Tuesday, September 22, 2020
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Mike Mpofu

Politico’s 50 ideas worth noting – and the people behind them

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If you are trying to make sense of world politics, then Politico’s 50 Ideas latest release for you.

It is an uncomplicated explanation of some of the most influential people and their ideas that are shaping the current global landscape.

This does not mean they are necessarily right – the ideas, that is – but they are certainly shaping the kind of world we are living in.

We highly recommend everyone to read it. Often we make the statement: “Someone should do something about that”.  But that “someone” should be us. However , we can’t “do something”
if we are not well-informed. Understanding what you’re up against is  very necessary.

So take a moment to educate yourself.

Some of the key ideas and individuals in the 50 include former White House Strategist (to President Trump), Mr. Steve Bannon, who has been dubbed: “The man who got us here”.

This rings true in many respects. His thinking, strategy and advice played a key role in steering the Trump ship, until his recent resignation from the White House.

Another major figure in world politics is German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who is described as “The New Leader of the Free World”.

Given her recent election results, one wonders if ‘leading the free world’, will be that easy.

One gets the sense that there are a few other issues to navigate for the Chancellor.

Merkel is described as having been “underestimated her entire life, starting with her upbringing in East Germany. She went on to earn a doctorate in quantum chemistry, and she approaches politics with the exactitude of her scientific training: sizing up a situation carefully, weighing her options exhaustively and only then deciding on a course of action.”

At the end of it, you’ll have a snippet of those that are shaping our worldviews and popular culture.

The full list is available here.

These are leaders and people of influence who are currently creating the society that we live in but it’s important to recognise that over time the role players will change, different ideas will come to the forefront and structures of government will rise and fall.  Politics and those who set legislation are impermanent and, while they can have an enormous impact, you can not build your whole life on something that may well shift and change.   The Bible tells us that God is unchanging; Who He was yesterday He will still be tomorrow. When the leaders and structures of this world seem to be unstable and shifting, we can find stability and something we can place our trust in, in a relationship with God.

If you would like to know more about how you can connect with God in a real and meaningful way, please leave a message or click on the link.

 

Justin Bieber’s decision to pull the plug is wisdom

Millions of fans around the world were disappointed after Justin Bieber took the decision to pull the plug on the remaining shows in his Purpose World Tour.

An official announcement was displayed on the singer’s official website:

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Justin Bieber will cancel the remainder of the Purpose World Tour concerts. Justin loves his fans and hates to disappoint them. He thanks his fans for the incredible experience of the Purpose World Tour over last 18 months. He is grateful and honored to have shared that experience with his cast and crew for over 150 successful shows across 6 continents during this run. However, after careful consideration he has decided he will not be performing any further dates. Tickets will be refunded at point of purchase.

Following this announcement, both Justin and his manage Scooter Braun – who uncovered the Canadian talent – made further remarks on their respective Instagram accounts, on the singer’s decision to spend time resting.

Meanwhile, Justin has taken further flak from spending a significant amount of time in church, and surrounding himself with church leaders, friends and family. Who would have thought it?

So let me understand this: Justin Bieber’s biggest crimes right now are that:

  1. He wants to rest, reflect and come back a better person; and that
  2. He spends too much time in church?

This is nothing short of outrageous.

The reality is that our perspective is only as big as what we are exposed to.

What you and I consider to be major challenges will be informed by the world we live in. The same goes for Bieber.

Like him or not, you have to appreciate the maturity with which he has approached his situation.  In fact, more often than not, we tend to ignore or push past our challenges for various reasons. The only difference is our dirty linen isn’t out for everyone to see, so to speak.

In the end, we burn out, lose focus and are worse off than we started.

If anything Justin took one of the wisest decisions of his career: take time out to pursue Jesus – if anything we need to celebrate this call.

If our greatest frustration is his decision to pull back in order to give us more, then we need to do some introspection.
I am not professing to be famous or know what that world feels like, but one cannot escape the feeling that one is damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

I would suggest that more of those whom we look up to, and appreciate their work, music and talents need to spend more time doing what Justin did, we wouldn’t have half the drama we see on the internet all day.

What do you need to take some time to think about? And who are you speaking to, to help you through it?

Lessons from my fitness regime

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At the beginning of this year, I made a decision to get fitter. Not because I needed any drastic change, but because it was the right thing to do.

Needless to say, while I’m certainly not where I used to be, I am not where I want to be. But along the way, I’ve learnt a few things about my fitness regime that are actually totally applicable to everyday life situations.

So let’s go through them:

One day at a time

Literally! I’m not sure if you have seen the meme about the guy who goes to the gym once and then immediately checks if he has abs yet. It’s brilliant!

While it’s funny, most of us treat life and many situations like that.

I’ve learnt, that if I go for 10km run or a hectic gym session, I am not going to walk out of there like Usain Bolt or Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I am definitely enjoying the benefit of spending a bit more time running or working out in the gym now, than I wasn’t experiencing in the beginning of the year. But that took time.
And anything worth having will take some time. Whatever sphere of life it may be – the process will inform the result. Keep at it.

Showing up is winning half the battle

There are days, I am sure we all have them, that we don’t always feel like we ‘owned it’. Days when you hit the road and don’t feel on top of it, when you feel sluggish and uninspired.

In those moments, while I don’t enjoy it, the key is to finish. While you may not break a ‘Personal Best’, or exceed old milestones,  the important thing is that you showed up, and finished!

World records and personal bests will not be broken every day, after every run or gym session – otherwise we would all be world champions.

But the important thing is that on days when you’re out of it, show up and do something! Because at the end of it, you’re closer to your goal than you were before you started.

The same can be said if you’re studying, working or going though general mundane tasks – show up, and you’re already half way there.

Your equipment is as important as the work you’re doing

I cannot overemphasize this. I used to hear runners talk about what kind of shoes they were using and think “these guys have nothing better to talk about, it’s just a pair of shoes”.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

After clocking over 600kms on my old running shoes, I started to experience niggles and aches more often than not.

Not only did I exacerbate the problem by ignoring, I was off the road for longer than I wanted to be.

Thankfully I have recovered from the injury, but it was simply unwise.

The reality is, in whatever you do, how you go about it, and the equipment used to reach that goal are as essential as the task itself.

The old adage that you would rather spend three hours sharpening your axe to chop for one hour instead of sharpening for one hour and chopping for three, actually makes sense. You will find at the end of doing the task, it was less painful than it would have been had you not taken time to ready your tools.

I found the right shoes for me, after a foot scan and some research. And now, the experience is more pleasant.

While these are just a few gems I’ve learnt on the journey, I am sure there will be many more on the journey. After all, it is a marathon and not a sprint.

Can you out-give Bill Gates?

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The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed – Proverbs 11:24.

I am not sure if Bill Gates is a believer, but I think at some point in his life he has come across that scripture, because, it seems to ring true for him anyway.

Gates recently gave away 5% of his fortune. For a man of his wealth, five percent is a significant amount.

The 5% donation, amounts to USD 4.6 billion, to be exact.

It is reported that Gates donated 64 million shares of Microsoft on recently.

Reports also note that this is the billionaire’s largest donation since 2000, when he donated stock valued at $5 billion to create the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

One thing is for sure, Gates and his family have taken on their social justice responsibility and are championing it in an unprecedented way.

They are big believers in the power of education, and rightly so.

Often we look at big corporations and wonder, what are they doing about the poor?

Well here is an example of a man committed to the process. He literally has put his money where his mouth is and committed heart and soul.

And I often wonder if we, despite the fact that we don’t have the same level of wealth as Gates, have the same level of commitment?

Obviously I am not asking you to give 5% of all you own, but asking what our commitment is, in doing our bit, in whatever sphere we are in?

Gates has chosen his lane, which one are you in?

If anything I hope the work that the Gates family is doing is inspiring us towards action.

At the very least, it reminds us that there are still good men and women on earth, committed to making a contribution to the society they wish to live in.

Gospel singer ‘fills up the dome’

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South African Hip Hop artist, Cassper Nyovest seems to have started a movement.

Three years ago, Nyovest was the first ever African artist to fill up ‘The Dome’ – selling out the 20, 000 seater facility in Johannesburg, meaning he was the first non-international act to achieve this. That’s a big deal.

While we can easily say that it is possible now, years ago this was unthinkable.

And now,  other artists, including South African gospel musicians are following his footsteps.

Dr Tumi, a gospel singer, recently achieved this milestone. He is now the first gospel act to sell out the Ticketpro Dome.

Whatever your take on Nyovest and Tumi’s music, it is clear they have started a movement. And the moment should inspire other local artists to do the same.

I am sure we can all agree that it is not just about filling a venue to say ‘it can be done’.  It is about changing people’s perspective on what can be done through music produced on the continent and showing artists that are coming through the ranks that if your music is worth it, people will follow it, loyally.

I must confess I had never heard of Dr Tumi before his latest accomplishment. But we must give credit where it is due.

Meanwhile, Nyovest, who packed Orlando Stadium with 40,000 people last year is looking to go even bigger this year.

His next target, is to fill the FNB Stadium, which holds 95,000 when at capacity.

At the time of writing this, he has just under 100 days to go and it would seem he is making a big push to get the right sponsorship behind him.

We wish him all the best on his quest to lead the way in support for local music and opening doors for those that will follow.

Roger Federer wins 8th Wimbledon – makes history

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Swiss tennis sensation Roger Federer has made history, winning his eighth Wimbledon title – the most by any male in the history of the tournament.

Federer beat his opponent, Croatia’s Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in the final.

The victory not only gives Federer his 8th Wimbledon title, but takes his Grand Slam title tally to 19.

The win also moves Federer past both Pete Sampras and William Renshaw, who each won seven titles at the grass-court major, for the most men’s titles in the history of the event which was first held in 1877.

There were a few surprises at this year’s competition at the All England Club with favorites such as Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and the ‘King of the Clay’ Rafael Nadal all missing out on their opportunity for the title at early stages of the tournament.

Murray fell to American Sam Querrey in their quarter-final match 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-1.

Murray had been struggling with an injury as he was seen limping at times, even after his match with Querrey.

While Djokovic also struggled with injuries, and making the decision to retire injured during his match with Tomas Berdych. He has received treatment for his right elbow but decided to throw in the towel to avoid exacerbating the problem.

Nadal fought hard but was outplayed by Gilles Muller to lose 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 15-13, in an epic five-set marathon.

Federer will no doubt cherish the title.

Federer, 35, became the oldest champion at the All England Club, and he won his second Grand Slam of the year in impeccable fashion by not dropping a set throughout the two-week run.

Incredible records broken, well done to the Fed!

All hail ‘King Wayde’

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South African athlete Wayde van Niekerk is running his way into history books – quite literally.

Wayde’s latest accolade saw him break another Michael Johnson record when he ran the 300 m in 30.81 seconds, during the Golden Spike meet in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Johnson’s record was 30.85, set in 2000.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khLGEWMVHY0

Usain Bolt is now the third fastest athlete to run over that distance. He recorded a time of 30.97 in May 2010 at said Golden Spike meet in Ostrava.

Wayde is also the only man in history to run 10sec for the 100m, 20sec for the 200m and 44sec for the 400m – an enormous feat.


As if his performance at the Golden Spike meet in Ostrava was not enough, Wayde went on to break a world record for 2017 at the Diamond League meet in Lausanne, Switzerland where he ran 400m in 43.62 seconds.

Wayde has only run the 400m faster on two occasions: when he won his world title in Beijing in 2015; the other was a year later when he won Olympic gold.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khLGEWMVHY0

He is clearly in good form and all eyes will be on him going forward, as many seem to believe he is the next big thing to follow the ‘Usain Bolt act’ – one which will be tough to beat no doubt.

But at this stage, it would appear all things are possible for ‘King Wayde’.

Still KD – the Film

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NBA Superstar and champion Kevin Durant has released his latest documentary in collaboration with his long time partners Nike Basketball.

Still KD recently went live on Durant’s Official YouTube page.

The 35-minute-long installment documents KD’s journey from leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder (OKC) after being with the organisation for nine years and making what he and others in his circle – including his former OKC coach Scott Brooks– describe as a “very tough decision”.

Despite facing immense pressure for the difficult decision – which saw him join the Golden State Warriors – KD remained focused and committed to putting up his best performance.

The film takes KD fans behind the scenes where we see him putting in extra shifts in the gym, or stay late after practice and coming in early before a game, just to be the best he can be.

At one point he argues that he shouldn’t be praised for doing “what I get paid to do” – putting in work.

In Still KD, we get to re-live the incredible play-off series, where KD not only managed to come back from a calf strain, but led the Golden State Warriors to victory, beating the Utah Jazz and of course the Cleveland Cavaliers in the finals.

Despite winning the championship, a lifelong dream for KD, this simple fact remains, KD has no intention of changing. He will remain the guy who loves to hoop, who is willing to put in the extra work and remain one of the humblest superstars of our time.

The film is worth a watch for any basketball and KD fans.

It will leave you feeling inspired.

You can check it out for free on KD’s YouTube page or below:

4:44

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Jay Z’s 13th studio album 4:44 is everything it was hyped up to be and more. Quite frankly, we are witnessing history.

A few weeks after officially being inducted into the songwriter’s hall of fame – without writing a single lyric – Jay has taken fans into his confidence. We should relish this album, we don’t know when we will get another installment of this kind.

It is easily his most sincere piece of work, with a central theme running through it – family.

While race and culture also feature prominently .

4:44 – the title track – is Jay pouring his heart out about his personal mistakes and how he envisions to do better. Jay woke up at 4:44 am to write the track. According to him, it is the title track because “it’s such a powerful song, and I just believe one of the best songs I’ve ever written”.  

Shortly after releasing the album on TIDAL, Jay released “Footnotes” – short videos that expand or explain the thought or concept behind the track.

“Footnotes to The Story of OJ” is a film of prominent black celebrities, including South Africa’s Trevor Noah, who talk about their experience of being black in America.

In “The Story of OJ”, Jay describes how the famous former American Football star, OJ Simpson once remarked that he was “not black, I’m OJ”.

Jay Z describes how, despite the fame, riches and access to opportunities, one is never above the “culture” and can never ignore the difficult conversation of race in the USA.

“The Story of OJ” also has an animated video which is available for viewing on TIDAL.

Other “Footnotes” include an over eight-minute video of the title track: 4:44.

One of the stand-out factors in this latest work is that Jay is rather clear about what he views as success.

He remarks that it is way better to build a good credit (record) than waste money on “living rich and dying poor”. He is clearly thinking about what legacy he will leave.

In the track “Legacy”, his daughter opens the track with a question: “Daddy, what’s a will?” Jay Z proceeds to basically rap part of his will, which includes Blue receiving his stake in Roc Nation someday.

Jay remains a rap guru. Simple.

The whole album only has three features – Damien Marely in the track Bam”, Frank Ocean in “Caught their eyes” and his mother, Gloria Carter, who reads out a poem at the end of the track “Smile”.

And unlike previous albums every song is produced by NO ID.

Just days after release, the album went platinum. A few days after that, Jay announced a North American Tour.

He also announced a limited amount of hard copy CD’s with bonus tracks which will be sold at music stores. We hope some of these find their way to Africa.

4:44 needs to be played on repeat. For me, it is already album of the year.

Jay has also made it available on iTunes.

Enjoy.

Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington dies

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Fans from all over the world were forced to say  an early goodbye to a music great after Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington was recently found dead.

It is believed Bennington took his own life. The former lead vocalist was found dead in his home in Palos Verdes Estates in Los Angeles County. He was 41 years old.

Bennington was synonymous with the Linkin Park brand, which millions, if not billions, of fans especially teens growing up in the early 2000s related to and admired.

Shortly after the news broke celebrities expressed their shock at the sudden death of the lead vocalist.

Meanwhile millions of social media posts have also kept streaming in, with fans reminiscing about how they related to Bennington and the band.

While tragic, Bennington’s death has shed a light on the fight to address mental health issues.

Mental Health is, in the main, viewed as a secondary health requirement, yet it deserves the equal amount of attention and in some cases, more.

Some have rightly pointed out the tragedy in Linkin Park having helped fans across the world, work through their own challenges, yet it would seem Bennington failed to seek the help he needed.

Meanwhile, the remaining members of Linkin Park took the decision, understandably, to cancel the “Linkin Park One More Light” North America Tour until further notice.

Speaking on behalf of the band, the tour promoters said: “We are incredibly saddened to hear about the passing of Chester Bennington…The Linkin Park One More Light North American Tour has been canceled and refunds are available at point of purchase. Our thoughts go out to all those affected.”

Our thoughts are with Bennington’s family, friends and fans all over the world.

And whatever you do, please seek the help you may require. We encourage you to speak to somebody. Life is always the answer.

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