Month: June 2015
We need mre intellignt rappers
Below is a list of things that worry me;
An unanswered plea
A needless lie
A deep grey sky
A distressingly long day
An impassible pathway
A weeping child
Work that has piled
A bird with a broken wing
A stolen diamond ring
A woman in distress
A room in a mess
An aching tooth
A half truth
A terrible start
A heavy heart
An unfaithful friend
A dead end
A heart breaking story
Loss of virtue over glory
A freshly painted wall
A smiling foe
A broken dream
A glass of water filled to the brim
An inevitable disaster
A nameless fear
The flow of a dry tear
A young yet dying tree
Ends the list of things that worry me
Sinkala nikukonda… I keep telling myself that, not cauz I’m clouded by doubts but because you’re so compelling in all the many ways u love me that you now have my thoughts trying to catch up with how my heart feels. Sometimes it all feels like a cosmic joke the way we met, wasn’t anything like a movie cauz what we have is too real, too raw and crazy. It was nothing like a story book tale cauz this love never ends… It’s that simple I-love-you-you-love-me-so-let’s-love-each other-to-death kinda love, there’s nothing complicated about this… and no, it’s not perfect like well-rehearsed lines, it gets hard and ugly sometimes but it never loses its beauty… I love you the same since we got together, well maybe not the same cauz I fall in love with you all over again every day and I love it. This not a poem, haven’t written one in months, this is something that’s been inspired by your fusa love lol. Something unplanned and beautiful just like our love and the way we met. It’s something that has been birthed by the way you’ve loved me daily since July of 2012, so I say it one more time, Sinkala nikukonda..
Last night I watched an interesting documentary that made me feel proud to be Zambian, which was refreshing considering the political circus we constantly have to put up with. The documentary also made me realise we have now drifted light years away from the original Zambian dream. All because we’ve stopped dreaming.
Mukuka Nkoloso: The Afronaut focuses on the remarkable life of Mukuka Nkoloso , an eccentric genius who dedicated his time and effort to ensure that Zambia beats the Us and Russian in the space race and eventually land a teenage Zambian girl on Mars by 1965. You’re thinking crazy right? Read on!
Nkoloso who had served with the British forces in World War II became a grade school teacher upon his return and immediately showed sparks of his oddness when he established his own school and began teaching his own brand of science. This infuriated the colonial government who quickly shut down the school but there was to be more mischief. A fiery nationalist, his contribution to the country’s independence struggle movement were short lived as the colonialists banished him to his home town in Northern Zambia in 1957.
Three years later he returned to Lusaka and founded the Zambia National Academy of Science, Space Research and Philosophy. It is for these outlandish ideas of space voyage that his name is synonymous with bizarreness to this day. Remember, this was two years before John F. Kennedy announced to the world that the US would have a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
Nkoloso continued on his peculiar path recruiting 10 young men and a teenage girl named Matha Mwamba and aptly called them Afronauts to mean African astronauts, the dream he was determined to see come to fruition. You have to admit Afronaut has a nice ring to it and makes perfect sense. I’m slowly becoming a believer.
On an abandoned farm not so far from the city of Lusaka he strenuously trained his Afronauts, rolling the trainees down a hill in an oil drum to simulate the weightlessness they would experience during space travel. Of course these strange activities would attract ardent crowds who were fascinated by the group’s antiques. Nkoloso would however not be slowed down by this unwanted attention, in fact it’s amazing how he remained absorbed by the space program even as the country was in political turmoil as independence beckoned.
The documentary contains actual footage of the man instructing his team through a routine at the training site when a reporter from the International Television Network (ITN) interviewed Nkoloso in 1964. I could not help but smile when I saw some seemingly curious physical excercises they underwent but it was all real to him and you have to admire that because a dangerous man is one who dreams with his eyes wide open. And it was not all physical, the scientist being true to his profession balanced the curriculum by also teaching the Afronauts about the moon and stars and principles of space flight. Impressive.
If you’re going to dream, dream big. That was Nkoloso’s line of thought. He did not simply want to achieve space travel, he believed there was life on Mars and intended to send 17 year old Matha Mwamba, two cats and missionary to Mars where Zambians would be responsible for spreading human civilisation. Ok, how about we call that bodacious…
“There was a trial launching of the Cyclops capsule using an African firing system, the Mukwa system which was basically a catapult. The craft rose to an altitude of three metres, I’m now experimenting along new lines.”
Interestingly, the documentary is narrated by a Zambian and there are also interviews of locals including Nkoloso’s son. I find this most interesting because it I think it is important that we as Africans should tell our own story before someone else tells it on our behalf. Also, most of the interviewees were young and if they can learn about such inspiring figures then they are being well prepared for future prospects and challenges.
Nkolosa’s dream of launching the D-Kalu 1 rocket into orbit on 24th October 1964, the day of Zambia’s independence did not suffice as the Independence celebration committee thought the idea was inappropriate as it would terrify the jubilant masses .But this is just the sideline story, the main reason for the failure to launch was the lack of financial support by government.
To say the guy was simply undeterred, is an understatement. He wrote to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) requesting for seven million pounds to fire his rocket into space. Wait a minute, that’s seven million pounds sterling in 1964 being requested for by African primary school teacher , I’m running out of superlatives for this man. Well as it turns out they didn’t get back to him, also Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and Matha became pregnant.
In his later years he became was appointed as president Kenneth Kaunda’s representative at Liberation Centre, the headquarters of a regional freedom movement spearheaded by Zambia. And as if to demonstrate that the sky was truly not the limit for him, Nkoloso would graduate with a law degree from the University of Zambia at the age of 59. Two years later the Russians awarded him an anniversary medal, The Fortieth Anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic Wars of 1941-1945 in Moscow.
On 4th march 1989, a day after I was born, he died of health complications. This one single fact made me somehow feel connected to the man, it’s like he passed the baton to me. Maybe not the rocket science but certainly the eccentricity and ambition .He was given a state funeral and to this day lives on in Zambian folklore.
To borrow from the man himself, from the motto of his science academy to be more exact : “Where fate and human glory lead, we are always there.”
I had the opportunity to visit Windhoek for 10 days three weeks ago and boy did I have fun. went out nearly every day, fell in love with the city, met and made crazy friends, took a million photos and came back home.
Ever since returning I’ve been asking myself just what defined the trip for me? What was the one thing that stood out the most? Well let’s see at what I can recall…
The 280km bus ride from Windhoek to Swakopmund was exciting. Though long it was fun, there was singing on the bus, lots of photos, and myriads of stories. Everyone wore their best smile and they came in handy when the cameras came out. We stopped at Swakopmund after nearly five hours on the road and hopped out of the bus to visit the Namib Times headquarters only to be told was at Walvis Bay.
The hour long stretch from Swakopmund to Walvis Bay had an amazing and contrasting scenery. The long road separated the desert to the left from the ocean to the right..The ships were floating to the dock while the sand dunes were as still as ever..more photos. Lots of cameras clicking and even louder sighs of admiration and awe. The weather when we reached Walvis Bay. We made our way seeing how the biweekly publication is produced and viola we made the front page three days later. Yippee!
Another five hours on the bus but first we made a stop at another Swakopmund, this time for a warm, tummy filling meal . Then there was beach: the Atlantic, the sand, shrieking laughs and again…photos.
Once the ride resumed, it was quieter, the crazy bunch was tired and the mood turned serene when the sunset beckoned and you guessed right…photographs! At the end of the day the ride was rewarding, I never knew that 10 hours was enough time to get close to at least three crazy people.
Enough of that! the people were really the coolest thing…or things if I could call them, that because they were of a different species…a species commonly known as the fossa or foosa (more acurate phonetic spelling). I’m no scientist so I will get passed the biology real swift. The fossa is carnivorous cat like mammal unique to Madagascar and looks like a mongoose. The species had their big screen moment on the 2005 box office hit animation Madagascar in the foosa attack scene when they chase after Marty the zebra. As depicted in the movie, the fossa are the antagonist of Madagascan forest and a real menace to the lemurs, birds and lizards.
With that out of the way, here’s the important part. the advanced human form of the creature fusas (anglicised spelling) are not endemic to a particular geographic location but spread all over the world, as i have learnt .They are not carnivorous but do have a thing for showing their canines when they smile. they are loud, love to be spontaneous and are a menace to society as their predecessors .They are also crazy wild, fun loving risk takers who are bold yet not threatening. (Remind me to add this entry to Urban Dictionary)
Before leaving for Windhoek I was anxious about the next 10 days because I was leaving my beloved fusas behind but lo and behold, they are everywhere. In fact every single person at that media accountability course was a fusa, lecturers included. The crazy bunch made my 10 day adventure worthwhile cause I felt at home among friends, enjoying every moment without a care in the world.
And so there we were 14 free spirited, fun loving individuals from Tanzania Zambia, Namibia and Finland r
With so much prestige attached to being a student at the University of Zambia (UNZA) and with students priding themselves to be the cream of the nation, one would expect everything UNZA related to be well ordered and uniform but the truth is everyone is their own person.
UNZA like any other community has a spectrum of people each with their distinct set of behaviours, goals and priorities. Some of these differences exist even among members of a clique.
Perhaps one of is most evident or outright displays of variety among students is how students spending their meal allowance.
Every student on government bursary gets a sum of about K 2,000 every term and there are different ways this money is used by students. Also different and interesting are the stories of how students actually uses this allowance. From something as wild as spending it all in a brothel in one memorable weekend to something as mundane as saving the money for other uses.
With that being said, I decided to explore for myself and find out just how students use this payment meant to be spent on food stuffs in order to get themselves through a term full of twist and turns.
“I’m business minded so the first thing I try to do with the money is invest it so it can bring considerable returns”, Mukuka Chama said.
Chama, a third year student in the School of Education uses 50 percent of his meal allowance to phones. He explained that he has an uncle who owns an electronic device shop in the city centre and gets these gadgets at a reduced price, offering them to students at a slightly higher price in order to make a profit.
“I take my business seriously because its either I sink or swim for me so all transactions are cash based, no credit!” he said with a brash smile.
He pointed out that he uses the remainder of the money to buy food stuffs with his roommate and the rest is pocket money to be spent on alcohol or a meal at the mall right on campus.
Trade seems to be a popular way of spending this money, there all sorts of small time student businesses thriving on the UNZA great East road main campus including selling clothing, footwear , offering photocopying and printing services among others.
Martha Silavwe, a third year student in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences engages in miscellaneous business activities using her meal allowance. She is some sort of a jack of all trades selling synthetic hair, make up and jewellery and says she manages to make a good profit at the end of the day.
“I’m considerate of my clients’ situation as money is not easy to come by as a student and so I take my payments in instalments over a two or three month period”, she declared.
Silavwe described how she is in a partnership with her room-mate with whom she splits the returns halfway. She added that she and her friend order the products from abroad using the government provided payment and the trouble pays off as fellow students appreciate and are ready to pay for good quality.
Then there are those students who are not gifted with a business acumen or simply feel the immensity of responsibility and use the grant on basics like food and acquiring study materials.
Macdonald Mwale who is a first year student at the university said he thinks of nothing else but ensuring that he stocks up enough food stuffs for the term.
“I first buy enough beans and kapenta to last me the whole term”, Mwale said. “I then buy a variety of meat products from an affordable butchery.”
He further explained that a good part of the meal allowance goes to payment of the room he is renting as the school is a facing an accommodation crisis with thousands of students unaccommodated.
Even as stories are of students using the allowance visiting nightclubs and spending all their money on alcohol are rife, there are those who are noble enough to use their allowance to as help out their families at home.
“I don’t live on campus and this enables me to see the everyday struggles my guardians encounter to send me to school”, Kaiwala Kaiwala said. “I use the money to help out at wherever I can.”
Kaiwala, a second year student in the School of Natural Sciences observed that though friends spend the allowance on their personal needs, she never feels she is missing out on anything because showing appreciation to her parents for all their efforts is more fulfilling.
Despite having several different uses for the allowance, one thing that all students agree on is that the money is never adequate. This is because there has not been a proportional increase in the allowance whenever the value of the currency has plummeted.
“The current allowance given to students is K 2,000 a term and the last increment was in 2008 when the country’s economy was relatively doing better than today”, Kaiwala added.
Over the past few years, students have challenged government to consider increasing the amount to suit the current economic climate and to make for a more manageable stay on campus for students. And with each passing term these calls are increasingly growing louder.
I write not out of a sense of obligation or duty
Not for the art of poetry nor its beauty
I write for me, a little selfish I know
I write to soothe the real life hurts of my tested soul
To keep my brewing emotions still, I know y’all wonderful people
But it sounds so forced whenever you say you know how I feel
Trust me, you don’t
But then again, I might be wrong
I’m a squirrely character absorbed by this self-indulgent melancholy
And if you really think about it, it’s a plea for help tied with a bow of green folly
Long story, short version
One thing remains certain;
This time I need more than just a favour
I need God now more than ever