Thursday, 25 December 2014

CS, The Magician’s Nephew and I

Being true to form I chose this day, it being Chrimbo and all, to talk about something else. I’m sure you will find lots of proper Christmas posts on the true meaning of Christmas and do read those, a lot of them are great but I’m here to talk about something else after all this, my one reader, is my Journey in Cyprus. So Haway we go, not a typo.

The cover that I saw. I hope to remember that feeling for years to come

C S Lewis is my favourite author, almost of all time, I think the man is brilliant. An unparalleled genius. His books have a way of painting images that take you to a time and place, his ability to paint metaphors in both broad and delicate strokes is borderline brilliant. To say the least I am a fan. I discovered C S Lewis in January of 2008. We were on a vacation in Cape Town as a family and on one of the days my Dad decided to mix business with pleasure, he went to a bookshop to get books for his studies, he recently got his PHD so I think such missions are behind him. So we reach the bookshop and for the life of me I can’t figure out why at that time it was just me and him. No idea where everyone else was.

As he was speaking to the guy at the counter, it could have been a female but lets work with the generic word ‘guy’, I begun to snoop around the shop. The shop was a dream for any bookworm, and I am quite the book worm. Imagine one of them shops that has shelves stacked and tables intermingled with a sofa or two, a couple tables and some wooden chairs. The shelves had books, the tables had books and the wooden chairs had books and there was one book that just caught my eye. It was a thick black paperback with a Lion on the cover. Just the face of a Lion, mane and all. I remember thinking how good the cover was because the Lion was just magnificent, little did I know the Lion was Aslan, we’ll get to him soon enough.

I read the cover and it said ‘The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis’. I had heard of the book but never read it so I asked my Dad if he could buy it for me. The book was cheap if memory serves me right, it was a real bargain. The moment he bought it I tore into that bad boy and I’ve never looked back. Before I get to the actual review of ‘The Magician’s Nephew’, which is the reason you my one reader are here, one more little memory. Before we set off for the trip Dad had come from one of his preaching trips and came back with MP3 players from one of the families at a church he preached at. We all got one and I remember putting Michael Card’s Joy in the Journey Album, which is an absolute gem. As I read the book I kept playing two songs over and over and over. They were ‘God’s Own Fool’ and ‘The Final Word’. To date those songs always take me back to that trip, when I would have the book in my lap, my brother and sister next to me in the car and my parents in front of the car driving around Cape Town.

Down to the book. The Magician’s Nephew is the first book in the series called ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’. It is the beginning of Narnia for all intents and Purposes. I will not break down the story because only C S can really do that but I will give you the parts that got me good. The book has an element of Creation and the Fall of man in it. The character that sprung this whole little piece is a boy called Digory. And Digory is me. The decisions that he makes the things he says, it reminds me so much of me. The book brought me to the painful realisation that if I were in the place of Adam on the fateful day that sin entered the world I too might have acted in the same way.

If you were to buy the book on it's own this would be the cover or something like it

Before I get to a couple quotes and standouts there is one more thing about Digory that makes me feel so much attachment to the character and this is Digory’s need to atone for his sin through his own actions. I get that so much because I try to do it over and over and over in my own life. I try to add to my redemption because of some vain sense of duty where I want to help out God because I know I have let him down so much. Aslan, who is the God character in the book also the Lion, clears that up with Digory in a way that is so clear and amazing I wont even try to bring it out myself, Just find the book and read it, it is an absolute gem!

Down to the quotes. I will do two and break them down slightly. The first happens when Uncle Andrew shows up in Narnia and hears the animals speak. He could not comprehend how or why the animals were capable of speech and kept denying it to himself. Here is the quote

“When the great moment came and the Beasts spoke, he missed the whole point; for a rather interesting reason. When the Lion had first begun singing, long ago when it was still quite dark, he had realized that the noise was a song. And he had disliked the song very much. It made him think and feel things he did not want to
think and feel. Then, when the sun rose and he saw that the singer was a lion ("only a lion," as he said to himself) he tried his hardest to make believe that it wasn't singing and never had been singing—only roaring as any lion might in a zoo in our own world. "Of course it can't really have been singing," he thought, "I must have imagined it. I've been letting my nerves get out of order. Who ever The Chronicles of Narnia 1 - The Magicians Nephew heard of a lion singing?" And the longer and more beautiful the Lion sang, the harder Uncle Andrew tried to make himself believe that he could hear nothing but roaring. Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed. Uncle Andrew did. He soon did hear nothing but roaring in Aslan's song. Soon he couldn't have heard anything else even if he had wanted to. And when at last the Lion spoke and said, "Narnia awake," he didn't hear any words: he heard only a snarl. And when the Beasts spoke in answer, he heard only barkings, growlings, bayings, and howlings. And when they laughed— well, you can imagine. That was worse for Uncle Andrew than anything that had happened yet. Such a horrid, bloodthirsty din of hungry and angry brutes he had never heard in his life. Then, to his utter rage and horror, he saw the other three humans actually walking out into the open to meet the animals.”

The idea that one can go so far in convincing himself of what he doesn’t believe that he soon forgets the process of convincing himself and just moves to full fledge disbelief. We see that so much in this day and age it’s RIDICULOUS. C S shows all of this in his little way. It’s great

The last quote comes towards the end of the book. This is a conversation between Aslan and the two main characters Polly and Digory. Without further ado

"Oh I see," said Polly. "And I suppose because she took it in the wrong way it won't work for her. I mean it won't make her always young and all that?" "Alas," said Aslan, shaking his head. "It will. Things always work according to their nature. She has won her heart's desire; she has unwearying strength and endless days like a goddess. But length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery and already she begins to know it. All get what they want; they do not always like it." "I—I nearly ate one myself, Aslan," said Digory. "Would I—" "You would, child," said Aslan. "For the fruit always works—it must work—but it does not work happily for any who pluck it at their own will. If any Narnian, unbidden, had stolen an apple and planted it here to protect Narnia, it would have protected Narnia. But it would have done so by making Narnia into another strong and cruel empire like Charn, not the kindly land I mean it to be.

Seriously! Wow!! A lot of people will try to tell you that the promises this world and the devil give will happen. Uh.. They might. Problem is even if they do the end product is not what you want it to be. It will never be the peace, joy and fulfilment that you so long have sought. I won’t waste anymore of your time my one reader, JUST GO READ THE BOOK!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Britney Spears vs Ruslan

I was bored recently, it is imperative that you remember that first part, so I clicked a couple Britney Spears videos on YouTube. The old stuff not the new stuff, I’m not a big fan of either I just find the new stuff more annoying, sue me. Three videos in I stumbled across the video for “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman”. I remembered the song from a movie that I have long since forgotten but in the process of trying to remember the movie I heard the lyrics. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!! That was the guy in my head shouting by the way and boy was he right. The song is a justification for bad decisions.

Yeah... That was my reaction too

Across the three songs that I heard, the last one was the last straw, I have since moved on. But as I was saying across the three songs I heard I realised that Britney Spears would write her songs to express her actual feelings. Which in a sense I applaud because it brings about less generic music but my goodness the wrong thinking behind it is immense. I know some people are all about the whole “it’s her opinion, and she is right to her”. NO! Contrary to popular belief there is such a thing as right and wrong, opinion or otherwise but this is not me bashing Britney, she probably does that herself, this is about two songs and their meanings.

Enter Ruslan. Ruslan is an artist I found while I was still in Zambia, admittedly I was late to the parade as most of my friends had already heard him and appreciated him by then. He is an artist of Azerbaijan origin, which is quite boss because I have a friend over here from Azerbaijan and he is a solid chap. Anyway in his 'Carry On' album there is a song called “Victim of adolescence”. This song is the polar opposite of the Britney Spears song “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman”. I will leave links to the music in here somewhere for those who wish to indulge themselves but I highly recommend you listen to the Ruslan song, it’s a REALLY good song.

In Ruslan’s song he explains how in the view of most people these days there are three stages of the growth of a man. Boy, Adolescent and then Man. He doesn’t agree and neither do I. The idea is that during the adolescent stage a person is allowed to behave like a child(boy) even though physically they should be considered grown(man). He explains how this is a line of thinking that is propagated by the world and subconsciously most of us have come to think of it as normal. He has this line that I must mention “It’s been a minute, I’m ashamed to admit it, not only did I buy into that lie I also lived it, victim of adolescence”. I hear a hammer hit a nail almost every time I hear that.

Had to squeeze in a boys who shave reference

In comparison in Britney Spears’ song she keeps making justifications for her actions whatever they may be based on her not being a woman. I’m not grown so I can make all the mistakes I want BUT you can’t keep bringing your ideology and expecting me to go by it because I am not a girl either. I am free to make all the mistakes I want, behaving like a child, continuous life of play and it’s perfectly justified because I am in the middle stage between girl and woman. WOW! Just Wow!

In my understanding, and heads up I’m on Ruslan’s side if you didn’t already know, I get my understanding of the development growth wise from the bible. One of the main parts that I like a lot in reference to this is the famous 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter. ‘When I was a child I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child. When I became a man I did away with childish things’.  That right there is the bible and it’s dead clear. Granted there are others but this one always got me so I will talk about it.

This one bugged me for ages, still does because it is one of the many things that shows me the sin in me. The times I have looked at my conduct and realised that my actions resembled the child in me than the man God wants me to be it hurts. It is easy to give the excuse that I’m not yet grown so I can behave like a child, thinking life is a constant pursuit of play but it’s not, for the man it was not supposed to be. Play is a part but not the whole, heck it’s not even the largest or the most important part. Yet at times I have found myself so keen to make it the largest part.

In truth the fight between these two songs, the fight between Britney and Ruslan is one that happens in my head. No idea if it happens in anyone else’s but in mine it is a constant one and I think I will struggle with this till my dying day. The fight to choose the responsibility of the man over the pleasure of the boy. The struggle continues and thankfully both God and I are on Ruslan’s side

Monday, 8 December 2014

Killed By Their Dreams


I was reading Joseph’s story, you know the one in the bible, the guy who was his father’s favorite and got sold by his brothers for being a dreamer and a tattle tale, yeah that guy. It’s a bit unfair to call it a story because the idea of a story is something that did not happen when this one actually did, let’s call it a narrative. So as I was reading the narrative of Joseph I came to the part where he is in prison falsely accused of sleeping with Potiphar’s wife. Anyhoo so Joseph is in prison falsely accused and soon finds favor in the eyes of the chief jailer and is given a role in the prison. It was though this role that he meets the two guys who this is all about.
The baker is almost always bald in pictures, this has always puzzled me

Enter Pharaoh’s Chief Baker and Cup Bearer, I’d like to call the first guy the Baker in Chief, it sounds a little more promising. These guys had pretty good jobs, one of them had a pretty sweet gig in my opinion, the cup bearer. He would go everywhere with the Pharaoh and make sure Pharaoh had a cup in his hand when he got parched, turns out it was a pretty high risk job because the guy was in prison as a result of the job. So both of these guys get the sack around the same period of time and probably stuck together because of their similar backgrounds. They probably stood out like sore thumbs among the general population.

So Joseph would probably meet up with them while doing his rounds and this one time he is walking passed and they are more sulky than usual, he asks what’s wrong, him being the helpful guy that he was and they open fourth like a fountain of words about their dreams. He helps them out with his interpretation, strictly speaking it was God’s, and they eventually come to pass, as all of God’s degrees do. The reason you my one reader are here is the ‘why’ of it all.

As you may know the narrative the Baker was killed and the cup bearer was restored. Logically speaking this is a stupid move. You kill of the guy who is more skilled, probably has more traction with the people in his field and has the more useful task, after all bread and all baked goods should be more essential than wine and even more than a guy whose very job is to hold a glass before it is taken from him. The baker was more useful than the cup bearer.
Which ever way you think about it, food trumps wine

These two guys had sucky lives after their demotion to prison. Serving a Pharaoh who sounds bipolar to me must not have been a walk in the park. The man would hire, fire, kill or pardon at a whim. So whereas their lives at this point sucked there was hope, small, but there was hope. Then came the dreams. I’m sure they struggled to think of the dream as a mere dream or something that should be taken seriously. I can personally imagine them meeting each other on the day post having the dreams and both would be absent minded, Around noon they would discover that the other guy was not looking spry either at which point they would spend the rest of the day denying anything was wrong. Only to confess the real deal to the other guy the next day. I figure the baker caved first, he strikes me as the softy.

Now each would have not just his own sucky dream to figure out but his friend’s too. SO when Joseph walked in with his solution things must have looked up a bit. Things changed very fast after Joseph told them the meaning of their dreams. You can imagine how tricky it was for the cup bearer, hoping that the prediction was true yet trying to convince his friend it was not. It must have been a weird wait. Come the day Joseph’s interpretation proved to be right. One was exalted and the other was demoted. Where am I getting with this? Well I’m glad you asked.

God’s choosing of who and what he wills is not based off of the human view of what is important. It is based off of what he wills, period. And what he wills always comes to pass. We all have our hopes and dreams and the world encourages us to dream “shoot for the stars”, they say. “Nothing can hold you back” uh…. Wrong. God owns and controls it all. Dream as you might there is a serious flaw in all you plan on doing if you do not make him paramount because at the end of the day he is paramount. It is he who says to this happen and it does or to the other do not happen and it does not, whether we think something is to our good and benefit or not.
Uhhhh... WRONG! Completely wrong!

It is the way of the sinful nature to have you think that you are the main determining factor in the way of your life but everything in the world is telling you contrary. You cannot change time, make it move fast or slow. You cant even determine all that you will do with your time, no one is that free, a lot of your movements are determined for you by people who have their moves determined for them. The student has his movement determined by the lecturers, who have their movement determined by some sort of chancellor, who has his movement determined by an owner of the institution, who have their moves determined by a government who have their moves determined by the people. It’s an endless cycle of a lack of power and control.

The illusion of control is sold at every corner by the world yet disproved by the world itself. God on the other hand is the determining factor of all. Knowing that God controls it all is only step one unfortunately. The main step is submitting to this and living with this, in the words of the song ‘At The Foot of The Cross’, forever in your view.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

When Liverpool Lose

Another weekend that has gone south. I woke up in good spirits like usual on a weekend. Weather was great, I woke up early enough, had a nice sesh with me morning devotion and even snuck in a good hour with The Magician’s Nephew by C S Lewis, great book, I will be doing a review when I’m done with it. All was looking good, I even forgot Liverpool were playing till my phone gave me the courtesy beep that signals thirty minutes till a Liverpool match starts. Like the football addict I am I soon begin searching for a stream to watch it online, the channels over here are pointless, almost like ZNBC back home, they are oblivious to football matches or anything good.

Great book by an even better author

I find a stream that was pretty good just in time to catch the last bit of You’ll Never Walk Alone, Liverpool’s anthem. The squad line up was shown and I was pretty psyched, we had just won our last two matches and I was going to watch Coutinho, Lallana and Sterling in the same line up, what could go wrong? Stupid question Mwansa, stupid question. First thing to go wrong was the internet went off so the stream goes right out the window, laptop almost followed it but I had a bit more control.

I started flicking through all the channels on the TV in a vain attempt to find any possibility of watching the match. 152 channels of nothing! Absolutely nothing! So I was left with my last option, follow the match via twitter. I spent just over an hour flicking down to refresh the app every minute or so. Any small movement by my annoying roommate had me up against a wall ready to rip him to shreds, all because of a footy match. I was hoping for anything, any sign of life, any bit of hope to tell me the team was doing well and would win. Nothing came.

I did that for an hour then someone came to distract me for the last ten minutes of the game, thank God. As I was helping him out my phone gave me the dreaded whistle, full time had come and the score was nil-nil. What a let-down, the lads had failed to win again. I was beaten broken ready to throw away another weekend in sulking just because the team had lost. After the guy I was helping left I remained alone with my thoughts and my roommate who was doing his best rendition of The Annoying Roommate, Oscar winning performance by the way, when I realised that things need to change.

The annoying scoreline that has haunted me today

In actual fact I have had this thought almost every weekend that Liverpool have had a bad result which in retrospect is every other weekend but this time the subject was different. Before I was thinking along the lines of things need to change at Liverpool. Tighten up the defence or improve the attack or bench this player and bring this guy on but the problem was not Liverpool, the problem was me, the problem is me. I had placed Liverpool into the be all that ends all of my weekend, a position it was never supposed to occupy.

The truth is I am an addict. Anyone who knows me might be quick to say I’m addicted to coca cola and maybe I am but the addiction here is football. Football is my addiction and my laptop is the altar on which I worship, I realised that in full colour today. I have put so much of my satisfaction on the success and failure of not just Liverpool matches but football in general. I spend a lot of time watching it, I know stuff about it that is borderline ridiculous at times. I am usually able to tell what boot manufacturer players get their footwear from and not even the high profile ones, I’m talking mid to lower table. I follow U21 and U18 football and watch matches, all bragging aside this is a problem and I cant ignore it any longer.

In the words of Jefferson Bethke if you cant put it down you don’t own it, it owns you. This might be true of me ad football and I am going to find out. Most of the things I put on here are problems I have already solved, well this is a new kind. It is an issue that needs solving. I need a break from football before I put it so high that I cannot bring it down without an earth shattering system overhaul. We’ll see how things go in the next couple weeks.

If you can't give it up you don't own it, it owns you
- Jefferson Bethke

Lastly it is possible that all of this is a reaction to my team not doing well. I could be the wolf in failing to get the grapes that are high up and walking away calling them sour, no idea why a wolf would want grapes but it’s an actual metaphor. This could be a decision sparked by that but the reason I think it is more is because I see the need to wean myself off of all football ad not just Liverpool’s. We’ll see how things go but of this I am certain, the only thing I want to have such a strong hold over me is that which already has it’s hold over me, my loving service to my God.

I might be shivering from withdrawal in a couple days or weeks’ time but hey, it’s the road to recovery

Friday, 5 December 2014

What I want

At many stages of my life I have thought to myself ‘what do I want in life?’ This is one of those questions that is rarely answered well because the answer changes a little too often. At one point in my life all I wanted was to build Voltron, that is a Japanese cartoon that was popular when I was growing up. I would imagine going into the “dump”, and I use that word loosely, behind our home back then and finding pieces of metal and wood and using my father’s tools making the enormous robot. I would start with the foot at the side of the house, come back from school the next day and keep working on it till it was done. And that was my dream, I wanted to build Voltron. As I grew up the dream changed, the dream changed…

That's Voltron, a couple lego parts would have made the dream a little easier

At different times of my life it has been different things. To be a sportsman, to be my Dad, to live a life of quite isolation and seclusion with books, to live with my friends each growing and helping each other along. But all these dreams are fleeting and they change so often. At the end of the day it is a quest for happiness, one that has us looking to the future for an ideal scenario that has us happy. Our vision of the future is just that, it is a painting of what a happy future looks like. For a while recently it was me as an Architect, coming home to a wife and six kids, three my own and three adopted. Funny enough that is almost my Dad.

But the reality that always hits me and I bet it hits you too is that the picture changes because the level of happiness that we want is not found here. It is not found in life, and no this is not a mass suicide piece. The truth is the one thing that supersedes happiness is peace. You see the reason why we are always looking for that new dream and scrapping the old one, chasing after that new high is not just for the happiness factor but it’s because of the restlessness that is in us. That thing in us that keeps telling us that this is it.

Restlessness is what keeps us searching after a new high. Whatever that high maybe to each one of us. Restlessness is what keeps us flicking through channel after channel on TV looking for something because the previous show was not enough. Restlessness is that thing that has us wake up the day after our sports team wins it all think ‘okay, what’s next?’ It’s all that but it’s even more. Restlessness is the cause of our woe and laziness. It is our supposed lack of ambition in many parts of life because we try to fight off that restlessness inside us but even that doesn’t work because it drives us into other avenues to scratch the itch.

The annoying feeling no one can shake

I know that itch very well. I know it from the times I have been in the zone with my work, ready to do the best work I have ever done. Gone all day and all night getting that one idea properly represented on paper, listening to the right music and thinking the right thoughts, hand moving in perfect harmony with my brain, body moving with the grace of a ballerina to the sweetest of orchestra music and yet after the work is complete I feel the itch, ever there.. Ever there…

The good news is that I have known peace. It is a very good feeling I tell you, not just the feeling of happiness but peace. I remember the first time it hit me was late August 2004. It was one of those days when under normal circumstances I would have been running to the TV for my next batch of entertainment, it was a Sunday you see and like all football fans know, Sunday night means football. But this time my interest was more on what I had heard at church that day and I enjoyed thinking it over, I remember going back to my room and having one of those conversations with my brother that usually result in the arguments of two highly opinionated young lads with the genes of Conrad and Felistas Mbewe but this time, I saw no need to go down that road. The argument would not scratch the itch because, there was no itch.

That was not my exact thought word for word, well thought wise anyway but you get the picture but that was it. I remember going to see my Dad and interrupting a conversation between him and my mum and we stepped into his study and I told him “Dad I think I have become a Christian”. I remember that because the words just came out, I had not planned it on the way there but there it was. He asked me why and I gave him the full version of events that happened before. I’m pretty sure I did a whole blog about that so I wont go into that now. He told me to pray and think over it over the next coming days and we would talk about it again.
Granted you are not likely to find me in that position at for my quite time
but I do like the idea of that prayer every morning

I remember that time because that was the first time I noticed the change in my life. Now I am not saying that my itch is gone completely in that there is still that desire in me to search for peace elsewhere but now I know not just where the peace is found but that the peace found me. I know where to go for that joy and comfort. I know that none can satisfy like he can. Not my career to be, not books that I enjoy to read, video games that I enjoy playing, friends I enjoy hanging around or even the woman who I might marry. The source of my peace is there with God and l need to make all my efforts in life have meaning is in him.

What I want is that peace to continue with me, what I want is to never forget that peace. What I want is to return to that moment again and again and again. What I want is to echo with David, ‘Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation and renew a right spirit with me’. What I want is that.. simply that

Monday, 10 November 2014

Fine, n u?

This will get me in trouble with quite a few people and to a large extent I am fine with this. I really despise the modern texting trait/fashion. I don’t hate communicating, not that I am very good at it but I definitely do not hate it. What I do hate is this idea that texting promotes whereby what should be common language skills as well as the sharing of everyday life is tossed aside in exchange for highlights of life, whether fake or real, and really poor conversation skills in a none relationship pursuit context. It is literally moving backwards. Let me break this down

Yet we insist on continuing with the lie

The generic “Hi/Hey” I can buy, after all it is simply hello. I can even buy the variations of “How are you” but the whole “Fine n u” bit, I’m just not having that. No one is fine all the time and even if you are. How is that of any benefit to the conversation? If something happened in a day that has caused some change in your day or outlook on life that is what to talk about. This whole “Fine n u” business comes from the idea that you need to give highlights of life only. The kinds of stories that will fill the other person with a proper view of you but that’s not life. Life and living is made up of the little bits and pieces that turn us into who we are, those little bits and pieces are what form conversation.

Another thing I can stand is the “and you” response to everything. You know what I mean, everything turns into a reverse question, almost boomerang like. “How are you? Fine, and you? Fine. How was your day? Good, and you?” What kind of a conversation is that? Imagine that conversation face to face with someone? That is a suicide inducing face to face conversation. What kind of a world is this turning into whereby people cannot think further than to fire back the same question. Believe it or not conversation is a two way thing. It is a giving and receiving of information. It is taking a deliberate move to find out what is going on in another person’s life and people share when you share, not when you keep firing back annoying “and you’s”

I also despise the myth of a boring life. This is a very common line these days, “I have nothing to say, my life is boring”. Life is not the number of times you have been atop Mt. Kilimanjaro or the moments you were at the beach or the times you were out with friends, life is that and so much more, It is the moments in between. It is the way you felt when you woke up and the weather was not too promising, it is the joke you enjoyed with your sibling in the morning, it is the nagging of a sister who spends hours in the bathroom. It is the book you have read and why it is fascinating or not so fascinating, it is how you felt about the goings on in the world, IT IS ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING TO YOU AND WITH YOU. Limiting yourself to the highlights is showing other people a lie about yourself, why do that to yourself?
Uhhhh... No it's not. Life is everything all together, the highs and the lows

I have touched a little on this but another thing is the expectance of information when you offer none. This is not a magazine interview and you are not an award winning journalist. Why should one open up to you about anything if you can open up about anything? Do you not see the fault in that logic? You expect answers constantly yet you give none. You can also never get a full picture of someone till you understand the little bits that form the whole.

I think there is a certain self-centred-ness associated with texting that has more to do with what you want than the person on the other end. “I’m asking the questions and you are not giving answers so you are boring”, when in actual fact you have a lot to do with the lack of info coming from the other end. I too have been and occasionally am guilty of such but the conscious decision has to be made to avoid such mannerisms. Such pointless conversation lines that knaw at the very fabric of what is and should be proper conversation must be put to death. Its lazy conversation, because it’s lazy it’s easy and because it is easy it takes serious conscious decision to stop it.
But thats just me.. what do I know

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Hi, My Name Is Cain

This morning on the way to Church I begun to mentally do the math as to how much to put in the offering bag. I’m not going to tell you how much I came up with, that would be awkward. A bit of a history behind that is that I tend to divide the amount of money I will put into the offering each month by the number of Sundays then put in the required amount each Sunday, I just feel better that way. So as I did the math it dawned on me that doing that was easy, the idea of me giving my tithes and offerings was easy and this really bothered. This here is me explaining why

I'm not an addict but there is some relevance

So I tend to think of myself as a pretty simple guy. I’m not big on new clothes, new gadgets or even going out much, I make two or three calls a week and I barely text, my sister is not too big a fan of that last one. The main things I spend my money on are two things; school and coca cola. I AM NOT ADDICTED TO COKE! I just like it a lot. This means I occasionally have a little money on the side which I might use every couple months to entertain me. The thing is because I don’t buy much the idea of me putting money into the offering is not sacrifice and that is where I draw my comparison with Cain. But allow me to elaborate more

You see Cain was the first born son of the first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve. He was a farmer by trade, one would imagine him toting Tomatoes and onions to his mother at the end of the working day so she could whip up something nice for them. I also Imagine Cain was pretty good at his Job, there is nothing to support that but I just don’t buy into the idea that Cain was this lazy guy who brought poor veggies to God as his offering, No. I also do not think that God was displeased with Cain because he brought veggies instead of a lamb like his brother did. God expects us to give him the best of what we have because he gave us all we have. It’s only right to do so.

Ever the bad guy in the pictures, all because you cant burn veggies right??

I think Cain’s problem lay in his poor priorities. In my minds eye, that is my imagination, I figure Cain saved his best food for his meal and brought his second best produce to God. I also don’t think he gave God the scraps, that has to be mentioned. I think his priorities where wrong, maybe he was even na├»ve enough to think God would not know or care that he gave him what was of secondary importance to him

Bringing it back to me, I have been content with giving God my money every couple Sundays and thinking that is fine when in actual fact I have been guilty of the sin of Cain. My money is the secondary thing of importance in my life, to some it might be the first but I know for a fact that to me it is the second most important thing. The most important thing to me is my time. I might squander it here and there but that is the one thing that I have held dear to me and kept in an isolated chamber, giving God some but not his due share. I have been going to God and giving him my secondary produce and whether it be knowingly or unknowingly it is still not giving God what he deserves.


I am Cain in that I give God what is of secondary importance to me and not what rightly belongs to him of what is of primary importance. I am Cain because I think what I am giving is fine and do not think of looking any further into it to find out if what I am doing is right or wrong. I am Cain because I am also prone to jealousy when a brother at the next table is growing in faith and I seem stagnant, not caring to look at what he is doing right and I’m doing wrong but just judging and hating. I am Cain because when push comes to shove it is easier to turn my back on God an grumble than fall on my knees and repent

I am Cain but I am not Cain. I am not Cain because I still have the chance to turn this around. I am not Cain because I have seen the error of my ways and though I may fall time and time again I can begin to work on this with God’s grace. And more importantly I am not Cain because there is hope for me yet, alas there is hope for me yet.

Hello my name is Cain but my name is also Mwansa

Monday, 20 October 2014

The Classics

Old is gold. It’s a phrase I heard for a long time by many people but never really appreciated or understood. I spent most of my life trying to defy it till one day I woke up and it looked me point blank in the face, old is gold. This isn’t just because gold is old though I’m sure it is, the meaning goes deeper than this. Allow me to give you, my one reader, my view on “Old is gold”.

My need to write about this started around 5 43pm today, I know because I  looked at my phone checking for the time around that time but that is not the place to start a good story so I will begin with my afternoon class. The class was some Landscaping class and I was not ready for it, sorry mum if you stumble across this but it happened. Anyhoo, we were supposed to show the lecturers our Site Analysis’, it was a group project, but thanks to poor time management we had the pieces but no cake. So the job started, to get cake together, we managed to do so and using my “gift of the gab” we made it across the finish line just fine. Then the lecs, short for lecturers, asked us to begin work on our concepts.

I pulled out my little sketch book and started to draw, this was after my afternoon coke, but realised I had nothing on me mind. So I picked up me phone and googled “outdoor recreational spaces” I came across this picture of a park that was simple but it took me. I did my math, adding my analysis of the site and the picture I saw and my mind saw the idea, I just had to run with it. The image was clear, I could see the place, see the people using the place. I could see it at 4pm with the school kids walking home through it, the young mothers looking out on it from their balconies while their babies fell asleep in their arms, I could see the old guys having a smoke playing backgammon in it. I could see a young couple on a picnic blanket enjoying the moment. I saw it, I smelt it and I felt it. And I sketched.

My sketching was ended with the lecturers inviting us to the official opening of the Faculty of Fine Arts in the main Amfi Theatre on Campus. It was actually under duress because the attendance could only be signed after the event, I wasn’t even mad, I got to kill two birds with one stone. We went in, they had the usual speeches, I won’t bore you with the details and then there was a music session. That was the time I looked at me phone, I thought the launch had begun to end too soon. I soon forgot all about that as two ladies stepped up, one on the Piano and one on the violin. They were Turkish ladies, both lecturers but from a different University. They had their degrees in music which I thought fascinating but I was even more impressed when they played. They took me to a time and place, it was a transcendent experience.

That's where the took me, A time and place

All else faded away, the noise of the room. The guys doodling on small pieces of paper at my side. My body aching from all the sitting I had done. The bag by my leg that would not stay still. All was forgotten as I was immersed, carried by the music. It was music by George Frederick Handel, commonly known as the celebrated Saxon. The levels of mastery involved in the playing of the piece on both their parts. The movement and grace that they showed, the poise, the accents and the rests; it was picturesque. As they played I thought of my little sketches and in that moment I knew what I wanted to design. I wanted to design that. That space, that time, that moment.

Old is gold. Modern art forms of all kinds are great and their evolution mind blowing on so many levels but there is a lot and I mean a lot of beauty that can be seen from the root of it. Old is gold implies the value of that which has seen its time. As a young person I have grown up seeing techniques and styles and have grown accustomed to doing things a certain way because of technology etc. but old stuff makes you appreciate how people achieved so much with so little. Especially in art. How words thought and feeling can be transmitted through an art form that had yet to realise as much of what it was doing as can. We are studying now to appreciate and learn to use what came before because the achievements of those that came before are just great.

It all comes down to that

Old is gold speaks of us learning from a bygone time and period lessons that can be applied today in every aspect and not just the arts but I will give an example of the arts, cos that’s what I do. A lot of design in the minds of my contemporaries starts and ends digital but the ability to represent what you think and feel at a moment’s notice on paper with pencil/pen/marker cannot be matched. That form of “thinking on paper” is really old but its relevance stays true and once you begin to use it and see the depths of it, you see that old is gold.

Old is gold speaks of the value of age, not in that old is better than new. I don’t think it means that in the least. I think old is gold speaks of remembering the old and learning from it, cherishing it. So much can be taken from the old, so many lessons that are relevant today whether in part or as a whole. Whether directly or improved on. But even more Old is gold puts pressure on me, that when the time comes for people to look back on my time, they too may see it and say “You know what man, old is gold.”

Sunday, 19 October 2014

“Bring back our girls”, A letter to the other guys

About five months a group of three hundred girls were kidnapped from their school in Nigeria by a terrorist group called Boko Haram, if you haven’t heard of them by now you must either be totally immersed in all things Syria/Iraq or living under a rock. I didn’t hear about the kidnapping for a day or two myself as my interest in the news is like the tide on a sandy beach, with it being absent more than it is present. I heard of it for the first time through twitter, a Nigerian friend of mine had tweeted a number of things with the now famous Hash Tag #BringBackOurGirls. I initially let it slide but after five of these my curiosity gave way and I finally checked what the hype was all about. Now I am usually anti hype and try to stay away from all things hype, a friend refers to my tendency to do this as me being an old soul. When I saw the news I was appalled. It annoyed me to no end as it did millions around the world, to good effect too.

Now with all things that gain hype, after a couple days there was some backlash from people criticising the use but more the abuse of the Hash Tag. The main concern was that there were a lot of attention seeking people who latched onto the Hash Tag but had no real love or interest in the things happening on the ground. I was not one of the people who used the Hash Tag a lot in my Tweets but I regularly checked it to get news on what was going on on the ground. I have to admit that I was one of those who was against the attention seeking users of the Hash Tag, I was especially against those who used it as a joke. All this has been a disorganised back drop to what I actually want to address.

So a day or two ago I came across a conversation on Facebook concerning the disappearance of the Hash Tag and a guy kicked in criticising the use of the Hash Tag and these where his reasons. One, that Boko Haram are not on Twitter and so they would not see the Hash Tag Trending and think to themselves “Man, people are really getting behind this, let’s take these kids back”, my words not his exactly. And two, that the people who were using it were only in it for face time and an opportunity to make relevant their otherwise boring existence, once again my words not his. Now I am sure you have come across these arguments before. I think they are flawed and should be binned the moment they rear their ugly heads.

One of the first responses to the anti Hash Tag movement

First and foremost I would like to say that the idea behind these arguments is not completely wrong in that there are people who are attention seekers and latching onto the movement to get themselves face time. But my problem lies in a self-righteous standing back and putting asunder all the good work that is being done. There are people like me who knew about the kidnapped girls through the use of the #BringBackOurGirls Hash Tag and it was a source of information in a lot of regards as to who the culprits were, where they came from, and their reasons for the kidnapping etc. The gathering of information on such an important matter affecting our fellow men is in no way a bad thing.

A lot of aid was made available through the awareness brought about by the Hash Tag. I can imagine some level of comfort as well for the families that were in crisis that there was some level of support from the outside world and they are not alone. The purpose of people coming to comfort you in a funeral setup, especially on the African continent is not because people know the right thing to say to make it all better but the very presence of people either in person or through some form of communication makes the bereaved feel less alone. There is some nonsense that came from the use of the Hash Tag but there is a baby in the bath water and we best not throw the baby out with the bath water.

Critics and self professed professionals risk throwing out the good with the bad

But this issue does not just end with Boko Haram and the Kidnapped girls. It is easy to sit back and criticise the efforts of people and speak of how their plans will not work. People who do that are called scoffers by the Bible, David in Psalm 1 goes as far as describing scoffing as an action performed whilst seated. Scoffing at a problem and the attempts of people happens when you your self are doing nothing and that is a common trait amongst humans, I am guilty of it a lot and so could the one other person who is reading the rants of this moron named Mwansa. But if we can see a problem why not go as far as solving the problem or helping to solve it, bring something more to the table than just pointless complaints about people’s inadequacy.

I wrote something about this before and the fire and passion for it still grows strong in me for it. The need for people to bring something more to the table than complaints and grumbles. I see bigger, I see better, I see a world in which the use of #BringBackOurGirls by men like Erasmus Mweene does not allow us to forget what is still a major problem for our Nigerian counterparts. And now with news of the potential release of the girls, as much as I hope the Hash Tag may never be used again in that there should be no more kidnapping, whether mass or otherwise, I do hope that causes like it can unite people around a cause bigger than themselves for the good of people other than themselves. I see a future, a bright one, sue me

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The National Anthem: Beat my chest bang my drum and shout from the rooftop

This one has been the one that has given me the most thought of the final three. I knew what “today in parliament would be” and I had a basic construct of “the epilogue” but the national anthem, that one has troubled. I figured it out after waking up from the nap that I just woke up from, in short I figured it out five minutes ago. If you want to split hairs you can say this is improvising on my part but it really isn’t.
For those of you intent on splitting hairs
So yesterday I had a conversation with a guy who ridiculed my blogging, not the first and won’t be the last. People have a funny impression of bloggers and a lot of the misconceptions come from those who pay too much attention to shows like gossip girl. This is a theory, because I have not watched gossip girl, granted in a moment of weakness I actually thought about it, what can I say I was bored. Anyway the main point of the conversation was why do you blog. I’m not someone who people want to sit down and read his every thought like my father. And I’m not a thirteen year old girl talking about celebrity gossip. So why do you blog?

I’m quite the charismatic thinker, so the moment I thought of this I immediately pictured myself standing on a rooftop in some African warrior attire, with the Rambo polish under my eyes, can’t leave that out, beating my chest and banging my drum simultaneously telling the world why I write. It’s not a poem, it’s not a song. Its words, it’s my National anthem
I would be the guy in front, just of a negroid persuasion
I write because I can, I write because I should. It helps keep me in check because I frequently put my thoughts down somewhere, not just on the blog. I keep track of who I was and what I want to be through what I write and what I wrote. I write to tell everyone what is important to me, I write to tell them in my own weird way how much of a mess it is in my head and yet I am willing to use my hopelessness for Gods cause and he is more than willing to take my poor something and turn into something more.

I write not for the fame or the prestige, in all likelihood I will not get it. I write not to have my name exalted or thought of more. I write not to look like a deep thinker because I’m not, I’m actually quite stupid. I make the same mistakes over and over and over again and yet because God keeps picking me up I can’t help but tell someone something. I write not to speak of me, I write to speak of him through me. If all you see in what I write is me then I have messed up, really messed up. I write because unlike words that fade away these remain in the collective, stagnant, waiting to be used for me or against me. These words that remain up there long after my voice has faded in sleep, silence or death will be there to remind me of who I am and who I was.

I write because to some extent I am driven by my passion. I try not to let it control me but every once in a while it does. My passion for my God and my passion for my country. My passion that leads me to write about what’s wrong and what’s right. Leads me to write about how people conclude too fast or sometimes think too little. All this is my opinion but I write because I have a message for the collective that I want them to know and me sitting in my quiet corner of the world does nothing for that. I could watch the world rot and scoff or I can do what I can, I can write.

I write because this is my journey, my journal of my Journey in Cyprus. I write because I figure this is not the end but merely a chapter of my life. I write because I want to savour these moments that I have had over here, the words will help me remember the time. The words will refresh the memory, the words will pain the heart and drive it on to do more. If I ever become complacent I will look back on the thoughts of a younger me and be ashamed. If I go from strength to strength I will look back on the thoughts of a younger me and nod with approval.
As I look back later on in life, I wonder what I will see

I write to help others but I especially write to help me. Because I know I am weak and I constantly need reminding. Every time I put my hands to the keyboard I come to a burning realisation of my flaws and my falls. There are times when I want to write and I know that my life has not been what I want to write and this is a burden that has brought me back to my lord in prayer many a time. I write to let those I speak to rarely know what’s happening with me. I write for many reasons but as I stand here on a roof top, granted a proverbial one, rhythmically beating my chest and my drum, granted a metaphorical drum, the main reason why I write is because I have a deep desire in me to speak of my God and whether you listen and read or not, I’m not sure, but because he has done so much for me… How can I not write?

The Epilogue: Things that hit me in season 3

I wanted to call this lessons learnt but couldn’t bring meself to put that into the tittle so there you go. As for season 3, this is me third spell in North Cyprus, I have been home for the summer break twice making this season 3. So after nine months in North Cyprus a couple of things have come across to me clearer. Some I knew and needed emphasis and others are just plain old new. They are in no particular order but the important ones are mentioned and emphasized.

But before I get into them a bit of back ground. When I first came to North Cyprus I was coming on my own, which is a typical story among those who go to study abroad, I’m not looking for sympathy or applause, I’m just painting a picture here. I knew no one and it was pretty much this one guy in foreign land. I travelled with three other Zambians but had little or no interest in talking to them much let alone befriending them, now they are friends though some more than others. My plan when coming here was keep your head down, get your degree and get out. In short I was an assassin on a covert military operation. I even did the John Rambo polish under the eyes bit.
That was me ready for battle, but i cant do the lip thing, I'm a smiler

Fast forward to this spell here, season three, and a lot has changed, a lot has also remained the same. This here is a little bit of that.

Hit 1: Never mix Coca Cola and Charger. So charger is this energy drink that is sold on campus. It is by and larger probably the most consumed bevy on campus. It is cheap, ridiculously cheap, it does the job and doesn't taste too bad either. Naturally I like it. Plus a six pack of it costs slightly more than a single can of Coke, in short, SOLD!! And they have cases and cases of the stuff, it never seems to run out. I am a huge fan of the Coca Cola Franchise and A big, not huge, fan of the Charger one and so it really pained me to discover that you should NEVER drink Coca Cola followed soon after by Charger, not even Charger followed by Coca Cola. What can I say, I was looking for a solution. Nuff said.
I did this in season two as an assignment. Just to show my fascination with coke.
Not and addiction, A fascination
Hit 2: This I learnt in my infancy but has been proven true this semester in particular. It’s from a song they taught us at bible club called “Read your bible pray every day” which coincidentally is about… you guessed it, reading your bible and praying every day. The hit comes from the second verse which says “Neglect your bible, forget to pray and you’ll shrink, shrink, shrink. And you’ll shrink, shrink, shrink. And you’ll shrink, shrink, shrink. Neglect your bible forget to pray and you’ll shrink, shrink, shrink.” Massive depth eh... but what can I say, it’s taught to 5, 6 and 7 year old's so it has to be basic. But the lesson rings true and I have felt it deeply

Hit 3: You fall down, you get up. This is more spiritual than physical or academic so those looking for a motivational section, you’re not in luck. When in a spiritual stupor, when at the bottom of the ditch. When you feel so dirty and filthy you have no place else to reach but up. So reach up and ask God for forgiveness and to “restore your soul” and “lead you beside the still waters”. God is all knowing and saved me in full knowledge of the absolute depravity of my heart and how often I would stray. He did not weigh the opportunity cost, he did not think once or twice about me being a good investment. He picked me knowing all my flaws and saved me. So in my stupor, I learned to reach up. This however is a lesson I will learn more and more till my dying day

Hit 4: The world is a bad, no, a terrible place but what are you going to do about it. One of the problems with studying abroad is a lot of the people who do come here are people with the mind-set of children. I’m not making fun, it’s the truth. Its people who think life is all fun and games and lack seriousness. I saw this more and more and it baffled me, I would sit and talk about how I have given up and I’m not interested in helping people who don’t want to be helped but God taught me different. I did not hear a sound from heaven or see a vision but in my time of quiet surrender it hit me that my attitude was not an attitude that is befitting of one who is Christ-like, after all that is all a Christian is. The difference between a Christian and a scoffer is not in terms of sight. In reality they both see the same evil and a lot exaggerate to the same degree. The difference is that the Christian is driven to do something about it, to show people the light of Christ. There is a thin line between Christian and scoffer in that sense and I was sitting with the scoffers for quite a while. I hope not to go back.
You can keep standing and point out problems or you can actually do something to show the the light
Hit 5: Talk to somebody. To date I’m not sure if I am noisy or quiet. I like to think of it as me having a switch that I can flick at will and turn into loud me or quiet me but truth be told, I’m not really sure. The problem with quiet me is that he keeps it all in and the problem with keeping it all in is that eventually it becomes too much and you either burst or break. It helps to have people around you that you can talk to about sensible things and speak to about your struggles. Being in Cyprus has made that very difficult but this time around I have generally managed. I will only mention one name because he is unlikely to read this, Miz, thanks a lot mate. The other/s you have been invaluable.

Hit 6: Never leave to tomorrow what you can do today. My first semester upon arrival in season three I relied on talent alone to get me through and to some extent it worked. I’m not claiming to be Leonardo Da Vinci or anything but I am fairly good at what I do. But it was the most unfulfilling semester I have ever had, school wise, on other fronts it was quite productive, see The Troublesome Roommate. So I promised myself that come the next semester I would push myself to do the necessary when necessary and this semester that has just ended has been my best. Little or no procrastination led me to finishing my final project almost three weeks before the final, which is quite rare. School wise it has been fulfilling and I hope to go from strength to strength in that regard.
I could learn a thing or two from the soldiers will to call home and the feeling afterwards

Hit 7: This is my last to mention. It’s not the most important neither is it the least but it is something that I have had to learn and is not easy for a person like me to remember and continue. I’m not the clingiest individual and this practice has cost me quite a few friendships along the way. I would always phrase it this way, “I communicate little so the little counts when it happens” but the truth is I need to hear from the mother ship, not just my mum but her too, more often than I do. It is a hard lesson for me to keep track of but I hope to one day be good at it. The lesson simply put is this CALL HOME. Unfortunately or is it fortunately I won’t have the chance to practice that soon as I am going home but we’ll see how that works out in Season four