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!

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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! ;(

Still single


People wonder why I’m still single. I’m a 24-year-old who’s never been in a relationship and people are getting worried that if I go passed this age bracket, I might never get married. At different stages of my life, I have had reasons for not being in a relationship. One big one was fear. I was not willing to give a man a chance. Then at one point, I discovered I had my heart set on one man and was unwilling to let go completely. I finally did get close to being in a relationship but his heart was not really in it. I was an option, or at least that was the impression I got.

I had to move on and though there have been offers; not many I might say, I don’t believe in jumping from one relationship to the next, so even though I have never actually dated anyone, it feels right for me that I wait and see where God takes me. Those issues are still there, I guess everyone has their own but I need to work on me and my relationship with God so that when that man finally comes I’ll be ready. I wasn’t anywhere near ready the last time. What does ready look like? “In love with God” is what ready looks like and I am not there yet. I know what I am asking for in a man but I have to be working at being that kind of person. So it’s not a matter of counting works or checking a love metre. When I get to where God wants me before He brings a man, if He has one for me, then a man will be there waiting.

I am single because I am a daughter from a long line of strong men and women; men and women who have shown me to stand strong when I believe in something; women who built legacies alongside their husbands and men who respected their wives and protected them. I refuse to settle for less. If he can’t respect me before he marries me, it won’t matter after.

I am a sister and have younger sisters who need to see that settling is not an option. That there is more to life than a man to buy your Brazilian. That there should be a standard and that it is okay to be alone if God permits (Not yet at that stage). That they are too valuable to settle for a man who only sees their body or a man who is willing to trade them in for pleasure or a man who fills himself with alcohol endlessly or a womaniser. I have seen that too many times; even in my own family. If it did happen that I ended up with a cheat, it should not be because I saw those traits and settled anyway.

I am a mother and I want a man worthy of my daughters affection. The day she was born left no room for men who don’t know what they want. I am too “unstable”! There is no way I am going around adding to my instability by finding myself a man who can’t care for himself. Marriage is not an adoption and I refuse to be a grown man’s mother when I’m called to submit. I want my daughter to see in me, if I do get married, the example that I have seen some before me show. I want my sons and daughters to be blessed by my marriage and not to be maimed by it. I want a man whose example for my sons will leave them loving God, respecting themselves and the women around them; protecting them and not making baby mamas at every corner. I want them to see that I was me and that I was not defined by my singleness or my being coupled. That in whatever state I was in I lived. That I refused to be pushed in a corner and settle for just anyone. That while time waits for no one, focusing on the man I don’t have is daylight robbery. I refuse to let others make choices for me and that the responsibility for the consequences is mine.

I am more than a couple, more than a single woman, I am more than my feelings more than my aging ovaries. I do want to get married but not out of fear of dying alone, yes I am sometimes scared but this is the season of my life and I will live my life as it comes. Along with these things, I want my example to be that I did not sit around and wait for a man but that I lived for God and that nothing held me back. I want to move from where I am and to grow in each season, counting my blessings and not looking at what I don’t have.

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

Last day of 2012


Today for me marks the end of a very blessed year. When this year started, I was pretty close to rock bottom. I remember staying in the house the whole day, only coming out at night when my sister came home from work. I was bitter, resentment filled and angry. I was scared to leave the house because I felt if I did I wouldn’t come back. I imagined myself jumping in front of the train or just getting on the train and not coming back. I felt trapped and not needed.

Over the last 10 years I’ve experienced emotional strain and extreme darkness where I didn’t know how I was going to get through the day but I wasn’t willing to give up and I always came out of it but 2011 for me was the year I lost all fight…I crumbled…I felt crushed under the weight of my life this far, crushed by yet another failure, loss of loved ones, the loss of a friend. I felt crushed by my inability to get over my past, crushed by my inability to love the ones around me. What mother resents her own? Yet my love for my daughter was still present.

I had lost sight of what was important. I had allowed my problems and insecurities and people’s views to finally matter where they never had. I had allowed fear to reign in me. for grief and anger and resentment to become me. I remember talking to my brother on the phone, laying on the bed, tears flowing, unable to control them. I was unable to hold it all together. I remember him saying “you have a love affair with where you are at.” That was in January 2012. He had been talking to me about crying out to God but I couldn’t do it. I was in pain and yet I wasn’t willing to submit because I was afraid that what lay ahead with God might just be more painful. I felt wounded afresh at the loss of friendship. I remember writing “You healed only to wound again.”

At that point I had tried to get in touch with a counsellor and had failed. I remember talking to my parents and not being completely honest with them but at least the doors of communication had been opened and on my terms, eventually managed to find a counsellor. I remember invading my sister’s room and telling her things I’ve never told anyone else before. I had to be honest with my leaders at church. I remember sitting talking to my counsellor and telling myself I wouldn’t cry and yet breaking down.

I remember living with my brother and his beautiful wife, my elder sis and them challenging me to be better. I remember the birth of their child and the joy it brought…I remember mum coming and the blessing she was  to me. I remember connect group meetings…3 different groups where I was challenged…one controversial but causing me to analyse and re-evaluate where I stand. I remember a friend challenging me, refusing to accept I wasn’t okay, challenging me in my Christian walk. I remember getting to my counsellors house and telling myself many reasons why I should not knock on the door. I remember feeling like I had failed because I couldn’t get my life together on my own. The hardest thing for me to do is depend on people, even my family. I remember deciding to tell people the truth about going for counselling when they asked what I had been up to and it helped me get over the shame of it. I remember crying to God and journaling and praying and laying things bare before Him. I remember advice and hugs from those who have my best interests at heart. Those I kept up late when I needed advice or just a listening ear.

This year I got some of my confidence back. I had allowed life to reduce me to an unsure fear filled person and counselling was where I learnt I was really okay, not consumed by my past and I had to re-learn to be comfortable in me. To own my choices from here. Yes listen to what people have to say but in the end decide on my terms what course my life will take, because in the end, I can never blame anyone else for what I do wrong.

2012 for me was the year I saw a counsellor who helped me deal with some of my issues. I am in no way at the destination of wholeness but I’m on the way. It was the year I saw more transparently my father’s heart. I saw the restoration of a friendship I never thought possible. My nephew was born. My daughter turned 10, like previous years it has been a continuation of my journey. Where I see God’s hand. It was the year He again bent my knee to His will when I was unwilling and unable to within myself. It was the year I saw the most progress in my fight for purity. It was the year I stopped running. The year I attended a leadership course, the year I performed my own written poems live. The year I finally finished medical science. I got to get involved with life changers who are scattered around the world. people I love got engaged and married, babies were born in our family. This  year, my hope was restored.

So why am I telling you all this? Isn’t it funny how you hear Christians talk about going to the doctor for a common cold and demanding antibiotics when there’s no need for them, forgetting that Jesus is the great physician by whose stripes we are healed, and yet the same people will stand and declare that your faith is weak when you see a counsellor for emotional turmoil? We’re all different and while others have no need for counselling, others do. Do whatever it takes to get out. You can never tell whats around the corner. Darkness is relative to light. just because the sun is on the other side of the world doesn’t mean it stopped shining. Just because one door closes doesn’t mean you’re closed in. Sometimes all that’s stopping the light from trickling in is the walls you’ve built. Remember when in a dark room, you can’t see further than a few steps ahead of you and sometimes you can’t even see yourself. But feel around, stumble and even fall, if you take your eyes off the darkness and your predicament, you might just turn a corner and find hope, little rays of sun where there  seemed none, blocked by that one wall. Don’t give up! It’s okay to ask for help. Also never forget, that behind the smiles we see, there might just be more pain than we realise and you might just be what the other person needs to get through. Happy New Year and for those who have walked with me this year, may God bless you. Looking foward to 2013

Why I consider myself tribalist


Okay, the heading might be a little misleading, I’m not actually tribalists in the real sense of the word, I just happen to be all for preserving tribes and their respective cultures in Zambian Society. My reasoning is simply that diversity is usually a good thing. Just look at the great cultural landscape in Africa and the richness it provides; the different music, the different dances, ceremonies (some of which I don’t endorse). I love uniqueness and I believe that the different cultural practices of different tribes, generally, if we want them to, add colour to our lives. Also having to interact with so many groups of people, who might have slight differences or possibly major ones, does grow our ability to tolerate differences and improves our interpersonal skills.

I believe I was born a half-caste child for a reason ordained by God. I don’t believe any aspect of my being is an accident and it serves a purpose in the master plan. I mean God makes no errors. I’m half Bemba, half Nsenga, they are my heritage and I hold them proudly. I have to say though, before being any of those, I am Zambian, before being Zambian I am human, a family member, mother, daughter, sister, friend…but above all those, I am Christian and as paul said, “there is neither Greek nor Jew”. What should govern my view of the world is Christ hanging on a tree, not what my children will eat, neither maintaining a job nor having a husband and definitely “I’m Nsenga or Bemba, Zambian or Australian.

As hard as it is, the minute I identify myself as Nsenga above all else, I will live my life for the Nsenga people above all others, even to the detriment of other tribes. I am Christian first, and no, I don’t always get it right, but when Christ reigns, I see my traits and characteristics through the screen of “Christ died for the world and asks the same of me” and through that screen, I can live as umu Bemba/umu Nsenga and practice my culture without seeing “my people” as superior or inferior and that can be applied to every area of life.  What is it that governs your view of the world around you?

Mindsets


This post is sort of an edited version of a post I once posted on Facebook. That was back in February 2011, before I got fed up with Facebook and decided to delete my account…Long story!

So one of my greatest passions is my country. I love most things Zambian and feel burdened by the state of things in Zambia. Yes compared to most places in Africa, Zambia isn’t doing tooo bad, but we’re nowhere near where we should be close to 50 years after independence.

The truth is, Zambia will never develop until we, the Zambian’s change our mindsets. We expect our leaders to walk in integrity when we, the ones meant to hold them accountable, don’t hold ourselves accountable and don’t walk in integrity.

I remember a time when certain high school students (some were my classmates) complained about the state of affairs and how when people were voted for, they only cared about lining their pockets…interesting enough, some of them were the ones passing massive pages of notes in our biology exam…And the invigilator, incensed when summoned to the headteacher’s office, could not believe I had reported the matter…apparently I was meant to “help my friends”. I have never been able to understand that concept. How is sharing answers in an exam helping anyone??? How many of those students missed class, or rather went partying at the expense of studying and discipline and yet, I was meant to help them pass their exams. the fact is the student lacks the integrity in writing his exams and yet expects that when put in a position of leadership he would do a better job than those in power.

What’s going to change to make you get to work on time, when you arrived and left school at your desired time? Or missed school all together?

“Whoever can be trusted with little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” Luke 16:10

Even in parenting, when children show themselves responsible and trustworthy in one area, parents usually increase the level of responsiblity and privileges. How can we take care of a billion dollar building when the $250 000 one is close to collapsing???

How many of us go on a trip and after having some chips, throw the packet out the bus/car window and then complain that the streets are a mess…regardless of what we say, the people in government did not litter our streets. Lets say the government did put bins around, what will stop you from throwing that can of juice on the street when in a rush and a fairways walk away from the bin…

How many of us who are Christian refuse to give money as offering because we have very little and yet expect God to bless us with much??? Or how many of us believe the devil is the one causing us grief when we are the one’s who put ourselves in sticky situations???

How many of us refer to the police as corrupt but never look at ourselves when we pay them a few Kwacha to get out of a road fine???

How many of us vote for leaders because they promised us outrageous things that we knew they couldn’t deliver and yet, we’re filled with disappointment when they leave government a whole lot richer and the country left with more potholes, more broken down buildings and a lot more jobless people?

How many times have you seen a shoprite checkout person refuse to offer the same service offered to a “white” person, to the “black” person? We then complain when the expatriates are given different conditions than the average Zambian. Aren’t both operating on the same principle??? Though there’s more to expatriate rate than meets the eye.

A lot of the time, we look at the “developed” world and see things we would like to have, but if we can’t be trusted to care for what you have now, how can we expect any better? If we see ourselves as victims of our circumstances, how then can we develop. Those circumstances should create in us a desire for change that causes us to think of ways of bettering our lives. It’s funny because I know of people who wouldn’t even consider getting a job as a garden boy when they do not have the funds to get into college or university, rather opting to stay home and wait for a “wealthy” relative to help them out. Others refuse to do odd jobs while applying for jobs after they finish studying even if their parents are struggling, because it’s not prestigious enough. Live your life regardless of how people will view you. Does it matter so much what people think if you know what you’re working towards???

Why do so many of us live in the extremes, either choosing to hold on to all aspects of our culture, even if they don’t benefit us or letting go of our culture altogether and taking on western culture because we feel it’s better. We can learn from the west and they can learn from us. Our differences don’t make us inferior or superior, they are just differences (some things are definitely wrong). Untill we learn to be comfortable in what makes us Zambians and untill we are willing to walk in discomfort and do what is right (not what we think is right but what is actually right based on wisdom) rather than quick fix solutions or copies of the west , we will continue in the same cycles