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SHOULD I DIE

 

COVID-19 REFLECTIONS

In 1998, my father died solitary in a bachelor quarters in Tshwane, South Africa. My mother followed twenty years later. Pneumonia related complications in both cases.

©Simon Chilembo, 2018  Author, President  ChilemboStoryTelling™

©Simon Chilembo, 2020 Author, President, ChilemboStoryTelling™

There were about eleven other fellow patients in my mother’s ward at the hospital in Thabong, Welkom. She had kept everyone awake all night with her moaning in pain, crying out an unknown name all along. Nevertheless, she managed to eat her 0700RS breakfast that fateful Sunday morning; much to everyone’s delight since she hadn’t had much appetite the two previous days. After eating she fell asleep.

When my nephew, Kgosi, and I went to check on her during the morning visit hour between 1000-1100HRS, we found her sleeping peacefully. Apparently. After hearing the report by fellow patients about my mother’s restless night, we thought it wise not to immediately awaken her. She could have her full sleep during the course of the morning, and we’d come back to see her again in the afternoon as per routine.

Fifteen minutes into our arrival in the ward, an impatient family friend found that my mother was cold and lifeless. A few minutes later, a doctor declared her officially dead. She had probably died two hours earlier. No one had taken notice. It was one of those cases of “She died peacefully in her sleep”, I guess. Perhaps the same may be said about my father. He had been dead for about two days by the time his corpse was found in his residence.

I opt to convince myself that, indeed, both my parents died peacefully in their sleep when their respective times to go arrived. Neither was surrounded by their loved ones upon breathing their respective lasts.

The thought of whether or not my own death will pounce on me in solitude has been on my mind since February, 1991. I had for the first time ever gotten ill with what I later understood to have been an acute attack of the flu. Bedridden with high fever and profuse sweating for three days in my single student room, I was so weak that I was unable to lift a telephone sitting beside me on my bed to call my school or doctor in Oslo.

One week later I had recovered without having had received any medical attention. An older, more knowledgeable friend told me that I had actually had a close brush with death. Perhaps I should consider getting myself a wife, he suggested. He argued that many people who live alone tend to die unnecessarily because there is often nobody there to render immediate assistance in times of emergencies.

In the northern hemisphere spring of 1995, I had a first-time mean attack of hay fever. I didn’t know what it was at first. For many days I kept sneezing like what I thought was like a mad man. Then I began to cough as inexplicably madly. What I thought sounded like a small cat soon started mewing in my chest. This made breathing painfully difficult even at the mildest physical exertion. Then I knew I was in trouble.

At great financial cost to me that I could afford regardless, a former lover at that time then finally hastily made it possible for me to acquire an emergency cocktail of various tablets, capsules, and an assortment of asthma medicines. Had I been alone at that critical time, I could have died from pneumonia, the former lover said later.

Today, the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, moving at a frighteningly fast pace is threatening human life across the globe. The United Nations and national governments are taking drastic and, in some cases, Human Rights defying draconian measures in individual and concerted efforts to isolate, treat, control, and eventually effectively manage the disease. The ideal situation would be to eliminate the disease, of course. But it’ll take time to develop necessary relevant curative and preventive medicine. Researchers the world over are currently working at break-neck speeds to achieve the latter.

Millions of people are under various levels of quarantine throughout the world, depending on suspected or actual infections and severity. Much of the industrialized world is under lockdowns. People whose immune systems are compromised from before are dying rapidly. Some people are quarantined in their private homes with their near family units. I am alone in my abode.

I am feeling well and strong. I can’t help, though, but think about my mortality in the event that my health should take a sudden, COVID-19 related downturn. Some other shit could happen too. One never knows when shit will hit the fan. I can’t help but think that were I to die now, I sure would do so peacefully. I’d die with no beloveds of mine surrounding me. If it happened to my parents it might as well be the same with me. Family solidarity. Family tradition. I’m their eldest child after all.

Like my parents, I leave no great fortunes behind. It’s just as well for me that, unlike my parents, I leave no children behind. As to whether or not it’s a good thing to die as my corpse shall be in a cremation oven, I shall find out upon arrival on the other side.

In the meantime, I can’t help thinking about one of my all-time favourite songs: If I Should Die Tonight, by Marvin Gaye. I’ve loved this song ever since the release of the Let’s Get it On album in 1973. Whereas the album title hit song planted me to its moment and has stuck with me to this day, If I Should Die Tonight continues to jettison me to a period that I now know marked the closing chapter of the happiest times of my childhood years: at the close of the 1960s decade to much of 1970, I got honey-sweet infatuated with an older woman that remains one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen.

This woman was mother of my puppy love object at that time. And she was heart-warmingly kind to me. This woman had the sweetest of sweet song voices. She, together with some of her male contemporaries in our neighbourhood, used to sing acapellas of popular soul hits of the time: When a Man Loves a Woman, Crying Time, Stand By Me, and many more.

The sweetness that the whole of my being feels at thoughts of this woman is one of the sources of my emotional and spiritual strength at any time. This sweetness constantly fuels my desire to live and to love for as long as my life and capacity to love shall last. For I live, for I love, I shall dream, I shall hope, I shall create. For I create, I shall live forever.

I don’t have to meet the perfect woman for a lover. It’s not necessary. It’s not important for me at the stage of life that I have now reached. I don’t really need to. But this If I Should Die Tonight lady is one of those women that have profoundly impacted my life. That to such an extent that I pin on memories of her my belief that a perfect woman for a man is found somewhere out there in the wide, wide world. It’s only a question of whether the mortal man shall live long enough, shall travel the world wide enough. Even then, like the song says, “… If I should die tonight, though it be far before my time, I won’t die blue ’cause I’ve known [her] …”

There is much more to the phrase I won’t die blue for me. I won’t die blue. Never. I’ll die a contented man should I die at this very moment. It’s a daily preoccupation of mine to seek to do all that is within my powers to prolong my longevity for as long as it is possible. If I have a pre-determined lifespan, I want to beat it. Should I, however, die at this very moment, I’ll die a well pleased man knowing that I have defied death several times before.

I’m convinced that I have lived way past my allotted lifespan. But this I can only confirm to be true or false upon my getting  onto the other side. If all truths of my life are indeed found on the other side, I certainly will be a happy man should I die now: finally I shall get to confirm who I really am, what my real purpose in life on earth was. Until then, within the best of my cognitive potential performance, given limitations of my human existential imperatives vis-à-vis universal creation, the following is the consciousness I’ll be taking with me should I die now:

  • For all their strengths and their vulnerabilities, I got the best parents I deserved. I would choose them again could I start all over again. I love my parents very much, with all of my heart; I admire them beyond words. The joys of their lives I never think too much about. Joy never bothers me at all. I take it for granted that life ought to be a joy. Pure joy. Have joy, no worries. But I feel the pains of my parents’ lives from their beginnings to their ends.

Against the toughest odds, my parents managed to nurture the life that they had given me. They gave me all they could according to their life circumstances as a couple, and as individuals in a hard world. They had to endure untold sufferings, make huge sacrifices for that I could breathe and subsequently have the power to carve own spaces of manifestations of my influence through my creativity on planet earth.

If my creative power influence manifestations transcend planetary boundaries into the farthest realms of the universe, it is owing to, in search of, and for my parents on the other side. I want to tell them that I’m a humble but proud symbol of that they, indeed, left this world a better place than they found it. Thank you very much!

In all my endeavours, I am heavily inspired by my parents. It is in their honour that I do the good that I am often told that I do. It is for me and me alone to take the heat for the bad that I do. The bad that I do is never representative of the upbringing that my parents gave me. The errors I commit from time to time are a reflection of my own failings, my own stupidity imbedded in my own inherent human imperfections.

My parents are not my everything. My parents are but a microcosm of the grandeur of being human in the face of creation’s stupendous infinite spectrum of possibilities with all that humanity knows and has yet to fathom about it. I’m not an emulation of my parents. I’m but an extension of their collective and individual lifeforces. In that regard, creation dealt me a hand that is my own to play from birth. That in line with how I could synchronize with my parents’ energy bundles influences in me. Also according to how optimally I could utilize the unique powerhouse that I am in my personal journey through the infinitely intricate maze that is life.

I hope that as they took their last exhalations, my parents knew in their respective lonesome moments of dying that I hadn’t done half of what I had wished to do for them in appreciation of their having brought me to life, and all the good that they ever did for me. Furthermore, I hope that they knew that whatever little I did to make them happy were outcomes of only the best that I could do, having given only all the best effort I could harness for the goal when it mattered.

Consequently, I won’t die blue if I should die tonight because my heart is at peace in relation to my parents’ lives and how in their own way, they have contributed to making this world a better place than they found it from the times they were born.

My parents never got to seeing their grandchildren from me. Were children made like bread I’d have produced one-thousand-and-one-plus grandchildren for them. With the power of the written word, though, my parents’ legacies are etched in words by their thousands in thousands of pages in books that I have already written, and those that I have yet to write. Children might be born, die and be forgotten. Books might be written, get destroyed and burned, but words are eternal. Mr & Mrs ELWLM Chilembo, you have been immortalized. Now I can die.

  • No, I won’t die blue if should I die this moment. I won’t die blue should I breathe my last tonight. I’ll be by myself. No one making noise around me, delaying my dying process. Should I die now, it’ll be peaceful. Really. I won’t be blue. I might see shades of blue because I’ll take my death like it’s an invitation into a meditative trance. I’ll spread my wings to fill up the entire blue sky for a moment, bid farewell to planet earth, and then merge with the vastness of space beyond.

Before I disappear into outer space forever, I’ll reach out to all those earthly souls that gave me so much joy, so much love in the living. They’ll say they saw me in their dreams. It is for these people that I have no fear of death. These loving souls ever gave me so much more than I could ever ask for of their kindness and generousity. It is for these people that if I should die tonight, it’ll be because my time to die would have arrived for sure.

Just like my parents, I’m no more than a microcosm of the grandeur of life. The good that I do is also grounded in the love, support, understanding, and tolerance of all the wonderful people I’ve had the privilege of interacting with in my life. It is for these people that I won’t die before it is my time.

  • I won’t die blue were death to take me away tonight because I know that I never set out to make this world a worse place than I found it. Although I’ll be dying knowing that, also here, I never achieved half of what I had dreamed of doing for the world, I gave the best that I could, given the opportunities accessible to me and my strength to work.
  • With time, the illumination that I could only be that which I am here and now, and I could only do what I do in a given time and space, freed my soul. I understood that I could only allow myself to be taught, led, and inspired by others. But I could never replicate them and their deeds. Neither could I necessarily ever replicate external manifestations of their successes, if not their abilities to shape even global trends across the entire sphere of human endeavour. This was that moment of know thyself landing home at last.

By extension, it became clear that I also could only teach, lead, and inspire. It’s never a given that all my protégés will share my values and social skills in the end. As such, I won’t die blue should I die this moment because I know that as much as I am loved, I am hated in certain quarters. The choice to love or hate is a personal prerogative based on certain reasons only known to the lover or hater. If these reasons ever are revealed, they do not have to make sense to the loved or hated.

I know that if I should die tonight, I’ll die with a smile on my face because I’m so full of love. I know that if I should die tonight, I’ll die with peace because I know that I’ve had all the fun I could reach for and accommodate in my life. May haters have a good life.

May Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) die tonight. Perhaps not. COVID-19 knows no lovers, no haters, no irrational human segregation rules. If the virus stays just a little longer, humanity might at last learn that we can make this world a far better place if we all understood that we are all equally small and vulnerable against forces of nature.

COVID-19 shakes even the foundations of both the concept of God and her might. Many an oppressor, a racist of the world has God as their spiritual and purported racial superiority anchor. If COVID-19 destabilizes even the almighty God’s multifaceted global movement, it goes to show that forces of evil seeking to destroy the good of humanity have no future.

COVID-19 may be but a small pre-taste of hell. Another Soul singer, Curtis Mayfield, has said: If There’s a Hell Below We’re All Going to Go. We might as well all be humane towards one another as all one, same universal person. But then again, this kind of talk is beyond cognitive capacities of propagators of racism and oppression in the world today. Ignorant fools. Stupid idiots. Psychopaths. It is these scum that COVID-19 must rid the face of the earth of.

 

SIMON CHILEMBO
OSLO
NORWAY
Tel.: +4792525032
March 15-16, 2020

ANGRY BLACK MAN – Poem

ANGRY BLACK MAN

Are you afraid now
Have I just
Pulled your illusory
Comfort zone carpets
From under your feet

Have I suddenly become
Your worst nightmare
Come to life
Blacker than
The abyss into hell
Spewing flames of
Raging fires
Splashing volcanic lava
All over your terrified face
Rolling down your
Blood drawn
Protective hands
Your body frozen stiff
As if Sodom and Gomorrah’s
Pillar of salt 

No, it’s not the end of the world yet
You are still alive
I burn you with my words
Salivary showers follow my speech
Not to give you comfort
But to moderate the heat somewhat
You mustn’t pulverize yet
I need you alive
You gotta hear what I gotta say to you
Even if yours are lead-soldered ears
Read my lips, nincompoop  

Fuck ’n ’ell
You bet I am angry
I am fuck ’n furious
I’ve had more than enough
Of your dehumanization of me
Year in and year out
Over five fuckin’ hundred years
Not only do you continue stealing 
Wealth of my land
You have made it your mission to
Eradicate me from planet earth
Only because
You decided to make me
Black and abominable

Whilst you took
My forefathers by surprise
And overwhelmed them with
Your uncanny brutality
I am a different ball game
In my time
I know you
More than you really ever cared to know me

How could you ever
Know me
When you’ve numbed your senses
To the suffering you cause me
To this day

Talking to you
Is like talking to faces
Of a desolate mountain
In the middle of nowhere

Crying in front of you
Is like
Crying in the middle of a desert
My tears evaporate before hitting the ground
The only thing your eyes see
Is the sub-human
Your sick mind has made me into

You don’t respect me
You don’t respect my humanity
You’ve emasculated my forefathers
You’ve raped my foremothers
So much humiliation
Have you subjected my people to
But now you have reached
The end of the road

Read my lips
Yes, I am one
Angry Black Man
My rage is wild
My rage is raw

I’ve harnessed all
The blood and thunder of my people
I shriek with every breathing cell in my body
To thrash your senses back to life
To awaken you to reality
Of my time
I want what is mine back
I want my humanity back

Things will never be the same for you
Your time is up
Shut the fuck up
You’ve said enough
You’ve caused enough damage already
My bitterness is five hundred years old
You can’t stop me now
GRRRRHHHRRR…MHRRR…!!!
You wanna hide now
I’ll search for you 
I’ll find you
This world is mine

©Simon Chilembo  
(19/ 11- 2019)

OSLO
NORWAY
Telephone: +4792525032
December 03, 2019

THE WORLD TODAY – Poem

 
My intuition
Tells me that
The world today
Is as beautiful
As wonderful
As it was yesterday
As it ever was
Actually
 
The world today
Is as marvellous
As tomorrow can be
 
My intuition
Tells me that
The world today
Is a fulfilment of visions
Of the world tomorrow
In the eyes of our ancestors
 
Our ancestors
Are looking at us
From above in utter amazement
Their bones rattle underground
 
For
The world today
Is a world that does not
Need to wait for tomorrow
To guarantee us all
Longevity
In abundance
To beyond extravagance
Thanks to science
 
Our ancestors
Are enthralled
By technology of
The world today
The world of all possibilities for all humanity
 
The world today
Defies time
Defies limitations of space
Through Science and Technology
I should not be apprehensive of
Not seeing through the day
In
The world today
Because of hunger and strife
 
The world today
Ought to be
Heaven on earth
Here and now
For us all
 
My intuition
Tells me that
Heaven is perfect
Heaven begins and ends in itself
Heaven is perpetual upward movement
Of self-regeneration, self-fulfilment
 
In heaven
There is no want
There is no death
 
So
The world today
Ought to be
A space of peace and immortality
For all of humanity
 
Alas
We are ruled by
Avaricious
Bloodsucker
Immoral
Jackass
Myopic
Spiritually retarded
Psychopaths
Pathological liars
Charlatans
Manipulators
Thieves
Necropots
Bloody idiots
Brains of whom ceased
Growing at
Embryonic levels
Forever blemishing
Wombs of our mothers
What a curse
To womanhood
 
Forgive them not
Father
For they know
Yes
What they do
 
Blood is gushed out
Everywhere
As the people
When we the people cry:
FREEDOM
JUSTICE
EQUALITY
SOLIDARITY
FOR ALL ON EARTH

Good heavens
How the hell did we ever get here
In
The world today

©Simon Chilembo (13/ 11- 2019)
 
Dedicated to the people of Chile and others struggling for freedom the world over. Read in Oslo at Solidarity Concert for Chile, Saturday, November 23, 2019. Any struggle for freedom is my struggle.

OSLO
NORWAY
Telephone: +4792525032
November 30, 2019

PEOPLE OF THE FUTURE

RACISTS CRUMBLING

If some idiots start a nuclear war, then we are doomed. Good-bye planet earth. The same is bound to happen if climate change is not given the serious attention it calls for. That will be sad because I want to be here in the 23rd Century AD.

Beyond two hundred years from now monoracials, monoethnics will be relics of the past. The future belongs to a new composite race spearheaded by multiracials, multiculturals already treading the world today. In tracing their individual origins these people of the future will have their lineage points dotted all over the globe. These will be the true citizens of the world.

©Simon Chilembo 2019

I want to be there then in order to see the true brotherhood, sisterhood of humanity living as one big pluricultural race. Perhaps I’ll have made a direct contribution, or my progeny will have done so. In this new pluricultural race, only the unlikely more intellectually retarded than today’s pure races ideologues, racists, white supremacists, regionalists, and tribalists will still be looking to define skin colours and other physical features to classify and to separate people. A futile exercise. As a collective, people of the future will be a complex set of an infinite extrapolation of possible cross generational genetic permutations. Whether or not they’ll be a coherent mass living harmoniously on the planet only time will tell. I want to be there in order to see this for myself.  

The world had better start preparing for the future today. Writings of the future that I predict are already on the wall. The writings are filling up aeroplanes of the world, are on the highways of the world, are guiding footsteps across deserts of the world every day. They are traversing jungles of the world. Seas and oceans of the world are also witness to the pervasiveness of these writings on the wall about the inevitable pluricultural people of the future. No one can stop the tide.

The writings are in refugee camps; in detention centres and prison walls of the world. They are on apartheid walls that are erected on the face of mother earth. Treacherous barbed wire fences cannot dissuade enlivenment of the writings either: calligraphed in blood, torn-off clothing fabrics, pieces of human flesh, if not dead bodies hanging here and there.

Every act of tyranny committed today everywhere on the face of the earth emboldens every letter on the writings about the people of the future. Every international trade deal signed at any level simply shines more light on the writings. International trade in all its forms and components across the board grows exponentially every day. It constantly shrinks the globe, whilst signals of the potential and actual birth and growth of the people of the future are as clearly readable as the brightest night stars. The modern world calls this globalization, baby.

Globalization spreads goods and services across the globe. If globalization is about econo-political might, for good or bad regardless, it is because it is essentially about people with their needs and wants. Globalization draws people to domains of opulence attributable to gains from international trade and geo-political power.

As a tool for continued inequalities obtained from colonialism and earlier epochs, globalization facilitates exploitation of natural resources at the expense of economic development of poorer countries. This tendency continues to cause social unrests often culminating in protracted brutal civil wars. These wars can border on, if not actually lead to genocide of certain categories of people in the affected countries. The latter typically breed some of the worst despots in the world at any one time in human history.

The most resourceful of survivors in these troubled lands shall escape in search for safety havens and greener pastures across the globe. They shall follow routes leading to globalization powerhouses in the western world, or any other place on earth that has the promise of a better life. Any place that helps to keep hope aglow.

Whether in torment or existing on the bright side of life, people will always fall in love and procreate wherever they may find themselves in the world. Indeed, it is not always that procreation shall be an outcome of love. There sadly is a dark side to being human too. I intentionally choose to dwell on love here. Love is the power I aspire for in my looking into the future state and endeavours of humanity. May love forever reign supreme on planet earth.  

As the world gets smaller and smaller, people of the world get to interact with one another ever more rapidly in all sorts of spaces and circumstances. All this creates fertile opportunities for cross-racial, cross-ethnic, cross-cultural love and reproduction to thrive over generations. This occurring as rapidly and as infinitely as humanity manifests its diversity as a species on planet earth. In our time, it can only get better and better. With or without globalization, no barriers of any kind can stop this trend.

Driven by magnetism of love and curiosity, and that of need for peace and abundance, human beings will achieve anything; they will go anywhere, including planets many light years away from home. The walls of Jericho fell, as did that of Berlin. The Great Wall of China is but what it is today: a fascinating feat of engineering. China wants to rule the world. Fools keep building walls and fences, they keep digging trenches and canals, they shoot people down, they keep coming up with all sorts of outlandish ideas to curtail people migration across the world. Outrageous. It’ll never work.

What a wonderful world the future has in store for humanity. White supremacists and other racial purists are fighting a losing battle. Wake up and smell the coffee, people!

Of course, where there is love there is the presence or absence of God. I am convinced that it’s God’s plan that monotheism shall allow love to disentangle it in parallel with the imminent major existential transformation and paradigm shift of the state of being human in the future. If religion chooses to remain static, then God is going to be even wearier than she is today. Which could just as well be as annihilatory as a nuclear war, or climate change let loose. Heaven forbid!
If we survive, I’m curious to see the face of God too in the year 2201. Amen.


Simon Chilembo
Oslo
Norway
Tel.: +47 925 25 032
November 14, 2019

ONE YEAR LATER: ILLUSIONS IN MY WORLD

REALITY IS I AM HERE, I LIVE, I LOVE, I DANCE.
I AIN’T GOING NOWHERE

“Winter is coming now, Simon. If you have any doubts about coming back to Norway you still have a chance of returning to South Africa, you know,” said Sofia.

©Simon Chilembo 2019

“Are you sure you have no regrets about coming back to Norway, Simon? You still have a home in South Africa, not so?” several others remark this way many a time.

I live with no doubts. If I have any doubts, I don’t do it. If I do it anyway and get burned as a result, too bad. What’s done is done. If I die, I die. Closed chapter. If I don’t die, no regrets. I pay the price I have to pay, and move on; assuming that I can still breathe, stand, walk, and think.

If I can think, I can contextualize my feelings. If it feels right to do so because it’s turned out that I’ve really screwed up, I’ll beg for mercy if given a chance to do so. When I’ve been unfairly screwed and the perpetrator is cool about it, exercising their own capacity not to regret unjust screwing up of other souls, I leave them where they are. I never look back. I never go back. I’ll always find new playing spaces.

I’ll always find new playmates. We might play on until our dying days. We might wear each other out in the midst of the golden years of our lives when some shit suddenly happens: somebody gets screwed up somehow, another one bites the dust, whilst the other glosses in new-found glory at the expense of the screwed. It is what it is. That’s how we roll. Falling out of glory is like milk spilling out of a glass. I never cry over either.

Exactly one year ago today, I came back to Norway more shattered than I was when I left for South Africa six years ago. At that time, I watched with dismay as the success empire that I had built came crumbling down. Getting to South Africa soon felt like I had evacuated a sinking ship without any safety equipment to wear or hang on to. Because I’m not a good swimmer, I knew that the only thing I could do was to let go and allow the ocean to take me where it pleased.

If any creature of the oceans came to eat me, I prayed it would be a shark: agile, precise, in perpetual motion straight on ahead. In my naked least-to-no-resistance state of mind in the middle of the waters, I decided to play dead, though. I survived. I marvelled at watching the last vestiges of my extended empire go with the wind to places beyond my fantasy.

©Simon Chilembo 2019

By the time my mother died I had been thoroughly humiliated for five years and three months in South Africa. She died a disillusioned mother of a once indomitable son that had come on the verge of falling into the dreaded pit of poverty that is the fate of the vast majority of Black South Africans. On my part, I had long read and understood her despair. I had already long made peace with the fact that her inability to help me to fix my world would slowly but surely kill her. It was not only about me, but my two siblings also. But I had previously been a pillar of strength for the family.

I know that in her old age, my mother’s fear of living in abject poverty ate her soul like cancer did body cells. So, I am convinced that her death released her spirit to a place of lasting peace and abundance. I know that that’s what she aspired to achieve during her life time, anyway. My fourth novel and sixth book, Machona Mother – Shebeen Queen, is inspired by my observation of hers and other mothers’ and wives’ lives in South Africa. Through this I reflect on the challenges of wifehood and parenthood in oppressive societies the world over.

On the eve of my mother’s burial, I was threatened with a bullet in the head. My torment in South Africa had come to a head. I had to leave. Three months earlier, she had in fact finally acknowledged that my future in South Africa was bleak. The only thing she could do was to give me her blessings, and I’d have to find my way back. I should leave whenever I could. She was laid to rest on October 13, 2018.

Eleven days later I landed in Oslo. In grief. Tired. Bankrupt. Homeless. Businessless. Jobless. At total mercy of other people and the state for the first time in my adult life. I received unprecedented overwhelming support and love. This gave me a refreshing new taste of humility in my heart.

Alas, I’m still shocked by the discovery that love has inexplicably diminished, if not vanished altogether in certain quarters. But then again, love is like milk: when it’s spilt it’s gone. No salvage. No cry. Like milk, fresh love abounds. Always. Spilt milk tends to be messy. Post-spillage clean-up is ever so necessary, therefore.

Left unattended to, spilt milk can go stale and stink. Poison. There is a poisonous dark cloud of love lost hanging over my head. Apparently, this cloud is at alarming speed spreading itself throughout the extent of domains that are crucial for my continued existence as a free and happy man of the world.

I now feel that the time has come for me to dissipate the treacherous cloud. Had I lived a hermitic life somewhere oblivious to the real world of real people, I really wouldn’t bother. My imperfections notwithstanding, as an ethically conscious man living in a morally charged world, I have no doubt as to my personal integrity in every step I make every day of my life. It isn’t just about my ego. I respond from a need to protect the honour and legacy of my late parents. Through the latter I reach out to my ancestral spirits throughout the entire Sub-Saharan Africa.

My own legacy matters too. It’s not just about me. It’s all in the name of the living of my people in the afore-mentioned part of the world, particularly my clans in Zambia and South Africa. I have in mind my bosom friends, my godchildren, my teachers, and colleagues all over the world throughout my life’s journey thus far as well. I intend to stay the course until my last breath on earth, which won’t be tomorrow. I’m here for the long haul.  

My thoughts also go to all the people the lives of whom I have impacted before, I impact today, and I shall be allowed to impact in the future anywhere in the world: my raison d’être. It is my wish and hope that all the people falling into this broad category shall never feel shame, embarrassment, guilt, or fear at the mention or thoughts of my name, my deeds. My legacy.

I’m proud of my roots. I’m protective of my heritage. I value highly the love and faith of my confidants. I am in awe of the big religious and philosophical thoughts of the world that daily inspire and guide me in my search of liberatory enlightenment in the labyrinth of life. Truth must never shy away from me.

With the poisonous dark cloud of love lost hanging over my head cleared, the following shall be revealed:

  • I have been unilaterally charged and convicted without a trial.
  • I am not a sexual pervert. I am not a dirty old man. I am not a sexual predator.
  • I am not a paedophile. Neither in practice nor by inclination.
  • I am not a rapist. I am not into the habit of imposing my sexual power over women. I am not in the habit of taking advantage of sick, weak, and vulnerable women. I am not a sexual manipulator. I am not a philanderer. I shall never engage in sexual intercourse at any price, with anything.
  • I love power. But I am not power-hungry. I am not a powermonger. The essence of my being is not defined by the power that I wield as attendant to the things that I do. For example, when I’m revered for being a 6th Dan Black Belt Karate Master, I don’t take it personal. I am nothing more than a conduit between higher knowledge and the people that my position empowers me to serve.
    With or without Karate and its inherent existential and functional attributes, I remain the same original Simon Chilembo ever aspiring to be a decent human being each and every day of my life, my fallibilities considered. Karate does not define the essence of my being. It is but one mirror of many that reflect the infinite potential of the essence of me as a human being, a social change force.
    I shall never fight for power acquisition and sustenance at any cost. But I shall fight with all of my life against deliberate malicious application of unfairness and injustice as tools and manifestations of power against me, my own, including the values that I stand for.
  • I am addicted to love and peace.
  • It is preposterous to seek to delete my existence in the historical developments of certain phenomena in my worlds. History never forgets. The wise will always query. Answers will have to be given, no matter how murky.
©Simon Chilembo 2019

Having stated the above, I encourage anybody with any compelling evidence to contradict me to come forth and present their cases. This evidence shall be tangible, derived from real-life circumstances. It shall not be derived from ill-founded conclusions obtained from subjective misinterpretations of my literary works. It shall not be derived from malicious rumours about me either. Otherwise, people can just lay their weapons down and move on with their lives. We all deserve happily-ever-after living once love has found new hearts to entice. That’s the way of the world.  

Character assassination claims and rumours about my person have been doing the rounds in Oslo and environs especially since the publication of my debut novel, When The Mighty Fall, in November, 2015. I feel strongly about these. Such that, in the unlikely event that it can be objectively proved that I am a molester, I will kill myself. That not as a manifestation of any suicidal vice about my character. Moreover, I will consciously choose to kill myself for my sins to save society resources and troubles of arrests, tedious court cases and all that goes with dealing with issues of crimes against humanity. It ought to be as simple as that, really.

©Simon Chilembo 2019

I am not a fan of capital punishment. However, my abhorrence of sexual abuse, especially with respect to children, ignites the most primitive of my human instincts. Were I to be found actually guilty in this case, I wouldn’t hesitate to execute upon myself the ultimate punishment that my primitive instincts see as justifiable against child molestation.

I will publicly nail myself on the cross. I will invite the world to come and practice archery on my body until there’ll be no more flesh and bone left for an arrow to pierce. Then my corpse must be set on fire whilst on the cross. No funeral services. No urns. Let the wind blow the devil’s ashes away to places far away into outer space. No memorial services. Denialism of my place in history will be just fine, then: I was never here. I was an accident of nature. I was a figment of my imagination. I was just an illusion.

I say to my enemies all the time: you don’t know me.  


Simon Chilembo
Oslo
Norway
Tel.: +47 925 25 032
October 24, 2019

BLACK CURSE: Africa Burning!

Divide and Conquer Necro-Power Games

South Africa
Has Afro-Xenophobia lynching squads
Eliminating their kindred
Off the streets of the land
Even the soil of the land
Won’t absorb the blood of the slain
With the rains far, far away
The blood cakes on the ground
Corpses not welcome in mortuaries
Rot  
Under the sun of
The land of the broken rainbow
Bleeding dark
Venomous blood  
The stench combines
With smoke of those bodies
Caught in flames of devilish fire
In Mzansi fo sho
Satanic voices chant: HABASHWE!!!

Photo by: HALDEN KROG

And then I recall
Last time:
I heard that
Boko Haram were Nigerian
Al-Shabaab were Somalian
The Lord’s Resistance Army were Ugandan
In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
Kivu province is a land of bloodbaths
In the days of Zaire
There was Mobutu Sese Seko
Patrice Lumumba’s ghost
Must have haunted this man for life

In neighbouring Uganda
There was Idi Amin
They say he ate human flesh
Rwanda gave genocide application
A new Afro-touch meaning
In Charles Taylor’s Liberian war
Survivors had their hands hacked off
We’ve had Emperors Jean-Bédel Bokassas
Of the Central African Republics
A seven-university-degreed Mugabe of Zimbabwe
Has just died
Believe me: Matebeleland people aren’t mourning  

Closer to home
I understood as a child that
Qomatsi was Lesotho rulers’ licence to kill their own
In the Gambia
Yahya Jammeh’s atrocities
Make Qomatsi a child’s play in comparison

And so, asking for a friend
I wonder:
Who is better?
Who is worse?

Same bloody-black-curse-difference
If you ask me

Simon Chilembo
Oslo
Norway

Telephone: +4792525032
09/ 09- 2019

MGEU, FOOTBALL SUPER STAR

MOYA NKHABU: TRIBUTE TO A ROLE MODEL

Growing up in the old, subdued black South Africa, I could never see myself playing serious football in a formal club setting. From the point of view of personal drive, the game has never charmed me that way. I could never say whether or not my lack of success as a junior street football player was due to being untalented, or simply that my passion was never aroused strongly enough. I’m inclined to suspect the latter.

Moya

©Simon Chilembo 2018. 2006/7, with Abel Nkhabu, a.k.a. Moya, Mgeu, legendary pioneer South African professional football player. Family friend, mentor.

In the old, apartheid South Africa days, football talent groomed itself, and thrived on the township streets, and rural playing fields. It was raw, pure, and ecstatic. Paradoxically, it provided spaces for all the joys of a free childhood in a then tyrannical state. Moreover, my childhood street football reality provided escape from the attendant ills of poverty in many a black South African home: all round domestic violence, woman and child sexual abuse.

Like most South African township boy children, I imagine that the first expression of my active physical power, from the time I managed to stand up, balance, and walk, was probably to kick at something. I have been kicking for as long as I can remember. Ball control, reading the game, and stopping opponents from scoring against my street team were my forte.

Dribbling was never my inclination. But, I recall, even the very best of our dribblers during my street football active years, up to age 12 years old, knew well not to fool around with the ball around me. If I had any football talent at all, it shone brightest whenever we opted to play a rather rough version of the game. Often, if it’s genuine street culture, it has to be rough; it has to be tough, it has to break all the rules, like Rock & Roll.

Here, the object was not to score goals, but for the competing teams to incapacitate each other’s players until there was only one young man standing, with the ball. If the one team totally demolished the other, the winning team’s members went for one another, then. Thus, the last man standing outcome. It gave an unforgettable, ego-boosting adrenaline rush. Great, great fun, it was.

In this brutal game, we had to be subtle, but extremely effective. That was so that if any adults were watching us play, they wouldn’t understand that we were, actually, out to deliberately injure one another. A strict rule was “no ball, no attack”; meaning that we went for one another only to the extent that one side had ball possession. And, direct kicks to the legs above the ankle were not allowed.

The idea was to “slice”, or “chop” each other’s legs at the ankles, much like Karate players execute the devastating leg sweeping technique called “Ashi barai”. Serious injuries, necessitating hospitalization, often occurred here. I never got injured. Several casualties have pointed to me, though. In action, I can be light and quick on my feet. I developed this ability from this dangerous kind of football playing. I would, later, take the skill with me to Karate. Fifty years on, I’m still standing, rocking as if there’ll be no end to my rolling life. Truth is, I want to live forever. I am a dreamer, and so shall it be.

My street football career was much fun, whilst it lasted. It gave me lasting valuable life lessons, as well: street survival alertness (“Tsotsis”, violent street hustlers, didn’t play football!), and fierce competitive spirit, or killer instinct cultivation. Street football also afforded me the first real taste of leadership, going into puberty and subsequent young manhood. The leadership trial run would reward me with just as premier and unforgettable taste of the thrill of victory. That owing to the coaching my impromptu leadership role empowered me to do with my team, one day.

A team had challenged us from another part of our township, Thabong Location, Welkom. Our challengers were notorious for severely beating up their opponents when they, the former, lost matches. These guys were a little older than us, and they had some of their neighbourhood supporters following them everywhere they went. Our team, on the other hand, was, usually, an ad hoc affair. It spontaneously organized itself around whoever was available on our street, and wished to play, there and then.

Unfortunately, on the day of the challenge, whereas we had more than what we needed of potential players, no one wished to play. All were afraid of getting beaten up by the visitors, in the event of the latter’s loss against us. The problem was that the visitors were still going to be violent if we chose not to play. These guys, the challengers, were crazy: when they won, they still beat up the opponents, if only to teach the losers not mess with the bad guys! So, either way, we were in trouble. Catch 22.

I do not seem to recall what led to my team prodding me for a solution to the dilemma we were in. They even decided that I should be the team captain for the day. Because I had already started training boxing by then, a thought struck me that if I made my team believe we were strong as individuals and as a collective, we could win in such a way that the bad guys wouldn’t want to fight us afterwards.

How? Let’s wear them out, whilst we remain strong all the way, throughout the match. How? Let’s do what nobody else did at that time: do a pre-match, team spirit enhancing jogging and calisthenics session! It’s called warming-up these days. Doing that would also give us a psychological edge over the opponents. It worked like magic.

My team played with the intensity and unity of purpose that we had never thought were possible before. In my head, I still vividly see replays of the match to this day. Playing on what we, then, called the “12 hurra!” principle, we beat the bad guys 12-0. The loss, combined with my team’s upbeat, super confident mood, overwhelmed the bad guys so much that they left our zone running as if they had just seen snakes, or some scary monsters like that. Eventually transferred into Karate, I have enormously enjoyed sports leadership and coaching since. I’ve won, I’ve lost. I’ve been stupid, I’ve been wise. I’ve made friends, I’ve lost friends. I’m here. I live. I love.

Adult club football was a different ball game altogether. I enjoyed watching this, not so much for the thrill of the game, but out of the fascination I had for those players that stood out as the best in the game, regardless of position played. The fascination was about the aura these guys seemed to carry, both on and off the field. They seemed to be ever so strong and happy.

It’s always been a great fascination for me as to how men, and women these days, running after, and with a ball could, at the same time, induce so much euphoria amongst the spectators. Off the field, the super star players seemed to wield so much power that it appeared, for me then, as if they could be rulers of the world. That was despite the fact that I, at that time, I had no real clue as to how gigantic and complex the world really was. They had all the beautiful girls. Attendant hyper fornication scandals I didn’t care much about. Rock & Roll is what it is: you burn, you burn. If the highway to hell is short, let it be. I’ll talk to Mother Mary another time.

One of those super star players was Abel Nkhabu, a.k.a. Moya, or Mgeu, late, 2017. May his soul rest in peace. I first came to personally know, and look up to him in the years 1972-74. Looking back, I like to think that, actually, this man was my first real-life, non-family Super Hero. He seemed larger than life, and, yet, he could touch me, ask me about my wellbeing, and encourage me to be good at school always.

There were also some of Mgeu’s generation of original black South African football mega stars around. By status, they were bigger than him by far; they have remained so, and are, today, living legends in their own rights. I still look at them with awe; still getting that tingling sensation in my hands and feet I used to get at their sight, on and off the pitch, in my early teens.

These men, in various capacities at club and national association levels, continue to steer modern South African football. They are doing so with the same inspirational class I recall from the early 1970s. In them, I still see hope for this troubled land of my birth, South Africa. However, these men are still far away from my immediate spaces. They have yet to touch me like Mgeu did. A consolation, though, is that, in my eyes, they carry on his spirit, and that of numerous other giants of the pre-1994 South African football scene.

Much of my desire to defy and beat the odds in order to succeed in life, be a super star, and live forever, is owing to these men of wonder in the history and development of this land. There is more to football than just seemingly mad twenty-two men chasing a ball around a stupid rectangular space limiting their freedom to run away with it, the ball.

Inspired by the big and strong, unbeatable Hercules in the bioscope, I liked making leather wristbands for my friends, my lebandla, my street gang, and me. The finest I ever made was of some fine, thick, nicely patterned leather piece from one of my mother’s old handbags. Mgeu liked that wristband so much that he borrowed it for a while. He wore it on several big matches he played, with Welkom Real Hearts FC.

Monna, dude, I, actually, feel stronger and more courageous when I’m wearing this band. And, you, know, the other thing is that people on the field get afraid of me, believing that the band is a fortifying juju gear. I like it very much!”

I refused Mgeu’s offer to buy the wristband. Of course, I was taken by the symbolic power effect it had on him. I wanted to have the power too. When he, eventually, gave the wristband back to me, he was overwhelmingly effusive. An ordinary older South African man would have bullied me and kept it, anyway. Mgeu’s return of the band permanently cemented the bond that we already had. Before that, no other adult man had ever shown me that kind of respect for my personal integrity. It was gratifying for me to find that there, in fact, were still some grown up men one could trust.

As first-born child in my family, I was raised to love, protect, and support my younger siblings, that as a matter of course. My general love for children and youth derives from my upbringing values. From the time I became aware of my sibling position and role in the family, fondness and caring for those younger than me, to beyond my home, was something one just did without question. It was something I never put much thought to, even.

My younger, and last-born sibling, Lucy Dintletse’s birth, in 1974, brought the real intensity of my love for children to my consciousness for the first time. Lucy’s affectionate family nickname is Sonono, often shortened to Sono. The very nearly nine years of her life would thrust the love to heights I have yet to fathom. MHSRIP.

Sono1974

©Simon Chilembo 2018. Sono’s Catholic baptism day celebration, June, 1974. Our maternal grandmother, Auma, there. My powerful women. MTSRIP, Sono (1983); Auma (2004)

I see Sono in every child of the world. Whenever I see children of the world suffer under mankind’s proclivity to wars in outrageously vain attempts to impose peace upon one another, her sweet face emerges above the misery I see; the pain, the hopelessness I feel. And, then, faith that, someday, we gonna be alright, is rekindled. Through every child whose life I touch wherever I am in the world at any one time, my steadfast hope and wish are that, one day, these children will grow up to be conduits of love and peace for all mankind.

Mgeu was one of the pioneering black professional football players in South Africa, in the early 1970s. He made a dashing and influential figure, to his grave. His entire life, he was fiercely anti-apartheid and black people’s oppression. From Mgeu, I learnt that a man could be big and strong as a super star, but he could still have time and energy to engage positively with children and youth. This has remained one of the key defining moments of my life.

Whereas my father remains the formidable force behind my formal dressing taste, my smart-casual dressing style has heavy Mgeu undertones. My father was laid to rest twenty years ago today, July 04, 2018. MHSRIP. I remember him with immense love with this article too: my father, the finest of gentlemen, my hero; the original Machona – (the) Emigrant, the traveller, the gypsy from the warriors of love mystics of my Tumbuka people, Eastern Province, Zambia. If you jump into Malawi, Tanzania, and, partly, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), you’ll land into the midst of the extended empire of my people.

The original Chilembo Warriors

©Simon Chilembo 2018. With Big Daddy Cool, Sir E L W Chilembo. Pappa’s picture taken on my 21st birthday celebration party, June, 1981.

The one quality I’ve not quite been able to grasp, though, is the phenomenal “Ladies’ Man” tag Mgeu proudly carried to the very end. If we meet up again on the other side, I should ask him for specific coaching on this one; assuming that there’ll still be ladies abundance when I arrive there. But then again, we might find that the ladies on the other side are more work than what I have down here on earth. Nnnahhh, we let this one pass.

In the presence of Mgeu, I’d always feel like a 12-14 year old boy, if not even younger. In the photo accompanying this piece, we are meeting up soon after I had arrived in Welkom, from Norway, Christmas time, 2006/7. You know that sweet, loving feeling you get when you are with your favourite uncle, I had it at the time the photo was being taken; I’m feeling it as I write this article, at this very moment. Thanks, football, for one of the most significant men in my life!

I was fortunate enough to have had a few good men to relate to during my formative years. Many of those that were not so nice to me never lived to see the close of the 1970s. Good riddance. A lot of these not-so-nice men were generally unkind to youngsters. It’s just as well that longevity was never to be their gig. Morons!

In my dealings with children and youth, I endeavour to be, at least, as good as those adult males that have, each in their own special ways, contributed to my being the mad energy bundle that I am, now as a fully grown adult myself. I have never been able to think of a better way to express my deep felt gratitude for the presence of good men in mine, and other children’s lives.

In the early 1970s, Mgeu, together with a host of other first generation of black professional football players were organized under the auspices of the then National Professional Soccer League (NPSL). In my forthcoming 6th book, 4th novel*, read how these transformed the lives of the black people of South Africa, at a time when the then South African apartheid regime was at its most venomous. The NPSL effect is played out around a particular family’s life in Thabong, Welkom. Watch this space for more information about the impending book release. Coming soon!

Simon Chilembo
Riebeeckstad
Welkom
South Africa
July 04, 2018
Tel.: +27 81318 5271
*MACHONA MOTHER – Shebeen Queen