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REMEMBERING A SENIOR WARRIOR:
It is almost two weeks since Svein Sørlie died on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 in Norway. He shall be buried on Tuesday, August 29, 2017. I believe that wherever his soul is in the grander universe, it is thriving in the best conditions of the afterlife; resting in peace, hopefully. There is no rest for the hearts of gold. Gold is forever; larger than life. Such was Svein Sørlie as I knew him, feeling as if it had been all my life.
Svein Sørlie: my student, my friend, my mentor, my protector. In time, he grew to represent a formidable father figure for me as I strove to curve a space of my own in a land that is not of my forefathers, Norway. With his death, it feels like a large chunk of Norway has just been ripped off my heart. The hurt I feel is profound.
I have known Svein, since March, 1989. During much of this time, I’ve watched with awe how he would ever so elegantly balance, sometimes in one and the same space, the role of a father, grandfather, brother, uncle, lover, in-law, friend, teacher, student, colleague, citizen, and community member. I could never get enough of the warmth and love that, on the one hand, Svein exuded, and received, on the other.
It did not matter whether we were in Norway, or travelling in Greece or the UK; he was ever so easy to get along with. I guess it had to do with the aura of humility and compassion he radiated, long before he would open his mouth to greet people, and introduce himself to strangers.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall; dojo, camping, competitions, seminars, party, home, city centre, beach, everywhere: Svein Sørlie was the ever green, the ever wonderful. An IT expert, a former naval officer, and Judo adept, he was a knowledgeable and wise man; a man of the world. His terrific sense of humour made it a joy to talk with him about many subjects of common interest, any time.
On Wednesday, March 29, 1989, Anne-Britt Nilsen helped me arrange and host a public meeting to introduce Karate in the local community of Blåbærstien, Nesoddtangen. I was accompanied by my first ever Norwegian Karate student, Knut Arild Midtbø, who I had already started to train in Oslo since October, 1988. He would translate my message, since I hardly spoke a word of Norwegian, then.
In a packed, rather small community hall, the reception we received was mixture of curiosity, enthusiasm, scepticism, and outright hostility. During an altercation between my assistant, Knut, and a man who was totally against our mission in his neighbourhood, my eyes fell on a bespectacled older man. A little girl was sitting and playing at his feet. As our eyes met, the man gave me a gentle, reassuring smile; I thought the look on his face told me something like, “Never mind him!”
The friendly man was Svein Sørlie, and the little girl was his youngest child and daughter, Toril. For the next ten years or so, the Svein-Toril family duo would be the heart-beat of Blåbærstien Karate Klubb, now Nesodden Karateklubb. It was such that at a time when I had to make one of the most decisive choices in my life, I weighed my options against, amongst others, the joint pillar of strength Svein and Toril jointly represented for me in the club, if not the country Norway … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It”. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)
August 28, 2017
HOME AT LAST! Part 12 CITIZEN OF THE WORLD? MY FOOT!
SPECIAL NOTE: Link takes us to an article written by a frustrated young lady in Oslo, Norway, who feels she has no place to call home anywhere. Although my writing below may sound harsh, it is not personal. I am writing on the subject in general terms at her inspiration, from my, of course, highly subjective point of view. Believe me, I feel her pain, anger, and sorrow. I am a citizen of the world is another one of those idealistic statements of which poetry and literature are inspired. I am a citizen of the world as an emotional statement reeks of arrogance, ignorance, naiveté, self-centredness, patronization, and imperialistic tendencies. You don’t go calling yourself citizen of the world simply because you don’t feel at home in your country of birth, and/ or your host country if you are an exile in the Diaspora. It’s not up to you to declare yourself a world citizen, as if the world owes you any favours, to begin with …(Continued in the book: “MACHONA AWAKENING – home in grey matter”. Order book on Amazon’s CreateSpace here).
December 15, 2014
HOW TO BECOME A NORWEGIAN, FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO BE
Everybody loves a Super Star. The statement discounts snobs, fundamentalists, the ignorant arrogant, the uncultured, the uneducated, the primitive, the anti-social, the eccentric, the naïve, the narrow minded, the bigoted, the untalented, the gutless, the envious, and the jealous.
This posting is my message to 1st-Xst generation immigrants to Norway struggling with identity, as well as insecure sense of belonging in and to the country. These will be a mix masala mix of people from all countries of the world whose music Westerners refer to as Ethnic Music, collectively called The Third World. They will have skin colour tones divergent from the conventional European one, called White.
These immigrants will have decided to make Norway their new home. They will have adopted Norwegian citizenship, abiding by the laws of the land, and contributing to the growth and development of the country, each in their own ways in all areas of human endeavour. Singing Ja, Vi Elsker when and where appropriate will have become second nature to these people. Come 17. mai year after year, these people rise and shine in front of the King and the Royal family.
Those immigrants to Norway who are in the country temporarily in any capacity, here for 1- X years, need not bother to read this posting … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It”. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)
September 10, 2014
Responding to Norwegian Aftenposten newspaper article:
My aunt ‘Mabatho/ Mother of The People, if, on a good day, you were to call on her unannounced in the morning, you’d find her shabbily dressed in a tattered nightdress. Her eyes will be red; face as radiant as sunset orange in the Free State veld, though. She will give you this warm hug, kiss you reassuringly on the forehead, saying softly, “Ngwanake/ My child, they were here again. Ohhh, I am so tired …”
From time to time, our family ancestral spirits visit my aunt. She says they are ever so angry and bitter at the world. They want to burn the world down for the evil on it, the evil that destroyed my aunt’s life forever. She will fight with them all night, preventing them from unleashing their wrath out on the world.
In retrospect, my aunt says her own anger and bitterness towards those who grossly abused her is not so much in their abhorrent acts, but in that they did not kill her in the process. When you are dead and gone, you don’t hear, you don’t see, you don’t feel; when you are dead, you live above morons.
In a botched (White) farm robbery in the Free State in the 1970s, my aunt, then working as a domestic maid on the farm, was severely beaten up and successively raped by 6 men, 2 Whites, and 4 Blacks.
When it was understood that the police were on the way, the two Whites turned against their Black colleagues, and shot them dead on the spot. The former denied abusing my aunt, claiming that they had in fact come to defend the farm as they had earlier on received a tip-off about the impending robbery.
“How can decent, God fearing boerefolk have sex with a dirty kaffir woman? We beat her up a bit to teach her a lesson never to collaborate with other kaffir criminals who come to rob our farms. We had to execute these four criminals here because their original intention was to come and kill the people of the farm. Self-defence, you see?” they said to the police.
My aunt was arrested, and served 3 years in jail. It’s said that the two Whites went to war in Rhodesia, and never came back.
My aunt’s ordeal was too much to bear for her husband. One day, the man decided to hug a goods train moving towards him at high speed. Pieces of his body were picked up and placed in a plastic bag as if it was meat to be fed to crocodiles.
Despite the way-out traumas in her life, without any professional help forthcoming, my aunt went on to raise her three children to decent adulthood. She makes a living of some sorts selling umqumbothi, as well as some special traditional tobacco.
This true story will make most sense, and will be familiar, to those who have felt in their flesh and bones, Apartheid in the pre-1994 South Africa, as well as other forms of institutionalized forms of racism against Black people anywhere else in the world.
When Black/ African people yell, weep and cry, laugh, sing and dance demanding recognition and respect for their feelings, as well as their sense of integrity and honour, we are doing this in the face of real injustices that have been perpetrated on and against, and upon, us for generations.
It is basely moronic for some arrogant and apparently incompetently incompetent White intellectuals, academics, philosophers, and artists to want to define for us Black people how to respond to all forms of racism directed towards us, both as a global collective, and/ or as individuals wherever we may be in the world at any one time … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It”. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)
June 08, 2014
HOME AT LAST! Part 3
Friends, Families, Comrades in Exile
I guess I, like everyone else, can be bad to people; it is not beyond me to do real bad things to people. There are some who go limping around, thinking that evil doings are prerogative of only certain people by virtue of their names, tribes, races, nationalities, religions, and faiths, as well as their mental and physical dispositions. People are bad; people are good; that’s just the way we are. That’s how we roll. Just cross the lines … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA AWAKENING – home in grey matter”. Order book on Amazon’s CreateSpace here).
March 12, 2014