"The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say"
- J.R.R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Football, Manchester United and other beautiful things.

Proudly United.
So the Barclays Premier League came to an end on Sunday, once again proving to the world why it is the best league in the world and why soccer is the world's most beautiful game.

The pain caused by Manchester United's failure to win the league title was made worse by the fact that it was Manchester City who won it, and also because the league was lost- and won- in less than ninety seconds.

The last five minutes of the Manchester City v QPR match were the greatest minutes of football I've watched since the miracle of Istanbul. The feeling, just like that of being drunk, cannot be described to, or understood by, one who has never experienced it.

In a space of two minutes, Manchester City fans went from the depths of sadness to the heights of unbelievable joy and we, United supporters, slumped in our seats and watched the title fly to the blue side of Manchester.

But I realised that though winning is great, it is not everything. The joy and excitement is in playing, playing with pride and losing with honour in winning with our teams and losing with them.

Not to be fair-weather fans or summer soldiers who desert when the going gets tough.

The celebrations, the disappointments, the pain, the exhilaration, the joy and the inexplicable emotions that come from watching the game- that is the beauty of football.

Simply put, it is "Jogo Bonito", as the Brazilians say- THE BEAUTIFUL GAME!

I am an African Youth.

Even when we lose.


Of Prophet TB Joshua, prophecies and associated dramas.

Some time ago in one of my posts, The days of our Lives, I referred to a prophecy made by a Nigerian prophet concerning the death of an African leader.Two days later, the then president of Malawi, Bingu wa Mutharika left us to join the ancestors, leaving those who believe in TB Joshua delirious and those who don't shaken to the bone.

Some were quick to point out that old people die all the time and it is hardly prophetic to say one of the old guys will kick the bucket sometime. Others were more outspoken and accused TB Joshua of being part of a conspiracy to murder Bingu wa Mutharika. The majority believed that "the man of God" had, indeed, seen the death in his visions.

After the initial excitement and the celebrations in Malawi died down- wa Mutharika was not well loved, and his demise sparked jubilation- I forgot about the Prophet and prophecies, that is, until last week when he made another prophecy about the UEFA champions league final (Chelsea need more prayers than Bayern). As if that was not enough, we heard that the Prime Minister had invited TB Joshua to come preside over a "National Day of Prayer" on the 25th of May.

The news was received with mixed feelings, with other "men of God" here rushing to brand TB Joshua an agent of the devil and others coming to his defence. Politicians have also jumped into the fray, after all, TB Joshua is linked to one of the political parties here. The rest of us don't care either way, and I for one would be happy to see all these "men of God" square of and prove their truthfulness.

It seems most of the politicians are afraid the prophet would make an especially dooming prediction of their political careers or lives. The Prophet often sees death in his visions and who knows, he might see one when he comes here. There are also reports from one camp that the Prophet wants to use the platform to "anoint" the Prime Minister as the next President of Zimbabwe.

I find that ridiculous because we are going to vote for our next leader, unless, of course, there are some who are afraid of elections.

Temitope Balogun Joshua is a very controversial man and it seems like he can't keep from the headlines. After reportedly prophesying the death of Michael Jackson, Zambia's AFCON triumph and Bingu wa Mutharika's demise, he went further and foretold some deaths in Argentina and Germany and also "saw" Chelsea's match in his visions.

I don't set much store by prophets and their prophecies but I think TB Joshua should visit some of Europe's best betting houses and make himself some money from the Chelsea-Bayern Munich match.

That, at least, will be legitimate- we've heard so much about how he came to be a millionaire.

I am an African Youth.

TB Joshua- Can't stay out of the headlines.


Thursday, 10 May 2012

Memories: My Father

Two months ago, on the 8th of March, marked nine years since my father passed away. I did not remember then, only remembering today because of other sad circumstances which I've found myself in this past week.

I realised with a shock that the memory of his physical appearance is fading, it's getting farther and farther away, retreating to the far corners of my mind. It is like last night's dream- hovering on the edge of memory but difficult to recall or grasp. The memory itself seems like a memory of a memory, or, as Robert Jordan would say, 'escaping and spread like dust on the wind', never to be regained. 

Of course I remember that he was very tall and imposing, I remember the after school chats, my obviously boring daily accounts of what would have happened at school- which he patiently and lovingly listened to, the jokes and the walks. I remember too, the deep voice, and the sense of power and immortality dad projected.

More clear are the memories of feelings, the love and the sense of security I got when he was around. The sacrifices he made to make our lives more comfortable, the loving smile and the stern warnings. At least now I am certain that these will never go away and for that I'm grateful.

There are obviously some positives to be gained from my forgetfulness, the pain is no longer as sharp as it used to be. The passage of time eroded memories and pain alike and now I can look back on those dim memories without shedding too many tears.

But the realisation that I'm forgetting made me sad, and I imagined what I'd remember, say, in forty years- nothing. Would it seem like he never existed? At this rate, sad as it may see, that is a possibility.

I wish I could remember more, I wish I could remember everything, but sadly, the memories have, over the years, slipped from my mind. I was almost twelve when he died and that, coupled with the fact that I have been quite busy- and perhaps subconsciously trying to forget- makes it even harder to remember.

So I opened my eyes and saw the world differently. I decided to clutch those faint memories and make sure that they never grow fainter. I decided to fan the flame of those dim memories, to make them burn forever in my heart and mind.

I will try to become the man he wanted me to be.

And I will not forget the anniversary of his death again, nor will I ever forget his birthday.

I will not forget any more of what I remember now. I will gather more about him, things I once knew and even those I never did.

I will retrace the footsteps of my life and renew the memories, go back to the places dad walked, the people dad loved, the people dad talked to and other people with whom he shared his life.

Most importantly I will spend more time with my family, more time with my mother, my brothers and sisters, my uncles, aunts and friends; so that when, one day, they depart from this earth, I will have rich and numerous great memories of their lives.

I will appreciate the living because  I have realised that they can become the dead without warning.

And I will make sure that the memory of my father never dims.

I hope you do the same to the people in your life.


Monday, 7 May 2012

TB Joshua says Chelsea "need more prayers than Bayern" in the Champions League final

The man of God, prophet TB Joshua, has said Chelsea need more prayers than Bayern Munich if they are to win their first European cup on the 19th of May. The UEFA champions league final, which incidentally is to be played in Bayern Munich's home pitch, the Alliance Arena, will be Chelsea's second appearance in the finals of the competition after their 2008 loss against Manchester United.

The prophet told his congregation yesterday that God showed him the first half of the match, a first half which the man of God said was not good for Chelsea. He said, " From what I've seen so far, Chelsea need more players than Bayern", which no doubt left some members of his church wishing they supported other teams.

According to Samuel K Obour, the man of God added that he saw a tall black man delivering a fine cross which was then  scored by a bald-headed  man. Since David Alaba and Luiz Gustavo (who may be considered black) are on suspension and won't play in the final, it leaves Jerome Boateng to deliver the cross and Arjen Robben to convert it.

During the same service the man of God said contrary to what has been reported by the media he did not predict a Chelsea win.

This is not the first time the prophet has predicted football results- he reportedly predicted Zambia's miraculous win in this year's Africa Cup of Nations. He also prophesies about other things, most notably death, and from previous outcomes I think those who are betting on Chelsea to win should reconsider- or at least pray, and pray hard.

But critics and football pundits have pointed out that it is quite obvious that Chelsea wil need more than luck to win against Bayern. After turning around an away loss against Napoli, a miraculous win against Barcelona in England and an even more miraculous draw against the Catalans in their own backyard, Chelsea's luck cannot last forever.

In my opinion it doesn't take a prophet to say Chelsea will find it an uphill task against a Bayern team that eliminated Real Madrid and which will have the privilege of playing at home in a turf they know so well. Additionally, Chelsea have four players out of the fixture because of suspension, including captain John Terry and Ramires.

TB Joshua or not, Chelsea fans should start praying really hard, the man of God has just reiterated the need.

Prophecies aside Chelsea need those prayers.

TB Joshua says God showed him Chelsea having a difficult first half.


Friday, 13 April 2012

To be a responsible student and citizen.

What happens at the University of Zimbabwe is a reflection of how the broader society works. The senseless restrictions, gratuitous suspensions and general lack of freedom can be likened to the repressive AIPPA and POSA, to the unjust trials and detentions of human rights activists. 

Running away from these truths won't change anything, the system will follow you and oppress you wherever you may be. 

I've often heard, and seen, people saying they have no interest in politics. Fine, but how do you hope to be a good lawyer in a country with total disregard of the law? Or to be a Political Scientist in a country that does not entertain other views? How then do we  hope to work in a country whose politicians have made sure there are no jobs? 

Politics will take an interest in your life whether you choose it or not. It is gross irresponsibility to ignore the things which affect your life. As intellects, Christians and future workers we should condemn evil wherever we see it. 

Commenting the good and condemning the bad, without fear or favour, that is revolutionary honesty. 

Telling the truth as we see it, with impartiality, to be the voice of the voiceless, that is to be responsible citizens. 

To be the voice of the voiceless and fight evil at all levels, that is to be a responsible student.

We might not speak because we are not affected, but when we become the victims no one will be left to speak on our behalf.


Because I am African

I am an Afrikan because the beauty is without equal

On Friday I attended a debate, and there a very interesting and somewhat offending motion was raised. Because it was a debate, and the views raised there are not necessarily the views of the people who presented them, I kept my peace. But I still feel I have to clarify a few issues and dispel some myths which have become embedded in African minds.

The motion was: “African cultures were primitive and contributed nothing to civilisation”.

What I gathered is that people are under the (wrong) impression that civilisation and all things modern are western. That African cultures were – and still are- uncivilised is not only false, it also borders on the ridiculous.

I realised that people don’t know what was started, developed and perfected in Egypt, that people don’t realise that there were places of higher learning in Timbuktu as early as the 13th century. I realised that people don’t appreciate African efforts towards the advancement of science, mathematics and the other arts. I came to the sad realisation, made more painful by the applauding that came after the points raised by those who were for the motion, that we Africans have, over the years, forgotten what we have accomplished and that through deliberate and sometimes unintentional ‘misinformation’ we have come to consider our cultures as uncivilised.

What of the concept of Ubuntu?

Whilst global civilisation is a result of thousands of years of collective efforts from various cultures and individuals, the role played by Africa and African cultures is significant.

It is not my intention, or the intention of this article, to say that Africa contributed the most to global civilisation; rather I hope to enlighten my brothers and sisters, to make them more appreciative and proud of their history, culture and what they are.

Everyone should be proud of their roots and beginnings, for those beginnings make us what we are.
I had to say this because, like Thabo Mbeki said,

“I am an African; I owe my being to the hills and the valleys, the mountains and the glades, the rivers, the deserts, the trees, the flowers, the seas and the ever-changing seasons that define the face of our native land”

Because I am an African, and I consider it a geographical blessing to be born here.

Because I am African, not because my skin is black, but because I believe in Ubuntu, in the togetherness of mankind.

I am an African- a proud one too- because I feel most at home here, because I find the beauty of Africa’s sunsets, it’s flora and fauna, it’s people and its environment without equal.

I am an African because I find profound the ancient wisdom of its people; because here, more than anywhere else, people treat each other like family.

I am an African not only because I am proud of my motherland and all that we have achieved but also because I am not ashamed of our failures, nor do I deny our shortcomings.

I am an African because that is who I am.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The days of our lives

It's been an eventful week, and with the way things are going, it certainly promises to be eventful through the next week and beyond. But by eventful I don't mean wonderful or that I enjoyed it, in fact, if truth be told, this past week has been horrible and by the look of things it might get worse.

We had University elections on Thursday and instead of coming first ( which we normally do) we were second. The counting proceeded slowly and that, coupled with allegations of the administration interfering with the process, made some people feel they had to break a few windows and doors to express their discontent and funnily we were the suspects. That was ridiculous because we were counting the votes when the stone throwing began and we, just like the Dean and others, had to run for dear life and seek shelter in a toilet. So, a few broken windows, meaningless allegations and several people fainting later the winner was announced and we thought we had had the weeks biggest news.

Then came the shocker- on Friday morning some friends of mine were summoned by the Dean of Students concerning a newsletter that had been printed and distributed on the day of the election. The newsletter claimed, among other things, that a meeting had taken place between the Vice Chancellor and my friends to discuss "Key reforms". An agreement had supposedly been reached and the "reforms" would be implemented starting the following Monday. There was even a picture of my comrades with the Vice Chancellor just under the headline.

The Vice Chancellor was- and I presume he still is- furious and wanted the head of the writer(s) of the "damaging and defamatory" material. What  he failed to understand is that in their excitement my friends uploaded the pictures on Facebook, not knowing that someone would use them to further their own ends. Needless to say, the Vice Chancellor found them guilty of tarnishing his 'good' name and several other offences and suspended them.. Part of the suspension letter read:

The deception caused defamation of the Vice Chancellor's character by potraying him as engaging in discussions with ZINASU which is currently considered a notorious student pressure group.

Why the VC felt that the biggest, most respected and oldest students' movement in the country is a 'notorious student pressure group' remains a mystery.

Now, to spiritual matters. Prophet Makandiwa has joined TB Joshua in prophesying deaths. Makandiwa has promised a death on Friday morning, a death, he says, that will plunge Zimbabwe into chaos.TB Joshua's prophecy was rather wide and ambiguous, he said the death of an African leader is imminent and urged people to pray for their leaders.

This latest development makes Friday a day to look forward to, not because I expect any death, but because it will serve as proof to the truthfulness of these prophets. If no one of importance dies on Friday then I expect some churches to be abandoned by their followers but if someone really dies then these prophets will double their congregations and, presumably, earnings.

But if it is indeed true, I'm worried about the turmoil and chaos that will follow.

I don't set much store by prophets and their prophecies but sometimes it is prudent to listen- or at least wait.

And I feel sorry for whoever is going to die, if anyone, and I hope the ancestors judge them fairly.

Most importantly, those who might be targeted by such prophecies should mend their relations with the Almighty without delay!

Such are the days of our lives- Like sand in an hourglass.