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BOOKS

To Ban or Not to Burn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE RUTHLESS RULE

Kassie Jungle Law: Only the Strong Survive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©Simon Chilembo 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

©Simon Chilembo 2020
Project management

LOVE AS A NEUROLOGICAL FIX

LEAVE GAYS ALONE, PART 3

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.

Simon Chilembo Prayer for Love and Peace.
©Mona Karlsen, 2019

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!”
Baloney!

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!  

SIMON CHILEMBO
OSLO
NORWAY
TELEPHONE: +4792525032
DECEMBER 05, 2019  

38 YEARS AN EXILE: XXVIII

HOME AT LAST! Part 28
New Job Application:
Change, Win, Adapt, or Jump in The Lake in The Diaspora

Simon Chilembo, Founder/ President, ©Simon Chilembo, 2015

Simon Chilembo, Founder/ President ©Simon Chilembo, 2015

How old I was then was of no concern to me. At that age I saw things in terms of physical appearances relative to other objects in the immediate environment. People were adults because they were far bigger, and stronger than me. When I first became consciously aware of where I was in my surroundings, it was of no concern to me as to whether I was coming or going; I was just there where I found myself, having the time of my life discovering wonders of the world … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA AWAKENING – home in grey matter”. Order book on Amazon).

Simon Chilembo
Riebeeckstad
Welkom
9469
South Africa
August 24, 2015

38 YEARS AN EXILE: XIX

HOME AT LAST! Part 19 SOUTH AFRICA AFROXENOPHOBIA – The Myths

Simon Chilembo, CEO/ President

Simon Chilembo, CEO/ President ©Simon Chilembo 2015

Regarding the renewed, more grave, xenophobic violence rocking major cities of the land at the moment, on the ground, enlightened and critically thinking South Africans know that there is more to South Africans’ apparent envy  over foreign nationals’ business acumen, as well as their apparent resultant financial success.

There aren’t many social interaction spaces as revelatory of the true colours of individual and collective human behaviour and attitudes as in places of trade, market places. It’s only natural, therefore, that when shit hits the fan, as is the case with the current xenophobic hassle in South Africa, it will be in and around retail business outlets … (Continued in the book: MACHONA AWAKENING – home in grey matter. Order book on Amazon).

Simon Chilembo
Welkom
South Africa
Tel.: +4792525032
April 18, 2015

WOMEN’S MONTH 2014: WITCHES’ MONTH?

GLAD IT’S OVER

Simon Chilembo, Pres/ CEO, Empire ChilemboThank goodness it’s over! After a traumatic last three weeks of the Women’s Month 2014, my balls feel free again. I can breath again. I want to love again.

Midmorning of August 08, I’m driving up to Gauteng with The Queen Mother. At some point between Welkom and Kroonstad, we meet one of the most intimidating road blocks I have ever seen anywhere in post-1994 South Africa. The Army, Road Traffic Police, and South African Police Service (heavily-armed, Marikana-style) made a very, very strong presence. All women. Only a fool would want to fuck around here.

First check point is by four Army officers on us. They give us some road safety info materials, wishing us a safe and enjoyable journey further ahead. Very warm, polite, and happy. I’m thoroughly charmed. Now I am in my element, I thought quietly. One of the ladies even congratulates my mother on a great catch. All laugh heartily as Queen Mother replies, “No, no, no! This one is for you. Ke letsibolo la ka/ He is my first born, and he is single. Come on ladies, Twitter, Facebook!!!” This, of course, draws a lot of attention towards us, the police looking a bit uncomfortable a few metres ahead, though.

Next check point is Road Traffic Police. The seriousness, and hard faces of the lady officers here failed to warn me of the impending nightmare I was stopping into as we are waved to park our car on the road side. Document check.

I was born by a hard, tough, and strong woman. During my formative years I was raised by a High Priestess whose followers came from all corners of South Africa and beyond: my maternal grandmother was both a spiritual healer and medium. Despite a turbulent childhood till well into her teenage years, my younger sister has grown up to be one Super Woman in her own right.

The vast majority of the women I know, or have heard of, on both sides of my family, in South Africa and Zambia, are very strong personalities whose presence is/ was noticed everywhere they are/ were. My male relatives, my closest friends and Brothers, the whole lot of them seem to fall for and marry the strongest of women. It’s no wonder, then, that strong women ever so fascinate me. I admire strong women. I respect strong women. I love strong women. I adore them … (Continued in the book: MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)


Simon Chilembo

Welkom
South Africa
September 03, 2014

 

 

 

END POVERTY SOLUTION

HIGH VALUE JOBS, HIGH VALUE PEOPLE, PROSPERITY

Nelson Mandela, PresidentIn the short term, it is politically functional to create low value mass employment job opportunities on community-based menial work projects. This is not a functional poverty elimination approach in the long term, though. It is simply a way of managing poverty, as well as buying time to contain the potential outward expression of anger and frustration by the poor as long as possible.

Service delivery protests currently ravaging certain parts of South Africa may be a sign of things to come, though, when this kind of poverty management is exhausted, and no better alternatives are in the offing.

Society will in the long term gain by far from investing in high value job creation opportunities across the board. The seemingly relatively fewer thriving in high value jobs as entrepreneurs, innovators, and experts in various technological, as well as societal management skills not only drive the economy through higher purchasing power arising from higher available disposable income, they in turn create job opportunities of a higher value than community based low value mass employment ones. And, they pay tax.

For example, I’ll postulate that, all things remaining equal, and assuming rational behaviour, as well as economic expenditure and saving patterns in a dynamic economy, R.30 000,-/ month paid to one junior-middle level professional creates more real social economic value than the same amount paid to sixty low value mass employment workers receiving R.500,-/ month each. The thought that there are working people still taking home a net of R.500,-/ month in South Africa in 2014 boggles my mind … (Continued in the book: MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)


Simon Chilembo

Welkom
South Africa
August 18, 2014

LEAVE GAYS ALONE!

ONE LOVE, ONE SEX. MAN, WOMAN, SAME DIFFERENCE

Sex is cheap. Sex is so cheap nearly all living things do it. Dogs do sex. Snakes do sex. Bees do sex. Seen solely as a reproductive means, even the wind does sex; Virgin Mary knows, ask God. Celibates do sex. Sex is no big deal.

Essentially, sex is about one thing, and one thing only: 6-20 seconds of the pure delight of orgasm. Some struggle to, or never, experience it at all; some get it too quick, too soon. But that doesn’t change the basic instinct behind the pursuit and the ultimate motive for indulging in sex. Cheap stuff.

Sure thing, baby baking is the ultimate real outcome of sex. But, certainly baby production is not the driving force behind the need, and the desire, to do sex. It’s orgasm first, then babies, where applicable and intended, or even accidental. There would long have been no more room on earth if babies were conceived every orgasm hit, if doing sex was primarily a baby factory act … (Continued in the book: MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)
Simon Chilembo
Welkom
South Africa
February 16, 2014

PROBLEMS, PROBLEMS!

SIMON CHILEMBO FOR PRESIDENT! Part 2

“Simon, Simon, I know you all 30 years of Oslo and everything about you is problems, problems, problems, … Simon, please, Bello, can you not just for one day, today, have no problems, please. Problems, give me problems every day. I get a headache. NO PROBLEMS, PLEASE!!! I beg you, Simon, Sensei!” my first Norwegian friend, and Brother, Mimmo (72), Italian, would often cry in frustration. And we’d then go out and eat pasta, pizza, tiramisu; drink red wine and espresso, and live happily ever after, sharing our fantasies about good fortunes, women, as well as our frustrations about Karate politics in Norway and all over the world.

SONY DSCThe root cause of all my problems is that I do not have a rich and generous uncle I can cry on to and, voila, I live happily ever after. I have problems. Big problems. Serious problems:

  • Across the street in front of the house I live in there is a piece of prime land I want to buy. Here, I can build a modern open-air training and art park for the community. Promoting Health & Wellness principles and attitudes for a healthy, strong, and productive nation. But I’m broke
  • I need to pave up the space in front of my house, not only for aesthetic purposes, but that would further stabilise the earth around the house. Broke.
  • There is an urgent need to fence off the yard to the street. More for privacy needs than security. Broke.
  • Lots of repair and upgrading work to do around the house. No deal. Broke.
  • I need some classy interior decoration job for the house. No deal. Broke.
  • I need to make the house a green one, with solar energy panels and all, as well as own water borehole. No deal. Broke.
  • I must have super high speed ADSL connection here. No deal. Broke.
  • A swimming pool is needed too, so is a billiard room, private gym, as well as a private study/ library. No deal. Broke.
  • No Maserati. No Mercedes. No Maybach. Not even a Mahindra workhorse van. Broke.
  • Future mother of my children taking her time to find me. The house is too big for one man.
  • I have produced too much food in my new vegetable garden. Abundance everywhere in suburbia. Problems, problems.

Never ending wars in Africa. African people made destitute in their own lands. African people hungry, dirty, maimed, sick, miserable, broken. African people die without dignity; no honour. Hungry child_1.jpgThere is that picture of a vulture waiting for an emaciated body of a child to die. African humanity crushed. African earth carries so much unholy rot. And to think that we eat of the soil of this rotten earth!

“But, no, Simon, the oil give it shine; gold and diamonds give it glitter. African blood, flesh, and bones precious, see? They don’t call it the Blood Diamonds for nothing, yes?” I hear an army General whisper in my ear as someone applies electric shock to my testicles.

And African poets sing, “Oh, how we love you, Mother Africa!” Gawd!

Ever a thin thread of hope left, though. In extreme times, a thread of grass, a drop of water can take one very, very far. Beaten African people cross the Sahara on barefoot. Nature is more sensible than we often realize. When people are as badly crushed as African people on the run from miseries of tyranny and wars, even the sun gets no thrills out of burning them alive in the middle of the deserts. Others will deal with them more efficiently.

If you can’t get your hands on the African oilfields, the blood diamonds and gold (platinum is Marikana, and that’s another story), there is bounty of poor, desperate African people on the run across the Sahara. Here, there is everything for everybody. Unknowingly, these acutely abused and misused African people will even buy passports to die out at sea when then sun spared their lives in the deserts. Makes me wonder what the fish of the waters between African inhumanity and the lands of hope and perceived better life beyond, think of Africa and Africans. What would happen were the Nile to reverse its course?

I have problems. Big problems. Serious problems. Solution? Well:

Simon Chilembo
Welkom
South Africa
Tel: ++4792525032
December 28, 2013