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To Die or Not to Die For
When I’m dead
As I lived it
It gave me
The sweet life
Wines and roses
The trials and tribulations
It subjected me to
The sour life
Swords and sores
Don’t matter no more
Heaven and hell
The after life
In the living
But little about them
I shall die as I lived
Hooked on freedom
Freedom taught me that
It is like the air
It is love
Love is the
The earth rotates
I can’t breathe
I can’t breathe
Earth axis vanishes
All love lost
Earth rotation stops
All hell breaks loose
Constricts my lungs
Inflames my sinuses
I can’t breathe?
I don’t die?
I go berserk
I go berserk
I feel no pain
Fear evaporates from my body
I am mad
Médecin sans frontières
Line between life and death
Every which way
If I die
I do so
For the living
They’ll call my action
The ultimate sacrifice
If I live
I won’t celebrate
I can shout out
From the depth of my lungs
I’ll call that pure joy
In the name of freedom
A man defied
Military tanks in
In the name of freedom
Dark holes everyday
Worth talking about
They’ll tell you about
Land of my birth
I can’t breathe
In the name of freedom
A bullet in the head everyday
In the name of freedom
People of the world
Blind eyes to
The invisible enemy
The price of freedom
Let us breathe
Give us our lives back
No one can stop us now
We need to breathe
Whatever the cost
It is what it is
If I die, I die
I won’t be the first
In the name of freedom
©Simon Chilembo, 07/ 06-2020
NB: I do not trivialize the seriousness of Coronavirusdisease (COVID-19) with this piece. The pandemic deserves the highest respect: we must all follow expert advice from doctors, scientists, and relevant multilateral and state health authorities wherever we are in the world.
June 07, 2020
Not of atmospheric pressure variations
Rage of the people
Turbulences the world
From pole to pole
If you circumnavigate
Precise as a
Substandard complication clock
Marching against time
The people’s rage
Will entangle you
Every minute of the way
In the 21st Century
It is a ferocious storm
It’ll embroil your insides
Your comfort zones
You’ll run into your bunker
You’ll find it full of your shit
If you can breathe now
Were you ever to
Come out of your delirium
You’d find that
There is order
In the heart of
The storm outside
Rage of the people
Has a cause:
With the atmosphere
I can’t breathe
You kill me
I glide into
The valley of death
My body joins
My ancestral spirits
In the soil
In an instant
My soul trajects
Into outer space
There is no peace here
There is no rest here
All souls I find here
Are floating non-stop
Bouncing on to
Where is the love
They say that
We were coerced here
Far too early
When we arrive
The kingdom of God
We land into hell
This is zombie land
This place here
Has no room
For our pains
For our tears
We are far too many
Arriving one after the other
Some souls arrived
Spanning six hundred years
Across the universe
Hold center of
The earth together
Rage outside is
In the eye of the storm
The mother of all storms
If you thought
Was a tough one
Wettest ever seen
Yes, in your words
From the standpoint of water
If hurricane Dorian scared
The wits out of you
In yet another bizarre display
Of your delusional
State of being
You ain’t seen nothing yet
This time around
The storm is called
In this name
Of slain Black lives
In your vain pursuit
Dances with the devil
Over six centuries
George Floyd’s name
The people say
Time has arrived
Enough is enough
Aren’t empty words
When she sang
Daddy changed the world
Either you are with us
Or you perish
The eye of the storm
In there is simple
Valid for all times
We want equality
We want freedom
We want justice
We want peace
We want solidarity
Do you wan’ to pray
On our knees
On the ground
Ever danced in a storm
In the name of love
Hate is subdued
©Simon Chilembo, 05/ 06-2020
In memory of George Floyd, MHSRIP
June 05, 2020
PLANT A KNEE
PLANT A KNEE
You don’t kick
That’s already down
In his back
Genitalia nowhere to hide
Out of the question
I can’t kneel!
If he is Black
You wanna kill him slow
On Africa Freedom Day
Plant your knee
In his neck
I can’t breathe!
Smirk to the world
In front of
Eyes wide open
What can anybody
Do to you
You are white
You are police
You are the power
The illusion that
This world is yours
In your mind’s eye
If your eyes
Light in black
Red on the ground
That is black blood
Red as yours
If your eyes
Black eyes dying
Of the soil
Sees no point
To rest the knee
Not in fear
But in humble protest
Against your opaque eyes
Blind thirst for
Smelling red iron
Like your blood does
You ought to know better
A mind switch
You just played
Your last trump card
Trump Tower just Blackened
Of masterminds of
Cambodian Killing Fields
Movie’ story lines origins
Liberian civil wars
The Biafra war
Rivers of blood
Is coming for you
Vengeance is calling
The world under
Collapsing in its own
Terrestrial black hole
What are you
Gonna do now
Put your hand
In your pants
Rub your dick
For the last time
©Simon Chilembo, 01/ 06- 2020
In memory of George Floyd, MHSRIP
June 01, 2020
WHEN I’M HERE
NOTE: Contributing to discussion on UNSTUCK – The Refinition of Manhood
“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,” Simon Chilembo.
It was as a four-and-half-year-old on my first day at school in Lesotho that I first became aware of my hereness. That was as an immediate response to the awareness of my differentness. The latter arose from my consciousness awakening to find me surrounded by many people. I somehow just understood that all were school children of all ages. There were numerous of my age, and others older. My guide, Dineo, was an older girl from the estate where I was staying not so far away from the school.
I found Dineo alternately being aggressively protective of me, and talking proudly about how far smarter I was compared to local children: I was of course tinier and blacker than all the other children because I was not one of them; I was not of their blood since my father came from a land far, far away in the north. In this so distant land, no Lesotho person had ever been. Dineo emphasized.
She went on to remind everyone about how ruthless her father was. So, if anybody was unkind to me, her father would come and destroy their lives the whole lot of them! Also, my father could do terrible things to them using powerful wizardry from his lands. Otherwise I was a sweet and happy child easy to be with, Dineo concluded.
This was a strange and fascinating scenario I could only watch without uttering a word. I did not only not know what to say or do, the atmosphere was also overwhelming in its simultaneous bewilderment and euphoria. The following day my grandmother took me to another school. I recall hearing whispers that word had been going around in the village that it was not safe for me to be at the first school. The alternative Peka Catholic school would be a safer bet for me, therefore.
At Peka Catholic school I recall being initially received by a group of nuns and the parish priest, Father Hemmel. The next thing was that I found myself in a room with several other children. We were singing “I am a tea pot. This is handle. This is mouth. Pour me out! Pour me out!”
Tracking animal pictures pasted up and around the walls of the room, I recall us repeating after the teacher, Mme Blandina, “A baby cow is called a calf. A baby sheep is called a lamb …”
And then, “A cat mews. A bull bellows. A hen cackles …”
Such began my school career. I would be at Peka Catholic school for four years, 1965-69. These remain the happiest years of my school life. This is the time I understood that I somehow grasped lessons faster than the lot of my classmates. I further found out that the teachers were extra fond of me. All nuns. The warmth they afforded me is unforgettable.
My popularity extended to older pupils, especially girls, in higher grades. At the same time, though, there were older boys that were not fond of me at all. They used to engage me into fights almost every day after school. I got my beatings much as I gave my share of the same. It ever infuriated everyone so much because I was unusually strong and stubborn for my age and, especially, body size.
I never thought too much about limitations of my personal attributes. All I knew was that I could never allow anybody to beat me up and get away with it. This was particularly so from age six, after my mother had instilled in my head the warrior heart attitude of learning to fight my own battles and settle scores alone.
I was already a seasoned fighter by the time that in my older youth years, my Karate teacher, in response to a report about a legendary fight that I had put up against some of the most notorious and dreaded street-fighters of Lusaka, Zambia, said, “If you must fight, fight. But don’t lose!”
That ethos drives my survival instincts in all situations to this day.
In the commotion typical around street fighting scenes, I would pick out ludicrous utterances that I was the way that I was as a hard-fighting child because of the strange blood that I carried from my strange, alien father. I was a little wizard that had to be killed whilst I was still a child because I was going to kill everyone else if I was to be allowed to grow up into a man.
These were really not nice things to hear for a child not even eight years old then. Now I’m a grown-up man soon to be sixty-years-old. Not a single person has perished in my hands yet. On the contrary, I have in my work saved more than one lives.
I thus learned how to balance getting unwanted extreme attention very early in my life. That, together with receiving much love on the one hand and buttressing myself against prejudice and hatred on the other, inculcated in me a strong sense of awareness of where I am at any one time.
Therefore, when I’m here, I’m here. What has to be will be. I shall do what I have to do to sustain my hereness for as long as possible, or for as long as it is necessary. If I have to love, I shall love. If I have to fight, I shall fight. The assumption being that my presence is valued here and now, and that my being here is not detrimental to my continued real and conceptual existential imperatives.
It’s not uncommon for me to hear that I take too much space when I’m here. It’s of little interest for me to seek to impose my hereness to personal and conceptual spaces that cannot, or are not willing to accommodate my being here.
If I’m here for a specific reason, I’ll do what I have to do to the best of my ability according to expectations, if not instructions. If it is really fun, I tend to go beyond, though. I’ll perform and deliver to the extent that what has to be done is compatible with my values and defined obligations vis-à-vis the given situation.
If I succeed, I succeed. If I fail, I fail. If the latter is due to factors I can correct, I shall do so accordingly. If it’s beyond my powers to correct, or do anything else in order to attain the original desired outcome, then I let go and move on to next level challenges; paying the price I have to if need be. It is what it is.
I never carry on with regrets. I carry on with new learned experiences that often empower me to perform better in the next level, even if the next level may not be related to the previous fiasco in any way. What matters is the new mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical fortification I’ve attained for the new way forward.
Throughout my life I’ve lived with the consciousness that I’ll meet all kinds of resistance in my endeavours to live my life as I see it, and as I wish to live it within the parameters of established life-supportive societal norms. I learned very early how to exert my presence with all my outward expressive faculties. This was an important skill to develop given the fact that I, as earlier stated, was a tiny child in a partially but grossly cruel world. In my adult years I never grew up to be the physically biggest man around either.
My mind, my intellect is my weapon. I load my mind with knowledge acquisition pursuits. I fire with my words: I write, I speak. I can sing too. My body is my combat machine. In this state of being, self-doubt is a known but non-applicable phenomenon to me. That is how I’ll always rise above negative forces working against me. Indeed, I might fall and lose one thing or another.
Actually, I have lost a lot of tangible and intangible things during the last twelve-to-fifteen-years. If I don’t die, I’ll rise again. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, but I will rise again. I am on the rise again as it is. My death can wait. I ain’t got no time to die as yet.
It happens time and time again: for each knock and fall I get, for each loss, at least tenfold new options for the better present themselves upon my rising again. For that reason, I never cry over spilt milk. When it is clear that the milk loss is inevitable no matter what preventive measures I may apply, I let go without shedding a tear.
No resistance. When change is gonna come, it’s gonna come. If one of the new options emerging after the milk loss will be a dairy cow, I hardly ever get surprised. Nevertheless, I remain ever humble in the face of continuous favours bestowed upon me by nature, my ancestral spirits, and my God. The resilience I put forth in times of trouble, in my darkest hours, does wonders for my ego. But that resilience is of origins far beyond the realms of my ego’s mind games’ current manifest performance and ultimate potential.
Deep down inside of me I know that constant pursuance of being a decent human being is my inclination by default, much as are my human fallibilities. When I get a knock for my own failings, my inadequacies, I shall with dignity take the punishment I get. My sense of dignity gets even more profound in the face of injustice and malice directed upon my person. Always.
I am cognizant of my strengths and vulnerabilities. These two qualities annihilate any sense of self-doubt I might have in any given situation. Because I know, i.e. my personal cognitive and intuitive data bases are adequately supplied with relevant information and energy, I’ll always have options in both good and challenging times.
The phrase Machona Awakening came not only from that moment I finally understood for myself that a place called home can be more a function of thoughts and feelings, contra its being one’s place of birth only. Machona Awakening is also about that moment in time it dawned upon me that I, indeed, am that I am. I am that I am with all the beauty and the ugly that define me in the eye of the beholder. That with respect to the conscious and unconscious display of my deeds as I dance through the intricacies of my life for as long as I live.
Fear I might have. Insecurity I might have. These may arise in times and situations where I lack applicable functional and conceptual knowledge. When and where I don’t know, I’m likely to be invisible; silent. If I’m ignorant relative to a given reality, it may perhaps be because it’s neither interesting nor important for my existential needs here and now, or there and then. Knowledge is power over fear, insecurity, and self-doubt. It’s about knowing what branch of knowledge is relevant where, how, and when.
I’m not a thrill-seeker. As such I’m not given to blind pursuits of the unknown at any cost. So, let it pass. Ain’t no love lost. No regrets. Self-doubt possibilities eliminated. But does that not limit maximal growth potential? Well, all things considered, I can only grow to the level I reach today. The next levels of growth tomorrow and beyond are only dreams with today’s growth experiences as their launch pad; as certain as the sun shall rise tomorrow for all living creatures of the earth. No doubt from the self, neither from nature. Solid knowledge. Self-doubt expunged.
March 02, 2020
Scientifically speaking, at the moment of human conception, there is no telling what perfections or imperfections shall take place as the to-be-human-being develops until birth. Not in the least as the new human being steadily grows up into adulthood and advanced old age, if so destined. There never is any guarantee that the new to-be-human-being shall in fact be born, to begin with.
Depending on the genetic material quality of the sperm and the egg of the respective parents, children born can turn out to have and to be anything. Life is by default a game of chance from the start. Consideration of infinite other internal and exterior variables prior to, during the mother’s pregnancy and actual eventual birthing is crucial in this regard as well. Children can be born still. They can be born healthy and strong, weak and ever fragile, with or without arms or ears. They can be born with all kinds of everything and/ or nothing, including sexuality.
Sexuality is a manifestation of a neurological state of being; biologically determined, needless to say. Therefore, sexual orientation is not a choice, it is an intrinsic aspect of being human as naturally programmed in our genetical construct as living organisms.
To strive to change or work against human sexual orientation is as good as working against God’s work and wonders of her infinite creative potential and its expressions, both for the relative good and bad of human existence on earth. This has to hold true if indeed all born and unborn human beings are made by God in her own image. God cannot be God only for socially constructed “normal” people.
Discrimination and loathing of people whose expression of being goes contra man-made social norms essentially invalidate the existence and relevance of God. A God who “so loved the world that [she] gave [her] one and only Son, that whoever believes in [her] shall not perish but have eternal life.” It is clear that God is aware that there shall be those that shall not believe in her because of the imperfect, non-predictable nature of being human, whether made after her image or not.
Amongst other things, assuming that we are indeed manifestations of God’s creation, she imparted in us the power of will. Therefore, people can as per their natural prerogative choose or not to choose to believe in God and take the consequences. Some people will, vis-à-vis artificial social precepts, be defined or judged to be anti-God only because they cannot do otherwise but live according to the essence of their being what or who they are. That as nature, or God, designed and subsequently brought them out to life on earth.
A really genuine and benevolent God simply cannot intentionally design and give life to sexual orientation “abnormal” people to, then, punish them upon their expression and living of life according to their inherent compulsions.
In a perfect world, it can be predicted that the act of human sexual intercourse shall under “normal circumstances” take place only between males and females only. But normalcy in nature is a fluid reality that is scientifically verifiable.
To, in the name of God, deny people of the same sex the privilege to love one another and enjoy free, mutually satisfactory sexual intercourse in a free world is fundamentally an outrageously spiritually vain, anti-God endeavour. Even worse when it’s expressed in the form of parochial, archaic “it is not our culture!” utterance.
And then there is “Even animals don’t do it! Why should we allow it in our society?”
This takes the cake of ludicrous logic founded on misguided understanding, if any, of how nature really works: human neurological wiring and hormonal propulsion influencing behavioural manifestations have no direct correlation with that of non-human animals, that emanating from mutually incongruent genetical constructs and preconditions. Basic science.
Humans and non-human animals need to have a common genome in order to be socially and, by extension, sexually comparable, if not compatible. In the same vein, for example, lions and buffaloes naturally don’t socially or sexually mix because they are inherently driven by different genetic factors. On the other hand, be they straight or gay, humans of all races, colours, religions, and creed will always be socially and sexually attracted to one another as a matter of course. That as a given attribute of sharing a common and invariable human genome. Elemental science.
“Green people and magenta people simply cannot mix! Ever seen hyenas and giraffes mix together out in nature? It’s not racism. No, not at all. It’s just the way things are. It’s God’s plan, you know, my friend!”
If I really am made by God in her image, then, everything I do and stand for in my life is but a small manifestation of her stupendous wonders in the universe. If she made me a Human Rights driven heterosexual with passion for fairness and justice for all, including homosexuals, then I’m a happy, humble, and obedient servant. This resonates 100% with my innate being as scientifically and/ or Godly constructed man. What I preach here is the word of God, therefore.
Conversely, should God punish me for performing my instinctual human or social obligations as per her design of me, she can go to hell. Hell ought to be yet another one of her self-defeatist masochistic creations. It’s absolutely preposterous that God can create me, send me to propagate her words and deeds in the world, and then shoot me for carrying out her commands exactly according to her designs. Amen!
DECEMBER 05, 2019
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.
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.
Tel.: +47 925 25 032
November 14, 2019
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Tel.: +47 925 25 032
October 24, 2019
Divide and Conquer Necro-Power Games
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
Under the sun of
The land of the broken rainbow
The stench combines
With smoke of those bodies
Caught in flames of devilish fire
In Mzansi fo sho
Satanic voices chant: HABASHWE!!!
And then I recall
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
Who is better?
Who is worse?
If you ask me
09/ 09- 2019
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.
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.
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 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!