Can paedophiles change?


I was reading about the case of the baby who was allegedly abandoned in Thailand by his biological parents, who took his twin sister and brought her back to Perth. I subsequently watched part of an interview broadcast on 60 minutes. If anyone is unaware of the story, quick google search will deliver the story to you. Recently, it has been revealed that the biological father of these children has been convicted of 22 sex offences against children. In the interview, the father claims he no longer has sexual urges towards children and the woman interviewing him makes a statement to the effect that she has interviewed  many paedophiles and they have stated that they will always be paedophiles.

I understand that children should be protected and that we should be concerned with the safety of children, what I am trying to figure out is; is it right to make statements like “once a paedophile, always a paedophile”? If some paedophiles have stated that they will always be that way, does that make the statement true? We are constantly told we have  the power to choose our destiny, so why are we championing the view that people are victims of their biology? Where is the power of choice? In saying to people, this is how you are and you will forever be this way, aren’t we defeating them in the process? Can’t they choose to be different? Can’t they choose who they will be?

Are we making our society safer by making such statements or are we in fact making it harder for people to decide to change and be better? Are we saying, “you are broken and cannot be fixed” and throwing people in the “discard” pile. Doesn’t it seem weird that on one hand we say to paedophiles that they have no choice in the matter, they are who they are, and yet on the other we a so filled with anger when they offend. I think we are so angry because deep down we know that they have a choice and that they are responsible for those choices and it doesn’t come down to mere biological defect.

I personally believe human hearts  and minds can change. They can be renewed and made whole, and while I don’t think I would leave my child in a room with someone who has been convicted of sex offenses, I don’t believe anyone is beyond redemption. There is always hope and every human being should be looked at as an individual, not based on what others have decided about themselves.

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Why support Compassion or Watoto


I wrote a post on why I don’t support Compassion but this one is an argument for why I should. This is by no means a change in my views that long-term Aid cripples rather than lifts up but an addition to it. As I said in the other post, I used to sponsor but due to financial constraints I stopped. It is a commitment that requires a consideration of where you are and whether or not you can continue paying the monthly $48.

1. Compassion and Watoto are honourable in the work they do.

I once had an issue with Compassion over the way information was presented at a conference and got in touch with them. They were open and apologised and explained their policy and how they do things. I was left feeling more confident in the work they do. They let locals tell them what is needed instead of going in and saying “this is the way things should be done.”
The locals run all the programs. They are clear about what it is they are doing with the money and up to date, I have not seen an ad of theirs that uses falsified information.
The same goes for Watoto. And any person who would stay and help people in a war zone, definitely gets respect from me…

2. There are people in Serious need

I used to often look at Aid adverts especially if Africa was mentioned and think “this is not possible, I grew up in Africa and things aren’t that bad.” But isn’t it funny how we are so quick to say that and yet we get so angry when we are grouped together as Africans. I don’t know how many times I have been asked questions that assume I’ve come from poverty because I am African. I think at least two people even assumed I was a refugee. Considering we know that there are variations in culture and circumstances, doesn’t it make more sense that some countries are well better off than others and that what we have seen, is by no means the norm? there are peaceful countries as well as war-torn ones as well as famine and abundance. In the case of countries like Rwanda, Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, etc. there is a need for outside help and Aid, within reason to help them build. Couple the effects of war with HIV, you have children that need caring for. I have never been to any other countries in Africa except my own and Zimbabwe and South Africa. From what I have heard from people who have been to some of these places that have experienced war, the levels of poverty are beyond words. That doesn’t mean however that poverty doesn’t exist in our country…it exists everywhere.

3. Personal responsibility

I am an African and there are very few Africans who sponsor children. Don’t get me wrong! There are a lot and I mean a lot! of Africans who take care of orphaned children within the family as well as outside. But I used to think why should I sponsor children when I have family who need “sponsorship”. I have family with needs and  that those children have family too. But the reality is in war, families are disrupted. Our Pastor who went to Rwanda recently was telling us how in some cases only one family member out of 74 had survived. So many children were left alone, with no one. As an African, it is my responsibility to take care of my own. I came to this conclusion thanks to my Pastors and because of the convictions that God had been placing on my heart prior to that. But hearing what our pastors saw, and their wise counsel, we have to rise up and take responsibility for Africa. I guess it is even possible to say, for those suffering in the world. Starting with our own but growing to fit the whole world in our hearts.

I still hate the adverts with the swollen bellied children and a fly. But in this world, no one is perfect and you can’t have it all. There are only two organisations of this kind that I find this close to perfect. Compassion and Watoto. So if you are going to sponsor a child, definitely do it through them. Also consider the cost and whether you can manage it before you commit but definitely consider it!

We Africans are a lazy bunch


I once posted the heading of this piece on Facebook. I was praised by some but on a larger scale was bombarded by anger and disappointment. No doubt people were thinking “yes, tell them!” and others probably thought I was looking down my nose at Africans because I am in the Western World. This is not even in the least a licence for any non-African to say, “Africans are lazy”. Believe me when I say I love Africa; There is no place more beautiful, no group of people more lovely, no culture more rich and definitely no group of people more hard-working.

Okay, so why would I say we are a lazy bunch if I believe we are hard-working? I don’t believe in stereotypes and this is by no means a labelling of a whole group of people. The simplest answer would be the analogy that if Africa were a person, God would not come back today and say “well done my good and faithful servant!” That is the simplest answer I can give based on the fact that Africa is the richest continent there is. We have every resource, starting from people right down to minerals, land and food. I will give an example of a small country in Southern Africa, called Zambia. Compare Zambia and Australia, you find that the soil in Zambia is way better; throw seed on the ground, it grows. The rain comes every single year without fail. Australia on the other hand is mostly desert. The soil is not as rich and the rain not as reliable and yet they manage to produce food and even export it.

We have been blessed with so much and yes, our challenges are huge! The thing is, these challenges are meant to grow us, not make us shrink back and stop trying. We have been ravaged by HIV and AIDS, leaving many orphaned, yet we are not leading the effort to find a cure. Malaria is stunting the growth of  our economies and yet there is little effort on our part to get rid of it. We are at the mercy of pharmaceutical companies that have no need to care about Africa. We allow people from other parts of the world to dictate how we run our countries. When the west came with baby formula saying it was better for babies, we let them in and even though we still breast feed our children, they came back years later to teach us how to breast feed. We allow ourselves to be shown as incompetent because at the end of it we will get some money.

Instead of working hard to develop our countries, our politicians are lazy and power-hungry only concerned with lining their pockets, forgetting that the Africa they are building will be the Africa their grandkids occupy. Our mines are owned by foreigners and we all sit back and watch as what is ours is taken from us, tax-free. How can a continent so rich be so dependent on the western world for Aid??? Why is there no justice in our own countries when the one victimising us is a foreigner? Why have we made ourselves so vulnerable? How long will we cry colonialism and how long will we blame the world for our failures?

Belgium and France might have divided the Rwandans but it was a African leader who was too lazy to do his job that he decided it made sense to make a difference as small as tribe be what people focused on, and it was the people, marching with weapons who chose to kill, regardless of who shot the Presidents plane down or who supplied the weapons. It wasn’t Britain that bought designer suits using Zambian Tax payers money while education standards were falling. It wasn’t Britain dividing and conquering us, as people took to the streets with weapons because their political party had internal fractions. It wasn’t colonial masters that took farms by force in Zim and after the white farmers left, it wasn’t them that failed to manage the farms. Yes sanctions were imposed but there was still a whole continent willing to trade with Zim. In the same vein, it wasn’t the Colonial “masters” that mismanaged ZCCM to a point that we couldn’t run our mines. The examples are endless.

We keep pointing to what the Colonial “masters” did but our choices today are ours and we have to take responsibility for them. Our street kid problem can not be blamed on the “powers that are trying to divide and conquer Africa” but us! We have failed to take care of our children. And as long as we blame “them”, aren’t we then saying, we are still under “them”?

I know there are a lot of people who spend sleepless nights studying for exams. There are people tilling the land and people working endless hours trying to provide for their families, but in a sense like the servant in the bible, we have buried the gifts given to us and refused to multiply them. And it seems that even that which we have, is being taken from us.

When God gave  the bags of money to the servants, he gave them each according to their ability. We have been given so much! Have we really realised how able we are to change the lives of our people? We can bless the world! Why would God choose us, to give all this wealth to? Considering to whom much is given, much is required, have we really lived up to the requirements of our gifts?

The issue isn’t how hard we work as individuals but that we as a continent, are waiting for the world to solve our problems. I was asked what I was doing to change my country and continent because all I do is talk. I don’t claim to know it all. I know I am part of the problem and I hope and pray that we will rise up and fight this fight to see ourselves as worthy of more. That we will be able to say “I am responsible for my country and continent!” if anyone has interfered with the goings on of my house, it is because I have let them!

Yes, maybe lazy isn’t the best term but I have racked my mind to find a better term and cannot. We need to stop looking at greener pastures and complaining about what we don’t have and start working with what we have because it is so much more than we realise.  Being in Perth for 6 years has made me realise just how blessed we are as Africans. To whom much is given, much is required and considering how much we have been given, we will be held accountable for a lot!

A21 Campaign walk for freedom


So, was going to say that today was the A21 Campaign walk for freedom but it was actually yesterday, missed it by a few hours. My mum and I walked today but we didn’t finish the whole 7 km walk because we got lost on our way to the starting point and were running late because we had been cooking for an event at our Church, which happened to be African Night.

There are people suffering out there and this might sound self-centred but just walking and donating money towards a cause like this, I think is a good way to help make better choices. In the fight for purity, it’s always a good thing to be reminded that behind the pornographic video or photo there might be a woman who is enslaved. Two slaves; the consumer and the one who matters most, the victim.

Before you access pornography, remember, there is a person on the other end, who in a lot of cases does not want to be where they are. Before you enter a brothel, remember that too. There are so many people who call for the legalisation of the sex trade but do we ever consider the ramifications of such a move? Even if brothels were regulated, so many people would slip through the cracks, especially in countries where corruption is rife.

I pray that God gives us enough compassion for the many who are enslaved by our selfish desires. That even when temptation arises, we will see our own children, family and friends exploited and that “that” will keep us sane enough to say no. Its only in saying no that an industry this big can ever be overcome. On a deeper level, that His love and grace will penetrate to the depths of our hearts and render us only slaves to Him.

49 years of independence


We went from “one Zambia, one nation” to a nation whose leading party is split and their cadres killing each other in a space of less than 50 years. This has never happened in the History of Zambia. Zambians are known to be peaceful people and now here we are 49 years after fighting for independence from Britain with a ruling party without leadership. People have often said how hard times were  during  President Kaunda’s time but I don’t think it ever got to a point where people marched with ama panga hacking others to death. I might be wrong because I wasn’t there but I have never read or been told of such lawlessness or disregard for lives.

Kaunda united us with a motto of one Zambia one nation. His ministers where not of a particular tribe and despite his failures, we became one people under him. Chiluba came on the scene and apparently made things better for Zambians. Even though he was not my favourite of people, he had respect for life. He declared Zambia a Christian nation and people applauded him, all the while taking what belonged to Zambians and setting himself up. But in a sense he still united Zambians. Then Mwanawasa came and fought corruption that had entangled our country…a vice on steroids. He died and our country went to the Dogs. President Banda took the country back further than we would care to admit and now President Sata.

I shake my head not knowing how to say the truth whilst being respectful of a man who makes it hard to respect him. The PF government is bickering within itself. Our President has no respect for world leaders. He has insulted the Tswana people, insulted the Nigerians. Should that surprise us when even before he became president he was insulting the president as well as Zambians? Zambians are peaceful people. We prided ourselves in that but now how can we say that when for the first time cadres have walked our streets with weapons, and hacked themselves to death.

Have we forgotten what has happened in the countries around us? What makes us think that we can ever win if we turn on each other? What country will we leave for our children? Have we hardened our hearts so much that we can’t hold life as sacred? We shake our heads at what the whites have done to us or what the Hutus did to the Tutsis or what Mugabe is doing but what makes us think we are any better??? The volcano is erupting and for the first time in my life I am ashamed of what we Zambians are becoming! Our people need leadership that embraces all people and keeps itself in check. Elders have to show themselves respectable and I am sorry to say that I do not believe our elders have done that.

So much for our President claiming that our country will be run on a Christian foundation. Many people claim that the Colonial masters came in with a bible in one hand and a gun in the other. Our Politicians come in flying the banner of Christ while stealing from the most vulnerable. Our President needs to lead his party before his party can lead us. We need to become One Zambia – One Nation again! ;(

Democracy at work


I am not one for giving opinions on other people’s “homes” and I don’t quite appreciate it when other people comment on my home when they have no clue what is actually happening. When it comes to the US government shut down I have heard opinions ranging from the Republicans are just racist and are doing “this” to get the black president out of office, right down to, Obama is stubborn and refuses to negotiate. I will not comment on the ins and outs of what is going on because I am not an American and we will leave that for them to do.

For someone like me who comes from “third world’ country, living in a Western Country, AKA Australia, it looks really bad for America because while we don’t understand completely what’s happening, it looks like a bunch of grown men refusing to compromise and find a working solution. A lot like a Country who is up in everyone’s business, but can’t even run their own Affairs. Constantly deciding what’s best for us Africans yet you can’t even decide on how to fund your own government. That’s how bad it looks and it will take a lot to build credibility.

On the flip side though, it goes to show that man can not be trusted. So many of us look to government to solve our problems, yet this shows us that the people we elect to lead us are just humans, who may or may not represent our best interests and at the end, each community has to find what works best for them. I guess it’s also a good thing that the President doesn’t have all the power. He can’t just act as he wills. Those are safeguards that my country only dreams of. All we can do is pray that everything works out okay

Home…A reminder of God’s grace part 2


Okay so last post was a bit heavy. Here’s a lighter one, one telling you what was so good about Zambia. There’s something about being home that is liberating, maybe because I’m the kind of person who loves being around people (Not huge crowds) and in Zambia, people were plenty. Before leaving Zambia, I hated, crowds, still do, but having been in Perth for six years and not seeing as many people out and about, I didn’t mind the crowds of Lusaka at all. maybe after a while, it would have bothered me, but for three weeks, it didn’t. I enjoyed being around family and we did rub each other the wrong way once or twice, but there was plenty of joking and laughing. I am truly grateful because our family has something that most don’t. We have unity that most families don’t and we are far from perfect but we are truly a unique bunch.

We managed to see at least seven of my grandparents  and unfortunately only two of my great grand parents, plenty of mothers and some aunts and uncles, one of them being my Uncle who passed away last week, siblings and cousins and a few friends.

After spending time in Zambia for three weeks, we headed to Zim, where the hospitality was beyond words. We attended my elder brothers wedding – I have a Zimbabwean brother 😉 -and boy was it fun! Its funny because generally, I hate it when people speak in a language I don’t understand but this time around, I quiet liked it and by the end of  five days, I was beginning to understand Shona.

The food in both places was tasty and coming back here, the difference is noticeable. The weather was very mild and the scenery was just lovely. Generally, the trip home, has left me even more unsettled in Perth but for now, this is where I am meant to be. The trip was definitely a God given gift and I am grateful!

Respect, a perspective on Zambian culture.


Respect…I’m sure many would agree if I said that respect was earned, but this view for me was challenged and has been challenged many times. I used to think myself a very respectful person but every time I think “I’m there”, I’m convicted about seemingly small things be it respect for others or even myself, the call on my life and any number of things.

I remember a vague conversation with one of my brothers (One of the few wise Zimbabweans I know…jokes!)a few years ago and for some reason respect became a topic of discussion. I expressed the view that respect needed to be earned and he didn’t accept that. I was so shocked and asked if he would still respect me if I went around doing things that for some reason or the other are unrespectable. I remember giving an example, possibly something morally “rather –  rather”.

He told me respect was not dependent on whether someone showed themselves to be respectable. That was an “ahhh…” moment for me. I couldn’t argue with him when he asked what the world would be like if everyone disrespected each other because the other person did something unrespectable.

Looking back, I have disrespected the people in my life at one point or the other  and more frequently than anyone else, I’ve disrespected myself at every turn but more importantly every time I show disrespect, for either myself or others, it shows a disregard for God. I disrespect for the Judge who always sees what we do.

There are a few Zambian, more accurately, Bemba sayings that come to mind when I think of respect. One, makes up the words of a very well-known Zambian song…to Zambians, that is. “Mayo wanjebele, uko waya uko, wika tuka ba noko”, which pretty much means, directly translated, my mother told me, where you’re going, don’t insult your mother. Pretty much the meaning is wherever you go, don’t insult your mother or father. It’s a song that calls for us to respect every elder, which is anyone older than you pretty much. The song goes further and says even if a person is a fool, treat them as you would your own parents.

Another saying would be “Kwapa ta cila kubeya” which means, the armpit will never be above the shoulder. My grandmother, loves using this one on me when I complain about her sending me to do something every time my elder sister who’s only a year older than me is around…she just doesn’t seem to send her. Sometimes I can be a nut head! but even when I’m upset with my elder brother and sister…there are things that they don’t tolerate and a lot of the time, I have to submit. And it’s not a case of them “lording it over me” but them making boundaries clear. It should be noted that they are very reasonable individuals who generally respect me too.

Now for many, it might seem like African culture is very “disrespecting” of children, however, I choose to differ. I’m reminded of sayings like “imiti ikula, ee mpanga.” which means, the trees that grow, become forests. This talks about children of today being tomorrow’s leaders. But how does that fit into my argument on respect? Another saying “Amano ya fuma mwi ifwesa, ya ingila mu chulu” which translated is Wisdom went from a mole hill and entered an ant hill much means that a young person can advise the elder. They can give words of wisdom too.

Now, the best way to teach values is to embody them… so what better way is there of teaching a Child, who will one day lead a nation to respect others than to respect them? If a child can offer advice, the person on the receiving end has to respect the vessel from which it is coming for them to value it. And the child who is offering it must do so in a way that recognises that this person they are talking to is older and more experienced and should be given a level of respect too. Without respect and consideration for the other party, we start wars where mere dialogue would have offered a more favourable outcome.

undefiled


There’s a girl, a lot like myself…not much different from any other girl.
She’s never known what it feels like to be pure, to be untouched. She’s been used her whole life by those who should have known better…Those who claimed to love her
She is scared, broken and unable to love…
Christ has saved her but she finds herself struggling with the same demons of the past. She can’t let go.
The thought of trusting any man is just impossible; to love him would be weakness. She can’t bring herself to lie with a man she loves, one she’s married to because it just seems wrong somehow…
If only she was clean, pure, untouched, undefiled…

There’s another girl, lost and pregnant.
She thought it wouldn’t happen to her.
Oh God what is she to do? It was just one time and now she’s paying the price.
She’s only in high school, her parents will kill her. She has nowhere to turn!
She’s given them reason to throw her out…what will she do? She was right after all! “You’re a naughty girl!” she would say
She decides to have an abortion…better that than having to face that witch of a woman…better than proving her right!
As she walks out of the clinic…she wishes she could undo what she had done…but she can’t! the baby is gone…she feels cold inside…empty
They said it was just tissue…not yet alive but she knows it’s more
“it’s moving,” she had heard the nurse say. Her baby is gone
“you’ve already proven her right!!!” she hears a voice say, “you’re naughty even without the baby to prove it! You are defiled, unclean…”
She wishes she were untouched

There’s another girl, she’s a mother.
People ask, “How come? Isn’t it wrong in Christianity to have a baby before you’re married???”
they question her beliefs, they question the existence of her God.
She proclaims Christ and yet is bound by sex. She can’t bring herself to be with anyone, and yet she touches herself. She knows it’s wrong and yet she can’t seem to stop.
She can’t stand men. She’s been hurt to many times to know…to many times to let go…
She met a man, who’s just lovely and knows he’s not like the rest.
She’s been abused and has herself abused.
She is unworthy of him just as she is unworthy of Christ
oh how she wishes she were clean, pure, a virgin,
“Untouched”

There’s a girl, she sees her friends, one after the other, falling prey to the culture around them.
She decides to join in…
They Party like the world, dress like the world and make sure they are in Church on sunday
they sleep around, always making sure they use contraception
they look down on the unwed mother…they gossip about the one caught in the arms of the married man
They pretend that’s not them. Testing forbidden treasures, ,one, two, three, four, playing with toys and all, It’s just experimenting…No one need know, forgetting that “there are no secrets in life.
They are fooling everyone including themselves. And yet Christ knows…he sees them just like the others. Just like those they look down on
They might just be worse off because remorse does not touch them
They are unclean, untouched, defiled

There’s a girl, she introduces her friend to the party scene…tells her friend lies…handing her over to the lion himself.
She sees her friend going astray but only gossips…She doesn’t want to be judgmental, after all, Christ said “judge not!”
her friend is taken by the world…her Masters voice she no longer hears. Yet she has her legs still crossed and that’s all that matters right???
Both are unclean and defiled…touched

There’s another girl,
She dresses just right…nothing vulgar, decent.
She’s in the house of worship every service
she gives her tithe, serves, says her prayers, refrains from forbidden foods, does what is required of her…the whole deal. She sometimes thinks bad thoughts and occasionally lies…but it’s nothing serious…you can’t do everything the holy book says….
She follows the law of God
She sees girls throwing their lives away and sleeping around, living like the world and thinks she’s better than them. She thinks, she is clean, undefiled, untouched.
She doesn’t share Christ because they are unworthy of Him.
She forgets that she like them, like all humanity is  unclean, not untouched, defiled…that it is Christ who cleanses us.

Perfecto by B1…a review…sort of


B1 is a Zambian musician who from what I’ve seen of him, likes to sing about life issues, though some of his songs fall into the “rather” category and as such, this post shouldn’t be considered an endorsement of his music. In the song Perfecto, he sings about women being picky in regards to relationships. Basically he starts off by saying congratulations to a 30-year-old woman who has managed to stay a virgin. He then goes further and talks about how “virgin nkote ilibe maketi”- old virgin has no market…directly translated.

The message he’s trying to push forward is that women shouldn’t be picky and shouldn’t be “fault finders” because there is no one who is perfect and that all guys have faults and are fools in one way or the other and that if we keep finding faults, we will end up old virgins.

I agree with B1 in that we women can be very picky but I don’t agree that an old virgin has no market. A man of virtue will see her character and loves her regardless of age. A lot of us turn down guys because we’re scared and rather than face our fears we hide behind “no guy is good enough”. Face your fears, but don’t settle. Better a virgin at 50 than married to useless man. Decide what the nonnegotiables are but don’t be shallow. better a man who’s not good-looking but has a heart of gold, than a self-centred Mr Good-looking. Decide what the essentials are.  Whatever you want, only you know it. My aunt always says, if you want chakolwa (a drunk), tell God and He will give it.

Problem is, a lot of us don’t even know what we want. We’re serial daters, dating anything male, without considering the character. Some of us are willing to give ourselves to any man in the hope that he will love us? But why pursue something that’s out for the taking, with no cost to him??? In the end we lose out because men like to pursue and no man will marry someone they don’t respect. Cross your legs, or be content with losing out. If you chose to wait, know that “virgin inkote” (old virgin) is a very likely possibility, but be willing to carry the label proudly, because at the end of the day, not everything is about sex and not everyone is meant to get married.

Lastly, once married, it’s for life, so yes, I’m picky about important things because I know what I want and will not settle for less. You can watch the song at this link: