Friday, September 17, 2021
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Ed

President Michael

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Back in 1936, a mother received news she was with child. In July of 1937, her bundle of joy arrived, a baby boy and they named him Michael. As the boy grew, one wonders if at all those around him knew the role for which he was destined. When they teased him in school, did they ever dream he would one day rule Zambia? When he failed or misbehaved, did they ever envision him becoming a disciplinarian who would one day endeavour to rid his country of corruption? I wonder if some had endearing names for him like, “Mikey” or something along those lines? Yet the boy grew, the boy fought and came from being just Michael to President Michael Chilufya Sata. Michael means “Who is like God?” or “Gift from God”. Remember the archangel Michael from the Bible? Michael is one of the seven archangels in Hebrew tradition and the only one identified as an archangel in the Bible. In the Book of Revelation in the New Testament he is portrayed as the leader of heaven’s armies, and thus is considered the patron saint of soldiers. While Michael Sata may not have engaged in spiritual battles in the heavenlies, he will be remembered as a leader who engaged in battles for a better Zambia. Akin to the Archangel Michael’s epic battles, Michael Sata faced his own in his journey to becoming president of Zambia. Failing to win elections three times then securing presidency on the fourth attempt, Michael Sata endured a great deal of opposition and trials but continued on his quest to become the first in command in a country so rich in natural resources.

Whether many agree with his policies or not, one thing we can all learn from Michael Sata is determination. Nothing good ever comes easy, neither do good things come without a price and above all, good things do not come to those without faith in their vision and that which they stand for. As many condolences and eulogies pour in for Michael Sata, I cannot help but wonder, what would people say at my own passing away? What would people remember me for? If I die today, would the world feel my absence? Would the world be worse off without me or would no one notice?

If Jesus was an African

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If Jesus came as an African, would He have been heard? Would anyone have taken him seriously or would they have scoffed at Him as a half evolved blabbering buffoon making unintelligible noises? If he had been an African, would His mother have heeded the instruction not to shave His head or would she have chopped off every last lock of hair the moment it protruded from his scalp, giving him the ‘potato’ or ‘bald’ look almost every little boy in Africa endures in his young years?

If Jesus came as an African, what sort of trouble would He have gotten into for daring to open His mouth and addressing elders in the temple at the tender age of 12 or so? As an African, would He have had to organize jobs for His uncle’s cousin’s friend who is technically a relative because he is related to a relative of a relatives friend?

If Jesus had come as an African and fed 5000 and there were left overs, do you think He would have allowed the disciples to take the baskets home for all their “crowd control” efforts?

Now jokes aside, if Jesus had come as an African, would you believe Him no matter who you are or where you come from?

As lighthearted as this all sounds, these thoughts were triggered by a story that made rounds in the recent past. An Australian teenage boy racially abused a security guard on a train in Brisbane. The guard, a man of African origin, was probably going about his business, keeping people safe as security personnel are meant to do, yet the boy found it amusing or within his rights to ridicule the grown man. It just made me wonder, what if Jesus had come as an African, would He have had a tougher time being accepted by the world as the Saviour? For those of us who accept Him, are we absolutely sure that we accept Him completely, truly and unconditionally, regardless of what He may have looked like or sounded like?

Ransom for the Chibok Girls

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In April, militant group, Boko Haram abducted nearly 300 girls from a boarding school in Chibok in northeastern Nigeria. Dozens of the girls escaped, but Boko Haram is still holding more than 200 captive, according to international news reports. Boko Haram later released a video declaring that the girls will only be freed after the government releases jailed militants. Various organisations have put pressure on governments across the globe to help rescue the girls. With hope for the safe return of the girls slowly dying away, an odd ransom for the Chibok girls has been offered. 

In June this year, Nigerian pop singer Adokiye Kyrian, told the country’s Vanguard newspaper that she would offer up her virginity to the Islamist group Boko Haram in exchange for the safe return of about 300 girls who were kidnapped about two months ago in the Nigerian town of Chibok.

“They are between 12 and 15 year old… I am older and more experienced. Even if 10 to 12 men have to take me every night, I don’t care. Just release these girls and let them go back to their parents,” Adokiye said.

Whether Adokiye would act on her word and give herself up in exchange for the girls is another question. However, the question that begs an answer is, how far would you go to make sure that those who are in dire circumstances find some form of salvation? What are you willing to risk for the sake of your country, community or family?

Happy Independence Day Nigeria!

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On the 1st of October 1960, a nation was born. Her first cry released from lungs filled with hope to become Africa’s greatest state. No sooner had Nigeria learnt to walk that she fell victim to internal conflict. The Nigerian dream suspended, men in arms began pushing personal agendas. Religion, ethnic differences and greed, erecting walls of hostility in a nation whose destiny lies in the unity of her people. Africa says, “Happy Independence Day Nigeria!”.

As we celebrate this milestone, let us listen to the call for unity from Timi Dakolo and when we are done listening, let us stand as a people united against terror, against corruption, against tribalism and let us rise to the challenge of defending our land, our Nigeria…our Africa.

Here we stand as a people
With one song: with one voice
We’re a nation: undivided and poised
We will take our stand: and build our land
With faith: to defend what we love

Here we are as a people
With one heart: for one cause
We’re determined: to rebuild and restore
Where freedom reigns: and truth prevails
A land where there’s hope for us all (2x)

(Chorus)
We’re all we have, we’ll defend our land
We believe in this nation, and we know we’ll get there
We’re all we have, we’ll defend our land
We believe in Nigeria and the promise she holds
And that one day we’ll shine like the sun
We’re a great nation

Though we are many people
Different tribes: different tongues
We’re united in our strength and resolve
To uphold the honour of our land
And for generations to come

(Chorus)
We’re all we have, we’ll defend our land
We believe in this nation, and we know we’ll get there
We’re all we have, we’ll defend our land
We believe in Nigeria and the promise she holds
And that one day we’ll shine like the sun
We’re a great nation

Redemption Song

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Probably one of the greatest musicians the world ever had the privilege of listening to, Bob Marley not only sought to entertain the masses but endeavoured to provoke critical thinking in those who care to listen to his music.  Africa is at the dawn of a new era and that era will come to pass when individuals like you and I change our thinking . Listen carefully to the  “Redemption Song” and read the lyrics below. If you believe that redemption has come for Africa, please add your name and comment below.

“Redemption Song”

Old pirates, yes, they rob I;

Sold I to the merchant ships,
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit.
But my hand was made strong
By the ‘and of the Almighty.
We forward in this generation
Triumphantly.
Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom? –
‘Cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
‘Cause none of them can stop the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look? Ooh!
Some say it’s just a part of it:
We’ve got to fulfil de book.

Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom? –
‘Cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs.

[Guitar break]

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our mind.
Wo! Have no fear for atomic energy,
‘Cause none of them-a can-a stop-a the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?
Yes, some say it’s just a part of it:
We’ve got to fulfill the book.
Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom? –
‘Cause all I ever had:
Redemption songs –
All I ever had:
Redemption songs:
These songs of freedom,
Songs of freedom.

How to Turn Your Mini Cooper Into a Bus

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Years ago I sat next to a father and son on a bus ride into town. Sitting in silence, we each gazed out the window at the passing scenery. As we approached the city, the bus stopped at a traffic light. Alongside the bus, an old Mini Cooper drew to a halt just below the window where we sat. Examining the car closely, the little boy clutched the toy car in his hand as though he had just become suddenly aware of how precious it was.

As the mini pulled away, the little boy turned to his father and asked, “Daddy, when that car grows up will it be a bus like this one?”

A deafening silence ensued for a split second then came roaring laughter. All the while, the little boy was unmoved. He waited, looking into his father’s eyes for an answer. Clearly taken aback by the question, the father simply smiled and nodded his head.

Thinking back to this day, I am reminded of the power of childlike faith and imagination. Who robs us of the ability to believe in the impossible? Who tells us that Minis can’t grow into buses one day?

Losing the ability to imagine is closely followed by losing faith. Imagine what would have happened if the inventors of the airplane, the Wright brothers,  had stopped imagining what it would be like to fly and written it off as impossible?

Whether your Mini comes in the form of an unfound job, a broken family, an unsuccessful business, an unfound friend, unfulfilled dreams or a void you can’t explain using words, don’t stop imagining the bus that is to come.

The Indomitable Marc Vivien Foe

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Once upon a time lived a lion who had a remarkable roar. Some said he had the height of a stallion, others said he could move at the speed of lightning but all agreed that his colours were that of an indomitable lion.

Born Marc Vivien Foe was born on 1 May 1975 in Yaounde, Cameroon, the indomitable lion affectionately known by friends and teammates as Marco lived and died on the football pitch. Boasting of a successful career spanning just over a decade, Marco was a spark brightening every space he occupied as a football player, friend and family man as attested by the tributes that poured in at his death. The Cameroon international player appeared in 2 World Cup finals and Africa Cup of Nations while plying his trade for a number of European clubs such as Lyon, Lens and Manchester City.

Marco seemed to have lived far beyond the mere 28 years he had just clocked at the time of his untimely passing. Robbed though it may seem African football was, we can take our hats off to a son of the soil who died while serving his country and nation on the football pitch. Marc Vivien Foe collapsed and died after 72 minutes playing for Cameroon in a Confederations Cup semi-final match against Columbia on June 6 2003. He was pronounced dead 45 minutes later after numerous attempts by the medical team and paramedics to resuscitate him failed.

The cause of death was established as  hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a hereditary condition known to increase the risk of sudden death during physical exercise. Survived by his wife Marie-Louise and three children, Marc’s family have done all they can to keep his legacy alive by continuing the construction of  a sports complex that Marc had begun building shortly before his death.

More than ten years later, the Indomitable Lions keep the memory of a great player alive. A man who not only showed prowess on the football pitch but played the game of life to the best of his ability.

As the memory of Marco lives on, what will you and I do to continue the unfinished story he left in the making?

If your life were to end today, would you wish for more time or would you truly rest in peace, knowing you played your game of life to the best of your ability?

Marc Vivien Foe

 

The sounds of Iyke Onka

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A sound is rising, a sound that to the sceptic, is unAfrican for the sheer quality of the fusion of vocals and instruments. Born and raised in Lagos Nigeria, Iyke Onka is a rising musician, producer and arranger with a unique sound. Iyke found his unique sound at a young age and his music career was horned and shaped in the hands of him musical parents who encouraged him to follow his dream. His journey has not been without its fair share of challenges. “A lot of people said your music won’t sell in Nigeria. You don’t sound African, your music doesn’t sound African and I would say “what is it about my music that doesn’t sound African?”. I grew up in Africa, I spent most of my life in Africa and I believe I am African enough”. For Iyke, music is not just an outlet for artistic expression but it flows from a place deeper than the surfaces of lyrical ingenuity and the ability to competently play a number of musical instruments. “I make music from the heart,” Iyke quietly explains

“I like to think of myself as an instrument of the Holy Spirit. Whenever I make music or get a melody, I give it over to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to use me as an instrument and draw from Him. From there I then transmit what I get from the Holy Spirit and express it through music.”

On first hearing Iyke’s music, it is impossible to fault his musical abilities as a songwriter, producer, arranger and singer. Likely to compete with the best gospel artistes on a global scale, Iyke is determined to ensure the world begins to pay attention to Africa’s music industry and take it seriously. “I want to be that guy that will prove to the world that hey, African music is not just about noise and jumping. We can make good Christian music not, just music but the kind of music that can transform someone.” Meticulous in compiling his albums, Iyke longs to see each project succeed not only in terms of reach, but in transforming lives and getting Africa on the map for the right reasons.

“We get the impression that nothing works in Africa and sometimes we don’t know how to solve our own problems and when others look at us, they look at us as a continent that can’t solve their own problems. The same problems we have here in Africa are the same problems we have anywhere else in the world and the only difference is that we don’t know how to go about our own problems. When we do actually solve our problems, we don’t know how to blow our horn.”

Iyke believes if the next generation works hard at blowing Africa’s horn and learn how to showcase the things we have the world will start believing in Africa as a force to be reckoned with. Iyke Onka is currently working on his latest album due to be released in June 2014. When he is not making music, Iyke is a devoted husband and father or two. Apart from family and music, Iyke is a practising physicist, a man of multiple talents in his own right.

 

Opportunities in the Africa ICT industry

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The Information and Communications Technology industry in Africa is unique. While the rest of the globe has gone through the various stages of evolution from interwoven webs of cables stretching for miles, to wireless technology connecting individuals and businesses strewn the world over, Africa’s ICT industry has leapfrogged from being virtually no connectivity to high degrees of mobile penetration.

What makes Africa’s ICT sector unique is that, due to lack of adequate communication and information gathering infrastructure, the continent has had to adopt mobile technology faster than other regions.

Information is a vital ingredient to Africa’s development and it is paramount that Africans are provided with adequate information on health, politics and social issues that encourage the development of solutions for the many problems we face as a continent.

The growth of the ICT industry in Africa has opened up many doors for both established businesses and upcoming entrepreneurs. The industry also offers a myriad of job opportunities for Africa’s young population in the areas of innovation, retailing of computer hardware and software products as well as management and finance targeted specifically at the ICT sector.

To gain a better understanding of the IT industry in Africa and to learn more about the opportunities available, please listen to the following interview we had with Ryan Martin, the co-founder of Syntech, an IT company working across the Sub-Saharan Africa region.

How the mighty fall: Oscar Pistorius

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Just before the fateful morning of the 14th of February 2013, Oscar Pistorius was a hero. In a matter of minutes, as news circulated of the “unfortunate accident” involving shooting his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp assuming it was an intruder, Oscar Pistorius had turned from hero to villain. Except for the few who stood in support of the “Balde Runner”, many took a jab at the Olympian and Paralympian who inspired many to overcome their inabilities physical or otherwise. Before the ongoing trial had begun, many had declared a verdict, “guilty!” said some, “not guilty” pleaded unmoved fans.

Jabs of all shapes and sizes surfaced on social media, exposing the fickleness of mankind. One day we love, exalt and adore, the next we despise, dethrone and denounce. A few questions then arise:

  • Does the worth of man or woman hang on the latest activity they have carried out, good or bad?
  •  When we choose to make someone a hero, do we ever question the credibility of the individual upon whom we bestow heroism before and if they fall from grace?

The interpreters, witnesses and family involved in this case have also come under fire. 24 hours before the trial kicked off, many were unknown individuals yet based on the summaries given by the media, the public has drawn many a conclusion and in many cases, unpleasant deductions.

If you and I woke up one morning with the eyes of the world upon us, and such judgement made about our competence, looks and so on, would we feel justice is served or would it hurt terribly?

Whether Oscar Pistorious is guilty of premeditated murder or manslaughter on account of assuming he was attacking an intruder, the question still stands, if we were judged as individuals based on today’s actions as opposed to the lives we’ve led until yesterday, would we deem it fair judgement or would we feel robbed?

If you were in Oscar’s shoes, what would you like the world to be seeing in you right now?

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