1972-74, presented me with a trove of pubertal-early-teens growing up thrills: consolidation of my sense of identity, winning respect from my peers, earning own cash, rock-and-roll with girls, street survival mentoring from older friends of both sexes, travelling, sport, and much more. At school I was a star by default. The vision of my being a doctor when grown up was becoming more and more real. That as talk about beginning to look for potential bursary/ scholarship sources for me had begun. I got inspired to want to read more and more intensely so as to maintain my top-of-the-class status at school.

Reading then involved a great deal of cramming, especially during examination seasons in June and November/ December every year. For homework assignments, I could in one sitting lasting perhaps an hour, read and memorize all the recommended texts for the day in all the subjects: English, Afrikaans, Maths, History/ Social Studies, General Science, and Bible Studies. That was the most natural thing for me to do at the time. However, it used to baffle me when some of my classmates used to complain about how difficult it was for them to either find time or concentration to read at home. I didn’t know how I could help them; neither was I keen to, really, because competition for academic excellence was very stiff. Only the very best of the best got access to the extremely scarce bursaries/ scholarships provided by various private business entities and rich individuals.

Extra-curricular reading during this time mainly comprised newspapers, various weekly and monthly entertainment magazines and comics. Bible stories of Moses, Samson, Kings David and Solomon captured my imagination in a huge way. So, I read the Bible a lot. Some of the best literature-induced mental travels I’ve ever had have been during this time. Reflections over the adventures of the mentioned figures have lastingly influenced my view of life.

Moses opened my eyes to the sense of devotion. Samson’s warrior heart ceases never to give me goose bumps; his wife, Delilah’s betrayal of him may just be one of the reasons I’ve yet to get hitched. I don’t know. King David and his son’s lust issues gave me a special perspective about power and sex. And, then, King Solomon’s proverbs in praise of his women paved the way for the lessons of love that I’d later read about in greater depth in The Perfumed Garden. I learned from the latter book that if I wanted to maximally enjoy physical intimacy with a woman, I must handle her with utmost tenderness, just like when I consume my favourite juicy fruit. This book broadened the mystery of misogyny and violence against women. Beats me.

After over three months on the rails and road, we arrived in Lusaka a tired family unit. The journey had been hard on us on many fronts. Our joy at having finally arrived home turned into acute disillusionment within a matter of days. Longstanding conflicts in my father’s family made it difficult for us to bond. Subsequently, at different times and under different circumstances, my parents, my two surviving younger siblings and I would leave Zambia. The youngest sibling, Dintletse, died and was buried in Lusaka in 1983. I came to Norway, whilst the others returned to South Africa.

©Simon Chilembo 2022
Author/ Storyteller/ Poet/ Publisher/ Warrior/ Machona Son

Starting with my uncle, Mr OB Chilembo’s private library at home, arrival in Zambia was an introduction to a world of books like I had never seen before. In the home library, I could mentally fly away from bitterness bordering on hate in my family situation then: I’d find myself following murder investigations in the USA, falling in love with English women in London, fighting in World Wars 1 and 2, investigating human nature as a psychologist, defending criminals in courts all over the world, singing and dancing Jazz on Broadway, playing World Cup football, getting lost in the Sahara, robbing banks in Paris and Rome, escaping from Russian labour camps in Siberia, pretending to be dead in Mao Tse Tung’s China’s rice paddies, hiking across Australia, and much more.

The comfort I derived from reading books was like no other. I don’t quite exactly remember what specific books and other publications I read especially throughout the rest of 1975, when I didn’t attend school. But I know for sure that much of the reading helped me make sense of my reality. That way I could, indeed, find some peace in my inner world.

I found the reading culture in Zambia amazing both in magnitude and diversity. Even Radio Zambia had an African Literature reading hour most working day afternoons, if I recall. Zambians had no culture of displaying their book collections on shelves in living rooms. I’ve met numerous foreigners who had concluded that Zambians were not well-read for not having showy bookshelves in their houses. Quite the contrary.

Well-off Zambians like my uncle had private libraries, as I’ve already alluded to above. Otherwise, people valued their book collections so much that they kept them in their bedrooms, or such other private spaces. Others concealed the books in locked, opaque cupboards in their living spaces. Upon entering my uncle’ spacious living and dining area, including a bar, there was almost never a book to see.

Uncle OB has on more than one occasion spoken in awe about how vast a collection of exclusive books two of his contemporaries had in their private libraries. Only selected individuals could enter here. If you didn’t ask, or you didn’t get caught up in a heated debate necessitating available literary referencing, you’d not likely see your Zambian host’s book collection. Erudite or not, Zambians can be formidable debaters, if not orators, thriving on the pedantic.     

©Simon Chilembo 2022
Author/ Storyteller/ Poet/ Publisher/ Warrior/ Machona Son

With time, some of my paternal cousins of my age took me to the Lusaka City Library. I don’t recall ever reading or borrowing a book from there. But the picture of me walking around and around the library gazing at the books in amazement for what felt like hours on end, day after day, never leaves my mind. I had never seen that many and huge book walls anywhere.

The following year, 1976, I started schooling in Grade 7 at Lusaka’s Olympia Primary School. That a mobile clinic came to the school for pupils’ periodic medical check-ups and the like wasn’t such a big deal. But the first day a mobile library came over, I was positively shocked beyond words. It soon dawned upon me that, with such ample access to books, it was no wonder that Zambian Black people were not only doctors and nurses, they were pilots, train drivers, army commanders, and all sorts of things Black people of South Africa were not.

I’d eventually be member of both the British Council and American libraries in Lusaka. From the former, a book on running made the biggest impression on me. Such that when my Karate teacher and life mentor, Professor Stephen Chan, OBE, suggested that we, the then senior-most students at the University of Zambia Karate Club in 1983, take part in the maiden Lusaka Marathon run that year, I had long been mentally ready for it.

From the American library, the one book that made the biggest impression on me was on the freedom of speech concept. I recall its stand that whereas freedom of speech was indeed a fundamental human right, it was important to remember that there are moral and legal constraints as to how far we could say what we will on any subject, to anybody. Freedom of speech is not an entitlement to be malicious to others. In connection with the freedom of speech ideas, the book also touched the subject of truth telling. It argued that truth must be told always, but not necessarily at any cost. If currently telling the truth could cause more harm than good, then it may not be a bad idea to withhold it until conditions are more favourable, if ever.

©Simon Chilembo 2022
Author/ Storyteller/ Poet/ Publisher/ Warrior/ Machona Son

And then in 1982-86, the University of Zambia Library became my books haven. Many of us students and the academic staff did our research here. This institution consolidated the intellectual foundation upon which this my new writing career stands.

During the years preceding university studies commencement, I used to have much informal political education talks with a selection of some older South African freedom fighter veterans based in Lusaka in those days.

One of the veterans, Comrade Lerumo, once said to me, “Sy, when you analyse any issue, you must always look at it from both opposing sides. When you read in your research, read books, or any other relevant form of written presentation, articulated from opposing perspectives. Do the same when you listen to world news on the radio; listen to everybody, whether you agree with them or not. That’s how we become intellectual powerhouses, able to solve problems effectively as they arise because we know how everybody thinks.”

Comrade Lerumo went on to say, “The sad situation is that surprisingly many of our leaders in exile don’t read. If they do read at all, it’ll be a book on Marxism here, Che Guevara there, and Chairman Moa there and there. They’ll recite a stanza or two of a Shakespeare and think that they are smart. Tragic!”

©Simon Chilembo 2020
Author/ Storyteller/ Poet/ Publisher/ Warrior/ Machona Son

The UNZA Library provided me with all the books I ever needed for a successful university  studies career. These days I have access to major world libraries in the palms of my hand, at the tips of my fingers. In principle, no one can hide from me a once formally published book. No one can absolutely hinder me from publishing a book, formally or otherwise.

From the outset I write with good intentions. I write with a pure heart, my imperfections notwithstanding. Because I’m non-cantankerous by propensity, I consciously choose to write non-offensive, uplifting books; upholding principles of freedom of speech and truth telling with responsibility. At the same time, I do not expect that my writings shall be appreciated by all. I’m not a popularity contests writer. I write as a free spirit without fear or favour, simply practicing what book reading has taught me over the years. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to contribute to the growth of humanity’s reading material data base.

Writing books has liberated my soul. The worlds I create with my books instil in me a sense of peace and love beyond words. Each publication of any writing of mine is an attempt to portray the workings of the peace and love that I feel. Although it is for the observer to judge my deeds, inside of me I feel I’ve become a better person breathing and walking as an author.  Books have outright saved my life. In more ways than one. Plain and simple.

©Simon Chilembo 2022
Author/ Storyteller/ Poet/ Publisher/ Warrior/ Machona Son

If we want this our world to be a better place for all, it’s symptomatic of intellectual bankruptcy to ban books that tell and expose truths about transgressions we have historically, and continue to commit over one another. That depending on the balances of power according to race, political orientation, and other artificial human discriminatory categories and practices.                     

Good or bad, truthful or malicious, once a book is written and published, it’ll stand the test of time in numerous formats. That’s why we have, amongst others, national libraries and archives. Power is in writing another book to counter or falsify a book that proliferates undesirable messages. Better yet, power is in writing another book to take already existing progressive literature to ever higher levels.

Banning of books prejudicially classified by powers that be is tantamount to running away from the truth, running away from the self. Banning of books is denialism of the existence of one’s deeds tracks in history. Banning of books fakes presentation of the present as if the present begins and ends in itself. Living the present on fake presuppositions is sure a promise of a future of ignorance and non-sustainable existential premises. As it is, it is evident that a current exercise of banning of books enshrining enlightenment and wisdom is a consequence of forces of ignorance and destruction having had the upper hand in the past, distant and near.

Truth frightens the guilty. Cowards fear for life confrontations of truths about themselves. They shall ban and burn books, they shall incarcerate and murder writers, but cowards in the form of fascists shall never ever succeed in erasing the urge for truth search and expression that is at the core of being human.

In the 21st Century of unprecedented potential for making planet earth a place called heaven for all, USA (The Ununited States of America), the most powerful nation on earth, is in an orgy of banning books. As if the Coronavirus pandemic and the January 6 insurrection weren’t bad enough. Amongst others, these books lay bare the truths about one of the essential elements of the foundations upon which the economic might of the USA stands: the trans-Atlantic slave trade. This endeavour inhumanely uprooted African people to go and work in slavery the initially cotton-based American agro-industry.

Classified as inferior humans, American-enslaved Africans lived and worked under the most appalling, dehumanizing conditions. Modern day USA racism against people of African descent and others stems from the earliest days of European settlement and subsequent colonization of the north American continent. Truth as plain and undeniable as can be.

Slavery in the USA formally ended in 1865. In the Euro-USA context, though, racism as a social construct continues to seek to perpetuate artificial racial inequalities that have been developed to sustain oppression of Black and other People of Colour. This phenomenon is experienced in other parts of the world also (The Middle East, China, Eurasia), notably Australia, South Africa, and other areas of the world where Euro colonialism has had a lasting imprint. The idea being to infinitely suppress the oppressed so as to maintain them in perpetual subservience. That way forcing them, the People of Colour, to continue selling themselves cheaply for the benefit of the superior White race. Baloney, of course.

Through research and critical analysis of historical facts, books are written in order that knowledge about the truth about where the USA comes from, and what values make and break it can be disseminated as wide and durably as possible. In here is included books countering anti-Semitic literature and the anti-Jewish sentiment as a whole, both in the USA, Europe, and globally.

©Simon Chilembo 2022
Author/ Storyteller/ Poet/ Publisher/ Warrior/ Machona Son

Banning and burning of books is knowledge dissemination delayed and denied. I shudder to think about the future of America when literacy rates are as low as they are today. All explicable in historical terms, of course. When some of the leading books banning proponents are Ivy League universities graduates, it may be arguable that many a student enter these institutions with but half-baked academic maturity. No wonder the country is in such a socio-politico mess spearheaded by educated fools. Unversed American children raised by conspiracy theories pregnant America can only but keep the fires of American Nightmare burning in all perpetuity. Trash begets trash. In that case, they can ban me with pleasure for my broken Dream of America.

In Africa, an educated fool emerged from anti-liberation struggle imprisonment once. He had seven university degrees to his name. Obtained from studies behind prison walls with limited access to relevant research literature, the degrees could only have been half-baked. The man brought his country to its knees. He is dead now. His country is on stumps; amputation wounds chronically infected. No school books in the country. Teachers are running away before they lose their knees. Future of intellectually bankrupt America as dire as that of country balancing on stumps that won’t heal.        

SIMON CHILEMBO
OSLO
NORWAY
TEL.: +4792525032
February 05, 2022

AMERICAN NIGHTMARE

DIDN’T GO AMERICA 

And, so

I didn’t

Go to America

I felt robbed

Yet again

God had decided

To screw

My wishes  

Yet I had prayed and prayed and prayed

Prayed since I was a  child

I saw beautiful America 

In the bioscope

King Kong

Swept me off my feet

Made me believe

I could reach for the sky

Higher than him

Upon the World Trade Center

I was smarter than him  

After all

If only I could

Get into the screen  

Off the wall

All I had to do was to

Go to America

I dreamed 

Heard on the radio

As 

Neil Armstrong’s first one step

On the moon

Was reported

A giant leap

For mankind

Was recorded

When other children and I

On my township streets

Enthralled

Sang about that moment

Monna wa pele

Ya hatileng ngoeling

Ke mang

Ke Armstrong  

It was clear to me that

In America

The world couldn’t hold a man down

I’d go to America

When grown up

I’d be doctor in America

I believed

Science ruled in America

The day

I ate

The body of Christ  

Father Hammel had earlier

Convinced me that

I was a chosen one

Child of God

The bishop-with-no-name

Later came and

Patted my cheek

Nearer to the heart  

My entry

Into the kingdom of God was confirmed

My wishes

Would be her command

For as long as I lived

America brace yourself

But

I didn’t

Go to America

At night

Year in and year out

I slept

Deep as I could

In the event that

Spirits of my ancestors

Came my way

I’d be wholly

Receptive to their guidance

As to how and when

I’d go to America

I went on to sleep

Hours on end

In daytime

Many a year in

Many a your out

To no avail

I didn’t go to America

©Simon Chilembo 2021

Dejected

Faith gone

To places I couldn’t fathom

Only God

Only ancestral spirits

Knew

I felt cheated

Terrible  

First

They dropped me

Not only

In the darkest continent

Africa

But Africa

Where my blackness

Was a curse from birth

Where

I only dreamt

Blood raining on me

Everywhere

In everything I did

Every bloody day

I’d at times wake up

In a fog of blood

All around me

Hard to breathe

No wonder

Ancestral spirits

Could never reach me

Could never speak with me

In South Africa

Land of my birth

God favoured

White people compassion-deprived  

Favoured with greed

Favouring oppression of the conquered  

As they knew it in Europe

Where they had been scummed

Their previous lives

The wretched of the wretched

Reproducing the ever wretched  

Of the earth

Souls broken

Dehumanized by their own

The original landed

Self-imposed rulers of man

Creators of God

Who ruled

By the sword

Subsequently the gun

Now the drone

Not forgetting

Intercontinental ballistic missiles

No blood, no victory

No blood, no insurrection

No blood , no subversion

No blood, no suppression 

No blood, no subservience

No blood, no annihilation  

What a bloody mess

©Simon Chilembo 2021

In Europe they had kingdoms

They had the church

In South Africa

Kingdoms morphed into Apartheid state

The church remained  

Multi-pronged

In the name of God

Of many faces

The wretched of the wretched

Propagating the ever wretched

Of the earth

The only thing they knew   

White people spilt

Black people’s blood there

In South Africa  

People killing people

Became a way of life there

Not much has changed

So much blood everywhere there

People stabbed

People gunned

People molested

Bled and ran

Bled and fell

People died in pools of blood

When I saw blood

I knew I was alive

I got older

I knew I had to

Get out of there

America calling, baby

Ol’ Blue Eyes

Came out voice blazing

Singing

New York

New York

And all my doubts were squashed

I just had to go to America

New York

New York

City that never sleeps

Just perfect for me

Too much blood

In my dreams

During sleep

©Simon Chilembo 2021

Mr Black President Mandela

Of South Africa

Came and went

As if from nowhere

Mr Black President Obama

Emerged in  America  

Went and buried

Mr Black President Mandela

Black Power

Circle of life complete

In Mzansi fo sho   

Mr Black President Obama

Of America

Charmed

All charmable people of the world

Incredulous

Angry White people’s worlds

In disarray

Black-people-detesting cells

In their blood boiled

Resorted to the only trait they know

Violence

Lynching of Black people urge

Pervasive as porn

Diabolical must be a place in America

Where they don’t know a thing

About democracy

Tyrants

Getting kicks out of

Shameless display

Of ignorance entangled in

Bungled communisocialism theories    

Heads or tails of which

They don’t know at all

Founded upon slippery

Coagulated blood-paved intellectual grounds

Some gone to school

I can’t help but wonder

From which planet

The books they’ve read are

Their libraries must be

Drenched in blood

They must have been taught by

Crooked professors

Fake

Blood-sucker intelligentsia

Soiling academia of the world

Ivy League universities

I gotta ask

What went wrong

With these people

Or is it you

What’s become of you

Once upon a time

Revered seats of knowledge

Astonishing     

Black people of the world

Caught Obama fever

Chronic

Need no inoculation

Obama ain’t Corona

Got

Obama talk

Got

Obama walk  

Yah, man

Bob Marley had said it before

Everything’s gonna be alright

No more cry, woman

No more cry, man

Dry your tears

Black child  

Martin Luther King’s

Dream had come true  

We had overcome

Free at last

America

Watch me

I’m coming home

Miley Cyrus

Where’s the party, babe

There’s

A party in the USA

The Un-United States of America

Amidst the Obama euphoria

I heard a gunshot here

KABOOM!!!

A gunshot there and there

KABOOM!!! BOOM!!!

Black man 

Ceased to breathe here

Ceased to breathe there

Die

Nigger

Die 

Reality come home  

Gruesome

Genocidal Apartheid South Africa

Upon my heels

©Simon Chilembo 2021

White America

Not unlike

God-favoured

White South Africa

Compassion-deprived   

Favoured with greed

Favouring oppression of

Black people

People of colour

Rose

Showed its true colours

Emboldened

Raw to the extreme

No brakes

No remorse

Despicable

Mr President Doughnut Prump  

Hit the scene

Raving mad   

Apartheid lunacy

Taken to another stage

Up or down

Just as vile

If not worse

Mr Vice President Pence’ gallows  

Spelt it all out in

The Capitol gardens

Obscene

Like they used to

Parade the streets with

Decapitated heads

Of their own

On stakes

In yesteryear’s Europe

Delinquent

White America

Spoilt brats

Seek to burn San Francisco flowers

On Madame Speaker Pelosi’s head

Shut her beak

Meanwhile

Paul Gosar

Unhinged

Animates

Ms Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Woman of colour

He could never match

In any way

Kills her

On the digital world stage

Ghastly

Appalling

Repeating history

As is customary

Killing his own

In 21st Century America of all colours

On the streets

In the name of justice

For paralysed-Kenosha-police-seven-times-shot-in-the-back-unarmed

Jacob Blake

Delinquent

White America

Spoilt brat

Kyle Rittenhouse

Just normalized

Vigilantism in America

Critical Race Theory

Comprehension bereft

Children of America

Just fallen deeper into

The abyss of hell    

Horrendous  

Out on the streets

On a

Longevity enhancing jog

Unarmed

Posing no threat to no one

Black America young man

Ahmaud Marquez Arbery

Met his demise

In the hands of

Genocidal white America’s

Travis McMichael

In the murder trial court of whom

The latter’s defence lawyer

Wants not to see

Men of God in

Black America personas

Outrageous     

On second thoughts  

They can keep their America

My God ain’t too bad after all

Neither are my ancestral spirits

Gonna find me

Pure white as snow

Polar bear
END
©Simon Chilembo 18/11-2021

©Simon Chilembo 2021

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PS
Order, read, and be inspired by my 7th book, Covid-19 and I: Killing Conspiracy Theories. It might save yours and your loved one’s lives.

©Simon Chilembo 2020

CONSEQUENCES – A Poem

CHOICES

Akin to
Dead men walking
Free spirits
Are indifferent to pain
Suffering unbeknown
Know no barriers
Are of all times
Immortality
Is the name of their being

Akin to the wind
Dead men walking
Free spirits
Embrace space
Devoid of sentiment
Propelled by
The fair and righteous
Infused with clear conscience
Akin to that
Of saints

I made my choices
I took my chances
You made your choices
You took no chances
You the illusory chosen one
Sitter on the
Right hand of God
Centre of the universe
In your comfort zone
Delusional
You cry foul
At the world
You decry makers of you
For thorns and no roses
In your comfort zone
As if they
Your makers
Pruned the flowers
And left you in the bush
When the choice to stay was yours
Ultimately
You ought
To have seen the autumn
Cease coming your way
Aeons gone by
Grown man

You could never learn
How to harvest
Never learned
How to sow
In the first place
Akin to
Baby bird
Who never left the nest
Soundless
Mouth agape
From dusk to dawn
Season after season
Anticipating feeding time
Long gone with the elements
Catastrophe

©Simon Chilembo 2021

Akin to
Destitute baby bird
Who never left the nest
Your mamma is dead
So is your dad
I could never be them
Even if I wanted to
I could never replicate
Their parental obligations to you

Much as
I long for heiresses and heirs
My progeny
Products of my loins
Carrying my blood
In their flesh and bones
Made not like bread
You could never be them
Even if I wanted you to be
Miracles of nature
Have their limits


Ancient Greece mythology
Created Oedipus
It never worked out well for the man
Poor soul crushed
He gouged out his own eyes
Tragedy

And now
You want to
Shoot my brains out
Kill me dead already
Can you take
The ricochet
Dead men walking
Free spirits
Die only once
Forget the resurrection jive, man
It isn’t I who killed promises of
The fiasco
That is the mark of the beast of
Your comfort zones
All I ever did
Was to seek to
Blow light over your life
Or did I come out too strong
Struck like lightning
When I chose not
To plunge into
A miserable life
Of men of no vision
Succumbed to wretchedness of the earth

When you’ve attuned your eyes
To seeing
Only evil spirits in the air
You could never see
The good of my intentions
Pure as silence
In the domain of
Dead men walking
Disentangled
From thorns of love nor hate
Only drawn towards
The fair and just
Amongst the living

You wanna know
How to grow
The #Midas touch
How to
Reap gold
From what you sow
Open your eyes
To the light
Be humble
Be a little grateful
Look and learn
Dead men walking
Amongst the living
Have it all
END
©Simon Chilembo 12/10-2021

SIMON CHILEMBO
OSLO
NORWAY
Telephone: +4792525032

RECOMMENDATION: Do you want to start writing own blog or website? Try WordPress!

PS
Order, read, and be inspired by my 7th book, Covid-19 and I: Killing Conspiracy Theories. It might save yours and your loved one’s lives.

©Simon Chilembo 2020
Project management

CRITICAL RACE THEORY SENSE

DISSECTING RACISM WITH THE LAW

Simplified in everyday but clean language, Critical Race Theory applies law principles to expose and to deconstruct the historical foundations upon which the illegalities of legalizing racism stand.

In broad terms, the law represents, to the extent that the prevalent, universally acknowledged status quo remains unchanged, a constellation of fundamental guiding principles and values held dear by a group of a diversity of members (henceforth a nation, for purposes of this essay) brought and held together by a need to sustainably safeguard their common existential imperatives, perceived and real.

The latter above as dictated by encountered natural conditions, or as conceptually defined by the group with respect to ways and means of organizing settlements, food production, provision of health and other essential social services, defence and security. Ideally, the law is supposed to serve as both a reference and applicatory tool for establishment and maintenance of order in society. Society being a human, conceptual and material institutions construct that constitutes the totality of a nation.  A nation is by default a multifaceted functional collective entity working towards the attainments of certain predetermined goals for the survival of the nation as a unit, and the individual as the essential part of the entity.

The Constitution of a nation is, then, a sacred documentation of the core laws of the land upon which a nation exists. A constitution in its current form is a living document that, with consensus, may be subject to amendments in order to suit changing local and international material and conceptual paradigms with time. If and when a constitution is hijacked and changed by force, or at worst suspended altogether by disgruntled elements defiant of the laws of the land, that process is called a coup d’état. More often than not, coup d’états impose unpopular, draconian laws for the instigators to stay in power. This is how dictatorships emerge world-wide. Dictatorships cause hardships.

The legal system is the working arm of the law. It comprises numerous branches requiring specialized education and training in the various aspects of the law, from the interpretation of the laws and their ramifications across the entire spectrum of societal existence, to enforcement of, and compliance with specific laws in given contexts. The judiciary administers the court system, where disputes are litigated, and criminal cases are tried, with punitive measures of the law determined and imposed where and when applicable.

Judges and magistrates preside in the courts. They weigh merits and demerits of cases as argued by defence lawyers and prosecutors. Defence lawyers represent aggrieved parties, or those facing criminal charges upon having been accused of breaking certain aspects of the law. Prosecutors’ job is to prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the criminally accused.

Latest book published October 08, 2021

Laws are made, modified, or repealed by the legislative arm in parliament. In functional parliamentary states, Members of Parliament (MPs) are elected officials representing national citizens through their various political parties which have variable demands as to their political orientations. This is in response to, or may lead to protracted inequities in society, where one or several groups will seek to dominate others through a variety of overt and subtle abuses of power in the state machinery. The idea being to, as much and as long as it is possible, exclude the subdued from enjoying the freedoms and all-round benefits of the bounty of their lands.

Through hook or crook, setting ludicrous, outrageous prerequisites for qualification to participate in the elective processes determining composition of the legislature, the dominant forces can manipulate the legislative procedures to institute laws that will inhibit or even totally exclude the dominated from participating fully in the developmental processes of their nations.

To pass an idea into law is to legalize it. The piece of law passed shall have a name and number, with reference to the relevant part of the constitution where and when applicable. It shall, amongst others, state its purpose, justification, extent and implications, as well as punitive levels and nature according to degree of contraventions, including circumstances prevailing at the time of offence execution. For example, in 1913, the then White dominated legislature in South Africa introduced a lastingly catastrophic Native Land Act for Black people of the land.

“THE NATIVE LAND ACT (NO. 27 OF 1913): The natives land act was specifically created for the control of black access to land. This act had a profound effect on the African population across the country and fundamentally still maintains that same effect on black people today. The Act’s most devastating condition for Africans was the exclusion from buying or hiring land in 93% of South Africa.

“Africans, despite being higher in population numbers were only allocated 7% of land ownership and were only allowed to remain on white owned land as labourers and servants, which forced independent black farmers into the labour market by denying them the rights to purchase land,” AWCI Property.

It goes without saying that the above law legalized preclusion of South African Black people from benefitting from the bounty of their land. The law acutely skewed economic and political power to the Whites. This law was a decisive precursor to the inception of the subsequent racist South African Apartheid state, 1948-1994.

Apartheid was not just. Because it was not just, it was illegal. Because it was illegal, the struggle for the freedom and enfranchisement of Black people of South Africa had to continue. Enfranchisement gives the legal right to vote and influence societal progress in one’s country. Throughout all the various legislations pursued in order to enhance White power during the Apartheid years, the condition of Black People in the country only but worsened. This was despite that the Apartheid regimes kept shooting themselves in the foot all the time.

The post-1994 South Africa of Nelson Mandela inherited a massively broken society. Critical Race Theory offers an analytical and explanatory model for understanding the realities of South African socio-political discourse today. It’s applicable to Zimbabwe. It’s applicable to the entire global post-colonial society, actually. That a stratum of USA society is so anti-Critical Race Theory is just a reflection of how really detrimental racist White Privilege has been for the intellectual and cultural sophistication growth of these people, together with their Black and Brown people cohorts. Shame.

From the South African example given above, it is clear that Critical Race Theory is not just an empty theoretical postulate. It lays bare the historical facts to explain contemporary racism as it plays itself out with impunity right in front of our eyes on a daily basis; we be in the USA, Europe, South Africa, Australia, or anywhere else in the world.

Critical analysis of any phenomenon entails not only studying the phenomenon in isolation, but also in relation to other relevant dynamics around it. We compare, we contrast, we interpolate, we extrapolate, we synthesize, we hypothesize, we weigh pros and cons, we test, before we arrive at what we know are well-thought-out and structured conclusions.

It’s naïve and ignorant to want to dismiss Critical Race Theory as divisive, and promoting anti-White racism and hate. What can be more divisive than the White Supremacist racism has already been for at least four-hundred years? Black people’s struggle for freedom, justice, and equality is exactly as the three concepts say: free from malice, seeks fairness and the prerogative to reclaim their right to exist with human dignity on par with everyone else the world over.

I have yet to meet a serious Black liberation warrior that is pre-occupied with vindictive oppression, subjugation, and annihilation of the White race. Honestly, the entire world would have long gone down under had Black and Brown people risen in vengeance against the obtrusively documented White Supremacy barbarism all over the world

But in order to fully appreciate where we are coming from with our demands and fears, Black and White people have to embrace facts of their history:

  • White Supremacy and its roots in the global colonial and capitalist expansion owes its economic might to the raw exploitation and destruction of Black and Brown societies of the world. It’s an absolute fact that has nothing to do with sowing seeds of hate and all that bull. Racism justified and sustained the cross-Atlantic slave trade. Enslaved African labour unequivocally facilitated the documented historical exponential growth and consolidation of American capitalism, with inevitable spillovers to Europe.
  • Whereas technological advancements in the 17th Century onwards would render large-scale agro-industrial slavery redundant, racism continues to live on. Racism is both a philosophical and practical tool used by White Supremacists to exclude and eliminate Black and Brown people from equal and just participation in the collective determination of their own destiny in their lands. Existing economic inequalities in the USA, South Africa, and similar countries have indisputable racistic undertones.  
  • Demands for reparations in the USA and Europe are as justifiable as can be, therefore. These demands are never going to die some natural death. They have to be addressed one way or another. These demands are no declaration of hate or war. If and when people talk about fighting for reparations, they are not talking about any martial warfare, they are talking about legal battles in the courts. That’s all. No blood was shed in the case of Bruce’s Beach, California, property being returned to its rightful owners.  
  • Successful Black and Brown people aligning themselves with White Supremacists must know that the latter don’t really see them as genuine blood compatriots. In the slave-owner tradition, White Supremacists simply use these lost Black and Brown souls to further their (WS) goals of perpetual global hegemony. A lost cause.

Indeed, experientially, racism may be reducible to the inevitable variable individual (in-)sensitivities. But as a system, White Supremacist systemic racism makes no individual exceptions: from the outset, when you are Black or Brown or Yellow, you are exactly that. In WS eyes, you are, as per God’s design, inherently inferior and destined to permanent White Supremacist servitude. As shown below, the latter postulation is blatantly fallacious, of course:  

1. America abounds with examples of Black people who have demonstrated sustainable superior competence Black Excellence – across the board in the advancement of the society.

2. A Nigerian mathematics genius has made global headlines in Japan.  

3. Four computer brains Black women sent NASA to space and back.  

4. Global Black excellence in all areas of human endeavour is documented across the entire sphere of modern mass media platforms. But all this is of no use if people are illiterate and incapable of exhibiting any critical thinking skills, or even inclination for thinking about the big questions of life and being. For the intellectually dysfunctional, their ignorance is ever exacerbated by their paying attention to purveyors of conspiracy theories, often with dire outcomes.

5. Yours truly is a one man intellectual and creative power house of reckoning. He treads upon intellectual landmines where few dare to venture into.

All children must be taught Critical Race Theory uncoated. Knowledge is power. Truth liberates. The future of humanity may be secured by children growing up into adulthood equipped with the knowledge of what human behavioural attributes have led the world to the existential mess we find ourselves in today.

It is only through the teaching of facing plain truths about the mistakes and injustices committed in the past and the present that future people can make informed choices about what kind of a world they want to live in. Herein lies the essence of critical thinking skills and attitudes inculcation in the minds of children. Devoid of critical thinking skills faculties, children grow up as fertile grounds for sowing seeds of living with fears of the unknown. Fears of the unknown breed and feed irrationality. Irrational people are a curse to humanity.

Appreciation of Critical Race Theory today is a remedy for potential racial wars arising in the future. It should encourage atonement as a means for facilitating peaceful co-existence. That founded on the principles of knowledge of who we, humanity, are and what we are capable of achieving for both the good and the bad of our being humans on earth.

I rest my case.

SIMON CHILEMBO
OSLO
NORWAY
October 20, 2021
Tel.: +4792525032

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PS
Order, read, and be inspired by my 7th book, Covid-19 and I: Killing Conspiracy Theories.

©Simon Chilembo 2020

VREDE

HVA VET JEG

Hva vet jeg
Jeg, som du sier
Er en primitiv mann
Preget av afrikanske jungle kultur
Der mennesker spiser hverandre
Er jeg da her
For å kannibalisere deg
Glemm det, mann, sier du
Her i riket ditt
Er det sivilisasjon som herjer

Her finnes det lys
Noe som er gunstig
For hjerneutvikling, sier du

Som om hudfargen min
Oppsluker lys hvor jeg kommer fra
Tvert i mot, egentlig

Det er ikke tilfeldig at
Dere skriver og leser bøker
Dere som er verdens
Kulturelle elite som nasjon
Noe som jeg ikke er
I stand til å forstå
Med min mindre utviklede jungelhjerne, mener du

Hva vet jeg
Om likestilling
Jeg, som du sier
Som forakter kvinnfolk
Jeg som er ute etter
Å overta ditt liv
For å utnytte deg
Som kjæledyret mitt
Glemm det, mann, sier du

I kvinnerettighetenes navn
Forlanger du at
Jeg skal respektere deg
Egentlig, insisterer du videre at
Jeg må beundre deg
Du er min gudinne
Jeg skal være slaven din
Slaveri tendens ligger jo i afrikaneres gener
Det burde jeg vite, påpeker du

I helvete, svarte fæn
Våken opp
La deg integrere i sivilisasjonens land
Kvitt deg med
Dine primitive vaner
Hør på meg
Gjør som jeg sier
Uten meg er du ferdig
Du er ingenting
Skal du leve lenge
Og nyte det gode livet
I dette verdens beste
Hviteste hvite land
Må du oppføre deg pent

Sitt i ro og fred
Under mine vinger
Din sjel er i mine hender
Vær ydmyk og snill, slaven min
Mamma skal ta godt vare på deg
Snille lille gutten min
Kjære slaven min
Jeg bjeffer
Du hopper
Avtale
Sier du

Si noe, da
Brøler du
Ikke bare stå der og glane
Gjør noe
Vil du slå meg
Vil du pule meg
Gjør ett eller annet
Eller dra til helvete

Hva gjør du nå
Stans
Du drar intet sted
Før jeg er ferdig med deg

Mann, du er stygg og dum
Skam til den kvinnen
Som måtte føde deg
Stakkers dame

Hvor uheldig kan en kvinne være
Ved å føde deg
Så stygg og dum som du er
Og du kaller henne for mor
Fy søren, er det mulig

Ikke kom nær meg
Bare ta et steg frem
Og da skal du oppleve
Hvordan vikingenes vrede flytter fjell
Og skaper tsunamier i verdenshavene …
(Continues in the book MACHONA POETRY: Rage and Slam in Tigersburg)
©Simon Chilembo 07/05-2021

SIMON CHILEMBO
OSLO
NORWAY
Telephone: +4792525032
September 20, 2021

RECOMMENDATION: Do you want to start writing own blog or website? Try WordPress!

PS
Order, read, and be inspired by my latest book, Covid-19 and I: Killing Conspiracy Theories.

©Simon Chilembo 2020

THE CHILDREN’S FUTURE

FATE TRAP

Hard to count
When now
They are in fixed
And then
Criss-crossing groups

Repeat
Again, and again
Here, there, everywhere
At the same time
In this closed space
Playing games of all sorts of
Running, jumping, falling, rolling
This moment orderly
The next erratic
Repeat

In the pandemonium
There’s laughter, there’s crying
Commands, corrections
Arguments
Singing
Whistling above
Melodies of birds
Claiming space here too

Dogs in this land don’t bark
Neither do cars hoot
Just as well

Balls bouncing off the ground, walls, and boards
Rattling chains
Shrieking voices
Squeaking metals
Waiting for glass to smash

Total chaos repeating itself
Day after day
Yet the world
Does not go under with these
Eighty-eight
Could be ninety-nine
Perhaps one-hundred-and-one-plus children here

The happiness
The love
The freedom
Reflecting harmony
In the chaos
The children splash
Into my eyes
I can’t quantify

Now, let’ see
This one child here’s going to be a doctor
When grown up
This one to the left, a pilot
To the right, an engineer
I see a firefighter over there
There are bankers and bakers as well

That one standing across the plaza is
An army general
A warrior type
Resonates with my spirit

Yonder is a rock star for sure
Those three under the oak tree over there
Shall be bus drivers
Taxi drivers
Aha, that one running towards the drivers
Is Prime Minister material
President or monarch where applicable

I can bet my last penny that
That lot over there shall be
Billionaire investors
Boss kids
From whom
A Godfather shall rise
Gangsters have been children too

I see an engineer here
A scientist there
A philosopher here
A preacher there

The future is bright

When grown up
These children here
Shall fix climate change troubles
No more natural catastrophes

These children here
Shall fix global economy issues
No more poverty
No more inequalities

They shall fix world peace troubles
No more wars
No more displaced people
Wading treacherous rivers
Running into hell fires
Drowning in the seas
Roasting in the deserts
Whilst
Fleeing tyranny
In their homelands
In vain
Seeking to taste
Heaven on earth
In other lands
Hope in every heartbeat
Before they die
As they die
Hope lives on

These children here
Are going to be the finest people ever
When grown up
They can be nothing
And everything
At the same time

The whole world is
Dancing under the children’s feet
With their hands
They shape
Future of the world
As to their dreams
In play today

But then again
At some time, some place
A fool shall emerge
From nowhere
Molest a child here
Molest a child there
Molest a child in places unknown
Forever change the child’s life trajectory
Destroy the future
Cease the child’s life
Erase the future
As do weapons of mass destruction

A volcano erupts
In my head
My primordial instincts take over
I could kill a man
Weren’t it for
The law of the land tying my hands

I better run
Get away from here
I never know
Who’s watching me …
(Continues in the book MACHONA POETRY: Rage and Slam in Tigersburg)
©Simon Chilembo 12/09-2021

SIMON CHILEMBO
OSLO
NORWAY
Telephone: +4792525032
September 20, 2021

RECOMMENDATION: Do you want to start writing own blog or website? Try WordPress!

PS
Order, read, and be inspired by my latest book, Covid-19 and I: Killing Conspiracy Theories.

©Simon Chilembo 2020
Project management

THE RUTHLESS RULE

Kassie Jungle Law: Only the Strong Survive

In my never-ending attempt at seeking to make sense of events in the world today, I, as a reflex, regularly look back at the first fourteen-and-half years of my life in South Africa, 1960 June – 1975 January. Growing up in the then racist apartheid state has profoundly impacted my life. Day-to-day living was ever so dramatically charged. Such that, on the one hand, one could but choose to numb oneself to the volatility of emotions, if not traumas arising, and live on disenchanted and detached from the gruesome, disenfranchised reality.

On the other hand, one could look at, hop onto the intricate traumatic feelings and thoughts bandwagon, learn survival ropes, and hope for the best; longevity being a remote idea. Wishful thinking. Although the OPEC oil crunch of the early 1970s had already begun to make its mark globally, this period could easily be seen as the golden years of the apartheid regime’s economic might. The oppressed Black population segment was subjected to extremes of state security agencies’ violence.

©Simon Chilembo 2018 Author/ Poet/ Publisher
©Simon Chilembo 2018 Author/ Poet/ Publisher

Oppression is some costly business. It curtails human resources productive potential growth and manifestation. Atrocious. Oppression will last to the extent that the oppressors’ financial base remains sufficiently robust to sustain the oiling of the oppressive state machinery at all levels. Money talks. Money rules. As it is with South Africa, a country’s endowment with a variety of natural resources that the world is willing to pay generously for is of crucial importance. Oppressors maximize their hold by capturing the wealth of their nations, therefore. They personalize the wealth, becoming super-rich individually and along with their family members, as well as their power clique hounds. At the same time, their nations get caught in quagmires of long-term poverty and international indebtedness

The Soweto Students’ Uprising of June 16, 1976, would not only change the liberation struggle course. It changed the political landscape of South Africa as well; further weakening the oppressive state’s capital base. Apartheid had to ultimately collapse. Not because somebody woke up one morning and suddenly discovered that the system was in fact diabolic. The fact is that it simply was no longer economically viable. And prospects of any meaningful bounce back were bleak. Added pressure from the international trade sanctions had brought the country down on its knees.  

The effective brutality of the apartheid regime reproduced itself across the entire Black populace by default – in the home; at absolutely all levels of social interaction. That to the extent that the nature of fundamental survival power relations dynamics cultivated then amongst Black people themselves have endured. Albeit manifest at even more sophisticated, grander scale, and more destructive levels in keeping with societal management complexities and technological advancements of the times in the 21st Century.

During the apartheid domination years, many a Black South African exile carried along with them these survival power relations dynamics into the Diaspora. Not that it helped the concerned exiles much from the point of view of applying the same survival strategies as generally functional in the township, or kassie culture in Black South Africa. Kassie is a corruption of the Afrikaans language word, lokasie; which means location. Observing, establishing, and maintaining links with fellow South African exiles has kept my fascination with the Black people’s fundamental survival power relations dynamics alive during all these years.

Post-1994 South Africa has also been accessible to me. It’s the land of my birth, the land of my family’s maternal-side ancestry, after all. Thirty-eight-and-half years since living abroad, I returned to stay in the country for five years, 2013-18. As such, I have been in touch with the trends in the land all along. Much had changed drastically at about all levels. However, characteristic personal survival attitudinal attributes have remained constant. I shall dwell on these later on in this essay as I unravel prerequisites for the workings of the ruthlessness of kassie jungle law rule.     

Kassie is a funky catchphrase these days. But originally, it essentially implied a slum; not much unlike Brazilian favelas, for example. In practice, the meaning hasn’t changed in any big way. From the colonial era, peaking during the apartheid years, and stretching into contemporary times, tens of thousands-upon-thousands-to-millions of Black South Africans were dumped here. It initially was predominantly male labourers working in the mines and the agro-industrial complex.

There would be a few state functionaries and even fewer professionals in various vocational categories here and there. Much as there would be numerous fortune hunters engaged in all kinds of illicit endeavours; from petty crimes to large-scale organized crime activities involving alcohol, drugs, precious stones and metals smuggling, human trafficking, prostitution, and more. Family units would eventually emerge as a natural human development process, of course. Children would be born, raised, become adults, lead miserable lives, and subsequently die; the indignity of poverty accompanying them to the grave. Causes of death variable, from murder to illness, if not natural causes.

Prevalent land conditions are far from prime in the townships. This makes the construction of decent domiciles a daunting challenge for impoverished people. Sustainable subsistence food production from the land is near impossible. Minimal to total lack of functional social amenities comes with the package here. If there was anything prime about the original townships, it was the potential to induce and generationally perpetuate poverty with all its attendant maladies: disease, moral decay, ignorance. All that to facilitate self-annihilation amongst Black people: kill them; let them kill themselves; create space for more European trash to come to work, settle, and add to the growth of the white population in the country.

Conditions are even worse these days, taking into consideration, since 1994, the influx of millions of refugees and fortune hunters from war-torn, dysfunctional African states to the north. Others come from other parts of the world, especially Asia. Competition for limited resources and livable spaces in the townships has spiked exponentially, apparently in favour of the new immigrants. Many of the latter come into South Africa with more by far international hustling experience: higher academic qualifications and vocational experience in both the social and natural sciences, military or guerilla warfare experience, and all that it entails – daring nature, PTSD, and other related outcomes. Also, investment capital for entrepreneurial ventures in various fields, often starting with small-scale grocery stores called spaza shops.

The latter attributes above are often accompanied by extreme manifestations of arrogance of power towards the locals, who are considered to be intellectually lacking, lazy, and fearful of White people, who still own the land, anyway. It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that strong anti-immigrant sentiments have mushroomed across the country, culminating in several outbursts of brutal xenophobia-inspired violence in recent years. Afro-xenophobia expression is ascribed to South African Black-on-African Black violence. In keeping with characteristic basal kassie culture, violence is the first instinctual option to eradicating conflict. Tragedy is ever the outcome that never brings forth solutions for a peaceful co-existence for all in the country.

The reality of the matter is that, much like the Ununited States of America, South Africa owes much of its economic might to the historical inflow of migrants from all corners of the world. As I’ve already implied above, these people bring into the country a wide diversity of creative/ intellectual/ academic, productive, and entrepreneurial skills that contribute to the robustness of the country’s vibrant economic and social advancement in the long run.

There’ll always be a few bad apples here and there. But assuming a functional justice system prevailing in the land, relevant policing and legal institutions are there to deal with lawbreakers. South Africa is truly a multi-cultural melting pot. Bishop Desmond Tutu’s broadly embraced Rainbow Nation nickname for the country supersedes discrimination neither based on race nor origin of the people that call South Africa their home, either by birth or immigration.   

©Simon Chilembo 2020

From an epistemological perspective, it is clear that the concept of township/ location/ kassie in South Africa was never meant to create ideal, conducive conditions for Black people to thrive and propagate themselves; neither to attain ever higher standards of living in time, in pace with national economic growth prospects.

The rise of apartheid economic might was at the expense of the lives of Black people, both at the hands of the apartheid state security machinery, and intra-Black violence across mainly urban South Africa. Many other Black lives were also lost through fatal accidents and occupational diseases in the agro-industrial-mining complex. Functionally concerning apartheid intentions, townships were supposed to provide temporary shelter for lives destined to be “… solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.”

But then again, survival instincts abode in all humanity. People can remain wretched only for so long. If they are not wiped off from the face of the earth, they shall engage in all sorts of means to prolong their existence. Perhaps fate can change for someone, someday: break the bonds of subjugation, rise and liberate the people, and, ideally, live happily ever after in boundless abundance.

In the meantime, at the individual level in the South African kassie context, survival was and still is about ruthless “semphete ke o fete” (Sesotho: don’t overtake me, I overtake you) tendencies. Here, the strong survive. The ruthless rule; applying cruelty as their claim to prosperity and longevity.    

Set in alphabetical order below are personal dispositions I’ve arbitrarily identified as being cardinal for relative individual survival and ruling potential in the South African kassie culture of violence. That as a tool for understanding the nature of human relations power dynamics, and consequences thereof, at all levels of contemporary society, both locally and globally. The respective attributes may be understood regarding the identification of the individual as to who they are, and what their social standing is concerning behavioural phenomena observed of them:

  • Bodomo (street parlance – Setsotsi) is derived from the Afrikaans word dom. Alternatively bokwala (Sesotho), it means stupidity; downright idiocy. Amidst events, act like you don’t know what’s going on. Go about your daily business indifferent as to whether or not you cause others harm in your endeavours; you lack empathy. You are not interested in reason. You are a denialist. You are a revisionist.  
  • Bokhopo (Sesotho) is cruelty. When it is deep-seated, merciless, non-benevolent, and non-repentant it is called khohlahalo in the same language. Rule by absolute iron-fisted fearsomeness. Without exception, anybody transgressing you in any way shall suffer the full ruthlessness of your wrath in line with the nature of the offence and the choice of punishment you dim fit. The line between life and death is often very thin here. This tends to elicit baffling loyalty from your cohorts. Much to the bewilderment of your detractors.
  • Ho tella (Sesotho)/ ukudelela (isiZulu) is an uninhibited show of lack of respect. Total disdain. You are brazen. You bulldoze your way through towards the attainment of your power or material acquisitions, and other egocentric ambitions. In your interpersonal and other relations in the community, it’s your rules or no rules at all. 
  •  Lenyatso (Sesotho) is the root of ho tella and leqhoko, immediately above and below respectively. It means to undermine, to belittle other people. Tools applied include patronization, ridicule, insults, unjust criticism, passive aggression, isolation or exclusion, subjugation; all propelled by jealousy and/ or feelings of threat irrationally perceived or real because the victim may, indeed, be the better person in many respects. The idea is to crush the victim, cut them to size, and put them in their place of insignificance. This is pure mental and emotional abuse that often easily degenerates to physical abuse.
  • Leqhoko (Sesotho) is provocativeness. Be agitative even out of nothingness just so your presence is noticed, is not forgotten. Be relentlessly disruptive. Cause havoc; be an ass. Instigate and sustain fear. Use all means at your disposal: bully, defame, riot, vandalize, pillage, depose, fight, maim, kill. Ultimately, emerge as the leader of the pack; level-headed and solution-oriented, if only to cow and manipulate the terrorized towards aiding to secure attained dominant safe position.
  • Mamello (Sesotho)/ Qinisela (isiXhosa/ isiZulu) refers to tolerance capacity; endurance in both hard and good times, depending. Good times are generally no big deal. But in hard times, practice self-preservation by keeping to yourself and your own. Hang in there. Stay away from trouble. Be invisible. Make no noise. Cultivate hope. Keep the faith because everything is going to be alright someday. Persevere.

    For the mighty, though, mamello/ ukuqinisela means staying the course no matter what: keep on pushing; stand tall, don’t fall. Never, never, never give up! Never change the course of action once commitment to act in a certain manner is made. Here, mamello/ ukuqinisela becomes an interplay of bodomo, bokhopo, ho tella, leqhoko, and manganga in variable doses and combinations according to the circumstances prevailing at any one time and space.
  • Manganga (Sesotho)/ Inkani (isiZulu) is absolute stubbornness. Take a stand, be resolute to the very end, whatever the cost. Whether or not original intended goals are attained is not the essence. You are defiant to the extreme. Stay rock-steady as a matter of principle because you cannot be wrong, or you cannot be denied your demands. You are the truth. You are the light. If you are not the son of God, then you ARE God! Your opponents shall declare you as deranged, delusional; but that doesn’t bother you at all. You are mmampodi (Sesotho)/ champion; you rule. You live above the law. You own your followers through and through. Each one of them understands that you are their life saviour.
    A street parlance (Setsotsi) adage goes like this, “Maziwaziwe, maz’bidlikaz’bidlike! (isiZulu)/ If they (e.g. towers) fall, they fall; if they collapse, they collapse!”
    It is what it is.

    Tyrants, hard-core conspiracy theorists, and charlatans fall under this category. So, in the USA, Coronavirus is just the common flu; “… it’ll disappear just like a miracle!”
    Not forgetting The Big Lie that Joe Biden and the Democrats stole the presidential elections of November, 2020. And then supporters of The Big Lie insurrect The Capitol peacefully like tourists, leaving destruction and carnage behind. Very special people that The Big Lie spinner loves.
    You can also do an egotistical, parochial, typically falls premises pushed brexshit and pull your country out of a body of international solidarity in the Western world.
     
    Neither does State Capture exist in South Africa. You know none in your family that has contracted AIDS in South Africa. Therefore, it doesn’t exist. Step aside rule in the ANC? What’s that? If you are indeed going to fall, you don’t go alone. You are vindictive. 
  • Sebete is a Sesotho word for liver.The liver is considered to be an organ of courage in my part of Black South African culture. A courageous person is said to “have a liver”/ O sebete. Courage is a common thread linking all survival, or power attributes in kassie.

Ho sa (Sesotho, noun), lumps together the attributes above into one virulent trait: petulance as gross as only an extremely spoiled brat can display. The descriptive form of ho sa is “O sele!”, meaning “He/ she is petulant!”   
People of all ages manifesting ho sa as a characteristic social interaction trait are some of the most dangerous a community can have. Makings of despots emerge here.  

Underpinning the relative kassie individual survival and ruling potential laid out above is the question: O tshepile mang (Sesotho)? Which directly translates as, “Who is it you trust?”
Who’s covering your back?

Simple as the question might seem, it is not necessarily a daily conversation question posed in my original part of Black South Africa. The question is profound to the extent that it is asked a person directly, or others are asked about a particular individual when the latter’s negative behaviour defies not only mainstream social protocols across the board, but sheer common sense as well. It is believed that there must be some extra-ordinary qualities, some mystic about these kinds of people. For example:

  • What gives them the guts? What makes them tick?
  • Whose progeny are they? What are their lineages?
  • Do they have some guardian angels, perhaps? In that case, who are the latter? Where are they?
  • What do they have that ordinary people do not have?
  • Are they working for somebody even more powerful than themselves? Who are these people?
  • Are they protected by God? Ancestral spirits? Wizards and witches?
  • Or are they just raving mad, sick in their heads? Are they bewitched?
  • Do they have magical powers themselves? If so, from where do the powers derive?
  • Are they members of some organized crime gangs? Or some secret societies? The Illuminati?
  • Is it just because they are too rich? But where does their wealth come from? 

It’s only if and when sufficient knowledge about these treacherous people is gathered that concerned individuals or the community can effectively react to get rid of them in one way or another. It’s not unusual that the former fall from glory in the most dramatic and humiliating fashions; those who lived by the sword dying exactly as they lived. Such is kassie life. The ruthless rule but momentarily.

The strong are often the smart with senses of moral and ethical awareness. They tend to survive, break out of the mould of kassie misery and ignorance, and live longer. Some in this category will in time even travel wide and see the world, permanently breaking the spell of kassie anti-life attributes. Expressing themselves through diverse media and creative and performance forms, they may also become proponents of liberty, justice, and equality as fundamental Human Rights tenets all of humanity on earth is entitled to.  

Meanwhile, South Africa has yet to cleanse itself of the kassie anti-life attributes spell, to the extent that it’s possible. However, given the current display of elite kassie mentality antics in various judicial and organizational platforms in the country, it is clear that much more work remains to be done at this rate. Well, cumulatively from the onset of contemporary European colonialism in the 17th Century up to the apartheid era in the 20th Century, the mechanizations that facilitated their imposition had at least four hundred years to dehumanize my people and screw up our psyche. The Rainbow Nation is only twenty-seven years old.

Khotso is a common Sesotho name for South African males. It means peace. The female version is Mma-Khotso both as a formal name and may denote that the woman is a mother of a boychild called Khotso. The name has significant connotations. In practice and conceptually, peace is a universal prerequisite for progressive human co-existence. That making for harnessing humanity’s creative potential towards a sustainable, infinitely fulfilling life for all. The South African national anthem, Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika! (Nkosi Sikelela) is essentially a cry for peace, captured in the Sesotho text:

Morena boloka sechaba sa heso/ Lord Almighty, save my nation
O fedisa dintwa le matshwenyeho/ Bring an end to strife and suffering  

Were the ruthless and the smart kassie people of South Africa and beyond to realign their attitudes and heed the message of Nkosi Sikelela, the future would be bright for all. I want to be here in four hundred years to gloss in the glory of the heaven on earth that South Africa and the rest of the world will have become. I sit here in a space of relative peace. I breathe. I dream. I write. Ever conscious of the lasting impact that my kassie life background has had on me, I have every reason to want to choose to be hopeful.  


SIMON CHILEMBO
OSLO
NORWAY
TEL.: +4792525032
May 29, 2021

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PS
Order, read, and be inspired by my latest book, Covid-19 and I: Killing Conspiracy Theories.

©Simon Chilembo 2020
Project management

I REFUSE – A Poem

Fairytales in My World


Must I look away
From children
In my daily
Living spaces
On 2021 17 May
Norway’s National Day
Show-casing tangible
Children’s worth and joy
In a free world of peace
Whilst other children perish
At this very moment
In ravages of war
In baby Jesus’ world
Where peace is but
A concept in foreign vocabularies
Studied in Military Sciences
At Ivy League universities
Of this world

Jesus was a child of the wind
May be reason why
Nobody cares about
The fate of
Children of the soil
When the missiles rain out there

Must I obliterate myself
From the scene
The moment I hear
Children’s voices
In my proximity

Must I sing
I would rather go blind
Than to see
Children’s eyes on me
In their fields of vision
Fields of play

Must I be
Malignant angel
To a child
Warming my heart
With their purity of emotion
As I sense them

Must I suppress
My paternal instincts
To want to assure
A child that
I want only to
See them happy
Exuberant and free

Must I refrain from
Singing for a child
Dancing for them
Clowning for them
Reaching out
To touch them
For them to feel
The warmth
The honesty
Of my actions
My intentions

Must I ever look over my shoulders
In children’s presence
For fears
Of my actions
My intentions
Being misconstrued
By eyes
Seers of whom
For reasons obtaining
From their own fears
The nature of their lives’ journeys
Has taught them
To see only evil
In the acts of
The joyous
Glowing in the light
Of children
Yet to know
The sentiment of envy
The force of hate

I refuse
‘cause
I don’t know
How not to suffuse
Pure affection profusion
In view of children

I refuse
To succumb
To malicious fairy tales’ pitfalls by
Delusional prejudicial minds
Seeing reality
Through
Diabolic colours-tinted lenses
Tainting my honour
In view of confrontations with
Their own insecurities
In which their design
Their display
My hands
Never had a role to play
Could never want to
Never
Never
Never

On the contrary
My hands sought
Only
To build
Pillars of strength
Towers of power
Alas
In a moment of
Attention gone astray
Monsters were birthed …
(Continues in the book MACHONA POETRY: Rage and Slam in Tigersburg)
©Simon Chilembo 16/05-2021

SIMON CHILEMBO
OSLO
NORWAY
TEL.: +4792525032
May 30, 2021

RECOMMENDATION: Do you want to start writing own blog or website? Try WordPress!

PS
Order, read, and be inspired by my latest book, Covid-19 and I: Killing Conspiracy Theories.

©Simon Chilembo 2020
Project management

LOCKDOWN – A Poem

FREE YOUR MIND

Prophet of doom
In gloom
High on a broom
Possessed by the moon
You bemoan
You aren’t enslaved goon
Neither 5G’d buffoon

You rave
You own a cave
For free will
Thy will
Shall be done as you will
You might as well
Write your will

Dig your grave
It’s a time game
Your thoughts aren’t the same
Your feelings aren’t tame

Take your time
Your freedom is prime
For crime
Warning bells chime
Could save you a dime

It’s a no-end-game
Your logic is lame
Driving in the wrong lane
Is a death game
For the infame
Ignorance unframed
Self-destruction uncaged
Soul encased

Burial to erase
You from the race
For collective survival grace
There’s no grief
Your mind is grave
No peace in the grave
Your demons are brave
Your dark side can’t behave

In the horror that’s your head on a stave
For your face
In a trance
Everyone is a nutcase
Everything is a disgrace

You persist that the system in place
Seeks to replace
People liberties with acquiescence
In dissonance
With your sense
Of egotistical existence
Your disappearance
Equals good riddance

For once
Shut your mouth
Declare your
Four-square-metres of safety
Around you
Close your eyes
Form your
Space of solitude
Inside eight cubic metres of
Six mirror’ surfaces

Open your eyes
See the many facets of
You
Your potential
And that is only
The-visible-to
The naked eye

Inside of you
Is the power
That made God
To say the least
Fear not thyself
Fear ye not the unknown

No need for anger
No need for confusion
No need for despair
No need for panic
No need for prejudice
No trepidation
No end of the world imminent

Cleanse your hands
Create similar spaces
For your loved ones
Your neighbours
Your fellow beings
Merge the best
Of your reflections
See how larger than life
You all are together as one
Against
Devious intentions
By the contentious
They call it solidarity
You have a future to groom

No need to abuse
No need to bully
No need for conspiracies
No need for estrangements
No need to hate
No need to lie
No need for suspicion
No need for others’ blood in your hands

Mirror reflections are science
It’s called physics
In times of uncertainty
Chaos reigning high
Broken mirrors pieces
Reflect
Lights of possibilities
By their numbers
In all directions
Angles and curves
Have no fear
There’s always an answer

Lockdown
Open your mind
Do right things right
Reflect on your life
Reflect on your place on earth
There is always an answer
It’s only a matter of time

Polish mirrors in your head
Let science work
Like it took man
To the moon
And back
Alive
Mars is next

Lockdown
Unleash your fantasy
Cure your myopia
Pandemize your phobia
Vandalize claustrophobia
Vitalize your inertia
Recall your Utopia
To your euphoria
Today
END
©Simon Chilembo 14/04-2021

SIMON CHILEMBO
OSLO
NORWAY
Telephone: +4792525032

RECOMMENDATION: Do you want to start writing own blog or website? Try WordPress!

PS
Order, read, and be inspired by my latest book, Covid-19 and I: Killing Conspiracy Theories.

©Simon Chilembo 2020
Project management

COLOUR OF MY SKIN – A Poem

AS IS COLOUR OF MY SKIN I AM

I’m ‘y skin colour
I waste no light
You see no colour
You’re out of sight

Light shines through you
Your
Condescendence
Ignorance
Insensitivity
Superficiality
Ubiquitous

I walk
My colour
I talk
My colour
I breathe my colour
I live my colour

You see no colour
I run over you
My voice colour laser
Pierces your eardrums

You choose not to see
You choose not to hear
You’ll never learn
You’ll stay colourless
Dumb
You might as well
Be dead
Bigot

Your words say
And I quote
Oh, dear
I am indeed white
And that is a fact
God-given
My blood is
Racism pure-red-free
White is my world
Pure and clean
I do not see
Black in the people of God
Black is the colour of shame
That notwithstanding
Black is the appearance of the colour of the skin of my lover
When we perform coitus
I shut my eyes closed
Really
I do not see colour
I feel only delight
Primal pleasures of the flesh flavour

Close quote

Clearly
Your vision
Is twisted
Your hearing
Is clogged
Even then
I invite you
To read my lips
If you can
For one last time

Vocalize my words
Inside your head
For you to hear
What I have
To say to you

I’m colour of my skin
I give meaning to light
Black define’ space
In your time
Black colours
Contours of your life
Black contrasts the universe
For creation’s diversity
Ever unfolding
Inside of you
In everything
Your senses perceive
In your world
Big or small

I’m colour of my skin
I stand here
A plural faced prism
I disperse light
In all directions
In all its
Spectrum splendour
Colour possible tones
Imagination unbound

When some call me
A person of colour
It’s because
They see something
Of themselves
In me
In all corners of the world

The day you decide
To open your eyes
Come into me
Find the colour of your skin
For who you truly are

Walk with me
Your colour
If you want
As I walk mine

Walk my talk
Your ears might heal
Talk my colour
Your ears might hear
They might be
Receptive
To Black person
Dancing
In the light
Singing
You cause me harm
For colour of my skin
You harm yourself
See my colour
See yourself
Feel your pain
For the day
Light might cease
Falling on me

In the dark
Everything is possible
You created Satan
Made it
My alter ego
And yet
Satan is
The face
Of your fear of my skin
Of your hate
Of the colour of my skin

I’m shining bright
In the light
Of the smart
Come in sight
Self-knowledge is might
Sit tight
Time is right
Waste no light
I’m infinite
By right
I’ll teach you right
Colour of my skin is erudite
Just treat me right
I wish you might
Expedite
Be contrite
For your spite

Immortal is
Colour of my skin
Get used to it
See colour
If only
For your longevity
Life is good
For the colourful
In a world
Tainted by
The
But me
I don’t see colour
I see people

Oh, yeah
People come in
All colours
All shapes
All sizes

You blind
To that reality
Move to the side
Stay out of sight
Moron

END
©Simon Chilembo 23/ 03-2021

SIMON CHILEMBO
OSLO
NORWAY
March 29, 2021
Tel.: +4792525032

RECOMMENDATION: Do you want to start writing own blog or website? Try WordPress!

PS
Order, read, and be inspired by my latest book, Covid-19 and I: Killing Conspiracy Theories.

©Simon Chilembo 2020
Project management