Celebrating the Love of Friends in a Loving World

Celebrating the Love of Friends in a Loving World
Red Roses for You, My Sweet Friends ... Total Love.

My Sweet Friends

My sweet friends,

We grow closer to each other;

When we interact together and share ideas;

The common faith that we share,

Binds our hearts in one accord.

For sweet friendships last a life time,

When built on mutual respect, humility and understanding;

Throughout each different season,

We find we are one in life.

Sweet friends are there through times of grief;

And times when hope is gone;

Always there with encouragement;

So we can carry on.

I thank the Lord for you,

My true and faithful friends;

To fondly speak with you, whether we agree or not,

On this, our beloved blog;

For sweet friends will stay, no matter what;

Giving support.

Together, our hearts and minds truly unite;

With the amazing love of sweet friends.

In the spirit of true friendship,

Best wishes, my sweet friends;

May the Lord bless you abundantly.

I remain, yours truly,

B.B. Bakampa.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

GET UP AND DO SOMETHING: A CALL TO INTELLECTUALS OF AFRICA.


[B.B. Bakampa’s Note: I came across this article, the author of which is unknown, read it carefully and oh my, it is a very revolutionary, quite insightful and highly informative piece. Its frankness and good sense, certainly make interesting reading. Although you may find it somewhat annoying, I suggest that you take off a few minutes of your precious time to read it calmly and understand its moral lesson i.e. the need for African elites to champion the continent’s development agenda. Nice reading.]

GET UP AND DO SOMETHING: A CALL TO INTELLECTUALS OF AFRICA.

They call the third world the lazy mans purview; the sluggishly slothful and languorous prefecture. In this realm people are sleepy, dreamy, torpid, lethargic, and therefore indigent – totally penniless, needy, destitute, poverty-stricken, disfavored, and impoverished. In this demesne, as they call it, there are hardly any discoveries, inventions, and innovations. Africa is the trailblazer. Some still call it the dark continentfor the light that flickers under the tunnel is not that of hope, but an approaching train, millions die and many more remain decapitated by the day.Its amazing how you all sit there and watch yourselves die,” the man next to me said. Get up and do something about it.

Brawny, fully bald-headed, with intense, steely eyes. He was as cold as they come. When I first discovered I was going to spend my New Years Eve next to him on a non-stop JetBlue flight from Los Angeles to Boston I was angst-ridden. I associated marble-shaven Caucasians with iconoclastic skin-heads, most of who are racists.

“My name is Walter.He extended his hand as soon as I settled in my seat.

I told him mine with a precautious smile.

Where are you from,he asked.

Zambia.

Zambia!” He exclaimed, “Kaundas country.

Yes, I said, Now Satas.

But of course, he responded. You just elected King Cobra as your president.

My face lit up at the mention of Satas moniker. Walter smiled, and in those cold eyes I saw an amenable fellow, one of those American highbrows who shuttle between Africa and the U.S.

I spent three years in Zambia in the 1980s, he continued. “I wined and dined with Luke Mwananshiku,Willa Mungomba, Dr. Siteke Mwale and many other highly intelligent Zambians.

He lowered his voice. I was part of the IMF group that came up to rip you guys off.

He smirked. Your government put me in a million dollar mansion overlooking a shanty called Kalingalinga. From my patio I saw it all – the rich and poor, the ailing, the dead, and the healthy.

Are you still with the IMF?I asked.

I have since moved to yet another group with similar intentions. In the next few months my colleagues and I will be in Lusaka to hypnotize the Cobra. I work for the broker that has acquired a chunk of your debt. Your government owes not the World Bank, but us millions of dollars. Well be in Lusaka to offer your president a couple of millions and fly back with a cheque twenty times greater.

No, you wont,I said. King Cobra is incorruptible. He is ....

He was laughing. Says who? Give me an African president, just one, who has not fallen for the carrot and stick.

Quett Masires name popped up.

Oh, him, well, we never got to him because he turned down the IMF and the World Bank. It was perhaps the smartest thing for him to do.

At midnight we were airborne. The captain wished us a happy 2012 and urged us to watch the fireworks across Los Angles.

Isnt that beautiful,Walter said, looking down.

From my middle seat, I took a glance and nodded admirably.

Thats white mans country,he said. We came here on Mayflower and turned Indian Land into a paradise and now the most powerful nation on earth. We discovered the bulb, and built this aircraft to fly us to pleasure resorts like Lake Zambia.

I grinned. There is no Lake Zambia.

He curled his lips into a smug smile. Thats what we call your country. You guys are as stagnant as the water in the lake. We come in with our large boats and fish your minerals and your wildlife and leave morsels – crumbs. Thats your staple food, crumbs, the small Tilapia fish you call Kapenta is crumbs. We the Bwanas (whites) take the cat fish. I am the Bwana and you are the Muntu. I get what I want and you get what you deserve, crumbs. Thats what lazy people get – Zambians, Africans, the entire Third World.

The smile vanished from my face.

I see you are getting pissed off,Walter said and lowered his voice.

You are thinking this Bwana is a racist. Thats how most Zambians respond when I tell them the truth. They go ballistic. Okay. Lets for a moment put our skin pigmentations, this black and white crap, aside. Tell me, my friend, what is the difference between you and me?” “There is no difference.” “Absolutely none,he exclaimed. Scientists in the Human Genome Project have proved that. It took them thirteen years to determine the complete sequence of the three billion DNA subunits. After they were all done, it was clear that 99.9% nucleotide bases were exactly the same in you and me. We are the same people. All white, Asian, Latino and Black people on this aircraft are the same.

I gladly nodded.

And yet I feel superior,he smiled fatalistically. Every white person on this plane feels superior to a black person. The white guy who picks up garbage, the homeless white trash on drugs, feels superior to you no matter his status or education. I can pick up a nincompoop from the New York streets, clean him up, and take him to Lusaka and you all be crowding around him chanting ‘muzungu, muzungu’ and yet hes a riffraff. Tell me why my angry friend.

For a moment I was wordless.

Please, dont blame it on slavery like the African Americans do, or colonialism, or some psychological impact or some kind of stigmatization. And dont give me the brainwash poppycock. Give me a better answer.

I was thinking.

He continued. Excuse what I am about to say. Please, do not take offense.

I felt a slap of blood rush to my head and prepared for the worst.

You my friend, flying with me and all your kind are lazy,he said. When you rest your head on the pillow you dont dream big. You and other so-called African intellectuals are damn lazy, each one of you. It is you and not those poor starving people, who is the reason Africa is in such a deplorable state.

Thats not a nice thing to say,I protested.

He was implacable. Oh yes it is and I will say it again, you are lazy. Poor and uneducated Africans are the most hardworking people on earth. I saw them in the merchandise. I saw them in villages toiling away. I saw women on Kafue Road crushing stones for sell and wept. I said to myself, ‘Where are the Zambian intellectuals? Are the Zambian engineers so imperceptive they cannot invent a simple stone crusher, or a simple water filter to purify well water for the poor villagers?’ Are you telling me that after thirty-seven years of independence your University School of Engineering has not produced a scientist or an engineer who can make small machines for mass use? What is school there for?

I held my breath.

Do you know where I found your intellectuals? They were in bars quaffing. They were at Lusaka Golf Club, Lusaka Central Club. I saw with my own eyes a bunch of alcoholic graduates. Zambian intellectuals work from eight to five and spend the evening drinking. We dont. We reserve the evening for brainstorming.He looked me in the eye. And you flying to Boston and all of you Zambians in the Diaspora are just as lazy and apathetic to your country. You dont care about your country and yet your very own parents, brothers, and sisters are in Mtendere, Chawama and in villages, all of them living in squalor. Many have died or are dying of neglect by you. They are dying of AIDS because you cannot come up with your own cure. You are here calling yourselves graduates, researchers and scientists and are fast articulating your credentials once asked – Oh, I have a PhD in this and that – PhD my foot!

I was deflated.

Wake up you all!he exclaimed, attracting the attention of nearby passengers. You should be busy lifting ideas, formulae, recipes and diagrams from American manufacturing factories and sending them to your own factories. All those research findings and dissertation papers you completed should be your countrys treasure. Why do you think the Asians are a force to reckon with? They stole our ideas and turned them into their own. Look at Japan, China, India; just look at them.He paused. The Bwana has spoken,he said and grinned. As long as you are dependant and in my plane, I shall feel superior and you my friend shall remain inferior. How about that? The Chinese, Japanese, Indians, even Latinos, are a notch better. You Africans are at the bottom of the totem pole.He tempered his voice. Get over this white skin syndrome and begin to feel confident. Become innovative and make your own stuff for Gods sake.

At 8 am the plane touched down at Bostons Logan International Airport. Walter reached for my hand.

I know I was too strong, but I dont give it a damn. I have been to Zambia and have seen too much poverty.He pulled out a piece of paper and scribbled something. Here, read this. It was written by a friend.

He had written only the title: Lords of Poverty.

Thunderstruck, I had a sinking feeling. I watched Walter walk through the airport doors to a waiting car. He had left a huge dust devil twirling in my mind, stirring up sad memories of home. I could see Zambias literati – the cognoscente, intelligentsia, academics, highest grades in mathematics and the sciences and attained the highest education on the planet. They had been to Harvard, Oxford, Yale, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), only to leave us with not a single invention or discovery. I knew some by name and drunk with them at the Lusaka Playhouse and Central Sports.

Walter is right. It is true that since independence we have failed to nurture creativity and collective orientations. We as a nation lack a workhorse mentality and behave like 13 million civil servants dependant on the government pay cheque. We believe that development is generated 8 a.m-5 p.m, behind a desk wearing a tie with our degrees hanging on the wall. Such a working environment does not offer the competition, and the spectacle of innovative rituals.

But the intelligentsia is not solely, or even mainly, to blame. The larger failure is due to political circumstances over which they have had little control. The past governments failed to create an environment of possibility that fosters camaraderie, rewards innovative ideas and encourages resilience. KK, Chiluba, Mwanawasa and Banda embraced orthodox ideas and therefore failed to offer many opportunities for drawing outside the line.

I believed King Cobra’s reset has been cast in the same faculties as those of his predecessors. If today I told him that we can build our own car, he would throw me out.

“Naupena? Fuma apa.(Literally meaning, “Are you mad? Get out of here.”)

Knowing well that King Cobra will not embody innovation at Walters level, lets begin looking for a technologically active, positive leader, who can succeed him after a term or two. That way, we can make our own stone crushers, water filters, water pumps, razor blades, harvesters. Lets dream big, even while on our pillows and make tractors, cars, and planes, or like Walter said, forever remain inferior.

A fundamental transformation of our country from what is essentially non-innovative to a strategic superior African country requires a bold risk-taking, educated leader, with a triumphalist attitude and we have one in YOU. Dont be highly strung and feel insulted by Walter. Take a moment and think about our country. Our journey from 1964 has been marked by tears. It has been an emotionally overwhelming experience. Each one of us has lost a loved one to poverty, hunger and disease. The number of graves is catching up with the population. It is time to change our political culture and activate a positive, progressive movement that will change our lives forever. Dont be afraid or dispirited, rise to the challenge and salvage the remaining few of your beloved ones.

I hope you got the point as articulated by Walter.