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A FATHER IS GONE

REMEMBERING A SENIOR WARRIOR:
SVEIN SØRLIE 

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.

STrl

©Toril Sørlie 2017

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.

SKLM

©Toril Sørlie 2017

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)


Simon Chilembo
Welkom
South Africa
Telephone: +4792525032
August 28, 2017

 

38 YEARS AN EXILE: XXIII

HOME AT LAST! Part 23
WALOBA AWARD 2015
Diaspora Friendship, Brotherly Love Celebration

Anele Malumo, WA2015 ©Simon Chilembo, 2015

Anele Malumo, Waloba Award 2015
©Simon Chilembo, 2015

To introduce the recipient of Waloba Award 2015, I take the liberty of reproducing an edited version of my speech to him on his 50th birthday earlier in 2015:

  • You don’t know what it’s like
    To love somebody
    To love a Brother
    The way I love you …
  • Modern, enlightened, liberated men happily declare their love for one another openly even if their love is not of a physically intimate nature. Some call it Bromance. In any case, in South Africa, land of the free, home of the brave, people love who they love, as provided for, and enshrined in the constitution of the land.
  • I’ve heard it said somewhere that if you are not grown up yet by age 50, forget it, you’ll never grow up … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA AWAKENING – home in grey matter”. Order book on Amazon).

Simon Chilembo
Welkom
South Africa
June 26, 2015

38 YEARS AN EXILE: IX

HOME AT LAST! Part 9
WALOBA AWARD 2014

E L W Chilembo, S Chilembo

E L W Chilembo, S Chilembo

My father the original exile, Mr Elias Lazarus Waloba Chilembo, would have turned 83 years old on Wednesday, November 19, 2014. When the pangs of British colonialism induced poverty were too much to bear, he, like his own father before, Waloba The First, trekked from our remote village in Eastern Zambia, to South Africa in search of greener pastures. This was soon after the end of World War II, in 1947. Four years later his mother died. He came back home to bury her. As per clan norms among my people, he being the eldest offspring in my grandmother’s house, Pappa should have stayed on to help Waloba The First look after his large, polygamous family. But no, he preferred to go back to exile in South Africa, where he would firmly plant his own roots in the land of diamonds and gold by eventually getting married, and establishing a family … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA AWAKENING – home in grey matter”. Order book on Amazon).

 

Simon Chilembo
Riebeeckstad
Welkom
South Africa
November 20, 2014