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! ;(

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.

If only


Lord, if men would realise that women are to be treasured and protected…not to be used to fulfil selfish desires but to be honoured…that girls will give sex in exchange for companionship, love and respect because they are disillusioned and that their hearts break when that love and respect is not shown…if only men could open their eyes and see that the girl they lie with today, is beauty that they might destroy. Worthy of the respect due a mother; she might one day mother their own son’s wife. That she is a grandmother, mother, wife; she is a child, a sister, a granddaughter, a friend; maybe even your own. If only they would open their eyes and see that she looks enticing, yes, but let the man who she was meant for enjoy her, just as you will one day hope to alone enjoy yours. That they owe their wives nothing less than what they expect, a man who is untouched. That as enticing as she seems, she might just be the seam ripper that makes you come undone…

That we women would open their eyes and see that if he loves “me”, He will wait. He will want the best for “me” even if it means he loses “me” . If only we would realise that compromise leaves us lost and broken…unsatisfied…pleasure lasts a moment but when it’s gone, what do you have left? If only we could treasure what is right and true, closing our ears off to the sweet nothings he whispers and hearing the truth in his words; hearing that we will get hurt and that he cares very little in the end.  Hear the truth in His words…the words of a loving Father…You are precious, loved and need nothing other than Him. That honour and respect; that love does not come by giving yourself away. That letting him have his way with you, deprives you, and if he hasn’t married you, he was no right to you…That there’s something more that awaits you, a man maybe, who will value you. If only we would realise that just because you gave in once, you don’t have to keep giving in, or that just because he denied you your right to “NO!” does not mean you lost the right…If only we realised that just because he ignored your “NO!” doesn’t mean that all men seek to take from us, by force if need be… If only we could see His tear-stained face, with arms outstretched, sweat beading, bleeding  for us, His deeds shouting as loud as His words, I love you this much!

IF ONLY…

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