Crossing rivers

Crossing rivers

Substance that you are popular or are followed by many does not mean that you have it, or that you have the right kind of substance that enables you to make a meaningful contribution to the progress of the human race.
For all I know, the substance one may think they have could upon close analysis or subjection to a given and specific method of testing prove to be of the same value as chaff, that is, contributing nothing to the changing of the meaninglessness of the world but instead adding to the woeful circumstances the world now finds itself in.

Far often than less, close analysis of the facts surrounding the determination of the significance of a character in the effecting of change in the world actually proves that they have none of it, possessing in terms of quality the neutral pH of a drop of clean water in a vast ocean, that is not changing either the saltiness or the sweetness of that into which it is being dropped or put into. What we do, whether we like it or not, determines our substance and in the same process reveals our significance in terms of the effect of change in the world.

We live in a time where being followed on the social media has become the main occupation for those whose faces are constantly stuck to the screens of their phones (and tablets) or their personal computer (the lap and the desktop types).
What most of those that are being followed do not seem to consider is that oftentimes, 80 percent of those that are following do not even know why they are following, that they just follow because they can follow or have only the figure they are following to follow to get out of the rut of complacency and boredom they are living in.

The follower syndrome is just plain dangerous, because the misconstrued understanding of the one noting the follower statistics just jots down the numbers and the figures tumbling in, and never records the intentions of those that are following or whether they understand what it is they are following.

I have seen women and men follow a solitary figure chasing oblivion without knowing that whoever they are following is following a meaningfulness or meaninglessness known only to their selves and are not willing to share that they are in actual fact in pursuit of ignorance.
Then we are forced to listen to the senseless haggling of the followers, some of whom have the audacity to sound auspicious and begin to falsely believe that the ‘learned’ views they give on what they do not know and understand are actually educated and should therefore be given heed.
I just often look at these ones, and silently and privately sign them off as speakers of cow dung only good to be dried and used as organic fuel to warm the house and to cook beans and likhobe on those long and cold winter nights up here in the freezing Kingdom in the Sky.

Argue not about that which you do not know, follow not that which you do not understand; for it may just prove to be the bait used to lure you in to your demise, like a hen following nubs of corn deliberately scattered in a line towards the house where the knife waits for it. Argue not, follow not, if you do not know and understand.

After the death of his childhood sweetheart, the character of Forrest Gump played by Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump begins to run across the vast United States of America to kill the pain of loss, or to honour her word for she is the one that first got him to run when he couldn’t walk due to his condition.

Soon he is followed by a band of purposeless wanderers who are looking for someone to follow, and when he stops because his period of mourning is over or that his legs cannot carry on pounding the tarmac and the gravel the poor band of followers want to protest because he stopped.
What these ones don’t know is that they were running someone’s race without knowing why they were running in the first place, and therefore, Forrest is not to blame for stopping when he did, but they are for they followed a shadow whose owner’s purpose for running was unclear to them.
As far as I am concerned, Forrest did not invite them to his one-man-dealing-with-his-own-pain-by-running club, they just chose to gatecrash and I am sure Forrest would not follow them if they decided to go on running.

What he does is to go home after his pain is gone and leaves them stuck in the middle of the road, and I am sure with many of them wondering why they had to run in the first place. Do not follow what you don’t know or understand . . . it is that simple. That is if you don’t want to get lost.
On a recent flight to somewhere, I was watching one of those boring programmes on those small overhead screens that lull one to sleep if they really put focus on them. A famous ‘celebrity’ of African descent with a European surname was making a real serious attempt at sounding smart whilst talking senseless.

I just could not pretend or feign my disdain at the utter gunk that was dribbling off the lipstick glossed lips of the speaker, “we wanted to feel like we are doing something to uplift them out of their condition… next week, we are going to make a presentation hosted at the UN headquarters in New York…”

I thought, bull-poo! That ‘we and them’ the honourable Excellency was spewing forth sounded both self-righteous and charlatan, as if those someone was taking a trip to the UN headquarters in New York about did not have their own voices or that the Medusa was in actual fact performing some kind of charity that deserved some kind of honour.

Charity is charity, and the Holy Book teaches that charity should be done as silently as possible to make it veritable enough to be considered as of the true type. The kind of charity for sale one sees these days is the dubious watered down type whose benefactors actually get paid a lot to perform. If you are getting paid in the name of performing acts of charity, just shut up and eat: for you are not doing charity but are actually employed as an aid worker.

\I have never heard a plumber boast about how good he is by unblocking blocked drains spewing forth rivers of turd. He knows to shut up because he is getting paid for doing it, it is his job and place of employ. Frankly speaking, there is plainly too much talk about charity these days, and the providers thereof often remember to bring their own camera crews to record the acts of ‘charity’ for the ‘poor’ and ‘marginalised’.
If one were to ask the simple question: Who impoverished and marginalised them in the first place? The answer would be simple: the same benefactors posing in front of the cameras with them did.

I have today read the sweet sad tale of the Bang Bang Club’s Kevin Carter and Kevin Oosterbroek, two news photographers who died in the early 1990s after a life of maverick-style of presenting the world to the world through the lenses of their cameras.
As photographers, they covered scenes from South Africa’s violent township battles between the members of IFP and the ANC, and they went as far as the Sudan where they covered scenes of famine and, as is stated in

Kevin Carter knew the stench of death. As a member of the Bang-Bang Club, a quartet of brave photographers (with Greg Marinovich, João Silva and the late Ken Oosterbroek) who chronicled apartheid-­era South Africa, he had seen more than his share of heartbreak.
In 1993 he flew to Sudan to photograph the famine racking that land. Exhausted after a day of taking pictures in the village of Ayod, he headed out into the open bush. There he heard whimpering and came across an emaciated toddler who had collapsed on the way to a feeding center. As he took the child’s picture, a plump vulture landed nearby.

Carter had reportedly been advised not to touch the victims because of disease, so instead of helping, he spent 20 minutes waiting in the hope that the stalking bird would open its wings. It did not. Carter scared the creature away and watched as the child continued toward the center.
He then lit a cigarette, talked to God and wept. The New York Times ran the photo, and readers were eager to find out what happened to the child — and to criticize Carter for not coming to his subject’s aid.

His image quickly became a wrenching case study in the debate over when photographers should intervene. Subsequent research seemed to reveal that the child did survive yet died 14 years later from malarial fever.

Carter won a Pulitzer for his image, but the darkness of that bright day never lifted from him. In July 1994 he took his own life, writing, “I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings & corpses & anger & pain.”
The photographers were ostracised for not taking action to save the victims they came across, but the question remains: have those that sponsored the wars ever been questioned?

Do we ever ask the reason why there are famines in the first place? Do we ever show our discontent at constant empty political promises used to garner votes on the African continent?
It seems that the only thing we are actually fascinated with is being the Good Samaritan in front of the cameras. Of the disease that causes the rot, we pretend to know nothing of, but the fact is that all of this rigmarole is what has landed the continent in the mud it is now in. Africa reacts and does not prevent and the latter is the better cure to the disease.
Alternatively, confronting issues with mutual respect in mind could prove to be the better solution instead of this game of lying to ourselves we seem to enjoy playing.

I honestly care not (from now on) what my being frank about issues that need to be confronted will do to disturb the fake peace that benefits the politician whilst enslaving the masses in the clutches of poverty and unemployment.
That we are poor is only the result of some character flaw we should have long ago been rid of: we are too polite when we should address issues as they are, and we are led by groups of colonised individuals. Cap in hand, they have managed to drag this continent to the bottom of the abyss.
The sad thing is that somehow, they have managed to teach a new class of girls and boys to sing the old-fashioned tunes that never helped anyone except those close to the table where the big fish drink from the cups of bureaucracy.

We shall never take this continent or country forward by being polite, we can never walk a step by letting fear cloud our judgement and we can never progress if we keep on rehashing old arguments.
Mandela could see the uselessness of reverting to old arguments on mundane issues that are best left alone in the past. They are never-ending stories carried from one generation to the next if allowed to thrive.

So, when my age-mates discuss issues such as land reform and such issues, I think of how Zimbabwe was, and I think of how it is now. Marechera was a saint, Lumumba was a god, Sankara was a saviour, and Gaddafi was Africa’s own guardian angel.
Of the smartest in the room, none remain, only a bunch of actors and posers pretending that this world is their cake and that we are all here to serve them like serfs did in medieval times.

Wake up dear lewd ‘lawds’, we can now see through your hashish smokescreens. Change your act because we are about to cross many rivers to get to a future Moshoeshoe oa Pele envisioned for us all.  This political Scaramouch messed up the country. Bafo ha e be bafo, marena rene joale ka ha e le tšoanelo (Servants should serve and rulers should reign as is the rightful custom). That the clock is turning the other way round is wrong. Let us right its hands if needs be as it is now…

By: Tsepiso S Mothibi

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