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SMARTER ZIMBABWEANS, STUPID SOUTH AFRICANS?

IS IT TRUE OR NOT THAT ZIMBABWEANS ARE MORE SMARTER (sic), EDUCATED THAN SOUTH AFRICANS??
Asked somebody on a Facebook group, The SA Political Forum.

©Simon Chilembo, 2014

©Simon Chilembo, 2014

A clumsily formulated, but interesting, question which has provoked extremely intense debate on the forum in recent days. The latter manifesting more the worst than the better of our views of one another in this part of the world: Nationalism, racism, tribalism, bigotry, parochialism, xenophobia, ignorance, primitivity, nauseous arrogance, pettiness, immaturity, insensitivity, paternalism, mental derangement symptoms, lack of imagination, intellectual poverty, academic disorientation, non-culturedness, superstition, spiritual emptiness, insecurity, dumb-headedness, self-destruction tendencies, predator mentality, terribly developed language/ communication skills, cheap rhetoric, thick-headedness, anarchism, mistrust, misinformation, information distortion, history misinterpretation, manipulation, wilful ignorance of facts, e-kassie mentality, ill-defined defiance, profanity, foolish pride, as well as threats; including leadership/ rule by fear.

I do not quite recall how my first year, 1965, at school in Lesotho unfolded. What I do remember well, though, is that it was a hell lot of fun learning how to read and write for the first time. Returning from what I had then understood to have been Christmas holidays, January 1966 I discovered that I had completely new classmates at my school. The others from the previous year were in another class I heard called Padiso/ Sub B. That didn’t bother me much, however; all I wanted to do was to continue learning how to read and write. It was ever such great fun, at the request of the class teacher, to stand in front of the class reading or counting for my new classmates. Nevertheless, I recall that at some point this whole thing began to bore me half way to death; I kept reading and counting the same things all the time. I felt it was time I went to join my old classmates who were now in Padiso/ Sub B. So, I stated my wish to the class teacher. The school principal wouldn’t allow that to happen, I was told. Why??? “Because you are just too intelligent for your age, Simon. Boko ba hao bo tla bola …/ Your brains will rot if you go to higher classes while you are still under age. People who get too much education while young get mad, you see. Don’t worry, you shall go to Padiso/ Sub B when you are 8 years old” the teacher resolutely told me. So, I stayed in Grade 1 for three years, 1965-67, to keep my sanity together. Jeeezuz!

During the years 1967-69, the only meaningful school activity I recall are the almost daily after school fights arranged by older boys and girls. The idea was that boys my age should/ would beat the brains out of me because teachers at the school never stopped talking about how intelligent I was. Sadly for the matchmakers and my opponents, I would win absolutely all my fights. There was no way I was going to allow these dumb heads to kill my brains. I was also a street-smart kid. The thing is, while these age mates of mine were still working round getting the alphabet, and numbers, together, I was already reading to my class teacher and my grandmother some passages from the Lesotho Times newspaper. I am a South African child begotten of a Zambian father. At this formative school of mine in Lesotho, there were many other mixed ethnicity parentage children (representative of the ethnic and racial diversity of the Southern African sub-continent) from relatively more resourceful families in the major South African metropolis, including Lesotho itself.

In 1970, going onto my tenth year of age, I find myself in a South African school classroom for the first time. The academic excellence self-confidence developed in Lesotho got acutely shaken by my failure to understand what the textbook I was given by the new class teacher was about. Reading comprehension, of course. I struggled through the assigned reading passage, and then answered the subsequent 10 questions best I could. I got zero out of ten. The teacher expressing dismay at my explicit lack of knowledge of Afrikaans, I couldn’t reveal that I had actually started schooling in Lesotho, where there was/ is no Afrikaans spoken or taught in schools. By the time of the mid-year exams in June that year, though, I was scoring the highest all-round grades in class. Upon return from winter holidays, my class teacher called me out to where she and other teachers seemed to be discussing something serious together with the school Principal. I was told that all had agreed that I deserved to be promoted to the next class because I was just too intelligent for Grade 3, which I had in fact been forced to repeat in the first place. I declined. Why? I was afraid my brains would rot, and I would thus go mad from too much education while still young. Bummer! I kept scoring the highest grade point averages at school in South Africa till end of 1974.

First quarter of 1975 I am in Lusaka, Zambia. No school that year. Very depressing. I have never felt smaller, and more insignificant. Shattered medical studies dreams. But then again, just under 15 years of age, I discover, and enter into a space called library for the first time in my life: Lusaka City Library, British Council Library, American Library. Book, books, and books everywhere, including my Uncle Oliver’s private library at home, as well as later, the magnificent UNZA library. And there were so many magazines, journals, and other publications of all sorts to read. I became a bookworm that year. A whole new world of thinking and dreaming was opened for me; and thus began my daily English reading and writing journey to this day.

Back to school in 1976. Forced to backtrack again because, my father was told, the then South African Bantu Education Grade 7 academic standards were lower than those of Zambia. But, as soon as I had gotten into the rhythm of things at school, I was topping class grade average points, as usual. I could never understand the Grade 7 failure panic and hysteria characteristic of the time in Zambia. I, of course, passed the final exams with flying colours later in the year. South African born, Zambian dad begotten man-child would show constant, and predictable, academic excellence throughout the entire Secondary/ High School career to university; crushing class- and schoolmates from many other countries/ nations of the world, including Zimbabwe. This, despite the fact that I didn’t know what a science laboratory was until I was 17 years old at secondary school. That Zambian school children had already been exposed to sophisticated scientific education for years had also greatly intimidated me at first. There was at that time an awesome Zambian youth scientific magazine called Orbit. The story would repeat itself in Norway, both academically and professionally in my adult years.

20 years ago, after failing a Drivers’ Licence theory examination in Norwegian language, a blue-eyed Norwegian young man, upon hearing that I had scored almost 100% in the same test, exasperates, “Fffæææn/ Ssshit, I never knew that there were in fact wise negrer in the world!” Another dick head bites the dust.

The moral of this story is that when you are hot, you are hot. Your origin, or Nationality, due to various objective and subjective factors, may have some, but certainly not, decisive bearing.

My initial response to the question on the forum went as follows:
NOT true! The 5 million or so … in SA should tell a lot about Zimbabweans’ smartness, with their country messed up by (one of) the most educated presidents in Africa. We have our Msholozi, we have our legacy of inferior, for Blacks, apartheid Bantu education. But, for one of many examples, and despite acute imperfections here and there, through SASSA, South Africa effectively distributes at least R 10 BILLION in various social grants a month. 

Ultimately, it’s not so much about how smart or educated Nation(-s/ -nals) are, it’s about how they apply these qualities to meet their people’s needs and aspirations as their nations develop and progress among nations of the world.

Simon Chilembo
Riebeeckstad
Welkom
9459
South Africa
Tel.: +27 717 454 115
October 12, 2014

eKASSIE THABONG

 THABONG, KASSIE YA KA KA 2014

©Simon Chilembo, 2014

On Monday morning, walking the breadth of my old Kassie, Thabong, Welkom, for the first time in 40 years, by way of pungency in the air, nothing has changed.  After 2-3 weeks of torrential rains, there is stagnant water in many places.

The superlatively built storm canals are clogged; green sediment/ moss and wild vegetation growth all the way. Burst sewerage pipes here and there; long, open canals of slow-moving, if at all, shit created as a result of slow and/ or erratic maintenance.

As if ordered, there’s a carcass of a cat on the edge of a busy taxi street. Indications are at the cat hasn’t long been run over by a vehicle. No doubt, there is also a dead dog nearby, perhaps somewhere in the messy storm canals. No need to confirm. Dead dog eKassie? I know it when I smell it. Just keep on moving straight ahead. Nose getting blocked. Getting a headache. Feeling queasy.

How did I grow up in these conditions? How do people, how can people still be living in these conditions in Mzansi, the golden land of milk and honey for sho? No wonder old people seem ever so tired, and “ugly” here. Been away too long … (Continued in the book: MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)


Simon Chilembo

Welkom
South Africa
February 13, 2014

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE 2012: EU, USE IT OR LOSE IT!

EUROPEAN UNION CALL

I once again emphasize that I am the proudest Black African man I know.

©Simon Chilembo, 09/ 12-2012

My fear of China is not so much of the people of the land, but the mode of governance and social control of the people by the ruling state apparatus. The people of China have given us Bruce Lee after all. They have given us TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) as well. But life without Google must be an excruciatingly painful emotional experience. On the other hand, and seen from a purely business perspective, Communist China impressively runs globally the most efficient and effective State Capitalism industrial-commercial complex expansion today.

One of my best long assignment papers while a student at UNZA almost 30 years ago was in response to the question: IS AFRICAN POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC INTEGRATION FEASIBLE? I took the position NO!  Acknowledging, though, that the political and economic integration of the continent would be a massively effective development and progress machine were it to be attainable and sustained. I argued that if the concept failed to work at the then EEC level, there is no way it can work in Africa. This was because, I went on, post-colonial Africa was/ is polarized in more or less similar political and philosophical thought, as well as political economy orientation as the former European colonial masters. The same polarization is observable at the socio-cultural influence levels also.

It is my contention that 21st century Europe owes it to Africa, and not in the least the world, to get its act together. From a historical perspective, it is an acknowledgeable fact the events in Europe, as well as consequences of global European adventures and misadventures, have had a bearing as to the direction of progress and development of/ in other parts of the world. I shudder to think about the likely nature of power relations in the world should China eventually break and take over the global hegemony of the Western European way of living and social organization. Therefore, it is my hope that the NOBEL PEACE PRIZE 2012 awarded to the EUROPEN UNION will continue inspiring Europeans to continue working towards finding a common ground of addressing and solving the enormous economic and political challenges facing Europe and the world today. The Union must continue the decidedly important effort of contributing to “… the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe”, as well as the rest of the world.

Simon Chilembo
Oslo
Norway
Tel.: +4792525032
October 10, 2012 

WEALTH UNTOLD?

ENERVITAL
for
YourHealth·YourWealth®

ENERVITAL is my multifaceted Health & Wellness brand comprising:

My goal at ENERVITAL is to help people attain their optimal state of health to enable them realize the most optimal wealth creation potential for both themselves as individuals, as well as their work/ business enterprises. In the perfect world my mind sees, healthy and wealthy people create and lead healthy and wealthy organizations and institutions. These form the basis for healthy and wealthy nations of abundance, where all have their basic needs and wants plus more are perpetually satisfied. On the grander scale of thought, health and wealth are means to world peace attainment.

In the perfect world my mind’s sees I define wealth as follows:

  • WEALTH: Sustainable long-term state of resourcefulness.
    Resourcefulness: Boundless creative ability and innovative capacity.

Resourceful people will always find solutions to challenges; and they will always find new and better, more efficient, and more effective ways of doing things. This translates to higher productivity, functional and rational use, as well as allocation of resources. When all is said and done, the rewards then are higher profits for business, higher returns on investment, and higher remunerations for the workers, as well as greater revenue generation for the state. And voilà, all live happily ever after!

It goes without saying therefore that my ENERVITAL Healthy & Wealthy People® will be at the top of the food chain. Given their abundant creative and innovative energy, as well as capacity catalyzed by what I do at ENERVITAL, these people make things happen; they are not made by things, and are rewarded accordingly across the board. In (the) community many of these people are generous, considerate, and kind; they have strong philanthropic engagements in many parts of the world.

If you also want to be healthy and wealthy, so you can have the necessary strength and endurance to help make this a better place for yourself and others to live to the fullest creative and innovative potential, come to ENERVITAL!

My dream: Peace on earth. All are healthy and wealthy. Abundance is real, equitable.

Simon Chilembo
Oslo
Norway
Tel.: +47 97000488/ +27 717454115 (South Africa)
July 09, 2012