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SUICIDE

WHEN HOPE DIES
So Sad it Sucks

Suicide is the easy way out. Suicide is cowardice. That was my view until I rammed onto my own wall of problems, problems, and problems of this unfair world.

Child of the Light Prayer.
©Simon Chilembo 2019

I felt no pain at point of impact. I had already long been a dead man walking. I saw pieces of my soul getting strewn everywhere I looked. Bloody silhouette on the wall portrayed a spread-eagled human body shape. Unpalatable sight. The wall had sucked much of my spirit. My strength was gone.

The fall was as fast as it was unpredictable. I had once been king of the skies buoyed by winds of success in the form of the dollar sign.

“The bottom line is the dollar sign!” sang South Bronx in 1982. Two decades later I had leapt from the bottom line to high up in the sky.

Sky is the limit. It’s a common saying. The dollar sign knows no limits in the sky. Elon Musk will tell you that. Maybe. Try Richard Branson too. But then again, the dollar sign and its numbers are written on paper. Paper burns to ashes when fire rages. Sky holds no ash. Trash. That’s how we fall. When this happens, gravity becomes our worst enemy. We can’t beat the force. For we are not peregrine falcons we can only spread our limbs. Close our eyes. Hope for a few seconds to project our last prayers to God before we embrace the first wall to receive us, if not the ground itself. Welcome back down to earth with a plash. Instant death sealed if it’s not your lucky day.

They shall make another dollar sign note. The bottom line is that the dollar sign is forever. For now, anyway. In the digital space they call it cryptocurrency these days. I do want to live forever, but I’m only human. I survived my fall. Miraculous. Today I’m with my feet on the ground below the dollar sign bottom line. I’m in sync with the grassroots. I can hear my heart beat. I feel life everywhere. My soul is together again.

Perhaps it is because, despite its timing and speed, I had in fact had a hunch of the fall coming. I had seen some men and women fall around me before. I had rescued a few in my job. I knew, I know the signs therefore. I knew that if I did not take a time out, eternal darkness would be my destination. In the realm of eternal darkness, everything of the unthinkable, everything of the anti-life is possible. Once people have fallen into this abyss, there is no turning back. More often than not.

Fortunately I am a child of the light. I’ve never been inclined to be drawn towards the direction of eternal darkness. Temptations abound, with or without dollar sign opulent existence. These temptations come forth in variable manifestations, but eternal darkness is a constant. I understood that if ever I got to succumb to temptation, I’d ultimately find myself knocking on the door to eternal darkness. Therefore, I zeroed myself out from conventional social routines. I had acknowledged my lack of passion for the latter after my fall had sapped nearly all of my desire to live and love.

Somewhere in my growing up years, I had learned that there was no dishonour in accepting defeat and all that it entails at the personal and material levels. If I got the chance to wait for as long as it was necessary, I would regain my strength and passion for living again. I went into hibernation. For five years and three months I faced isolation, my frustrations, my bitterness, my fears, my inadequacies, my nightmares, and my hopes head-on. In time, my reflections on hope as a concept and process rekindled my life light.

Despite everything else, my hope that everything would be alright someday was steadfast. I reckon that this effectively dissuaded me from seeking to enter into the path towards the realm of eternal darkness. I felt a strange warmth and respect towards suicide. Finally, it all made sense to me. And I began to write books. The books have driven me to visit the deepest recesses of my being as a private soul, and as a social entity. I obsoleted my demons. I know myself better. I understand my world better. I have found inner peace. Life is a joy. Pure joy.

Suicide feeds on the state of emotional desperation of everyone equally. Hope is a constant human attribute that conditions behaviour towards achievement of certain values or states of being. All things remaining equal, happiness is derived from different experiences from person to person because human beings are born ever so different from one another. People also rightly define what happiness is owing to who they are vis-à-vis their respective stations in life. However, once attained, the feeling of happiness as a human emotion is a planetary constant.

In the same vein, people shall as individuals or collectives hope to attain a myriad of desirable ends in their lives. They’ll be variably motivated to actively work in as innumerable ways towards the achievement of these goals. Success is the reward for keeping the dream alive, driven by hope and faith during the process of overcoming eventual obstacles encountered along the way. Success then ignites the auto neurological response manifest through various ways of expressing the constant of happiness. Like a rose, happiness is happiness by any other name.

In the extreme, regardless of the goal or the dreamer, failure to achieve can lead to one common denominator that is also a constant across the board: desperation. Desperation is a recipe for depression. Depression is a rough surface, unlit downhill express tunnel highway into the realm of eternal darkness. If the mind still works positively somehow, and if even a minute glimmer of hope still exists at this stage, the afflicted might ask just one last question: What am I living for?
I know – I’ve been there, done that.

I do not speak for religious and other convictions. Neither do I speak for wanton social deviants, psychopaths, when I postulate that suicide is the respectable way out when people have come to the conclusion that they have nothing left to live for; when they have concluded that their lives have no worth or meaning to anybody, when they are caught up in the maze of helplessness against deceit and cold-heartedness of fellow humans. How many times have we in anger, or outright malice, said to one another something like, “You are useless. You are fuck all. You mean nothing to me. Get out of my life. Go hang, loser!”?

Human nature is complex. That complexity directly translates itself in the complex nature of human relations. That said, I believe that much as I am responsible for my own happiness, I am as responsible to help to make other people find and sustain their own happiness. The overriding assumption being that I am allowed the privilege to give and to assist whenever necessary. Happiness does not occur in a vacuum. It is also imperative that we allow one another to make mistakes, correct them, repent, and forgive*. Just as it is of absolute importance to show humility in the face of our sins and errors of judgement as we all go about each the routes and obligations of our respective journeys of life.

Given the adventures that the routes of my life’s journey have exposed me to so far, I have developed profound but non-attached love for the vast majority of people I have had anything to do with in all the human survival and growth endeavours that I still go through. I am a humble and grateful recipient of much love from all these people too. This grand love is the reason for my living.

All categories of love considered, my love for people is non-attached to the extent that I could never impose my love on anybody that does not want my love. Neither could I ever beg, nor long for non-forthcoming love from anybody that despises me. In my world, love is a voluntary, spontaneous two-way traffic. It’s either it works, or it doesn’t. Love is not an entitlement. Love is a desirable, not an imperative.

Love is discerning. So is its redemptive power. Unconditional love is for children; it is for the sick, the weak, and the vulnerable. Love becomes an imperative only when it comes to the self. The greatest love of all is the love of the self. Should I ever feel devoid of self-love one day, I might as well be dead.  

On Wednesday, December 18, 2019, I lost my youngest cousin in South Africa to suicide. Exactly one week later, Christmas Day, Wednesday, December 25, 2019, all-Norway’s Ari Behn followed suit. Beloved South African activist friends in Johannesburg, Sipho Singwisa and Gillian Schutte had already begun to grieve since their only child and son met his demise likewise on Sunday, December 01. 2019. I am Sad as Hell for sure. My deepfelt condolences to the bereaved parents, their broader families, friends, and fans in South Africa and Norway.  

Late cousin Kagiso, front right, as pall-bearer at funeral of our grandmother, April, 2004. MTSRIP.
©Simon Chilembo 2019

Who feels it knows it. I find comfort and lasting hope in that I have reason to believe that I have an idea as to the magnitude of the battles the three dearly departed had to put up against their respective demons along the way into the realm of eternal darkness. No weaknesses here. No cowardice. No stupidity. No selfishness. No eccentricity. No madness. Only insurmountable troubles of being human having crushed spirit and hope foundations of a man’s existential premises: Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Nobody knows … my sorrow.

In the end, we are all ever so vulnerable against forces that make us breathe. When it’s over and done with, it’s not in the act, but in compassion we want to dwell upon; it’s in the enshrinement of dignity of our humanity in our hearts. It could happen to anyone of us. Anytime. May the souls of Kagiso, Ari, and Kai rest in eternal peace. My thoughts also go to the numerous others whose fall into the suicide trap have gone unnoticed the world over, as well as those that suicide beckons and shall consume in obscurity today, tomorrow and beyond.

SIMON CHILEMBO
OSLO
NORWAY
TEL.: +4792525032
DECEMBER 26, 2019

*As a rule, I don’t do forgiveness for freeAsk and ye shall be (for-)given!

 

THE POOR OF SOUTH AFRICA

THE POOR OF SOUTH AFRICA

POST 5th GENERAL ELECTIONS QUESTION: Are poor people of South Africa a bunch of fools without any aspirations for upward mobility in society? Are they just sitting there all their days in their miserable (charming, exotic, to some) townships and villages waiting for, and thriving on, handouts from the government and other benefactors? If so, then, South Africa is in deep trouble … (Continued in the book: MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)


Simon Chilembo
Riebeeckstad
Welkom
South Africa
May 19, 2014

 

38 YEARS AN EXILE

HOME AT LAST! Part 1

Mutterings of Ngamla* Kid from eKassie Thabong

The ignorance of opulent society people regarding the real condition of poor people all over the world can be very appalling sometimes. This, in spite of the fact that “Jo, kjære/ Dear Simon, Norway was also a poor, Third World level country until as late as just under 50 years ago”

The real condition of poor people, whatever the causes of their poverty, goes beyond just the lack of life’s essential material goods such as food and clean drinking water. It isn’t just about “We Are the World”. Christmas? What is that? Christmas comes and goes in circles. Poverty is a point-to-point straight line for the poorest of the poor of the world. Born in poverty. Raised in poverty. Live poor. Die poor. Corpse rots in open space. No strength, no grave. No fire, no ash. There is a vulture waiting.

Poor people are vulnerable not only to the devastating effects of natural forces … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA AWAKENING – home in grey matter”. Order book on Amazon).

 

Simon Chilembo
Riebeeckstad
Welkom
South Africa
Telephone: +4792525032
March 04, 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

KARATE KID FROM THABONG RETURNS

FORWARD TO THE ROOTS

Poster/ Flyer

 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.

©Simon Chilembo, 2014

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.

©Simon Chilembo, 2014. Cream of Zambian Karate, 1983: UNZA

©Simon Chilembo, 2014. Cream of Zambian Karate, 1983: UNZA

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.

Jimmy Mavenge, second from left.

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.

Super Fighters

©Simon Chilembo, 2014. With the legendary Super Fighter, Lemmy Ngambi, Lusaka, 1987/88

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?

©Simon Chilembo, 2014. I hit the bag as hard as I like. Nobody gets hurt.

©Simon Chilembo, 2014. I hit the bag as hard as I like. Nobody gets hurt.

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)

Simon Chilembo
Welkom
South Africa
January 19, 2014