Of Hurricanes And Avenging Spirits: The Origin

Where do hurricanes come from?

Have you ever noticed how all the hurricanes that devastate America start roughly in the same area on the North West Coast of Africa, and follow more or less the similar pathways across the Atlantic ocean……

Hurricane tracks

There’s a reason for that…..

Sometime early in the 16th century slavers came to the west coast of Africa beginning the dark time in Africa’s history of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Africans were enslaved and transported across the Atlantic ocean for the next 400+ years however slavery had been going on prior to this in small pockets across the continent but the Atlantic slavery was the largest in both volume and intensity.

slaves_ruvuma

The slavers worked with African rulers who were willing to trade guns and other “modern” goods for the lives of captured rival tribes and also those who had committed offences punishable by death; who ended up in plantations in the Americas which produced raw materials for European markets

1024px-triangular_trade

By Sémhur – a (very) simplified map from this map by François Nancy

slavetrade-58d199915f9b581d72a541c9

The slaves were treated as cargo and packed in appalling conditions for months on end with an estimated mortality of less than 13% a cumulative total in the millions died from illness, murder, starvation, drowning, suicide, rape and simply just losing the will to live.

PJ - MBJ  -3.gif

The Myth

Hurricanes are the avenging spirits of all those who died in transit, which is why their path follows the Atlantic Slave Trade Route…..

To be specific, some believe hurricanes are the spirits of the black women, who died during this forced migration; Herricane this is her rage.

ricane

The Anatomy Of A Hurricane

Hurricanes are basically violent storms generated by low pressure systems and driven by warm moist air; which is why they form over warm ocean waters near the equator.

Warm moist air rises causing low pressure in the area below, surrounding high pressure air moves to the low pressure area and it too warms up and rises; the rising air cools  and condenses into clouds as the cycle spins.

Related image

Storms that form north of the equator spin counterclockwise. Storms south of the equator spin clockwise. This difference is because of Earth’s rotation on its axis.

The Sahara desert is largely responsible for the formation of the African Easterly Jets; strong high altitudes winds blowing east a result of the differences between air from the hot, dry Sahara desert mixing with the cooler, wetter air from the south and surrounding the Gulf of Guinea in west Africa.

African Easterly Jet

The African Easterly Jet undulates causing waves of tropical disturbance which move westward off the West African Coast. Combined with warm ocean temperatures they gain moisture and lift, and cluster, resulting in a hurricane.

Ocean currents also affect the direction and intensity of the storms (warm currents cause stronger storms) Ocean currents follow a well-defined paths formed by the combined effect of Earth’s rotation, pressure gradient and wind speed.

gobal ocean currents

global conveyor belt

warmer ocean surface currents (in red) and colder bottom currents (in dark blue)

world-hurricane-map-legend

Every recorded hurricane, cyclone, and typhoon between 1850-2016

Shipping routes are also determined by the ocean currents. A ship passing through a current whose direction isn’t where the ship is headed, burns more fuel to provide the necessary thrust to counter the current; whilst riding a current’s momentum, consumes less fuel.

global shipping routes

Global shipping Routes

Image result for slave shipping routes

hurricane-map-firefox-logo

does the hurricane track map look somewhat like the Firefox logo?

Science says hurricanes aren’t as result of any avenging spirits but hey sometimes there are forces in the universe are beyond our understanding………

~B

Day 28 Africa stories home

Photo Credits:

Atlantic Hurricane Tracks: wikimedia By Nilfanion

The Triangular Trade Wikimedia

Her-ricane KushitePrince

Where Storms are born Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

global ocean currents Physical Geography

global shipping routes wikimedia B.S. Halpern (T. Hengl; D. Groll)

Map of hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons metrocosm.com Max Galka

Firefox and Track Map comparison @kimaidou @galka_max

 

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Of Coffee, Rain And Blogging Everyday

Of Coffee, rain and blogging everyday

If you were having coffee with me, we would be watching the rain drizzle and it would be a welcome delight; it’s been such a hot past couple of days, I have been contemplating digging a pond in the backyard, so I could sit and chill like the fish that is my star sign.

The rain seems to mark an end to the chapter of September and the blog everyday challenge I have been doing themed Africa Stories from home. The reason I picked this theme can be summarised in a footnote I read on Mpho Mashita’s blog

Here’s to our heritage and preserving it for future generations! Legacy cannot only be financial, may we be committed to building a legacy of our culture as well.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that that this is post 27 of my blog everyday challenge which means I am three posts behind, 27 out of 30 is a 90% pass mark that’s not too bad right? Unforeseeable challenges come up, like there was a time when we had an electricity blackout for three days and the other time my internet service provider had network challenges and in between that the were days I had  to babysit my nephew.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that I have a new found respect for “mummy” bloggers, imagine trying to write a post with a whole young human being demanding your attention, the yoghurt spills and sticky fingers. In a totally related issue I would also tell you that I now know why the YouTube videos with the most views are the ones for children’s nursery rhymes; you simply press play and the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round all day long…..

baby sitter

Also now my YouTube video recommendations are full of children’s rhymes.

youtube

What have I learned from this blogging challenge

  • Life will get in the way but have back up plans
    • The schedule function is a lifesaver, your posts can upload while you are away
    • The email post function also helps to post on the go
  • In my head it takes 30seconds to complete a post but in reality it takes way longer
  • When you get an idea for a post write it down, memory is such a fickle thing.
  • A challenge is called a challenge for a reason its not easy

There’s three more posts due and they will becoming awooah

If you can blog consistently,
come rain or shine
if you have a writing schedule,
and posting on time
if you can write while the world spins wildly around you,
if you can hold courageous conversations, 
outside of your comfort zone
and post selfies of your naked soul
then and only then can you hold your head high when you call yourself a blogger my friend…

If you were having coffee with me I would wish you all the best in October and I would thank you for the visits, oh look the rain has stopped since neither of us has an umbrella I suggest you run…..

~B

PS Day 27 Africa Stories from Home

PPS Here’s a few posts that I liked this past month by bloggers from home

teemadzika a lesson on time

Soulfulmiss – mangoes

Tembochiseche -Afrotheology

mydialectics – Religion, Tradition and Culture

wizbex – Midway

makupsy – Why I blog

thinkingoutloud1204. The average Nigerian Parent

MoreToGetty Africa The land of the Educated

ceechikk – who is as hungry as you

iamb0627 – in which household

Of My Ancestry And The Heritage In My Roots

Avuxesheni avuxeni (hello hello)

I believe Africa is rich with creativity, legends and history deep like the roots of a giant tree.
Come sit with me by the fire, where every good story begins, and because we should not waste such a beautiful flame,  come sit with me and lets watch this clay pot of water boil.

clay-pot-cooking
They say a watched pot never boils so while we wait for it to boil I will tell you the little that I know about my culture.

I am Machangana or Shangaan, a tribe of the Tsonga people. The origins of these my people is steeped in controversy. People use the term Tsonga interchangeably with Shangaan and to further muddy the waters the same language XiTsonga is spoken but it never quite means the same things.

Before the were Shangaan people the were Tsonga people, who hailed from East Africa part of the Bantu groups of the Ronga, Tswa and Ndau who slowly migrated south of the continent, in search of greener pastures, literally, for their livestock, they were pastoral people.

In the  1800s the Tsonga, settled South of Africa until along came the Mfecane (time of trouble/ forced migration) as Shaka The Zulu consolidated all the other tribes into the Zulu Empire, resulting in tribes migrating to settle in new areas.

Mfecana

Soshangane an army general “fled” north crossing the Zambezi into Rozvi territory (what is now Zimbabwe) with some of “his people” finally ending up in Mozambique.
The name Shangaan is derived from the name of Soshangane. Somewhere along all that, we came to be here.

tsonga

Here is a photo of my grandfather and I. He taught me some of what I know about who I am, where I come from, how I have my totem which is Fire, and the praise song for my people. I am from a long line of royalty House: VaHlengwe

generationUya chisa mlilo
Hikisile chauke
Chakungedzele ribweni
Loki uchiona chiehixele
chifile katika
Chihanya hlungwani angahlinga
Aukhosi wahina u’nzilo
Hi mina Beaton
WaGilbert
WaTsamwisi
WaMzamani
WaNdalega
waNgwena
WaMatsena
Wa Bhangwani
wakanga nzela ribwe.
Xikovele xigombeeeeeeeeee
I imagine people dancing around a huge fire as they say that.

Shangaan village

I am not entirely sure of the spellings or what that all means I know its something about an ode to Fire (my totem)

Who are you and where you come from? We are all migrants we started of somewhere and here we and here we are.

In the spirit of UBuntu I am because you are…

~B

Day 22 Africa: Stories From Home

Of Being Me

dreadlocks in the sun

who am I?
I am not just the product of my DNA,
I am a sum of my everyday existence,
I can not be defined in a single word,
maybe a mouthful of English perchance,
but a whole book wouldnt quite catalogue me all the same,
who I am each day changes,
I am that guy who looks at the world with a child-like curiosity,
seeing everything as if for the first time.

I am the man with a boy in his eyes,
I might not really know who I am or where i am going,
but I am on my way there ,
I like the person I am,
each step reaches out to who I will become,
in my heart I know I am destined for greatness,
what and whosoever we seek,

seeks us also,

I am the guy who *clicks* like on my own posts,
I am the guy that congratulates himself for a job well done,
and raises a glass in toast to myself,
if I dont appreciate my self-worth who do I expect to value me speculatively appreciatively,

I am the guy with the vivid imagination,
my mind’s eye has stereoscopic high-definition imagery,
sometimes I can recall a scene,
and be hard-pressed to be definitely sure
if twas a book I read or a movie I watched or even just a dream I had last night,
I am the guy who still watches anime and dances to opening theme music  ,
some of my best movies of all time are animated flicks,
I watched the lion king countless times,
I still hate scar just for kicks,
and just cause it rhymes,

I am the guy who will watch a leaf,
falling softly to the soft brown earth,
and want to sketch it with charcoal to canvas,
and wonder if it fluttered to the ground,
in the way it did only cause i was watching,
and wonder if it hurt the stem from which it fell,

when eating a meal i like, I eat what I like best last,
to savor the flavor,
I never say yuck to something before trying it,
like mixing peanut butter, sugar, powdered milk and chocolate powder to make a snack,
here and there I even eat a teaspoonful of sugar for an instant energy fix,

Personally I prefer handwritten, stamped and posted sentiments of a tangible nature,
I love words,
words on paper,
words on a screen,
words in a book,
they breathe a life of their own,
heck I even prefer watching a movie with the subtitles on
I have drawer full of unsent letters whose recipients will never know,

I am the guy who doesnt use shorthand in messages and crazy bout predictive text,
I am the guy who will use 180 characters in one text message,
even if it was just to say good morning,

I am the guy that believes in perfection,
but i also believe in bending slightly than breaking completely,
I am not perfect but i seek to do perfectly all my tasks ,
even those I do not like for I know no other way,
doing simple things perfectly than sophisticated things imperfectly,
and sometimes even a poorly executed plan is better than inaction,
I am the guy who will go a long way out of my way,
so that I can come back a short distance,
in the right direction,

I believe in fairytales, human angels and happy endings,
I like to think there’s basic goodness in each of us,
deep down where it really counts,
I talk along to my favorite movie scenes when watching them again,
sing along off-key to my favorite songs,

like a teabag whose tea’s strength can not be judged till it is put in hot water,
my best creations are when am under pressure and deadlines due,
I believe we make our own luck but it wouldnt hurt to wear lucky socks,
and so what if i can not wolf-whistle, tie a hangman’s noose or write anything that rhymes,
it still feels like poetry to me,
I cant paint like picasso, raphaelo, michaelangelo, davinci but I can put ink to paper in a fairly describe a landscape or portrait,

I like to be alone ,
but only when there are other people there,
I feel lost in crowds but I love company,
I find meaning in silence,
I may not always say all that i mean,
but I always mean what I say,
I am true to my word,
I try to keep promises I make if i can ,
I am the guy who says thank you all the time and apologises always ,
even if it wasnt my fault , that the weather was too cold for the picnic I promised to take you on,

I am that guy that hates being the cause of anyone’s distress, however indirectly I might have caused it,
I am the guy that can not help but help and feel guilty at the sight of a crying lady even thou I didnt cause the tears,
I am the guy whom if you told you loved flowers I’d pluck petals from my own heart,
I am the guy that watches you being happy with someone else even thou you would be happiest with me just because
I dont want to be the reason for you to break up,
I am the guy whose heart if you should into a million pieces break,
I’d still love you a million times with each broken part,
I am that guy who is a hopeless romantic at heart,

I am the guy with strands of wisdom far beyond my age

beaton

I am what I am I dont want praise I dont want pity,
I bang my own drum, some think its noise , i think its pretty
…..and your life is a sham till you too can shout i am what i am

that is who i am,… who are you….???????

~B

Africa: Stories From Home

Of Combie Diaries

Of Combie Diaries

kombi

Combi/Kombi is how we refer to “public taxis” in Zimbabwe. They are basically minivan commuter omnibuses seating 18 passengers (not including the driver and conductor) They are a privately owned even though they are recognized as part of the public transport system which is the mode of transport for most people to get to work, school, home, shops, move between suburbs and some even travel between cities.

kombi

The name comes from the official name of the iconic “hippie van” the Volkswagen  Microbus/Kombi, but has now come to refer to any minibus regardless of make and model.

microbus kombi hippie van

The Kombi name itself came from the German word Kombinationskraftwagen meaning combination vehicles. These are vehicles  such as station wagons and microbus/minivans which both carried passengers and transported cargo.

 

 

 

 

 

MinibusBack to the present day Zimbabwe, a combi sits 18 people, 4 packed to a seat with four rows of seats and two passengers next to driver at the front. When the kombi is fully loaded the conductor will be standing somewhere behind the front passenger leaning next to the door which is convenient since part of what he does is not only to collect the combi fare but to open and close the door for passengers to get in and out and also telling the driver the passenger’s stops.

inside kombi

kombi

Unlike buses which can only stop at designated bus stops, combis can pick and drop passengers almost anywhere (provided there aren’t any traffic police) When you are travelling in one you have to know where you want to drop off and destinations are normally announced either by landmarks or intersections such as The Green Gate, The Blue Roof, left turn, after you turn, after the traffic lights, the conductor notifies the driver.

Pay attention to people who sit on the front passenger’s side seat of a public taxi van, who upon reaching their destination they don’t disturb the driver, even though he is closer, they turn to the conductor and notify him of their up coming stop, those are the people who understand the natural hierarchy of why some things are the way things are..

You can tell by now this mode of transportation is not without its drama mix twenty possibly random people and pack them up all squashed together like erm…. peas in a pod and you can see how every trip is most likely to be interesting.

Image result for peas in a pod

The cutest incident which happened to me, was when a passenger with a toddler sat next to me  and she kept trying to reach out and touch my hair calling me daddy (Note it was the child not the mother, just to be clear) I guess I must’ve looked bewildered cause she explained, “…..no we’ve never met but the baby daddy has locks too.” Eventually the toddler climbed over her mum and settled on my lap and promptly fell asleep with the mum looking absolutely suitably horrified and I said its ok. When they were disembarking, as I was handing her back, the baby woke up and waved “bye bye daddy…

I waved back…..

~B

Day 19 Of the blog everyday challenge themed Africa: Stories from home

Photo credits Commuter Omnibus

1992 Volkswagen Kombi

FUN Map of Public Transport In Africa  @Funmioyatogun

Of Chasing Joy

Genre: Inspirational Romance

chasing joy

Ever woke up feeling that you have felt everything there is to feel, that there is nothing new to feel, well maybe except pain, you always feel pain and sadness but otherwise just a numbness the shape of all the things you should be feeling? That is me today numb.

I am numb or maybe I am just hungry right now. The green display of the clock is flashing SAT. 11:02A.M. I just woke up and I am running a mental inventory of my current state of being, with the exact scrutiny that a pilot runs the final preflight checklist, especially the way planes have been lately. If there is a season and a time for everything then this is the age that planes fell from the sky, even my little has long since shelved her dreams of being a pilot preferring something more grounded, like being a Disney princess. My thoughts casually  drifted to back when, that ill-fated flight 370 that disappeared, four years later and still no one knows exactly what happened or where it disappeared to. I could not help but think that, maybe the black smoke from the TV series Lost is real, how else do you explain a whole plane simply going missing but I digress, I have the imagination of a TV series script writer, and I wake up to improbable thoughts.

Where was I? Oh yes, mental inventory, I was doing system diagnostic of my current sate of being.

Awake CHECK

Alive CHECK

Breathing CHECK

Hungry……..processing as I tried to decide if I was hungry or bored; almost on cue my stomach made the sound of a dying baby whale, not that I know what a dying baby whale sounds like, but the script writer imagination had its uses. The sound helped put things in to perspective, I am definitely hungry and possibly hung-over. Just at the edge of my awareness I suddenly realised what had been bothering, I hadn’t yet put my finger but smoke.

Smoke, I smell smoke, stale cigarette smoke, coming from my clothes and hair. I had gone to bed wearing last night’s clothes and they were all wrinkled up and the answer just popped into my head like a whisper from some voice in my head “that’s because we want to a pub last night”.

I should shower.

It hurts when I think.

Why does it hurt when I think? Oh! headache, so yes I am hungover and hungry, that explained everything, last night, I went out with with the guys, for one or two drinks which turned out to be maybe a little too much judging from how I felt and why I was only just now waking up at eleven in the morning, almost noon.

Last night was a crazy night I cannot remember with friends I cannot forget, I will have to call them up today find out what mischief we got ourselves into and how did I get home? I closed my eyes to shut out the pain and to also try to recall how I got home. I remembered something about a cab driver. Do I owe a cabby money? I suddenly worried because I also remembered I didn’t have the exact taxi fare. No, I settled the bill difference in kind, I gave him the remainder of a very aged, and much distilled, very expensive and single malt scotch whiskey.

Mind you, I am not of the habit of paying cab drivers with half full bottles of obscenely priced whiskey but yesterday was an exception, we were out celebrating, who knows what good fortune merited the occasion. I tried to concentrate, almost had it when my stomach rudely interrupted derailing my train of thought by demanding to be fed. I could feel a big hole in my stomach, a whole that lived and breathed and wanted sustenance.

Feed me,” it growled with the regal imperative of one used to being obeyed.

Last night I went straight to bed without eating, I just took off my shoes and climbed into bed socks and all; although only one sock, the left one, was still there, the other having been snatched by the monster that lived beneath the bed. You know the one, the monster that comes and grabs any part of you that dangles over the edge of the bed while you sleep. That’s why you have to tuck yourself in properly when you sleep, so the monster doesn’t get you. The house was eerily silent, maybe the monster that stole my sock also stole all the sound in the house.

The silence of a house with no electricity, when there is no humming of the fridge, or the sonic high pitched sound of a TV on standby. The only sound that would have broken the silence, would have been the ticking of the wall clock, but it was a battery operated affair of the digital variety, instead I heard my heartbeat or at least I fancied that I heard it, making a nice sturdy lub dub lub dup sound. I need a dictionary or translator because clearly those people who tell you to listen to your heart, do they know what lub dub even means? There was no electricity, because it was in the middle of a load shedding exercise by the power utility company. If the schedule was to be trusted the electricity would come online in an hour or maybe much later, because the schedule was never to be trusted. Small wonder I was bored, the silence was deafening.

The big green display now read SAT 11:03A.M. So only a minute had passed since I last looked at the clock, it felt like it had been a lifetime already, time flies when you are having fun they say and conversely when you are not, it moves achingly slow. As you can tell my mind moves in a somewhat non-linear fashion, maybe I am a genius like that evil scientist who made the first bomb, Frank Stein or something, I am sure he thought to himself in the third person too. I used to have a poster of him sticking his tongue out, I think it means that it is ok to be crazy.

A good thing my head is attached to my body, by skin, bones and stuff otherwise, it would just float away, who knows, leaving me running around like a  headless chicken, until I probably died of starvation because I would not have a mouth to eat with.

The pursuit of joy, that is what I had been on about last night, but I can most assuredly declare that happiness does not lie at the bottom of a bottle of single malt whiskey, no matter how expensive it is. Money can buy expensive things, and that illusion of happiness, envied by those without it, acquired by people rich enough to buy and appreciate curious artefacts. With thoughts like that I bet would not make a pile of money as an author of self-help motivational books. Though I suspect a book titled The Pursuit Of Joy would be interesting I thought as I filed this thought in my had where I stored all the brilliant ideas I had and never acted upon.

You see I am a slacker, or rather, I have not yet come across anything, which quickens my pulse, so that I do more than just what needs to be done. I am always behind schedule, chasing deadlines and I never plan ahead, but it works for me because I am always thinking and I am at my best form under pressure, as they say, I think on my feet. Who is “They” and who decided that they know all of life’s hacks, shortcuts and answers?

The answers to all of life’s questions are ridiculously easy if you know the answers, but most of us don’t know what we are doing and like to walk around pretending everything is going according to plan making the rest of us fumbling mortals feel super bad, I thought as I sighed, closing my eyes and breathing deeply. A Breath Technician once told half of life’s problems could be solved if we simply learned to breathe properly.

On that last thought I must have fallen back asleep because next thing, I woke up with a start, the power must have come back on, with the radio blaring electronic dance music at high volume. A song was playing which sounded like a violin being played backwards in slow motion, using a blunt carving knife, cutting painfully through the chords, one at a time. Perhaps it might not have been that bad but it resonated at the same natural frequency as my headache, because it was now pounding in earnest.

I muted the radio, staggered to the bathroom, found pain medication in the medicine cabinet above the sink, as my bathroom mirror reflection watched me probably in disapproval or was it sympathy. I swallowed the pills and cupped my hand to collect water from the sink, to chase down the painkillers. To be honest I didn’t trust people who just swallowed pills with no water at all.

 I needed a shower.

My arms were covered with ink stamps from the various clubs we had been to last night, I looked like I had been a canvas for a five year old with a fistful of crayons and a whole lot of inspiration. The ink washed away as I bathed, disappearing, as if it had never been there, if only some of life’s regrets could be washed away with foam bath and water, like yesterday’s sweat, that would be joy.

After my post bathing pleasantries, I chose to be happy, sometimes you have to choose it’s a not a matter of spontaneous combustion, you have to set yourself on fire. What do the proverbial they say again, “fake it till you make it?” I smiled,

I smell good, I look good and I feel good.” starring at the mirror I had to agree,

Your reflection does look better when you have Joy.”

Those words, I had a moment of déjà vu someone said them to me or I said them to someone; last night, I tried to recall, then the moment was gone, the memory eluded me. Warming up left-overs in the kitchen, I realised last night I must have binged on the meat, leaving only gravy and bread, so I settled for that with a cup of coffee spiked with some cocoa powder, it tasted like childhood memories, happy ones.

My phone rang, but it took a couple of rings for me to realise it, the ringtone was different, a pop upbeat love song. I do remember most definitely not having that song in my phone. When I think of Valentine’s Day I can imagine people with heart-shaped designs for eyes like cartoon characters. February, when love is in the air, and I would be the one guy wearing a full body hazmat suit, so as not to catch it. For someone who claims I do not believe in love, I am more sentimental than the cynic I pretend to be. The phone call was from one of the guys calling to check if I was still alive, that I had not woken up dead having overdosed or died in my sleep, the kind of friends that call to see if you make it home safe.

After the phone conversation, I had a better idea of my puzzle pieces that was yesterday, prudence dictates that I start from the beginning.

The beginning is that I like to be alone, but I like to be alone in the company of other people, lost in my own thoughts. I was hanging out with my friends celebrating their various achievements, one friend had recently sealed a lucrative business deal, which explained the expensive whiskey. I always make appropriate congratulatory noises, but frankly I never celebrate my accomplishments because I always get what I set out to get and it never makes me happy though I can pretend, smile on all the right prompts, blended.

Maybe I don’t know how to be happy or I am missing a happiness gene, I was just the watcher. I watched, I watched how real people behaved in case I ever wrote a book I sometimes imagined I was that clever emotionless character from Star Trek.

I was watching as usual, when I saw her, she saw me, everything fell into place, as if it had all been leading to this moment, I feel like a cliché but the rest of the evening, time flew in a blur of pleasantries, and coincidences. Discovering common uncommon traits in a random stranger like they are another version of you, maybe that is what a soul mate is, someone who reads the same weird books by obscure authors, listens to music on the B side of albums not the hits, just like you be content with companionable silence and not have the need to fill it up with meaningless words.

I remember she took my phone and saved her number, that is when she must have changed the ringtone, I remember lots of smiles and a kiss goodnight, I do not remember her name.

I grabbed my phone scrolled through the contacts hoping one might light up something, but there’s over five hundred entries and I am only in touch with a handful of people and the rest well I just have their numbers saved, who knows when you might need to call that one guy who claims to be a witch doctor or hook up free satellite TV subscriptions. I laughed, I couldn’t stop, I laughed till I cried, I can’t remember the last time I really laughed.

Life, if it gave you lemons, you really needed to stop doing drugs, because life did not go around giving people fruit. I laughed some more at my wit and it hit me this was me being happy, when everyone was gone you were the only one left and you made yourself happy, you grew your own flowers, that was joy.

Last night, I saw her, she saw me, the cliché and I said “I am looking for joy that lasts forever

You happen to be in luck___” she had replied.

My phone rang, jarring my senses back to the present, the screen lit up:

JOY calling

That was her name, Joy.

You happen to be in luck because I am Joy and I have been waiting for you to stop running so I could catch you.” That was how she had introduced herself last night.

I smiled, I always smile when I answer the phone, I read somewhere it could be felt in your voice. Joy was never chased or sought, she was the butterfly who came freely and landed on your palm, and my new chapter begun, the happily ever after.

Hello Joy…

joy

~B

Day 17 Of My Blog Everyday Challenge themed Africa: Stories From Home

Of Somebody Else’s Problem

Of somebody else’s problem

An SEP (Somebody else’s problem) is something we can’t see, or don’t see, or our brain doesn’t let us see, because we think that it’s somebody else’s problem. That’s what SEP means. Somebody Else’s Problem. The brain just edits it out, it’s like a blind spot.

If you are not a fan, which I am of Douglas Adams’s book Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy A Trilogy in four parts then you may not be familiar with how the origin of the phrase….

Someone Else's Problem Field

 

“Somebody Else’s Problem field, or SEP, is a cheap, easy, and staggeringly useful way of safely protecting something from unwanted eyes. It can run almost indefinitely on a torch (flashlight)/9 volt battery, and is able to do so because it utilises a person’s natural tendency to ignore things they don’t easily accept, like, for example, aliens at a cricket match. Any object around which an S.E.P. is applied will cease to be noticed, because any problems one may have understanding it (and therefore accepting its existence) become Somebody Else’s. An object becomes not so much invisible as unnoticed”

Life,The Universe and Everything Douglas Adam HITCHHIKER’s GUIDE TO THE GALAXY

But here’s the thing somebody else’s problem has a way of coming back and causing quite a stink which one cant ignore……

There used to be this skinny mangy looking dog that would terrorise our trash can and rip out the big black plastic trash bags we left out for the rubbish man to collect. Trash collection day is supposed to be every Thursday morning. Way back when the city fathers ran an efficient service delivery system,  you knew if you left your trash out at 7 in the morning like clockwork by 8 in the morning the garbage truck would have passed and the streets would be empty and it was beautiful.

Now I guess refuse removal services are not on their list of priorities I guess they have more pressing concerns like trying to prevent water borne disease outbreaks reclaiming the CBD from the street vendors who have invaded the city pavements

harare vendors

Of course they say service delivery is poor because rate payers are not paying rates and naturally the rate payers refuse to pay for poor or non-delivered services  and so we have what we have.

You leave the trash outside and sometimes they come and collect, if they don’t you could brave it out and leave the trash outside, until they eventually get round to coming maybe in a week maybe more; or you could carry your trash right back into the yard otherwise stray dogs will come and have a field day; all your rubbish scattered on the driveway for the whole neighborhood to see.

So there was this stray, a mangy dog skinny, kinda crazy eyed and slightly foaming at the mouth, I never made eye contact with it, they sense fear. That’s what I read somewhere. It would to terrorise the whole neighbourhood, and we had to figure out innovative ways of securing and disposing of our trash until the trashman eventually made an appearance.

Whose dog was it? I don’t know it wasn’t my problem.

Notice how I use past tense when I mention the dog, that there was this stray dog, that’s because one day not too long ago, some speeding motorist ran over it, who didnt see it because it wasnt his problem ended its streak of tyranny, didnt even slow down or stop just kept speeding on and before it died, in one final act of defiance, the dog crawled and died right across from my gate. I guess somehow it must have heard me curse as I cleaned up after an episode of its rampant ravaging of the trash “someone do me a favour and put that dog out of my misery

Well, now there it was dead and just outside my gate, too.

dead dog

Somebody should take care of that I thought, but it aint my dog and I didnt run over it. “Its somebody else’s problem” I thought as I walked right past it.

I walked past the dead dog and I did not see it. I did not see it decompose a little each day I didn’t even as much as spare it a thought as it changed into a rotten carcass, stinking up the neighborhood, I didn’t see it but I could smell it, the putrid stench of decay and after a while not even that because it wasn’t my problem, it was somebody else’s problem……. I suppose it eventually decomposed away or whatever. Does this story sound familiar?

There’s a somewhat stinky moral in there somewhere. Half the problems and challenges we are facing these days are that no one steps in because its somebody else’s problem, you walk past a long queue of people waiting to get just a little bit of cash from the bank but that’s not your problem because the central reserve bank is your personal bank, you walk past a child too young to be in the street and you keep walking because its somebody else’s problem, you walk past a group of people being abusive to someone else, and well…. Its somebody else’s problem.

I am not saying we should walk around not minding our own business and butting into everything and anything but maybe we should. The first step is simply stopping and pointing out to someone else, this is a problem what should we do about it?………….

What happens when a generation who wont ask for help because they cannot admit being wrong or that things aren’t working out meets a generation who won’t stop to help because well its not their problem…….

its NOT someone else's problem

~B

Day five of my blog everyday challenge

#MyAFricaMyWords

 

 

 

Of Coffee With Ojoma: Head of Arts, West Africa for British Council

Coffee with Ojoma

If you were having coffee with me we would be having an easy chat over coffee with Ojoma Ochai. Ojama is the Director Arts and Creative Economy West Africa British Council

B: A pleasure to have this chat, thank you for your time Ojoma, first question tea or Coffee because there are only two kinds of people in the world.

O: Coffee – No sugar, no cream; so real coffee. Haha.

B: Your title has us impressed but, what exactly do you do? We are intrigued by the Creative bit especially.

O: I lead the British Council Arts and Creative Economy programme in West Africa which essentially means leading design and delivery of skills programmes, artistic showcasing and other activity that connects the arts sectors of the UK and West Africa. We work across film, music, fashion, visual and performing arts etc. so quite a wide range of work. I also lead our policy advocacy, partnerships in this area and work with partners and funders across both locations.

B: Most times the creative arts are viewed more as an aside project than something taken seriously any ideas how we can change this perception?

O: we need to provide evidence to the contrary and make the case every time. Economically for example, the UK creative Economy contributes half the size of Nigeria’s GDP to the UK economy every year. It’s hard when confronted with such figures to see it as a side hustle. We need to have the evidence and say it over and over again till it gets through.

B: How do you see the future of the creative arts in Africa especially in this digital global world

O: There is a lot of evidence that shows the rising trajectory from East, West, Southern Africa – I think with growing internet penetration, the talented youth, it can only grow. My only concern is where the value will be created. If we don’t find ways to capture the value here on the continent, it will be capitalised on for value elsewhere. It is not either or but Africa should benefit economically ad socially form its creative outputs but if we don’t own the means of production and distribution, we won’t.

B: You were in Harare; Zimbabwe for the 2018 Global Report of the 2005 Convention launch how was your experience, country people culture?

O: I loved, loved loved Zimbabwe and I will come back!! You hear a lot of stuff in the media and the experience wasn’t as dire as the media paints it. And yes, the work I do for UNESCO on the global panel of experts for the 2005 convention is very stimulating and so I enjoyed the workshops and talks thoroughly.

ddt5f7dxcaack_h.jpg

 

B: I watched you deliver a presentation during a panel discussion at the launch of the 2018 Global Report; could you just briefly outline how stakeholders would best work together to make creative and cultural industries work?

O: yes, the main gist of my presentation was that there are many stakeholders that can work together to make the culture and creative industries work – education, trade, finance etc but we often leave them out of the conversation and so we should do more to bring more people around the table. To do so, we need to have evidence of course of the value so back to the point about making the case to show why the arts are important. That’s always a starting point.

B: You were once nominated young person of the year in Nigeria by the Future Awards once; wow! Do share what had you done?

O: ha ha. Just for being fabulous… seriously – it was for my work creating opportunities for young Nigerians through my work in British Council…

B: Its inspiring when the young can make an impact in the world around them and not only that you were on a list of most influential women in Nigeria tell us about that; Do you consider yourself a big deal?

O: I really don’t consider myself a big deal or take myself too seriously. What I do take seriously is the quality of my work and I guess people notice that. I have been lucky to be in a position where I can visibly do good thing and create opportunities but for everyone visible me there are hundreds, maybe thousands, doing great things in their closets everyday… 

B: Most of our audience are of the writing persuasion; and sometimes it does feel like an art the world forgot about; any words for the Literary Activists

O: I leave them with a quote credited to the English journalist Jim Murray : Learn to write. Never mind the damn statistics. If you like statistics, become a CPA.

B: As a woman; have you felt you had to prove yourself more to be who you are ? What can you say to the fellow sisters?

O: Not really and I suspect I am the exception. I have been lucky I have had the opportunity to be in spaces where my work and contribution speak for themselves.

B: How do people get in touch with you?

O: twitter – @ojomaochai

B: Any people you want to give shout outs? feel free to wave like they can see you…

O: Hello world! Haha.

B: Its been awesome having you thank you for your time; Last Question; What is the weirdest question anyone has asked you?

O: they asked me what’s the weirdest question any one ever asked me. -_-

ojoma ochai

Bio:

Ojoma Ochai is Head of Arts, West Africa for British Council. In this role, Ojoma works with public and private sector partners in the UK and West Africa to develop and deliver programmes that build skills, international and local networks and other capacity that promote the growth and collaboration potential of the arts sector and creative economy between the sub region and the UK.

Ojoma is also a member of the UNESCO global expert facility on the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression. From 2014 to 2016, she was Entertainment Specialist for a World Bank Growth and Employment project in Nigeria, advising on cluster based approaches for film and music sector development in Nigeria.

Nominated Young Person of the Year in Nigeria by The Future Awards in 2010 and listed on the YNaija list of 10 Most Powerful People In Nigeria’s Arts and Culture (under 40) in 2014, and YNaija 100 Most Influential Women in Nigeria, in 2015; Ojoma is also a Fellow of the DEVOS Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland, USA and an Associate of the Nigerian Leadership Institute (NLI). She is chair of the Lagos Theatre Festival Board until July 2018, Chair of Open House Lagos Board ( 2015 – 2017) and sits on the board of Music Museum Foundation of Nigeria

@ojomaochai

linkedin.com ojomaochai

 

 

Day 4 of my Africa: Stories from home themed blog everyday challenge

~B

Of Creative Mornings: A philosophy Of Communitism

“What Africa needs the most, is not food aid, drought relief or funding…… what Africa needs the most is Courage”

-Thembe Khumalo

 

 

A quote from Thembe Khumalo during her presentation at the Creative Mornings Harare Chapter #CMhre titled A philosophy of communitism.

A philosophy of communitism

 

Creative Mornings are monthly sessions held across hubs in cities all over the world, where creatives meet for a breakfast talk and a host shares a brief talk. The theme for the month was community… #cmCOMMUNITY

This is a brief overview of Thembe Khumalo’s presentation A Philosophy Of Communitism.

A philosophy of communitism

Thembe Khumalo is a poet, writer, newspaper columnist and descendant of the Zulu warrior clan and she shared this as preview of her presentation:

If you are wondering just like I did, when I first heard the word communitism, if it even is a word, well it is now…… Local action for a universal mission: communitism

Are you familiar with the story of the Redwood tree forests they grow tall, standing for centuries upon centuries, yet their roots are not overwhelmingly deep….

redwood forest

The secret lies underground, their roots, though they don’t grow deep, they grow wide, their roots intertwine…….

landscaping around tree roots Redwood Tree Roots Intertwined

Young trees grow, their roots sheltered and nourished by the roots of trees of old, all trees connected, through time and space.

And just like this nature teaches us about how our strength lies in each other

People need people.

We understand this lesson and yet, here we all, here we all are and here we all are still knowing what we are…..

#CMcommunity #cmhre

We live in fear, and the things we fear the most, are not soldiers, guns and rioting protestors, what we fear the most are the things that make us vulnerable yet these are the very things that make us magic that humanise us/

We afraid of intimacy because intimacy equals In To Me See

intimacy = Into me see

We sweep under the rug the parts of ourselves that we think do not conform, hiding behind labels and stereotypes, Pastor, Leader, Parent, Youth, Aunt, Uncle…. Imprisoned in safe spaces of silence where we can not speak.

Yet the things that keep us safe are not our safe spaces the bars on our windows, the walls and fences around us, locks, the army and their bullets. The things that keep us safe are one another.

diversity

What we need is the courage to be who we are and to be accepting of who others are. Being courageous is just like exercising a muscle the more you work it out the bigger and stronger it gets…………….

beatonm5

I have untold stories saved in draft folders in long forgotten drives because I am afraid of the little bits of my soul exposed to whoever chances upon my pages but if I never get the courage to tell my own story, who shall tell it for me, and this, this is why I write…..

#CMcommunity

#MyAfricaMyWords

~B

 

Day 2 of the blogging challenge

Photo Credits:

Thembe Khumalo

Cde Tseisi

The FeedZW

Silviakwin

FaithKats

Tony Howel redwood trees

 

 

Of Coffee Blog Anniversary and Blog Everyday Challenge

Of Coffee Blog Anniversary and Blog challenges

If you were having coffee with me I would say hello September and goodbye winter, does this mean we are in summer now? I really don’t know we seem to have only two seasons summer and winter or rather cold dry season hot dry season and hot wet season.

Guess what my blog turned 5!!!

blog anniversary

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that I am celebrating my blog anniversary in exactly the same way I did last year, looks like it’s become a tradition, doing a blog everyday challenge. The theme for this year will be Africa: Stories from home.

And of course because Africa’s secret weapon is community, I am roping in my Afroblogger friends to take part in the challenge too, because the more the merrier, and also a burden shared is burden halved…….

africa unite

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you to expect stories from Africa, about Africa, the little things that never make the mainstream media, the things I want to read about but can never find online. You know the saying “if you want to read something and you cannot find anywhere perhaps you should write it yourself

If you have any topics and curious questions you have always wanted to know about Africa and where I hail from go ahead ask, and I may dedicate a blog post to explain. Not only will it help me find material to write about but one of my reasons for doing this challenge is to share the real story about Africa #MyAfricaMyWords

I am from Zimbabwe a teapot shaped country in southern Africa.

A teapot shaped country south of africa

A teapot shaped country

If you were having coffee with me I would wish you an awesome new month and ask you to wish me luck, I intend to crush this challenge, this will be my third such blog everyday challenge, I think I got this!!!

beatonm5

Whats going on in your neck of the woods?

~B