For Your Daily Dose of MbA

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"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Friday, 25 February 2011

"The Spirit of Democracy"

The seminal unrest that is going on in North Africa (and the Middle East) has inspired the change in Amashibi on the blog.  I never thought Gaddafi would be wobbled let alone in serious risk of being toppled.  The recent events in Libya have negated that view.  What is scary though is that each time a new country in North Africa walks in Tunisia's footsteps, the protests get more powerful and more violent and events seem to gain momentum much faster.  I feel like Eygpt's movement was on crack,  and now Libya is moving at warp speed!

I will blog about Libya in more detail next week.  It's been a long one and I'd like to be able to passively follow for a bit longer before I actively give my two cents.  Until then all I can say is I know one thing for sure - Richard Dowden, a British journalist who has covered Africa for decades is right:

"The spirit of democracy is not at all alien to Africa."

The BBC has been providing great coverage on a dedicated page of their website since the unrest began in the region.  You can keep up-to-date with live video here.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Innocent Mugabe

When my older sister led me to this article, the first thing I thought was: And they like to separate North Africa because this region is sooo different from sub-Saharan Africa, ha! Lies, lies I tell you because the Egyptian man who has named his first-born daughter Facebook has just displayed typical African behaviour by giving his child an inappropriate English word for a name.

In my country people are called Crankshaft, Anybody, Foluteer (a bastardisation of Volunteer) and many other highly inappropriate names.  Some names are translated straight from vernacular to English, immediately turning them from normal to inappropriate, as well as made up names that sound English and last but not least English names that are mispronounced and until they are spelt you would have no idea that that Kle-gee is actually called Craig. TIA, gotta love it :)

English names have a particular meaning in Southern Africa.  I have been asked many times what my Christian name is as I go by my Zambian name.  I will be a heathen forever, I like my name and I will use it proudly and am reconciled to the fact that some people will never be able to handle the consonant cluster at the beginning.   It is actually quite scary how colonised some people are that they think that using their English name makes them better than others or that it makes them seem more refined, more civlised.  Apart from the fact that most of the names that the English were forcing their colonies to adopt to prove that they were leaving behind their barbaric ways and had seen the light were English, not bible names.  Mary yes, Marjory not so much.  I like how a lot of Nigerians don't have any English names and make sure they are nice and long for people to trip over.  Naija pride, gotta love it. However, I do not believe that using your African name makes you prouder of your roots than those who don't either.

Today I came across the most perfect name and as I always say about real life, you can't write this stuff.  I have held many jobs that require me to come across a lot of names.  At school, working for the Alumni Association as a student caller had me come across names like the Asian Ping Pong.  Of course when his parents named him, they had no idea they had called him table tennis and that one day this would amuse me greatly. And now I have been notified that there is such a thing as an Innocent Mugabe.  Because he is Ugandan, I will believe his parents ;}.

All this led me to wonder if this phenomenon of erroneous use of English words for identification purposes is used around the world for all of two seconds. I stopped pondering this when I have reminded myself that celebrities have a penchant for doing this on a grand scale, as evidenced by names like Apple and Blanket.  All we need is now is Cake and Soda and we can have a picnic in the park ;}.  Contemplating this reminded me of A Song For Whoever by Beautiful South.  So I will end by indulging in a little 80s nostalgia as I absolutely loved this song as a child and still do. So innocent, so cute, so profound in its simplicity and my younger sister's name is mentioned.

"I love you from the bottom of my pencil case." CLASSIC! :)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011


Usually to regenerate I watch films and sport.  However, this is heavy season in Hollywood and even though I enjoyed Black Swan immensely, it did nothing for my mental peace! Sooooo good I highly recommend.  I also highly recommend the King's Speech.  Very excited for Oscar night...

Unfortunately, I cannot rely on Chelsea for a pick-me-up either seeing as it seems their good fortune has gone down the toilet since their brilliant start to the season.  I have no idea why Torres is now on the squad, I feel another Schevschenko (no idea if that is the right spelling and I don't care that is how much I couldn't stand his uselessness) coming on and I am not amused. AT ALL.

And to make it worse, Rafa got injured at the Aussie Open (yes it has taken me this long to recover from seeing him reduced to tears as he fought on so as not to retire in the quarter finals against his countryman Ferrer).  After such a brilliant 2010, I am sad to see his season start out this way.  I hope he recovers for the American hard court interlude before the clay court season start.  I love seeing him win the French - it never gets old, so I am hoping that things will work themselves out. I am glad he was honoured with the Laureus Sportsman of the Year award this year because he deserves it.  He works so hard and fights to the bitter end.  Very inspiring. Looking at his lovely bod as he models for Armani Jeans is a great substitute for the lack of gratification from sport at the moment though he he he...

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Only Human (And That Is Enough)

Ever since following the seminal change happening in North Africa and watching it filter to the Middle East and even to West Africa I have had to take a bit of a hiatus.  I am also going through an interesting time in my life, trying to juggle work, prepare for an imminent transition, keep up-to-date in the goings on in the world while trying to making sure I am personally at peace.  This proved rather hard this week for various unforeseen reasons but it has been a great learning experience so in retrospect I am glad I weathered the storm.

It is really important to take that time to be introspective and to figure out what your goals are and more importantly the need to stand one's ground even if other people may not like it as ultimately your wellbeing is yours, not anyone else's.  I was recently given some very good advice by my MENTOR, whom I will write about soon as I think it is important for everyone to have people that they can go to for personal and/ or professional guidance: 

Isaiah 41: 10-13:

10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
   do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
   I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
 11 “All who rage against you
   will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
   will be as nothing and perish.
12 Though you search for your enemies,
   you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
   will be as nothing at all.
13 For I am the LORD your God
   who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
   I will help you.

I take these words metaphorically not literally.  I do not believe God to be vengeful or violent.  I read from this that if you stand your ground and present yourself honestly to the world, your deeds will be evidence enough and others will see them and you will not suffer in the long run. If you trust in yourself, you trust in the truth ultimately standing up for you when you are tested and/or questioned.  

I believe that it is okay and important to disagree. I think this is paramount for ideas to grow and so it is good not  to hang around with exact replicas of yourself or to want everyone to think, work and be like you.  And I think it is important to accept people's differences and learn to be adaptable and to try to work things out.  You can only change yourself, you can't expect other people to change and believe me there are many people who won't.  And sometimes you have to accept that things may not be resolvable or that a different strategy may be needed to be able to find a solution that involves compromise to salvage a situation.  And sometimes you just have to walk away.  That doesn't mean defeat - some things are just not meant to be. One of the biggest lessons I have learnt is that control can come from a place of strength or a place of weakness and it is important to beware of the kind that comes from weakness for it is the kind that tries to conquer and destroy for fear of being overwhelmed or sidelined.  It is also important to know when to relinquish control to someone else, or to simply walk away and know that takes strength and maturity to do so.  I am still learning how to do that effectively.  It is a very hard skill to master.  The problem isn't the doing actually, its more of dealing with the aftermath, especially when resistance is involved. 

I believe that you can find inspiration from all religions but  my defacto is Christianity as that is the faith I was brought up in.  And these words were the right words of inspiration I needed to hear and I hope that they may provide comfort when needed, no matter what you believe in.  If those words don't resonate with you, the try Aaliyah's song, which I like to play in my head when I need to get through a tough spot:

Friday, 11 February 2011

Pharoah No More

FINALLY!!!! How much more violence, protesting and economic standstill could Mubarak have turned a blind eye to?! Then again he is an African leader and a typical one at that: an old school benevolent dictator that refuses to see that his children have grown up and don't need such heavy handed rearing because they can think for themselves. I am so glad that the Egyptians did not back down and fought to the end for what they believe in.  Even though the change came at more of a cost than it did for the Tunisians, at least they have been rewarded for their efforts. The Vice President announced today that President Mubarak was stepping down and relinquishing power to the armed forces, whom are still looked on favourably by the protesters it seems. Tahrir Square has lived up to its name - it has allowed the protesters to not be deterred by the "wall of fear" and provided a place for them to voice their demands these last two and half weeks and they have been rewarded with liberation from 30 years of autocratic rule.

Here is video of Hosni Mubarak's speech that he gave yesterday, refusing to step down and continuing to maintain that he loves Egypt, its people and is doing the best for the country because he selflessly cares about the demands the protesters have made and will endeavour to fulfill them:

It is quite clear that the Egyptians did not believe him and how quickly he changed his tune (well since yesterday anyways, not over the last few weeks obviously)! The protesters angered by his word, stormed Heliopolis, where the Palace housing the executive office of the President is located, and this was probably the final straw that irreparably broke the camel's back.

Here is a video of jubilant celebration after the news of Mubarak's demise:

If it is true that he has gone to Sharm El Sheik, I have no words! Has he just up and left all of a sudden and has decided to go on holiday?! Didn't he hear about the recent shark attacks in the area? ;} 

You can follow events live at the BBC and Al Jazeera.

Inshallah this is the beginning of a peaceful transition and the violence does not bleed into Egypt's next steps. And I hope that even though Mubarak may have outstayed his welcome, the Egyptians do let him fade into the background in a dignified manner as he has played a pivotal role in trying to keep the peace in the Middle East.

Thursday, 3 February 2011


I knew that kefaya meant enough but had no idea that it was actually an recognised moniker for an Egyptian coalition that has been opposing President Mubarak for quite some time.  There I was just trying to make sure that I was right and Google turned up this little nugget of information.  You learn something new everyday, it's true :).

I am however saying enough to the craziness of the Egyptian situation.  It has descended into people losing sight of their true goals I think.  Now there are machine guns, fire and stones drowning out the once peaceful protests against the current regime, now reduced to an echo we have to strain our ears to hear.  Mubarak has formally announced his commitment to stepping down in September, has officially declared that his son Gamal will not run in the next elections and has barred several ministers from fleeing the country by freezing their assets. And he has every right to fear that the country could fall into further disarray if he just ups and leaves as some would have him do. Now there are deaths and the injury count is inching ever closer to 1000 and all this happened in a day! At the same time, as many Western leaders have said, it looks unlikely that Mubarak can hold out until September.  The situation is getting worse and people fear what will happen tomorrow. I am happy that the army is stepping in now to separate the opposing groups.

Fear seems to be driving a lot of decisions lately.  In Algeria, in an attempt to counteract any attempts to protest a la Tunisia and Eygpt, the Algerian President has quickly employed countermeasures to appease his people.  President Bouteflika has annouced that the state of emergency imposed in the 90s to will be lifted very soon.  Who knew?!   There are so many things I do not know and it is no excuse that I am not the only one who was in the dark about North Africa.  I am glad that I am learning although I wish it had not been spurred by what is now turning into a tragedy.

To keep following the BBC is continuing its live feed with video and textual updates here.

You can also watch Al Jazeera live here.

The newly elected Prime Minister, Ahmed Shaqif, has apologised for yesterdays attacks.  He vowed that justice will prevail and  has condemned the violence stressing that the perpetrators will be sought out and punished.  Protesters believe that the pro-Mubarak factions are organised and sponsored by the government.  The weaponry that they are using is too sophisticated and it seems that they are working to a schedule.  The Prime Minister, while denying government involvement has indicated that if this is the case, it will be found out and dealt with all the same. Here is a video of his press conference:

Peaceful Protest No More

Unfortunately, after President Mubarak's speech yesterday, in which he asked for stability and talked about how Egyptian he is and how much he loves his country, today the once peaceful protests have taken an ugly turn.  Even though the internet and the banking system have been restored, people are not satisfied with Mubarak stepping down until September and the opposition have called for him to step down on Friday.  I have been gripped to this story all day, hearing how men on horses and camels have led those in support of Mubarak to clash with those who have been protesting for the last week.  And now Cairo is ablaze :(.  Why have these guys suddenly come out of the woodwork? Is this a clever political ploy as many of the protesters fear? Is Mubarak trying to swing public opinion to make him seem less like an autocrat and more like a benevolent dictator who is trying to make a dignified exit? Is he afraid he will have to live out his days in exile like his Tunisian doppelganger?

I am sad that unlike in Tunisia, where the power shift was quick to let the country make a peaceful transition, Egypt has turned violent.  One lady, who was interviewed by the BBC in the thick of things at Tahrir square, said she was fearful as even though the world thinks of Egypt as a moderate place with apathetic citizens, once Egyptians make up their minds they are stubborn.  She called for compromise and for people to see that they had won: Mubarak has stepped down and all they have to do is wait a couple of months for the election.  She could see no one who has enough support to go on TV and talk down the protesters and felt that the situation will only get worse if people do not see this victory for what it is.  I really hope that Mubarak did not pay people to start the fighting. And I hope that even though the West has a vested interest economically, politically and militarily that they do not interfere.  It will only make things worse.  We have to let the Egyptians come to their own truth otherwise if things further deteriorate Western intervention will be blamed and people will not take responsibility for their actions.

It seems that in Yemen things have gone smoothly, and surprisingly in Jordan, there have been protests to oust their Prime Minister! I am shocked as I think of Jordan as like Egypt.  It is crazy how Tunisia has created such a domino effect in such a short period of time.

You can watch a live feed and get regular updates from the BBC here.

Here is a transcript of President Mubarak's speech yesterday.

Here is video of the clashes today: