My 3 Favorite Easter Songs

Easter is inarguably the most significant holiday on the Christian calendar. It`s the time we remember the sacrifice our Lord and savior Jesus Christ made for you and I to have life, and to have it eternally. So what anthems do we like to sing during Easter?

For the purposes of this list, an Easter Song, is a song which talks about Jesus Christ dying on the cross, and what that meant for mankind. I don’t think any of the 3 were produced for the specific purpose of being a song for Easter, but they fit the card. So without further ado:

Here are 3 of my Favorite Easter Songs (in no particular order).

1. How Great is Your Love

This is a song which features one of my closest friends and a couple of guys he sings with. I love how it talks about the sinner, and the state of life before finding Jesus. “Like a sheep I was lost, full of sins and shame. I never knew there was a Savior, who could save my soul. Was lost and astray, never knew which way to go. I was on a path of destruction, death was waiting for me.”

It then shows how Jesus suffered in our place. “He was wounded for our sin, bruised for our guilt, because of the stripes that wounded Him, we are healed and made whole.” The main theme of the song is how great Jesus` love for us is, to die in our place and reconcile us to Himself. “…He took my life and gave me His, brought me closer to God; He made me His….”

The song is a beautiful and powerful rendition of the full extent of God`s love for us. Towards it`s end, it praises God as it continues to remind the Christian that His Love will never change, and His power will never run dry. No matter who you are and what your past is, Jesus died in your place, and there is forgiveness in Him, through faith and confessing that He is Lord. Indeed how great is His love.

2. Glorious Day (Casting Crowns)

The album on which this song is found, Until the Whole World Hears, is one of my personal favorites. With songs like Jesus Hold Me Now, At Your Feet, and Blessed Redeemer, Casting Crowns absolutely captured my heart. Their lyrics are relatable and reflect real life situations, but they also lead you to Jesus and encourage you to depend on Him more. Amazingly, they almost all can be referenced back to the Bible, which makes it not just poetry and manipulation of sounds to make music, but the divine word of God being used to speak to your life through soothing melody.

This song in particular, is the pick of the bunch. Glorious Day narrates the entire story of Jesus in 4 minutes and 41 seconds. It doesn’t just tell the story in sequence, it allows you to appreciate and comprehend its power. I counted, and in the digital booklet with full lyrics for the album, the writers listed no less than 29 different scriptures which are reflected in different parts of their song, including Old Testament prophecies, New Testament narrations, and post gospel revelations about the power and impact of Jesus`s time on earth.

The chorus says it all: Living, He loved me. Dying, He saved me. Buried, He carried my sins far away. Rising, He justified, freely forever. One day He`s coming. Oh Glorious Day. I could talk about (or listen to) this song all day.

3. Heaven`s Irony (Vocal Union)

Here`s a song aptly named because of the irony in its words. Heaven`s Irony as it puts it. The setting starts on “A hill outside Jerusalem” where “Soldiers led him to die for them.” The irony starts at this point, “…as they nailed the hands that created man, He prayed that they would be forgiven”

It (the irony) comes into full swing at “Through His stripes, I am healed. Through my hate, His love revealed. Through my sins, shined His light. Through His death, He gave me life.” The song moves on to the chorus where it talks about how the Father`s love is full and free. The irony feeding into this theme.

But then it continues at this remarkable description, “…In a borrowed tomb, they buried Him. With a pauper`s shroud, they covered him. In a grave of hardly any worth, lay the MAKER OF THE UNIVERSE!”

As the song gently plays on, with beautiful humming backing the lead singer and joining her at the chorus, it forces you to think about how Christ, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:6)

All that, just for your and my redemption. Indeed, heaven is often ironic.

Your Playlist?

What was on your playlist this Easter? What brings you back to the sacrifice that Jesus made for mankind and keeps you thinking about His love? Leave us your favorite in the comments section below, and consider adding these beautiful songs to your list.

Hope you had a Happy Easter!🙏

7 Things I learnt From My First Month of Blogging

It has now been a full month since this blog became fully operational. I guess that`s an anniversary of some sort. So what have we learnt since I officially started this journey of regularly publishing my work out to the big bad world? How has running my own little insignificant corner of the internet added to my life? Or to yours, if this is not your first visit. Is the effort worth the experience? The hassle any rewarding? Anything that shocked me?

Here are 7 Things I Learnt From My First Month of Blogging.

  1. I don’t know why I started

Okay this shocked me a bit, but it`s definitely true. I genuinely don`t remember why I started this blog. In fact, I don`t think I ever knew. The idea of having a platform where I can express myself and make my writing accessible to anyone who has interest in it has been in my mind for the best part of two years now. In those two years, a lot of ideas crossed through my mind but didn’t get any close to reality. The one which did come close to fruition was named African Iris. Unfortunately it never got off the ground, at least not yet.

One thing which remained consistent was that I wanted a blog. That blog could have been about anything; sport, human rights, culture, gender equality, religion, food, anything. Crucially, it was never entirely about any one of those things. It was about everything; such that in the end when I did get the blog up and running, I was very confused about what I wanted it to be. I essentially spent two years dreaming about what I`d write if I had a blog, but when the day came, somehow I had absolutely nothing to blog about.

2. Growth is Gradual, so is Google Recognition

This one sounds obvious. Trust me it`s not. I remember the first thing I did immediately after publishing my blog was to Google it. It didn`t pop up. I tried it again, with a different variation of words; nothing. Tried the keywords in the first posts I published; not a sign. I swear I thought Google was broken. I had just published something on the internet, surely Google must see that and make sure the world sees that too. Then I Googled “I can`t find my blog on Google…” How did people ever live before Google?

Turns out Google won`t show your blog on their search engine unless they “trust you”. That`s a simplified way to put it. Remember, Google is a business, one which has to provide value to their customers. So search engines will ensure that by providing search results they think provide the most value to their customers, and if your site is 5 minutes old well, you`re not it just yet. Eventually they will recognize you, but that could take as long as 6 months (or more). At least when it comes you feel rewarded. It`s something you`ve worked for.

So if like me, you`ve just started blogging and you can`t initially find yourself on Google, relax. It`s coming if you work for it, I think.

3. It`s All Up To Me

By far my favorite thing about my blog is that it (wait for it)… IS MINE. I started it and I have full power and authority on all changes, design and content that goes up on it. Especially content. I kind of left you hanging on number one up there because the explanation of how I overcame that problem is answered here: I won by simply being me.

Blogging is unlike other trades, where success depends solely on performance. You need people to actually want to read your stuff. At the end though, it`s still about you. I was a bit guilty in the early days of asking, “Will people want to read this?” Well, if it`s what you want to write, then write it regardless. My post prior to this got the least views since I started, it was a cricket match review. I would write it again even if I knew it would perform badly, because the content is important to me and it`s a part of my life, and a part of this blog.

Defining your target market is important, but you shouldn`t let what people may or may not like define what you write or do. Never be afraid to be yourself. Your identity is important. I will write what I want!

4. There`s a lot more to learn

I recently realized that I don’t entirely like what my blog looks like. I think it looks decent, perhaps easy enough to navigate around, but there`s so much that could be better. I`m not worried though. Blogging is a whole journey, and the more I spend time doing it, the more I`ll get better at it and eventually be satisfied with the overall product. Learning, is one of the biggest thing I`ve learnt as a blogger, and I`m not getting out of this classroom any time soon.

5. Engagement is a Whole Love Language.

I`ve already alluded to the fact that success in blogging is not entirely dependent on quality content production. You need people to visit your site, numbers to grow. This is how we measure the success of a site.

When people take time to read/view your work, they`re directly adding to your success. So everyone who ever liked my blog related Facebook posts, followed the account on Instagram or followed a link from a WhatsApp group/my status to this site basically said to me “I see you out there doing your best. I acknowledge your hard work and I support you all the way” and that`s English for “I love you.” And that`s just those who read. Some will also comment, subscribe and ask you how it`s going. Those make it really special. The best way you could ever show love and support to a content creator is through engagement, and whether I make it in the long run or not, I won`t ever forget all this love.

6. Consistency is Hard.

I researched a lot about blogging before starting. One tip that every expert emphasized heavily on was consistency. You can`t have a blog and sit on it. You have to publish regularly, have some kind of schedule and have your readers know when to expect content. So many blogs fail because of not nailing this part of the game.

I didn’t think it was easy, but I thought I`d do alright. The passion I put into getting this up and my determination to make it a success meant I was never going to just set it and forget it. But consistency is a lot harder than you would think. You obviously already have a full schedule of normal daily activities and sometimes fitting in managing a whole blog, writing and constantly seeking to improve it is harder than it looks. Even more so when you`ve just started and are obviously not making money from it yet.

So being a blogger has reminded me that my time is my most valuable resource. I haven`t fully gotten the hang of it, spending 12 hours preparing to go to work, going to work, coming from work and being at work means you not just have half the day gone, but you`re also tired and need to rest and recharge, before you even think about blogging for the day. I`ve actually done decent so far and will only get better at the efficiency, but this is certainly a big thing blogging has made me think more about. Managing your schedule and workload, so you can stay consistent.

7. Blogging is Therapeutic

This is my favorite, the best for last. I just love how blogging has made it a lot easier to express myself. The first time I did that was by making a tribute to the women in my life, and a general fight for women empowerment. A lot of times we have things that are difficult to say, we keep them bottled up and they never get resolved or celebrated. Blogging has given me a new way to open up and reveal not just what I think about the world, but how I relate with myself and my loved ones. This probably won`t be the same with everyone, but for me it`s big.

And hey, blogging is actually more like real life than you would think. Reread this and you`ll realize a few of my lessons are things that apply to general life too. Sometimes we don`t know why we started doing something we`re already in, sometimes we aren`t getting the recognition we want. Sometimes we struggle with being ourselves or what people want us to be, other times we have to be eager to learn more to master the trade. Sometimes simple conversation can be expressive of love, sometimes we need to learn consistency and efficiency to be more productive.

Sometimes, life, is just like writing a blog. Not always straightforward, but difficult, educational and certainly rewarding.

Stuttering but Spirited, Chevrons show Grit versus Afghanistan

The inaugural test series between Zimbabwe`s senior men`s cricket team, the Chevrons and Afghanistan has ended in an entertaining draw. After almost completely annihilating the Afghans in the first match, Zimbabwe found the second game nowhere near as straightforward, with Afghanistan out to prove a point the second time around. It proved to be a captivating battle between the two, and while Afghanistan took the second test, the series probably fairly ended in a draw. But how did it really go?

Outplayed from the Onset

The first two days of the second test were a stark contrast from those of the first. Where in the first test, Zimbabwe were well gelled and firing on all cylinders, in the second they were flustered and almost helpless. Where Afghanistan looked overwhelmed, they came back recharged and well on the money. And crucially, where Zimbabwe`s bowlers were clinical and devastating, this time out they were inconsistent, lackluster and lacked the killer instinct.

But like the Afghan captain, Asghar Afghan (pun intended) put it at the end, they learnt a lot from that drubbing and used it to come back strongly. After winning the toss (again) they this time used it well and piled on the runs. They batted, and batted and batted. Going on for almost two full days, their innings only ending after a declaration with a mammoth total of 545 with just 4 wickets lost.

Afghanistan`s batting was on song, and Hashmatullah Shahidi became the first Afghan Double-Centurion in Test Cricket. Photo cred: Afghanistan Cricket Board, Instagram.

Zimbabwe Poor in Response

What would have been particularly worrying for Zimbabwean fans though, was the apparent lack of response. The bowling department could have done a lot better initially but the batsmen had to try and mount up a fight to try and save the test. They couldn`t. All three top order batsmen got quite decent starts, but they couldn’t kick on for good scores. Particularly frustrating on a seemingly batter-friendly pitch.

The middle order didn’t at all flatter too much either, Ryan Burl and Wesley Madhevere getting a pair of ducks each. The former ending the series with just 8 runs, the latter with not a single one.

Raza Reliable, Williams Sensational, Tiripano Brilliant in Support

The fightback though came from Sikandar Raza and Sean Williams. Raza played an invaluable 85, supported by Regis Chakabva (33) in the first innings. He proved as ever reliable with the willow, ending the series with a flat average of 50. And while he did add a bit of respectability to the score, it was nowhere near what Zimbabwe needed to avoid the follow on. 287 all out.

Again the opening three lot looked to get themselves decent starts, but again it was unconvincing and they didn`t manage to contribute much to the cause. Something for the coaches to think about? Definitely a concern.

And then came Sean Williams. The fantastic skipper, fresh from his match winning century in the first test, had gotten out for a paltry 8 in the first innings and immediately set out to fight for his country when they needed him most. Raza could only add 22 to his first innings total, but in Donald Tiripano (95), the Williams found an unlikely able and willing partner, and together they made the Afghan bowlers toil, with a Zimbabwean record 8th wicket stand of 187. Tiripano unfortunately couldn`t get the ton his brilliant cameo deserved.

Sean Williams` fantastic batting performances saw him named player of the series, after ammasing 264 runs in 3 innings. Photo cred: @zimcricketv, Instagram

Williams eventually ran out of partners, but not before completing his maiden 150. Even with his heroics, a loss was still expected, but the comeback was no-less extraordinary. When Zimbabwe were imperious, Afghanistan had no answer, and when the roles were reversed, the Chevrons took it down to the wire. At one time it looked like they would lose by an innings and a massive deficit, in the end Afghan won by just six wickets. As Williams put it, “We missed out on winning a series by 60 minutes.” What a test match.

So what now?

Well, attention now shifts to 3 T20 internationals to end the tour with Afghanistan between the 17th and 20th of this month. Then it`s a looong wait till August for the limited overs series against Ireland. Pity we can`t build on this test series immediately. I would love to see this team progress and build on their promising all-round performance. Still super proud of the lads and hope they can continue to entertain and most importantly win more cricket matches. Go Chevrons!

BLOOMING BUT VULNERABLE: PLIGHT OF THE AFRICAN WOMAN

Black women have come a long way. We see them today, making themselves count and achieving the extraordinary, it has by no means been an easy journey. But black women are not accustomed to easy. They have fought tooth and nail to be reckoned as a valuable part of society, and empowerment programs have gone a long way in making that possible. Yet so much more can still be done. In fact, so much more still needs to be done.

Photo by Omotayo Tajudeen on Pexels.com

Breaking Barriers…

For the entire existence of mankind, black women have always had to fight one major systemic war or the other. Segregation by race held a lot of our people back in centuries past. Even when we started to conquer that, women still had to overcome segregation by gender. Sometimes this was a perpetuation of the discriminatory tendencies of the privileged. Other times they have been a victim of their own culture.

This is why I never cease to be impressed by the achievements of women of our kind. It is an incredible battle that they have fought, and indeed still fight, for them to be taken seriously by society. But they`re winning and growing into the match. Every now and again we hear of women firsts. They are as impressive as they are alarming. Impressive because the barriers continue to be broken. Alarming because the barriers still exist even unto this day.

Keeping the Balance

What`s more impressive is that women still manage, and are improving at keeping the balance. How many times have we been told that successful women can`t keep men and have families? How many times have we told them to sacrifice ambition for love? Too many. And yet they keep making a mockery of our ignorance. Plenty women today have families, plenty of them have very impressive careers too.

The Struggle Continues

But the battle is not over. Nowhere near it. A lot of women today still face seemingly insurmountable challenges hindering the pursuit of their goals. A lot of them still struggle in the face of poverty, unemployment, stereotypes and worst of all, abuse. Verbal abuse, physical abuse, neglect, and always disturbingly, sexual abuse.

I heard just yesterday that in Zimbabwe, there were 5 000 new rape cases in just the 35 days up to the 5th of March 2021. Many of these were home cases, perpetrated by fathers and uncles, making them so much more delicate and sensitive. It is a sad reality that there are many others that go unreported, because of the unwillingness to break homes and send breadwinners to prison. I`m not sure what is more disheartening, that men in this day and age still think they have divine rights over the body of a woman to do as they please, or that young girls are forced to put up with it to “protect” their families.

Imagine the emotional damage, the scarring of the mind, the hatred and potential self-condemnation one could face after abuse. It`s not a pretty place to be. We must stop treating it as normal.

Photo by Ololade Moshood on Pexels.com

Empowerment a must!

What this shows us is that the empowerment drive targeted at raising independent young women who can make a living for themselves is not wasted and must surely continue. A girl whose mother has as much earning potential as her father will not be scared to speak up against him if she is abused. She is confident her mother can still hold the fort and keep them sustained. It`s really a simple concept. Men who are threatened by empowered women do not belong in this conversation. We`ll worry about gender roles later, this is about basic human rights.

But that’s just one action plan. There are a ton of other problems that young women are facing, on this continent and around the globe. Society must continue to champion the fight for women to be treated as human beings, not an inferior race. We need to make a commitment to change the way we think about women as men, and for women to do the same and be trained to value themselves and take themselves seriously.

Dear African woman…

A lot can be said to African women, or women of any origin or background, to make them feel good about themselves. I won`t do that. I won`t tell you that you are some beautiful, strong, courageous and talented goddess. It`s up to you to tell yourself that if you need to hear it.

I will tell you, however, that you matter, that you are your own person, and though it doesn’t always look that way, you can be independent and responsible for yourself. Not that you`ll never need anyone, but that the only person you will always need is yourself. Everyone else can come and go, don`t let anyone dictate what your life should become.

Stand up for yourself and make your life count. The world needs you more than you know.

Happy Women`s Day!

A Tribute to the Women in my Life.

The reason why I started this blog was not just to improve and provide a platform for the world to see my writing. It was also to connect and be able to express myself to the people who matter to me. See, it`s not always easy to do that in reality. For some reason expressing emotion is a lot harder for some than for others. But I have always found solace in my writing, so what better way to demonstrate this for the first time ever than by penning a tribute to the women in my life, on the first women`s day this blog has seen.

So unlike all my other posts, there`s no fancy worded title designed to grab attention of strangers. There are no sub-titles to break this down for easy reading. This is not meant for me to be relatable to the world and gain reviews and constructive criticism on my writing. It`s a simple tribute, to those who matter most.

Just like all men, I am a man born of a woman. A woman who also raised me into a young man I am convinced she is proud of, but she`s not the only one. I have been surrounded by women all my life, aunts, grandmothers, a great grandmother, teachers and church mother advisors. An endless list really. So many of them have had impact on who I am today, they all deserve credit for where my life is, and where it could be headed.

My Grade One teacher was a woman, so was my Grade Two teacher who also extended through years three and four. 5 out of my 7 primary school teachers were female, obviously contributing immensely to my early development. In high school, there were too many for me to make a quick count. My love for English Language, Literature and History had quite a few female teachers guiding me through. Dare I forget to mention, my debate, public speaking and drama coaches, who contributed to the single most exciting journey of my life so far. Too long a story to get into details. For now let`s keep the tribute short.

My mother and I at a Prize Giving Day back in High School

And then there`s family. I swear my mother has so many sisters that it`s impossible to keep count. I mean that very literally. I have received so much love it`s surreal. The one time I remember having 5+ of them in the same place, I almost had to address my mother by her first child`s name like is done in our culture to a woman who isn’t your mother. A simple “Mama” would have had at least three people responding. That`s just one side of my family.

My father has sisters. His brothers have wives. Quite frankly, I`ve never been ashamed of my last name. I carry it with so much pride because so many people I respect carry it too. I have living grandmothers on both sides. And cousins and friends who, well, we`ll talk about another day. This is not turning out to be as much a tribute as it is a much generalized list of women in my life. Maybe we`ll do it again next year.

The women in my life have all, for the most part, done right by me. As Winky D would say “Misikanzwa yese yandinoita zva zvemusoro wangu!”

Happy Women`s Day y`all. I love and appreciate all of you. (Oh and if you don`t mind, please never talk to me about this article in person. Unless you think it`s very necessary. Also, don`t ask why you shouldn`t, in person or otherwise. Thank you for your understanding 🙂

Culture versus Modernization: 5 Things You Should Know

We live in an evolving world. A world that is constantly being redefined by global paradigm shifts amidst endlessly improving technology and the emergence of globalisation. But there is concern. What does globalisation mean for our ethnic cultures? Are the customs, practices and traditions of our past going to survive this transition? Will our heritage and identity be preserved? Or are we set to lose ourselves as we seek to fit into this new world? Questions aplenty. Answers scarce.

And well, to be honest, this is no new discussion. Worries and uncertainties about the future of our identity have probably been circling ever since the wave of the digital age took over the world in the early 2000s. Television, computers and mobile gadgets mean it is easier now, more than it has ever been, to literally go right round the world while sitting on the same couch and not actually move an inch. Information and resources are all the click of a button away, and while that has its undeniable merits, it also has significant drawbacks too.

Integration of humans on digital platforms has led to exposure to different ideas and ways of living for all people. Access to information about health, education, religion, entertainment, you name it; is virtually unrestricted these days. The worry though, is that may have stopped us from looking at our own surroundings, history and traditional practices. By wanting to know so much about what`s happening elsewhere, our generation has foregone knowing about its own origins. Opportunity cost they call it in economics. How do we fix that? Can it be fixed?

Here are five things to consider in the war of tradition and modernization.

  1. Evolution is Inevitable

The first thing I think we need to consider in this conflict is the theory of evolution. Human beings, and all other living organisms, have a natural need to develop and progress with time. As time passes, circumstances change and so does the environment around us. We need to adapt. It is impossible to ignore this essential process, lest the risk of becoming irrelevant or extinct is significantly increased.

But evolution is not just a scientific process, it`s a mental one as well. We have to deliberately seek to expose ourselves to different ways of thinking and living in our day to day lives. Whether this is in regards to education, technology, human rights and anything else that may be of interest, mankind constantly needs to review our standpoint and opinion about matters that affect us, and make sure we are not restricting ourselves by refusing to adapt as the world changes.

This should pose no risk whatsoever to the values and traditions that have brought us to where we are. And even if it does, if we improve our way of life by opening our mind to one new idea or another, is that really such a bad thing? Being open to gradual change is not weakness or losing sight of who we are, it`s evidence we have the capacity to progress as human beings, even in the context of our existing traditions.

2. Generalizations are dangerous 

A common tendency in modern times whenever discussions relating to culture and traditions versus modern ideology is the generalizations of subject matter into universally good or universally bad. Almost all of us have been guilty of this, at one point or another. Frankly, if we`re ever going to bridge the gap, this needs to stop.

Look, this is a discussion which already has innumerable sub-plots. Feminism, religion, gender roles, racism and discrimination, mental health, sexual freedom, education and technology to name just a few. All that added to the already existing conundrum of the generation gap which seems to be ever so widening.

It is impossible to discuss all these issues at once. Sure, they can all be linked to the culture versus modernization debate, but there`s no one size fits all answer to these issues. There`s no way we can ever establish common ground between generations, or between several separate schools of thought if we`re always going to defer to general stereotypes and not look at issues with the specific attention they all require. Sometimes it`s better to be conservative, sometimes we need to be more liberal, very often the lines are blurred.

If we`re ever going to have meaningful conversations about tradition in modern times, then Advanced level Mathematics rules should apply: partialize before you integrate.

3. Globalization is Polarizing

Common myth: Globalization brings people closer together. Reality: it tears us further apart.

We have been fed with this idea that the internet, technology and globalization bring people closer to each other. The truth of the matter though is that we only have better access to each other but we aren’t all that close at all. The internet is a toxic place. There is always someone attacking someone else because of their ideas/beliefs, and a whole community supporting each side.

If globalization was really the manifestation of the world becoming one “global village,” we would have reason to worry about assimilation of cultures and how that affects tradition. Well, we`re not a global village. We`re just all human beings who do what we think is right defend that, and attack everything else (in theory). I`m not saying there`s no risk of being mixed into different ways of thinking, I`m saying people have already categorized themselves into groups and labels across the world. If you find what you stand for, there`s plenty of it on the internet and you can focus on being that and nothing else. The internet will keep you loving what you want to love and hating what you want to hate. Works for everyone.

4. Identity is Timeless

The one thing I think we should find solace in, is that identity is timeless. Values and ethos can stand the test of time more than we realize, and if we were to take advantage of this, not only could we be a step closer to closing the gap between tradition and modern living, but we would also be able to preserve our identity for generations to come.

Modern technology, resources and creativity mean we could hold on to that which we choose to hold on to for as long as we`d like. Museums, movies, music, books, there are so many ways we can choose to preserve our culture, methods which can allow every generation to have a taste of what it was like before them. Sure, certain stuff won`t remain the same, we won`t live the same way forever. But the primary foundation of who we are is something we can always hold on to. And as we do so, we can always decide how we intend to define ourselves in the face of the changing world but staying true to our values. I`ve always admired countries that have shown they can be innovative but remained truthful to who they were. Maybe we do need to take a couple of notes from the lads in the East.

5. It`s all about choice.

At the end of the day the debate between culture and modernization comes down to one thing: choice. Whether you choose to live a life that is a big reflection of the traditions of our fathers and their fathers, or you want to ditch all that and be more “modern” is essentially your choice. And I think that`s the most beautiful thing about globalization, the freedom of choice. You can choose to be one thing, the other or neither.

While it is important to have these discussions, express our opinions about each of them and help open each other`s minds up to different possibilities, we must all give each other freedom of choice. As we do that, we must also ensure that our choices do not infringe the rights of others to make their own choices. We can identify ourselves with groups, schools of thought, labels and what not, but at the end, our choices about how we define our traditions in the face of the ever-changing world around us must always remain ours.

But what do you think?

Is the debate about culture and modernization worth having? If so, what do you think about the considerations you`ve just read about? Can common ground still be built? Have your say in the comments section below, or follow the links to our socials and keep the conversation going. While this may be a start for tackling issues, there`s definitely a long way to helping each other understand all this, and apply it to the different scenarios we meet every day. Having more voices speaking, certainly wouldn`t hurt the cause.

Dare to Dream: Your life may depend on it

I have always told myself that I`m going to be successful. Always had that silent confidence that one day I`ll rise up against all the challenges and make my story worth telling. See, it`s easy to be a dreamer. It`s easy to fantasize about moments of glory when you think they`re still 10-15 years ahead. You tell yourself that you`ll build a mansion before you`re 40, or drive your dream car before you`re 30, or become Africa`s youngest self-made billionaire before you`re 25. We`ve all had those or other dreams, and we`ve probably all told ourselves that we will become rich or famous by a certain age, but whether we live to realise those dreams is a whole different ball game altogether.

A lot of these dreams, for a great many of us, are buried in our childhood. We had them when we were seven or eight, or in our early teenage years, when we had everything we needed handed to us. Then we became 16, and started making advances to, or at least noticed the opposite sex. We became 18, and told ourselves that we were independent and grown up. Then we became 21, got the key (whatever that is) and started to realise that life wasn`t as easy as it had been ten years earlier, that you actually had to work, hustle, or do something, anything; in order to survive. Long story short- reality made our dreams die with our innocence.

And then there`s some of us, who never for a second forgot the dream. We never knew how it was going to be achieved, or if it would ever escape from our heads into the real world. Hell, sometimes we didn`t even know what the dream was. But even though we confronted and struggled with reality every day of our lives, we never for a second forgot what we had conceived in our minds, defined as little kids, developed as we grew and believed we could become. Somewhere, somehow, there was a dream, and the dream never forsook us. It did not always looked like happening, but it just as much never looked like departing from our lives.

It can be said that there are two types of people in life, those who allow reality to overtake their dreams, and those who hold on to their dreams despite reality. Of the latter, a further two types; those who sit and hold on to improbable dreams for ridiculous periods of time, and those who actually go out to make those dreams a reality. Again of the latter, there are those who fail miserably, and then there are the Strive Masiwas of our world. Whichever way you look at it, there is always a relation between dream and reality, and it is that relation, which I think is more important than we think. Or is it?

Our world today can be a harsh place for dreams. We are often forced to forfeit the pursuit of the fantasies of our developmental years in our quest to just find ways to survive and make ends meet. But can we really live without being dreamers? What would we look forward to? What would be the motivation behind everything we do? I`m not sure if survival can ever really be the sole ultimate motivation behind a man`s efforts. To want to survive means you want to see tomorrow. Wanting to see tomorrow surely has to be fueled by some hope or aspiration that it will be better than today, or bring something we looked forward to. Can mankind really live without dreams?

And well the worst thing about dreams is that they brew expectation and anticipation, the two of which are prime ingredients for disappointment. As hard as it is to live life without anything to look forward to, it`s probably harder to actually believe in something, fight for it, hope for it and then see it all come crushing down. But isn’t that a risk we have to take?

I`ve always thought that if we were to keep away from everything that could potentially harm us, then we`d also have to keep away from the things that pleasure us. It`s basically Investment 101. If you don’t risk anything then you won`t be rewarded with anything either. If you want to make it in the world, achieve something, make a success out of yourself, then somewhere along the way you will have to risk something.

 So dare to dream. Dare to have aspirations, goals and desires for a better tomorrow. And once you perceive those dreams, go after them with all you got. Be proactive and find a way to make stuff work for you. Sure not all your dreams will come to fruition, but that’s a risk you`re going to have to take. And hey, maybe along the way you will learn so much, experience amazing memories and grow as you pursue the dream that even if you don`t make it, you`ll still probably get a thing or two out of it.

That restaurant you`ve always thought you could own? Dream about it and start cooking. Know how to join a few paragraphs of profound ideologies in well-constructed grammar? Dream of writing a bestseller and start typing. We`ve all got things we know we can be (or are) good at. Would it hurt so much to open your mind to possibilities you haven’t always thought of? Dare to dream, pursue the dream, fight for it and hold on to the aspiration for as long as you think necessary (moving on from failure is also sometimes important). Who knows? Maybe you might just be onto something. Dare to dream, your life may depend on it.

Talent and Dedication: Becoming the Wordsmith

I`ll start this groundbreaking piece of writing with an apology. An apology to my parents. To my cousins, my aunts, uncles and grandparents. An apology to my teachers, my mentor(s) and to my friends and loved ones (You could probably throw in my future wife and kids in there because well, why not?). An apology to all of you, my beloved readers, but most importantly, an apology to me. What for? I`ll explain.

I read a quote a while ago which read “Your lack of dedication is an insult to those who believe in you.” It hit me hard. So hard that the first thing I did was screenshot it, crop out everything else, and immediately post it on my WhatsApp status, because apparently that`s what we (I) do nowadays. As soon as we (I) find something profound and meaningful for personal growth, we (I) have to share it first, and share it we do. WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, even Instagram is apparently a source of wisdom in modern times. All hail technology right?

But this quote hit me differently. I didn’t just post it, get a bit of credit from my friends (because finding something on the internet is apparently commendable nowadays too) and forget about it a day or two later. This one made me think. It forced me to partake in a bit of introspection. And made me try to be honest with myself about who I am, what I do, and where my life is headed.

I have always been told that I`m talented. Very early along the way I started believing it too. Whether I am as talented as I think I am is something that is, I admit, debatable. Or maybe that`s just the insecurities speaking (apparently, I have a few). Anyway, my talent. Talented as I may be, that has never been a guarantee to success. There is a requirement for there to be some dedication, a lot of it, if stuff is going to work out. That`s just how it works, even for the privileged. Talent, without dedication breeds a whole load of garbage (no, I won`t swear on my fresh, new, beautiful blog). You may have plenty of the former, but to be successful, you need a fair bit of the latter just as well.

During certain phases of my life, I have faced a couple of hiccups that probably prevented my productivity from reaching the heights it could have. All statements relating to those periods and my struggles so far can be deemed to be logical, genuine and understandable explanations for my inability to progress as far as I could have. Just as much as they can be seen to be pathetic excuses for laziness. Probably just a matter of opinion.

Deep down, though, I know I could have done better, and I probably should have. So that`s why I need to apologize. To me. For not being whom I could have been. For not putting in the hours. For sulking instead of enduring. Complaining instead of finding ways to deal with my issues, and for a thousand other faults, committed by me, against me. I`m sorry. The pity party ends here though, and so does the unproductivity.

If you`re reading this, it means I have changed something, in a positive way. See, I have always been a writer. Using words to express my thoughts, feelings and opinions about stuff is something I have been doing as long as I can remember. But until now very few people have ever been allowed to read the dozens of pages and the thousands of words I have written over the years, or hear the countless thoughts and opinions I`ve had about dozens of different topics. Until now. (*adds dramatic effect*)

Maybe I`m being too hard on myself. Maybe I have actually been as dedicated as the next guy, put in the hours and have done as much as I can. Like I said, it`s probably just a matter of opinion.

This blog though has been a long time coming. Over 17 months at time of writing, (22 at time of editing and publishing) since I first had this idea, in one way or another. I`m baffled by how in reality, it only took me about three days or so to design from scratch and publish these first posts. What on earth was I doing all this time?

But it`s here now. Quick thanks to everyone who during that time constantly pestered me about this, checked on my progress, and helped me prepare. This is for you. I hope this pushes me to be a better writer, makes me more accountable, empowers me to speak more boldly about important topics and helps me do the one thing I`ve dreamt about since I was a kid; change the world using my words.

What I can guarantee (guarantee is such a dangerous word but I won`t shy away from it) is that I certainly am going to turn things up a notch. I am curious to see how far I can go, what the future holds, how much talent I really have, and how it can work to improve my life and the lives of those around me. It`s on the record now, and I intend to stand by it.

If you`re going to take anything away from this, then let that quote ring in your head one more time, and let it inspire something in you to make yourself proud of who you are and achieve all that you can.

One more time. “Your lack of dedication, is an insult to those who believe in you.”

These are probably not the best 1000 words you have ever read. Hopefully though, they`re a launch pad for better things. Thank you, not just for reading this, but for continuing right through to the very end. There`s a ton more where this came from, and with your help, they`re only going to get better. Wafik`umbhali!

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