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Monday, December 6, 2010

Working with Grace

Good lesson to learn today that there will always be at least that one moment when there is no one else.  It's in those moments that character must shine.  It was a tough day indeed but I am glad that the people who presume to crush or shame others unprovoked, at the end of the day, are the spineless ones.  And also it's a day to learn that moms are special because for a period there are always there, no matter what. After we leave the bird nest though, it's in and out,that's when we learn to fight so that we are equipped to raise the next generation.

The English and their FIFA bid loss

What can I say? Well, at the expense of making humungously broad generations:

1.  For the English man who humiliated me as I applied for a visa with his, "What is that?  Your parent's bank account is it? Why that's a paltry sum of money it is!  You want make it through this application process you won't!' -----I say Yippee!  Now you know what it feels like when the 'big guns' look down their nose at you and say NO, You're not good enough yet this time!

2.  For my friends who were denied entry because:  'Where did they get so much money?  There's something funny about this?  They can't possible have such money, they won't make it into here, they won't.'  -----Here's to your money spent England! Now you know what it feels like to try your best and be swatted away like an annoying tropical fly.

3.  But to the nice immigration guy at Heathrow who let me in to customs briefly to give my sister the peanut butter she was craving when she was pregnant (and I was in transit to PA), for nice English folks like you I agree that there need to be reforms in the FIFA bidding process.

At the end of the day though, don't you think all countries who make it as far as bidding should be given a chance to host, particularly if they were sidelined for being 'ideological sinners' in the past (and for some in the present who still believe communism, religious governments etc. make some lesser states than others).. It's a game, football is a game and people should be able to host despite their ideological leanings don't you think? After all,  ha ha ha! songs such as 'when I get older...I will be stronger...they'll call me freedom just like a waving flag!' can be sang EVERYWHERE with a nice cold Coke       :-)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pipe dreams as Global Warming Logic

Eish!  Just had to change the channel when a 'well-educated-PhD-holding-Africanist-womanist-nature-conservationist-culturist-healer-' posited the solution to global warming.  She began well, talking about how our modern lifestyles are affecting nature's cycles and heightenning global warming.  She lost me though when the solution she offered included grain and food offerings to Mother Nature. 

Simply put, grain and food offerings to ward off the potential catastrophe of such gigantic proportions measure in the tonnes.  That equals yet more forests cleared to cultivate yet more grain to not only surpass regular consumption needs, but to appease this deity.  Eh, looks like an instant recipe for MORE global warming disaster for me. 

It's just as bad as the pipe dreams from overseas, that there will always be more- that you can eat all you want with no serious consequence on the environment....hogwash....speaking of hogs, how many acres does it take to feed one prize hog that will give me bacon, pork chops, and pork sama sumi, not counting the chunks for my stew! We are a giant mess if we aim to either appease Mother Nature and ourselves (with our population tripling by the decade) with food, food and more food...and expect a corpenicus happily forever many earths do we got?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Need help on the basketball site

My basketball site has been sitting idle for too long, need help with pics, articles, ideas and poll ideas so please visit and let's show love to the game of basket in Malawi.

Monday, November 8, 2010

You Es Ade: From the X People

A tattoo on my door, on my wall, on my note book
I overhead my teacher is paid by you too. Does that mean you own me?

I know I should be grateful Mama says a nice boy says ‘thank you’
She doesn’t know, I’m thankful but it helps not to be tattoed on my every piece of skin
I’m over-whelmed, last year they told us we’d eat free porridge at school
 I was so excited and then, I saw it again, your tattoo on the mealie sacks!

Papa says I should work hard in school
So that maybe you will employ me
I will drive a car with your tattoo on its side
He thinks that is so cool
You’ll brand me for life
My desk, my file, my car
You Es Ade: From the X people

I’ll have to make sure I hear them say,
not to forget
The biggest letters on all my tattoos
I receive from you
Should always be YOU ES ADE: From the X people

I shouldn’t forget
No I will not.
No one else matters
No one else helps me
All is nothing It is all you,
You Es Ade: From the X people

Thank you You es Ade I’ll make you proud
when I come to your door
You won’t turn me away like the others will you?
I’ve come to love your flag
After all I am yours,
Forever tattooed,
You Es Ed: From the X people

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Malawi Bloat

Dont' judge me but by mere circumstance I'm watching Deuce Bigalow...(ewww) but yes, the actor (Rob Schneider) just mentioned the 'Malawi Bloat' (wonder if he knows how it go so named). Anyway, I never heard of it below and looked it up, and posted the link here.  Pepani nsomba.

Monday, October 18, 2010

On Matthew Parris and his comment on Africa and Missionaries

I had an itch every time I saw Matthew Parris quoted by missionaries as a stamp of approval for the work they do.  I was of the mind of getting to thinking what to write about this fella who is seemingly stuck between colonial-nostalgia and post-colonial shock.  His need for having something to say about Africa (with such limited lived experience here/limited personal encounters with diverse Africans on the longer term) is beyond me.  I suppose access to the global media has a way of making folks give an 'educated' opinion at every whim?? Search me.

Anyway,  I came across (quite thankfully) these two blogs that wrote on the topic of Matthew Parris much better than I could ever hope to. Luckily there's a balance actually: the one link is written by an African and the other a Westerner.

Friday, October 15, 2010

My 2¢ on Florence (and Precious) Mhango

My respect for Scotland has in the past few months gone from low to zero. Sadly, while watching the Scottish blip at the Commonwealth festival yesterday I went as far as to mute the TV and wait for Indian festivities to come on again before continuing to watch the show.

Scotland, not content to spawn over-zealous young Malawians (well, I have in mind one specific one) that have loudly disowned everything Malawian in themselves and seek to visit their new found zeal upon us in 2022 (or thereabouts); the Scots are now championing the misguided belief that Malawi is no longer safe for us women and girls. who forgot to send my dad the memo when I was 11 that it was my cultural duty to get married off. Well, whoever forgot to send that is 18 years late as I am still reserving my bony wedding finger for that round piece of metal.

Apparently, the ministry of education didn't receive the memo that none of it's schools are up to scratch either, pity.  That memo is 46 years too late. Maybe lost somewhere in the mail.
So this case of Florence Mhango and the Evening Times (or whatever it is called).  Not only is she and her daughter from exactly the same tribe and region as I am; yet our paths are different. So to avoid being labelled  a jealous Malawian (as is often the case when Malawians protest in one way or the other- refer to web commentary on those with 'other' views on e.g. the  David Banda, Mercy James and their Dads ).  I will go ahead to propose to Florence, Precious and their Scottish friends: fight your battles but leave the Malawian name out of it.  I feel the police and the entire law system who have been reduced to ridicule over genital mutilation (again someone forgot to send out memos informing us that it is a legal practice - maybe mine was lost in the mail) and I feel for my Northern Malawian culture whose centuries old practice of lobola has been reduced to child-grabbing (again, when my parents got divorced, someone forgot to send my Dad's family the memo to grab me).  I will not speculate that poverty is the main issue here, for if it is dare I say the Scots would have been bold enough to call a spade a spade.

Who knows? Out goes anything tartarn from my arms, so long and farewell.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Polka Dot Kerchief

It is strange how some of life’s best spiritual lessons come about in the humblest of ways. I was on my wayto church when at the corner I run into a renegade church member. You know one of those embarrassing moments when you turn a blind corner and bam! Someone you didn’t plan on meeting is right on your side of the road. So yes, she looked at me sideways and I looked at her sideway (she with an apologetic ‘don’t judge me I’m only going to other churches now until our church sorts out its mess’ look and I with a judgmental ‘you renegade! It’s because of you that people say our church is falling apart’ look.

Needless to say I thought up many self-righteous things once I had passed her and shortly up the walk I noticed she had dropped a kerchief. I am eternally ashamed that I walked right past, glancing once over my shoulder once , noting she had taken the corner to right, I justified myself for not turning back. I went on to completely forget about it, after all, I had efficiently ‘justified’ myself. After church, on my way back home what did I find but the kerchief nicely picked, folded up and neatly placed on the nearest clean spot on the brick fence next to the sidewalk. To my sinking shame, I couldn’t do even that for someone I go to the church with, all because, of all things: she likes to visit other churches!

It took a stranger to show me how quickly the trap of self-righteous –controlling behaviour can consume me. It might seem a small thing but what if the kerchief incident had not happened today, who knows what walls I would have continued to build. . It’s time to pick up the kerchief and remember there is no vacancy in the Trinity.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Why there are flies on kids faces

not to dispute the issue of poverty but come on. in a place where the air is humid, the sun is hot for quite a bit of the year (and yes we do have winter, if we didn't plants wouldn't shed their leaves, rest and bloom again, agh, never mind. Let's agree that there is no summer in the West if the argument stands that by virtue of us not having substantial snow we have no winter: simply put, the West does not have substantial Sun to qualify to have summers). 

Anywho, humidity, heat and sticky porridge/ or fruit de jeur and toddler snot (crying induced): all this and you have a little one whose face is attracting flies.  Just think about it, what would living human facial skin with no festering wounds have that flies would be drawn to appart from the above. Grow up media, the 'fly faces' game is getting tired. cover the causes of WHY after decades of 'newsworthy'  digs why are the flies still there?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thandi Ape

Yes, good to finally know my last name doesn't mean market as in DRC soko. It's now settled that the name means ape! How do you do? My name is Thandi Ape, it's still AyObA!

Last night my father told me that he met a whole group of Soko's near Masvingo.  This puts an end to googling my last name and coming up with Japanese furniture stores. Refreshing to hear that we do exist, in larger groups outside of our tiny clan in Malawi.  Apparently, the Soko near Masvingo have the Shona totem of 'Manyuka' or is it 'Munyaka' (????) while-as we have the Ngoni 'Mafeni' totem in M-dubs. 

Now I finally have something to say to all those non-edjamacated round here who insist on asking my opinion about Uncle Rob!  Zim is not so distant to moi anymore with them fellow Soko's living out there.  Here's to the Soko clan! Here's to Masvingo!

pic: college ape, from Cliff Barakman's

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Screamers Only

Sometimes we just need to scream. Explaining just doesn't cut it, thinking about it just doesn't cut it, talking about it just doesn't cut it.

image: myspace/photobucket

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A new flag: the dissolution of a plethora of memories

I pity myself for the fact that when significant things happen in Malawi, I just happen not to be there.  Perhaps I shouldn't pity myself because location does offer me some measure of objectivity.  So now, the flag has been changed. To others it's just a matter of the order of colours, the size/form of a galactical object and a few other nuance, not a big deal. For me, however, there are two things of lesser importance that I do in reaction: laugh it off by asking, now that there is a new flag, shall we finally say goodbye to the usage of mapolo a malayina to hang them on? I remember as a child observing with curiosity as the men of the black stripe on khaki dug holes whenever the red convertible came to town, they would dig a round hole yay wide and plonk in the painted white mapolo with fluttering flags at the top end. Ay, not sustainable to forest populations if you ask me. 

The other reaction of lesser importance that comes and goes is, 'If I do claim I'm a Malawian, when in the world will anyone ever ask MY opinion on matters that define my identity, like my flag for example?'  Anywho, it's the issue of the collective of Malawian memories that strikes me most glaringly and I think is most important; the meaning of this symbol as has been reflected upon by Malawian across the board is now suddenly (within a year, I would argue) removed from the fore and replace with another that we'll have to learn anew. All the lore, imaginations, facts, myths, and whatever else attached to it, poff!  In principle, I do agree that kwacha refers to the era of the breaking away from colonial rule but then, does kwacha not relate to the present in that many new dawns are still to be experienced. It is a process, dawning is:  a continual reflection that things don't have to be as they are but viewed and reviewed, visited again and again and again, together as we build.  Perhaps I'm a conservative, more than I may care to admit, still, I am yet to grasp the necessity of this change.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Netherlands, Germany, Frisia and the case of the HIV dogs all in one week

It is good to be on a roller coaster. Several days ago I said goodbye to the Netherlands and the new discoveries I made there. I discovered, that among other things, Europe is vastly different from the US when it comes to the outlook of individual persons. The objectives of their systems both political and economical (and I have blogged about these systems several times over) overlap but individuals view the world differently, and they view themselves and their culture differently. It's good to have travelled to both places; US and Europe so as to compare elements of what we here in the Southern Hemisphere refer to as the West.  And for time spent there, dankuwel Orange!...and if you are reading this Folkert, here's to YOU!

I said 'hello' to Germany a few days ago. Thanks to friends, I was able to see and taste a range of German culture. The experiences, I hope, will help colour this blog further in my processing of the world as I see it from this end of the globe. So also for the time I spent there, dankeshoen Deutschland!

And then there was Frisia, ah! Keep it up folks of Frisia: healthy sense of pride with the surroundings to match.  NL and D were great but Fryslan, I must say, takes the top spot for me!

Now returning to these southern parts I chanced upon a story that happened over in Malawi. Apparently, a couple whose 5 dogs bit their guard took it upon themselves to illegally request an HIV test done on the guard so that they know if their dogs contracted the virus:

So dumb....apparently the memo hasn't reached some people that HIV stands for HUMAN IMMUNO...never mind....

Saturday, July 17, 2010

On Windmills and the Spanish Win

It was a great game, between the Netherlands and Spain. Too bad it didn't turn out into a victory for the Dutch. Congratulations to the Dutch for such an exciting performance, and too bad that my days as a lucky charm are over, me thinks. No room for superstition, except when it comes to certain sea animals. I miss the Orange excitement around here.

I went to see a windmill yesterday, in Burdaard. Wow! those things aren't for making the scenery look pretty. 35 meters above ground and I was dusty from the grain and wood dust of the mill and saw-mill that form the production side of the wind mill. Amazing engineering, and this particular engineering was worked out before the 20th century!  Windmills aren't child's play, neither are they to be only wind sails mounted on high to generate power to the X times X amount.

It was like being in an engine craft the size of high building.  Our own maize or saw-mills in Malawi do the job required of them koma tichepetse noise pollution pang'ono (akuti ana okulira near maize mills develop hearing problems) and kapenanso explore ways that do not depend entirely on magetsi. A Malawi we must wake up! tawonani anzathu they keep improving ways to harness the wind. Kapena we should support William Kankwamba and also help as Malawians kuti naye akawone different ideas to build upon his, such as the ideas of anthu akuno ku Netherlands!

Now, octopus anyone?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dutch Lucky Charm?

I have a theory I will throw about on Sunday.  See, it seems to me that when I root hard enough for an unlikely contender in a significant tournament, the unlikely contender wins!  Ja, I kid you not :-)

My commitment to particular teams/sports needs work I know, I am trying. Hey, think back to the ABC Lions, back in the early part of this decade, they did well. I was there. I rooted well. The Boise Broncos, they did well, I was there, I rooted well.  Now, the Netherlands, since I have been here (and this is not arrogance, tssk tssk) have done well so far, I am here, I have rooted well so far.  Now to put whether I am the perennial lucky charm I am putting this down to Sunday.

I am rooting for the Netherlands, they have worked hard, showed no arrogance and have not cheated their opponents throughout the components as others have through hook (read hand balls) and perhaps crook (read biased refs.).  Hup! Holland Hup!   Let's go Holland!  You don't need a lucky charm but I am here volunteering anyway!

  Hup! Holland Hup!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


How does it feel to be below sea level?  I don't feel any different. Maybe if I take up running after the Jabulani ball I'd find out but for now it's good to take in the sights and sounds and meet people that below sea level. I must say, I always took it for granted that everyone lived at or above sea level. Remembering feeling very clever in class as I listened very carefully to the teacher explain how many metres (there we go again with metric measurements!) above sea level our town was.  It was like the higher above sea level one is, I thought, the better it was for you. Well, doesn't seem like these people are any worse off, but mind!  I've only been here less than a week. Let's inspect them closely....

pic: wiki

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hallelujah on the Bus to Joburg

TV just doesn't come close to real life. I have been 'feeling it' from near the coast but finally travelled up to Joburg yesterday.  At first I didn't even realise that the bus was so full because of the football fans travelling to Joburg (who can blame me, they were not blowing vuvuzelas or wearing team colours as I see on TV).  Anyway, somewhere along the way I figured it out and managed to spot the Japanese fans at the rest stop that were heading to the coast for Saturday's game.

Anywho, how was there a 'hallelujah' on the bus? Well, for one reason or the other, the dvd system wasn't working. So the driver downstairs, whether by habit or just chance, I don't know;  had a sermon playing in his driver's cabin. Our energetic stewardess kept openning the door to the cabin and we ended up catching most of the sermon even up in the top deck.

Now, you know Christians are usually embarrassed to listen to sermons/pray/preach in public. I don't know why.  I could pick up sighs and groans from other passengers who dared to be audible.  As the preacher on the radio kept interjecting the words, 'HALLELUJAH!' and 'THANK YOU JESUS!'  A little child near the front picked it up as well.  'HALLELUJAH!'  'HALLELUJAH!'  She repeated innocently.  That seemed to break the tension and folks gave a hearty laugh.  The sermon went on, folks went back to what they were doing and the driver's cd ended a long while later.

Long after, my phone rang, to my Waka Waka ring tone.  Somebody else picked up the theme and played his own Waka Waka for the bus to hear, albeit not as loudly as the sermon had been. It seems on this bus, Hallelujah! won the day though. We may not all be soccer fans but many of us are religious people. Being tolerant of others does not mean being humiliated everytime something Christian shows up in public.  thank you little girl on the bus for reminding us that every once in a while it is OK to say Hallelujah! in public.

Hallelujah for the good weather. Hallelujah for the soccer tournament and all the good it has/it will bring.  Hallelujah for meeting new people from all over the world. Hallelujah for Mzansi. Hallelujah for Africa. Hallelujah for the world.

Go Bafana Bafana!!!  Go Africa, let the cup stay here (it's a bit dodgy though that we have such few teams, it will be difficult to overcome but do it! Go Africa! Go Bafana!)



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Don't Give up Bafana Bafana

It was a disappointing game but as they say, not all days are Sundays.  Don't give up Bafana Bafana! Play hard, win hard.  Make history!  I didn't quite understand the red card decision given out to Khune.  Very controversial decision in my book. Am I being biased?  And then a penalty awarded to a player that was offside?  I am confused here. 

Keep the spirit alive Green and Yellows! It's good to see flags fluttering on cars and the sea of yellow on football Fridays. Mooi to see the fantastic commercials on tv and those heard or radio.  Bafana keep the spirit alive!  Ke Nako!


Monday, June 14, 2010

The Dutch at the World Cup

It's no secret, I'm all for the African teams, especially hyper after Ghana's win yesterday and anxious for Cameroon to win today's game. However, the Dutch are Folkert's people so I wish them well too (only as far as they don't win against African teams, lol).    

Now this fan above makes me think, isn't orange the only fruit named after a colour, and a royal family for that matter? Ah well...

Zamina mina eh eh! Waka waka eh eh! Zamina mina zangalewa this time it's Africa!

Oh oh oh oh oh! Now wave you flag! Just wave your flag!

pic: (June 14 2010)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

It is HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow! I'm not even South African but I'm tearing up! I am so proud to be in South Africa as the World Cup starts. And a quarter of an hour into the first ever FIFA concert (and in the best place of all: SoWeTo!) all I can say is, JR says it all, "show them, here we go!" Make the circle bigger, bwalo likule Tchalosi! Ah, just missed the Black Eyed Peas' first song of the concert because of the commercials, this is why there should be a policy for cable tv for all! Big up to SABC, I watched the first SA democratic elections on SABC (I think it was CCV and TV1 then)....and the World Cup Rugby....and the African Nations Cup. MZANSI FO SHO

....that tonight's gonna be a good night....

let's watch this!

image: (ah, the image has runoft fr now)

pic: (June 14 2010)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Mandela at the World Cup

We'd all like to see the Madiba attending the openning of the games. If he decides to go, I hope he'll be placed in a sound proof compartment, this is going to be, happily of course, the loudest World Cup ever. I got a vuvuzela, the old school kind( the 2 and half foot, blow till your cheeks pop kind) and now I'm so jealous of my neighbour. She got a teeny one with twice the blare. Really, twice the blare.

Agh, I should have waited, it's always better to wait, a la 'good things come to those who wait.' Ah well, old school is good,original.

Now what happened to Drogba and Ferdinand? Fractured elbow, injured knee. So they join Beckham as liason for their respective teams. Pepani. Zamina mina eh eh waka waka eh eh! Zamina mina zangalewa it's time for Africa, anawa ah ah! Not bad Shakira and Freshly Ground. Old song but never gets old. For those of you hearing it from Shakira and Freshly Groudn for the first time, look for a movie called Sudan. It's about the war between the Brits and the Sudanese and there's a part in it where the Sudanese fighters were singing it, so yeah, it's not specifically about soccer.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The red and blue coat

Once there were two boys who were great friends, and they were determined to remain that way forever. When they grew up and got married, they built their houses facing one another. There was a small path that formed a border between their farms.

One day, a trickster from the village decided to play a trick on them. He dressed himself in a two-color coat that was divided down the middle. So, one side of the coat was red, and the other side was blue.

The trickster wore this coat and walked along the narrow path between the houses of the two friends. They were each working opposite each other in their fields. The trickster made enough noise as he passed them to make sure that each of them would look up and see him passing.

At the end of the day, one friend said to the other, "Wasn't that a beautiful red coat that man was wearing today?"

"No", the other replied. "It was a blue coat."

"I saw the man clearly as he walked between us!" said the first, "His coat was red."

"You are wrong!" said the other man, "I saw it too, and it was blue."

"I know what I saw!" insisted the first man. "The coat was red!"

"You don't know anything," the second man replied angrily. "It was blue!"

They kept arguing about this over and over, insulted each other, and eventually, they began to beat each other and roll around on the ground.

Just then, the trickster returned and faced the two men, who were punching and kicking each other and shouting, "Our friendship is OVER!"

The trickster walked directly in front of them, and showed them his coat. He laughed at their silly fight. The two friends saw this his coat was red on one side and blue on the other.

The two friends stopped fighting and screamed at the trickster saying, "We have lived side by side like brothers all our lives, and it is all your fault that we are fighting. You have started a war between us."

"Don't blame me for the battle," replied the trickster. "I did not make you fight. Both of you are wrong, and both of you are right. Yes, what each one saw was true. You are fighting because you only looked at my coat from your own point of view."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Comrades Marathon

With only a few days until the Comrades Marathon, I am almost persuaded to head to town and welcome the weary runners, take pictures and grab a piece of the action. I chuckle too as I remember my BIG DISGRACE. I once ran in a marathon too, sponsored by Milo in a tiny town called Mtuthama. That was years ago, after running for miles and being so far back (the very last probably)the so-called 'support' team drove close to us taunting my friend and I: 'come on, just get into the b****y truck. You are wasting everybody's time. (and then in the spirit of being professional, adding, 'of course it's your right to run'.)

Of course we gave up, got into the truck and quit. I think we had gone way past the half-way mark and I was ELEVEN YEARS OLD. Looking back, the support staff weren't my problem, it was the house mistress. She proudly handed out awards to all in our hippo house 'who had finished the marathon'. so yours trully, probably the youngest marathon runner in the history of the institution, and who did not possess the mental ability to resist the taunting of a 'support' staff, was relagated to the margins. I felt disgraced, 'If only I had finished! I would have been recognised by my house mistress!' Years later I realise that it wasn't my disgrace, it was the disgrace of those that failed to notice the budding of a could-have-been athletic career. They could have chosen to support and nurture it. But, hey, like many of us, they chose to work with what they already had.

Lesson to me, the Big Disgrace is gone. When it comes to marathons, a lot can be learned; both from the spirit of the winner and that of the enduring runner, young and old, fit and unfit at the back of the race: for they all run the race....and finish the race. Watch 'Run, fat boy, run'.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

2 more days and school's out

Winter break couldn't have arrived at a better time......YAY!!!! I'm tired beyond description. Aiaiai! Ngikathele kakhulu kabi. Ndatopa. Je suis fatigue, ndalema. isikhathi for resting now.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

South Africa 101 a letter to WGN-TV

Dear WGN-TV Chicago,

With less than a month to the World Cup let me take it upon myself to show you where South Africa really is. You see, that continent south of you is South America. The World Cup will only take place on that continent in 2014, in a country called Brazil. This year, starting next month, the World Cup is taking place in South Africa. South Africa is located on the Southern most tip of the continent of Africa (hence the name 'South' 'Africa'). You know, where all those movies use dodgy rights to tell/sell the stories of icons found in South Africa e.g. Winnie Mandela etc.

If you take your world map, it's located south of Europe which is to your east. Note to self: Now this is why I complain when Western countries report on African countries, if they can't place the said countries on the map, whatever next? Alas, whatever next?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It FINALLY Looks like a Saturday!

For the first time in a long time, a Saturday with absolutely nothing to do but enjoy Casting Crowns on a rainy day. How grand to have the only worry of the day being missing Jamie Oliver's cook show because of other leisurely activites like walking past the highway to the library (wish it was the Silverdale Library or a Barnes and Noble ;-) ). Ah, I'll enjoy this while it lasts, Monday looks dodgy I hope I won't have too much to write. Ignoring thinking about exams by the way. Good day to you Mr. Saturday!!!!!

I hope you are enjoying YOUR rainy weather Folkert!!!!! <3


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Africa Paradis

It's after 3 am and I chanced upon a very curious movie on late night TV.
Hmmmm, I'll reserve my comments for until after years of digesting of this movie.Yes, past my coffee-induced, school assignment-fatigued experience of it right now.
Errm, where'd they throw all the North Africans and non-Black South Africans though?.....curious.......Interesting concept........
grim as in I hope vengeance is not on the minds of many; rather, an alternate life-giving future.......hmmm....(

I'm placing match sticks now to prop my eyelids a la Tom and Jerry)......

subtitles....hmmm.....OK, let me concentrate.
Good food for thought for international legislatures in the immigration debate....

ok, concentrate.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rudyard Kipling's 'The White Man's Burden', 1899

Alas, me dears, Rudyard Kipling had a point. Don't know if things are any different over a century later.....tiyeni kuntengo wa kachere tikafunsane.

Rudyard Kipling, The White Man's Burden, 1899

Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

....By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.

.....And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

...But toil of serf and sweeper--
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread

Take up the White Man's burden--
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour

Take up the White Man's burden--
Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.

This famous poem, written by Britain's imperial poet, was a response to the American take over of the Phillipines after the Spanish-American War.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

I vow to thee my country

Spent quite a significant amount of time reminiscing when I happened upon a facebook page of my alma mater (first high school in a series of three). Granted I was a poor student then and was kicked out for a sorry report card, yet,the one year there indeed impressed upon my life quite a span of memories. Good to find echos of my memories from alumni on the face book group: Ecce Romani, Jardin Public, the Pavillion, the seamstresses, etc. I am most grateful to that experience, the friends that have lasted with me since then and the knowledge that has endured.

However, in the spirit of good critiquing; my Religion and Governance instructor from here will be quite pleased to see me critiquing the hymn of my days there thus, just as some might use religion for self-serving gains; so can some use governance for their own ends. And yet, as students; we sung a hymn of such a strange allegiance. The first verse below, hmmm, nie? just follow the words in bold font. What in the world was the writer of this song thinking? Patriotism is good, but asking no questions? what is democratic about that? Just a thought. And to my alma mater, thank you for always, too bad I never made it to the Appian Way. Form One's were not allowed :-(

'I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.

(Right Reverend Steven Lowe, Bishop of Hulme: His view that it placed ... an unquestioning support of governments opened a debate on its wider implications--Wikipedia)

Friday, April 30, 2010


I mentioned the Malawian hip-hop artist in a recent entry. Sample his music on his blog The kid has amazing talent!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Yo-ism; the 'Niggah sub-culture' discourse continued...

I'm kicking myself for overlooking in my last post the whole topic of Yo-ism as part of the hip hop scene in Africa. So instead of writing about it I'll just share what I found already written at Timve Magazine ( The author of the piece below has done a far better job than I could have ever done. Big up Timve Mag!I didn't see you before now I definately see you-o!

"... the hip-hop community popularly known as ma (plural 'the') YO!, funny thing is no-one will admit to be one of them but from dressing and behavior we can pretty much point them out. They just stand out.

The main difference between reggae guys and ma Yo is in the sense of where they are. The reggae guys know that they are living in Africa, but ma Yo seem to be living in another world altogether: stories of ghettos; when they come from well to do families; money they talk about and don’t really have; cars that they drive and yet they are on public transport... Then there's the issue of America which is like their Mecca of hip-hop.

Ma Yo are very much in touch with their 'holy land' and get direct instruction from there on issues of dress code and language even attitude. The Ma Yo world is very synchronized in everything that they do, for example if Jay-Z says he has haters then everyone in the hip-hop world will most definitely start wailing about how they have haters too!

As for those that do music, almost all of them want to get a record deal in America. Even though they are from Africa and only about two artist with direct African roots have made it: Akon and now upcoming is K’Naan."


Sunday, April 18, 2010

The ‘Niggah Sub-Culture’ among African Youth?

This topic continues to be of interest to me. Warning one: I haven’t proof-read so I apologise before-hand for typo’s and any incoherence I might subject you to. Warning two: This text does not seek to critique any sub-culture in any context particularly in the USA and Africa. So no offense intended, it’s a collation of personal observations. I’ll say upfront that this essay is about young men in what I term the ‘Niggah Culture’. I am very aware that there might be female rap artists and hip-hoppers that might identify with this in the African context but due to my very limited interaction with them and their experiences I am too ignorant to write about them.

So, ‘Niggah Sub-culture’; it’s a sensitive topic but a necessary one. I find it ironic that as I type, I have Phyzix blaring through my earphones. I wish I had The Real Elements original and post-Elements solo acts, Tay Grin, Third Eye, Tha Gosple and Dominant One tracks as well but as they say, if wishes were horses...I’m far from home.

What to make of the Niggah sub-culture? I was propelled to write this now after an encounter this afternoon while waiting for an order of food at a Mexican chicken fast food run by Indians on an African street in a White suburb. Yes, it’s all true and I can give you the Google Earth coordinates if you like. As I sat there, four young men walked in, placed a music device at the centre of their table and dug into shared plates of fries. The music was obviously hip hop and they looked the part, ‘gangstah’ as we called it in the 90’s. Now, Niggahs.

Two weeks ago, I was honoured to meet a wonderful member of my community; he wore Tims and spoke with a twang. We were all invited to call him ‘Niggah’.

I remember two personal ‘niggah- related offences. I am not part of this culture but I believe no-one should criticise a whole sub-culture without understanding their background first. The first was when an American cousin expressed shock that there was a clothing sidewalk shop in Lilongwe called “The N*****s’. “Do they know what that word embodies?” , she gasped. I was offended, of course they know, in their own way. See the shop sold baggy jeans, football jerseys, throwbacks and the like. To the young men owning the shop, they were expressing some sort of solidarity with African-Americans in their sense of style, identifying with what they perceived to be a ‘Niggah Culture’. A culture exuding coolness and style. Apparently this little insight completely eluded my cousin and the African-American cyclist that publicised this story online.

Another offense, K’naan. He was an African himself before he became a Canuck, sorry, Canadian (couldn’t resist that anyone?). He was quoted as stating that Africans have no reason to rap, rap is a mode of struggle for the Black minorities in the diaspora. But there was something else he was quoted as saying that I don’t remember but I do remember that it made me feel embarrassed for African rappers, something that suggested African rappers can never own this mode of struggle. All they can do is pretend. But is this so? Then why the ‘Niggah Culture’?

So here I type, seeking to put a sense of my own understanding to the ‘Niggah Culture’ in light of my experiences here in Africa (and yes I do use the term ‘Africa’ broadly) and the US.

The word Niggah: I was told expressly by an African-American I could never use ‘r’ at the end of the word. Understandable, no argument there. However, she made it clear that it was not generally accepted that non-African Americans use this term in addressing African Americans, and, by implication, it not generally accepted that non-African Americans should appropriate this term for themselves. So how does a ‘Niggah culture’ fit for the youth of Africa. Are the youth here limited to ‘pretending’ like K’naan was quoted to have argued or blind copy and pasting, as alluded to by the Black US cyclist?

The Music:
I believe that the era of rap music as a mode of struggle faded with the demise of Tupac. I stand to be corrected. I was too young to have listened to Run DMC and his contemporaries but I am of the opinion that their music embodied much more of a struggle message than today’s commercialised rap music. I don’t know what men called ‘dog’ and women called b*****s have to do with the struggle of a minority group in a hegemonic White society, but granted, the lyrics do, to many extents embody the lives unique to the contexts of the rappers so I acknowledge my ignorance.

Therefore, there are two ways one might look at rap music in the ‘Niggah Culture’ around me:

A) A Hoped for dream out of the present reality, one of glory, cash and women. If this is the case then it’s not a wholesome dream. We have our own context of unique traditions that should value the notion of UBUNTU, precisely that human values far outweigh egocentric glory, personal riches and the exploitation of women.

B) Another, more interesting interpretation is that of rap here as an articulation of the lived realities of these rappers. Whatever the content might be, twenty stanzas of bragging, twelve consecutive words of profanity or conversely, tales of spiritual transformation , HIV awareness or words of advice to the youth; the music of our ‘Niggahs’ should wake us up to notice what they are actually saying. Perhaps they are prophets in their own way, marking out for us what ails our communities in a mode of struggle, albeit borrowed from over the sea and far away.

The Clothes:
This, I find difficult to figure out. I think there are three groups of dressers within the Niggah Culture in the African places I’ve been. Those who have the money (or whose parents have the money) to pull it off, those who don’t, and those who didn’t get the memo. Those who have the money know every trend over the seas and far away, I don’t know where they get the Tims and ipods but they get them. Those with no money still make reasonable attempts; the baggy pants might be Chinese and the shirt may say FUBS but the attempt is there. Then there are those who didn’t get the memo, they are sporting corn rows when they should ‘fade’ maybe; or getting a tattoo when they should be getting a ‘grill’ (eh, don’t be keloidy and lose your teeth in the process, i’m just sayin’).

The Attitude:
Relevant is the ‘Niggah’ who is either well read or have quite redolent personal life experiences. At least he knows what he’s talking about, and most importantly, what will make people take notice.

The Basketball:
Unfortunately basketball is a game of height and genetic athletic make-up but hey, everyone can try. I was at a game in December and I could have sworn I saw Kobe Bryant, except he was two-thirds the height. It was in Lilongwe, and that Kobe-like kid (whether by coincidence or design) worked the 3-point shots like it was child’s play. Maybe it had to do with his sneakers, they could have been magical the cleanness of that label.....

The Future:
Can a ‘Niggah’ be president? Well, perhaps not all agents of transformation are presidents; I am interested to see what this culture will achieve in terms of a positive of transformation in the long-term.

So, I could go on and on but all I’m trying to do is show the existence of a sub-culture that is somehow lost from view between the discourses of the popularly recognised strata of African society. Who knows, they might have something important to say to the world....

Picture citation: ‘Niggah’ , please.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Interesting Lobola conversation on TV

Family of older white guy: so how much are you expecting from us?

Family of young black girl: 20 cows

White guy:

What? With all due respect i have to interject here. I have paid for the negotiation gifts to bring us to this point, I have offered to pay for the wedding, you know I will be there for her financially. Now I have to pay for 20 COWS? I didn't sighn up for this!!!

Father of Black girl:

You didn't sign up for this? You didn't sign up for this? My daughter is young, never been married, well behaved, can look after herself, has a post-grad education, works for herself, thinks for herself AND NOW COMES YOU AN OLD MAN, DO YOU THINK I SIGNED UP FOR THIS????

Family of older white guy: Okay, so how many cows are we talking again?

You gotta admit, the dynamics in this conv. couldn't have been more hilarious!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Do dis, do dat

I feel so unaccomplished for failing my lent commitment. I went under two days into Lent. Alas, here's hope for next Lent. Shaa..........

Racists near and near

I used to worry about the opinions of racists nearby but realised that they have something I don't: hate, fear and an oversize lack of acknowledgment of their own limits; with no hope of a solution.

Here's a theory: suppose they got their own planet, they'd still spend money importing cheap labour from planet earth and guess what colour that labour would be. and then sit around talking about, 'I just hate these...perhaps we should bring in guns just in case they...'

Eish, I'd rather have me and not share in their self-created burdens, it's hard-work for them putting others down so that they can feel better, I'm sorry for the self-induced pain that their 'hard-work' brings.

Russell Peters and his jokes on Africa

I debated whether this topic necessitates an entry or not. Apparently it does. However, since I give a prejudiced take on this, let it be known that I only make this opinion after only one viewing of Russell Peters and random googling afterwards (and googling biased to my own opinion. So perhaps only a few words would suffice:

I'd say there are bits of Russell Simmon's repertoire or whatever it is called that are funny. However, I was at first pretty annoyed that all this guy seems to know about Africa and it's peoples (outside of South Africa) is clicks (which themselves are funny enough, agh, never mind, I'll give it away); spear-wielding people speaking gibberish and endowment factors of the male populations. It's actually quite distracting the ignorance I forgot to laugh but then I should be comforted enough, thanks to James Scott that our transcript remains as it should be for now, so obscure that it's still funny for people like him to highlight antiquated knowledge about African people. Good for you, come to think of it.

Remain there where you should be. It's a wonderful comfort zone and the perks are good. Here's a pillow, oops I'm not supposed to know what a pillow is, sorry. He's a spear and shield, click click. Do you want a Kuber with that? Maybe not.

I was about to comment identity crisis issues (what with that name and nationality) but eh, I've used up my English vocab quota for the decade. Click, gibberish gibberish, click, !click, gibber jabber, click, click, gibberish gibberish, click, !click, gibber jabber, click, click, !xi, !xa, !gibber, !jabber etc, etc.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Childhood Game called Monday

That had to be the best game ever invented, it was a game all new students were taught soon after signing up at ZPPS. I wonder if anyone plays it there or anywhere else. I heard kids were banned from playing it after a major accident but come on, they see worse on the rugby fields. Here is how it goes:

1. Students locate the widest flight of stairs which has at least 8 steps

2. One student, the Caller, is nominated and s/he stands at the foot of the stairs facing the rest of the players

3. The players (minimum 2, maximum 8+)stand in a neat lengthways single file row on the 8th step

4. The 7 steps in front of the players are Monday, Tuesday etc. in that order

5.The objective is to get players to jump to the step that corresponds with the day called out: i.e. MONDAY = players jump to step 1; THURSDAY = players skip to step 4. The Caller will call out forward days or backward days so you can expect to skip multiple steps both downwards and upwards.
If you have short legs or carry a few extra pounds, this is not the game for you. you fall, you're out. You land on the wrong day, you're out. You slip overmuch, you're out!

Elementary gymnastics seems like. Ah, that game of Monday.

pic: 100awesomethings

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pocket Sunshine

If you are like me and you tend to be forever entangled with dominant personalities and your facebook home page is saturated with LOUD dialogues that rub you the wrong way: here are two things you can do
1. Smile, it's free. other people's opinions are just that, their own. do what you can to make a difference.
2. there is a block option on facebook, tee hee heee

Are we part of the debate

Let's watch out if we think we know how to speak Africans. Does what we say matter? that is the question, or have conclusions been made on our behalf on the various topics that concern us.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

China Pro-Malawi, a friend indeed at last?

Interesting observations about latent American interest in our infrastructure after years of focusing on, ahem, never mind: Read on, is it time for the East? Interesting thoughts below (source Nyasatimes Readers' comments, 03/03/2010)

= Half Pint says:
March 3, 2010 at 8:09 am

Yes, I think the americans are afraid of the Chinese, who are coming in full force and investing in infrastructure.
I have always questioned the funny projects funded by the Americans. They are busy giving us condoms and contraceptives as if that will translate into ecomonic growth. Do they want us to be busy with our women instead of engaging in productive activities? Give us a break America, the chinese are giving us infrastructure, ngakhalebe amazunza ma workers awo(even though they have labour law problems).

 Malawi One says:
March 2, 2010 at 8:08 pm

America is afraid of chinese influence in africa, now they have realised its time to pump in billions to help to build infrastructure in africa. Chinese money can be seen with ordinary malawians in malawi in a space of less than 2 years.
Adyereni amaenowo, its leverage they want. Please give more contracts to chinese firms, analikuti nthawi yonseyi ma americans.

Malawi and Africa needs Infrastructure Not Aid ya zakudya. The americans knew that all along, koma they dont want us to develop. Now China Has come in with Infrastructure money not Aid ya zakudya and stupid projects. And chinese money they dont ask for Human rights, good governance issues… The west only ask for those issues in Africa kusiya maiko ena (and not from other countries outside Africa they lend to or give aid). (for) example, ku middle east.

Just yesterday Britain trimmed aid by 3m pounds, reason presidential jet amafuna azienda pans (do they want our president to walk on foot)? ku africa transport ndi yovuta after all we had a jet before for over 40 yrs.
The reason britain trimmed aid is “Recession, They Have No Money look at their Debt… £178 billion and adding close to 50% of their GDP”
zanu izo

Friday, February 26, 2010

Rev. Prof. Steve de Gruchy

My mind goes back to December 17, Lilongwe, Malawi. I ran into Anesa, the wife of Prof. de Gruchy's former student Kelvin Kalonga. She asked me what I'm up to nowadays and I told her I'm a student at the University of KwaZulu Natal, studying Theology and Development. Her face lit up, 'Ah, you are with Steve de Gruchy!' I had to ask her if she'd met him in person; to which she responded that no, she had never met him but he'd made such an impression on her husband that it felt like she knew him herself. Anesa and Kelvin have a daughter, Shalom. I asked if that name came from Prof. Steve's lectures on themes of liberation. 'Yes!' she said. Obviously. Everyone who knew Steve de Gruchy had a story, a good story about him.

I myself was selfish. While others learned from this gifted professor and sat under his pastoral counsel, I employed my strategy of 'avoiding to be a groupie'. Only now do I realise that no one was a groupie, a wise person naturally attracts friends, students and followers to himself. That was his gift; intelligence, wisdom, faith and humility. A rare combination. I hope to grasp at those principles and display of character that I managed to glimpse at from afar, after all, I'm lucky to have glimpsed at all. Ironically, my assignment that was supposed to be due this week was to read one of his discourses on a case study.

Love and Peace to his family. Grace to the program he developed here and comfort to the ecumenical fellowship everywhere mourning his loss.

(Prof. Steve de Gruchy passed on in a tubing accident on the Mooi river, in the province of KwaZulu Natal in the week of 21-26 April, 2010). May his soul rest in peace.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I'm happy the heat wave is here. 30+ degrees celcius is no fun but if you get free chocolates because they melted........there's always a freezer!!!! Yeah, I'll have the heat if it means free (melted) chocolates. and it's good to confirm it, there ARE Ice Cream trucks here. I heard the music a while ago and wasn't sure, didn't want to be too optimistic. But, saw one yesterday with my own two eyes, dare I say the Ice Cream Man even looked Italian. Too bad I live on the highway, the Ice Cream man don't come dis least I get free melted chocolates........:-) Happy Days!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Is it about Black Babies?

Eh, I gave my word that I would shut up about this business of carrying off Black babies from Africa to America. For whatever 'it's good for the child' reason. So I think I'm keeping my promise by talking about the Caribbean Islands.

Eish, I'm thrice affected, I'm a Baptist, a former resident of Boise, Idaho and a former Black child (I'm a Black woman now, ahem). So it hits me hard that Baptist missionaries from that area don't know from a book; since when don't people not know how to read, Eh? IT IS NOT ONLY AMERICA THAT HAS LAWS SO FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, IF YOU WANT YOUR VERY OWN LITTLE CUTE BLACK CHILD WHOSE FUTURE YOU CAN FIX; REMEMBER, FOLLOW THE LAWS! UNLESS OF COURSE, YOU ARE A CELEBRITY, SOME GIVE CELEBRITIES THE BABIES FOR FREE.

So, it seems the journey continues, every which way, Blacks must continue be taken to the West it seems.......sigh!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It's not my FAULT and the trumpeters in Haiti

There comes a time in life when one has to realise one can't keep apologising for everything. This time, that one is yours truly. So get this, whatever it is IT'S

Now, on to a serious note, would someone stop blowing their own horn and just HELP THE PEOPLE!..... scratch that, it's plain and clear whose motive is what in Haiti. Ever heard of, never mind. Pitiable people cashing in on the plight of others.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

When Women Vye for 20% Males, it's that X factor thing.

The benefit of being over the mid-twenties bridge is having a few more morsels of wisdom than the younger folk. Yearp, finally agree, any way you look at it: popular guys don't necessarily make Mr. Right. Sadly, we all grow up dreaming of the proverbial Prince Charming, the veritable dream guy. Only one mistake we make, we look on the outside.

I once heard and embellished a statement that went thus: '(Christian)Women dream of a man who looks like Brad Pitt (or Morris Chestnut as far as 'bruthas' come), has the spirituality of Billy Graham and the smooth voice of Ne-Yo, and has all the c's to boot (cash, car, cottage-by-the-sea etc.

To borrow from the 'why did i get married' movie; the 20% concept as I interpret it seems to be true; 'woman meets good guy but he's missing the 'X' factor, she spends years looking for the 'X' factor. Society tells her the 'X' factor is that polished all-round fabulousness a la 'he knows exactly how to make an impression, all the guys want to be him; she finally finds the 'X' factor and spends the rest of her life acknowledging that an 'X' is all he is. There is no A, there is no B, heck, no C-W or Z either. Just a plain ol' 'X' factor and nothing else.

A pox on daytime soap operas. The good guys always look good, i wonder why in real life only 20% of them have stable relationships. It's that 'X' factor I tell you. FEAR the 'X' factor