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THIS FREEDOM IS MINE TOO
Just had a Lafayette, SanFransisco, feeling this midnight hour: Not a soul on the streets; not even the midnight Black Cat of Suburbia. Only an accasional car this and that way. No police, no private security patrol vehicle on sight. But they are there. Press Panic Button, and they will appear as if from nowhere, in no time. Things money can buy in opulent society.
Strutting up and down, with two buckets as I chose to manually water my street side garden flowers and trees, I can’t help anticipating that from the shadows yonder, someone can throw a projectile at me anytime. If this is my night, they might even shoot, KABOOM!!! Goodbye, Ngamla. Welcome to Mzansi fo sho, land of the living dead.
But then again, I wonder, how free can I feel, and be free and if I go round paranoid of getting killed in my free land? In my world, freedom as a living sentiment in the whole of my being means that I will, and shall, defy death, as well as uncalled for death threats from societal deviants. Freedom is courage to choose to live, and victor over enemies of liberty for the free, the peaceful and peace loving, as well as the progressive. I did not fight for the freedom of my land for it to be enjoyed by criminals and gangsters alone, giving them the prerogative to decide when and how I shall die. Neither can they decide for me how I shall live, enjoy, and manifest uttributes of the freedom of my land. So, I shall water my garden in peace, anyhow, anytime I want to. When done, as I did this midnight in front of a recently planted flower, I shall perform my Tai Chi form powerfully with grace, in praise of Freedom, in profound thoughts of all fallen freedom fighting heroes for generations the world over. There are still beautiful things about South Africa. These are what I’ll take with me to Exile II.
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November 17, 2014
THEY KILL FOR SURE
Comrades took with them apartheid catalysed eKassie violence to exile. In exile, many a Comrade enjoyed some dubious diplomatic immunity privileges. Many a Comrade lived an on-wrong-premises-protected lifestyle, no different from spoilt children at some juvenile delinquents’ institution.
Returning home to Mzansi, many a Comrade brought back with them the impunity and arrogance of exile living fo sho. The country became a rainbow nation. All keep running and running in, naturally, ever so futile attempts to reach for the proverbial pots of gold at the end of the rainbows criss-crossing the land:
1) It’s here in the ground, Comrade.
2) No, it has to be over there where the rainbows end. Obvious, there is no smoke without fire, you know, Comrade. Get out of the way before I blow you off the face of the earth! This is my country. I do what I like. That gold is mine.
1) Run, comrade, run.
Trisha tells of how her husband kept lashing at her with his belt, striking her all over the body. This time, though, it felt as if the belt was leaving on her skin, lines of a special kind of warmth at every strike.
With her hands flying all over the place in a vain attempt to protect herself, it felt as if her skin was peeling off from these warm lines induced by the belt lashings. Strange. Whole body begins to feel hot, and moist. Panic. She had begun to bleed profusely.
Only then did she realize that the man was in fact chopping her with a panga. This time he means to kill me, she thought. Soon she felt no pain, no sensation at all as the man kept chopping on and on. It didn’t matter anymore. I might as well fall and die, she concluded. No talk of dying and resting in peace here. Blood everywhere. Bloody mess. This sure is no way of entering the kingdom of God in heaven. Ain’t going nowhere, my man. He never heard her … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It”. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)
September 23, 2014
FORWARD TO THE ROOTS
To mark my resumption of Karate teaching after a 2 ½ years’ semi-retirement, I take the liberty of reproducing an edited version of an interview I had with what are considered to be, in Karate terms, my Karate grandchildren in Zimbabwe. It is worth noting that my comeback is done in Welkom, the city of my birth in South Africa. This is where the adventure began.
BM: We are excited to be interviewing Simon Chilembo, Sensei, as a known pioneer of Seidokan back in the day. We hope to patch in some history that has been hazy, and we are grateful to people like Simon Sensei, who in many ways were responsible for linking Zimbabweans to Stephen Chan, Sensei, and responsible for shaping Jindokai as we know it today
1.BM. Sensei, many thanks for agreeing to this interview. We hope that we can go back with you in time. Please tell us how Sammy Chilembo was drawn to Martial Arts, and when this happened?
SC: I have always fought. First, as a smaller than average, sharp-tongued child protecting myself from others making my life difficult in various ways.
Second, defending myself as a mobbing victim, given my sudden growth in body weight and size from near pubescence to early teens.
Third, protecting my two siblings and myself against xenophobic and tribal inspired verbal and physical abuse arising from our father’s non-South African origin. There were also some direct responses to racial abuse and attacks in the then Apartheid South Africa.
I first started with Boxing from about age five. Christmas holidays 1971, in a street fight, I’m warned that someone was about to throw a stone at me from behind. I turn around to find, a few meters away, the boy raising his right arm to effect the throw.
Without thinking of it, I ran perhaps five steps and then flew on to the boy, kicking him with my right leg square in the face before he could throw the stone. Years later I’d understand that I had then performed something similar to a Tobi Yoko Geri.
Afterwards, people kept asking me where I trained Judo. I didn’t know what they were talking about; so I kept saying it was secret! It was during my ensuing investigations about Judo that I, a few months later, discovered James Bond. An older guy told me that Bond was a Karate expert, and there and then I knew I wanted to train Karate so as to be cool like Agent 007.
2.BM.Your first formal Karate, was this under Seidokan? When did you meet Chan Sensei?
SC: Although I now know that that the guy hadn’t gone very far in his Karate training then, I like to acknowledge Lefty as having been the first-ever person to give me a formal Karate training session sometime in 1972. Lefty was one of the few older guys really nice to me in our township in Welkom, South Africa.
He taught me Heisoku Dachi, Oyoi, Rei, and Hachi Dachi. Other than that I do not recall what exercises we did. But there sure was a lot of pain and sweat. And Lefty said one thing I never forget, “The most important thing in Karate is respect!” When I look back I think he could have meant “humility”.
I first met Chan Sensei in early 1981.
3.BM. How did Sedokan end up being such a force in Zambia, and later on Zimbabwe? Who introduced Seidokan in Zimbabwe?
SC: Regarding Zambia, my view is that at a very critical point in time we find at UNZA a spontaneous student convergence of the best and most promising Karateka in the country in the late 1970s to the mid-1980s. Then, at about the same time enters the scene an unusual Chinese Sensei Chan from New Zealand.
Sensei Chan’s style, approach, and attitude are like nothing we had ever seen before; very generous, very patient and tolerant, open, and inclusive, as well as innovative.
Sensei Chan subtly broke all rules of everything we thought we knew about fitness training, and all of the basics, kata, and kumite training. From this, we emerged with a new style of fighting, which was more mobile with more circular and spinning techniques, including takedowns.
At the same time we were all allowed to maintain and develop further our own individualities, such that it was difficult for opposing teams to find workable strategies against us who stood strong as a team, and yet performed so very differently individually. Respecting and developing further the uniqueness of the individual within the confines of certain specific techniques and methods has been a trait upheld since.
The late Jimmy Mavenge introduced Seidokan in Zimbabwe. Working then against very strong forces in Zambia, I facilitated this. When I heard that Zimbabwean Karate was represented in the World Championships 2012, I celebrated quietly, and thought, “You made it, Jimmy!” This is how it all started (excerpt from earlier correspondence to a friend):
[One Sunday morning early 1983, a BMW 5 series parks outside my home in Lusaka; and out comes the biggest and ugliest man I ever saw. Upon seeing me his face lit up brighter than the happiest baby face I ever saw… Although I had never met or heard of this man before, he spoke to me like we were like the oldest of friends (he had done some good research on me apparently). And, to be honest, Jimmy had enough charisma to kill the biggest elephant.
After introducing himself: Jimmy Mavenge, Green Belt holder, First Secretary at the Zim High Commission in Lusaka, on a 3 year tour of duty, he went on something like, “Zimbabwe Karate is polarized and racist. I want to change all that when I get back. Black people don’t go above Green Belt there; and I want to take Karate to the poorest of children in my country. You have to help me with this. I’m willing to pay you generously if you can give me a crash-training programme so I can return to Zimbabwe with a Black Belt. I am willing to work and train every day, I’ll do anything you want me to…!”
I remember my jaws sagging, my eyes bulging, with me saying a low key “Wowww…ohhhh…. ok, let’s do it!” I told him though that given the magnitude of the ambition, we had to this properly by engaging the then Zambia Seidokan…]
Unfortunately we initially received neither understanding nor support from the others. Only because both Jimmy and I were both mad thickheads, we unilaterally went ahead with the project any way, getting a lot of battering along the way. Rest is history; speaks for itself.
4.BM. Taking you back in the day, who were some of the young men you trained with? You being a champion back in the day, who was your most difficult opponent?
SC: When it came to kumite I was my own toughest opponent because I was just too strong and temperamental. With a history of disqualifications and injuries both inflicted upon my opponents, with me getting my own share, I do not have an impressive competition kumite record. Kata was, and still is my thing. I must mention though that, in my opinion, Lemmy Ngambi (late) was the most formidable fighter we had in Zambia during my time … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It”. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)
January 19, 2014
Speaking about a terminally ill Nelson Mandela and South Africa on Norwegian TV2 end of June 2013, I was asked about the condition of Whites in South Africa: Do they have anything to fear for their future in the country?
I answered that if nothing happened in 1994, nothing is ever going to happen to them. South African Whites must just stay at home because they are needed for their knowledge and skills in the process of growth and development of the country. I went on to say that despite the much talked about problem of corruption and other manifestations of good governance inadequacies in the country, democracy was now firmly ingrained in the more open, and free post-apartheid South African society.
Indeed, the high and mighty in the state apparatus will in the short to medium term stretch the law when exposed of their corrupt practices and other vices. But, in the long run, processes as provided for, and backed by, relevant democratic institutions and organs will insure that all law breakers will be caught, and shall be punished accordingly if found guilty in legally instituted courts of law.
South African Whites have nothing but their own fears of the unknown to fear. I cannot think of anybody in the current political dispensation sitting somewhere plotting, alone or together with others, the annihilation of the White Race in South Africa. Private, for purposes of this discourse, Black South Africans, despite their horrendous pre-1994 history, have other real and current issues to worry about than driving White South Africans out to sea and disappear: Poor Service Delivery, Child Abuse, Violence Against Women. Chances are higher by far that at this very moment a child is being brutally molested, and a dejected lover is killing a woman who doesn’t love him anymore.
Despite the rather characteristically loud, small-scale populist rhetoric which South African democracy necessarily allows adequate room for, there is no single landowner whose land shall be repossessed without compensation, where applies. To the extent that conventional paper work pertaining to land and property ownership is in order, appropriate laws, as well as conventional business negotiations methods shall be followed to subsequent mutual satisfaction of all parties concerned.
At its most elegant, democracy works systematically and orderly. Choosing to ignore democratic principles and processes would only lead to chaos, and, at worst, war and total disintegration of the gracious Rainbow Nation of South Africa. Free South Africans with nothing to fear have no time for wars and destruction. This country is just too beautiful to burn alive in pursuit of selfish ends driven by ignorance of the functionings of modern, progressive societies.
People die. People are killed all the time. Criminals kill people. From the outset, we are all equally vulnerable to hideousness of crime. What differentiates us is how security/ safety conscious or non-conscious we are. Who is better security/ safety conscious than White South Africans? No one does it better … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It”. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)
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October 11, 2013