Noble Man


The Oxford English dictionary describes the gallows as a frame typically wooden, used for execution by hanging, or as a means of torture before execution.  Michael thought about this act and realized that many souls, innocent or guilty, have been tortured by the gallows.  He thought he experienced the dark walk to the gallows once upon a time.  It’s just that the executioner wasn’t able to complete the deed required to end his life.

You might wonder what his gallows was.

It was depression.

You may wonder what depression is.

He looked it up in the Oxford dictionary again and it read, “feelings of despondency and dejection”.

Feelings of despondency and dejection.

Have you ever felt despondent or dejected? Well, if you said yes, you have been or are facing anxiety which can graduate to depression.

Once upon a time, Michael felt that way.  He had no idea how it all started. Was it the rumours at work? Was it the fact that one of his best friends died of blunt force trauma when a train derailed him on the South Carolina railway tracks? Was it the 4,251 miles away from his family as an economic exile. Was it his unmonitored and lonely behaviors? Was it his useless, unfulfilling and baseless thoughts about what his incredibly successful, “honest” and hardworking friends thought about him.

To this day, he really doesn’t know. All he remembers was that fangs of traumatic experiences triggered emotions and feelings that lead to despondency and dejection.  They crept up on him like a silent, dark and cunning  serpent. Damn.

Looking back, that’s how he could describe it. One moment,  he was the life of the party, the energetic and cheerful one until suddenly, he was the solemn one.

He was spending twelve hours a day on his couch eating nothing but the other day’s left overs.   He didn’t feed the cat, Mittens and neither did he iron his clothes nor did he do the dishes.

He realized he got very comfortable and accepting  of depression and unaware of the erosion and disease of his soul. He forgot who he was or once was and sank into a deep into a dark gloom and shivering panic.

He couldn’t even hang out with his illustrious friends, answer their friendly phone calls or remember the Lord’s Prayer because he was simply unwell and unable to decipher what to think or do next. This episode lasted for some time without Michal coming to the realization that his brain was unwell and unbalanced.

That’s what depression is. The next time you judge that weak, discouraged, depressed guy or gal, think of what you just read. You don’t know what trauma that person has experienced. They are not “crazy”. They are being tortured by the gallows I described above. It’s the valley of the shadow of death like Coolio said in the 90s.  They are neither innocent nor guilty, and unfortunately, the gallows don’t factor character, your past glories or your bright future ahead.

The gallows steal and torture like a satanic demon with no care of your faithful contribution to society.  We read too many stories of this happenstance all too much today.

Don’t we?

Michael used to judge many of his friends or aquantances who passed away due to mental health only to realize it actually wasn’t their fault, but the due to a chemical imbalance.

Why is it that we judge those who end their lives because of a mental ailment of the mind or brain, yet we feel sorry for the chainsmoker who died of lung cancer?  They experienced the same thing.  They passed away. One slow, and the other, commonly instant.

Anyway, Michael wants to tell. you about the day his life changed, the day the pressure of his depression was released and alleviated to a glorious place and safe zone.

One Sunday, his pastor, Noble Man was preaching the fourth installment of the “Overwhemled” series and it was one of the most intriguing services he had ever attended.

Nobleman too, had been a depressant riddled with panic attacks and nervousness that could drown the Titanic without the iceberg.  He spoke about how one day he was waiting for an 18-wheller to just take him out. Michael felt the same way.  He would cry on his way to work  – for no freaking reason, fear meetings with his friends or superiors and emails from his mother because he felt like a despondent failure.

The man on the stage was a Noble man and perhaps the reason Michael was inspired to not only pursue his dreams, but to battle on.

This is over simplifying the dynamics, but in Zimbabwe – generally there’s no such thing as depression. It’s called being weak or being bewitched by witchcraft.  Many have ended their lives and we pray to the gods for answers, but don’t actually wonder if maybe, if maybe friends that have passed away were needlessly depressed and all they needed was some help.  In Zimbabwe, we call it “kuroyiwa” or having a spell cast upon you.  A spell was cast on our friends, right? Well, No! In the spiritual sense, perhaps but we should never believe and just rely on that! Michael truly believes evil exists amongst us, but so do good spirits, grace and mercy.

He thought to himself,

It’s just about what you allow into the gateway of your soul – so protect it.

This Noble Man stood in front of about 50,000 thousand people and depicted what depression and anxiety was for him and ironically, also for Michael as well. He articulated the fear of not wanting to go on stage to address his loving congregation because of panic attacks. Michael continued talking to himself,

“Man I feel the same way, except my congregation was my reflection in the mirror.  I haven’t been able to love my self in a while and I haven’t supported my beloved Steelers in our best season in decades. The Noble Man just spoke of how suicide manifests itself.

Worry. Anxiety. Depresseion. Suicide.

Wow.”

That’s the common cycle of people that end up taking their lives. He then spoke about the people around him that saved his life including the doctors, the comrades, his now ex-wife and his precious family.  He spoke about how we can’t pray for depresssion to go away.  Generally you can’t  pray sickness away. How about praying for you to be led to those that can bring healing and comfort?

The Noble man recounted how his doctor carried him away from the drowning waters of despair by providing a prescription to alleviate him from the  excruciating weeds.

The doctor said, “If I gave you medicine for blood pressure, would you take it?”

He said, “Yes”.

He asked, if I offered you medicine for a stomach ulcer, would you accept the presciption?

Again, He said, “Yes”.

So the doctor continued, “If I offered you medicine because your brain wasn’t feeling well, why wouldn’t  you take it?

Michael realized he needed to face the biggest battle of his life.

Peace ✌🏿 .

Michael’s hope & prayer is that if you’re facing the gallows, find a saviour, find a counselor, a therapist, a doctor or a trusted confidant.  As the reader, if you know someone with depression or anxiety symptoms, you should offer a helping hand. You might save someone who might change the WORLD, not today, but certainly tomorrow.  Help your comrades, be attentive to abnormal behavious and simply be present, without being overbearing.  Michael is here to write this because of the Noble Man, Christ and the Samaritan brothers and sisters who gracefully offered and faithfully extended a helping hand.

Get the NOBLE  MAN’S book here:

Dedicated to our “Red Devil” Ndudzo.

#GGMU #YNWA

© SonofGuruve 2016

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Sugar Cane 


Strange to write, but the sweetest grass I have ever tasted is called nzimbe. It’s grown in Zimbabwe and called sugarcane as you probably call it where ever you are. Rich in glucose and vitamin, I wish there was a nzimbe-flavored cider drink. Perfect for Summer, init?!

Why do I tell you?

Well, its because Zimbabwe has an illustrious town called Triangle in the South Eastern region of the country where sugar trade is key to the survival of the local economy.  It rides on sugar production and the people are particularly proud of this asset. The weather is like the gateway to hades. Too hot, dry and unimaginable temperatures, however this is the perfect climate for sweet natural tasting sugar cane.

May Triangle remain as productive as it’s been for the sugar industry!

After recovering from a bout of worry, and personally-inflicted pressure and stress, I sought temporary relief from my local pub one evening. Why did I go to the pub? What I like about my pub is that it is the most liberal place in all of our conservative Upstate South Carolina city. I meet people from all walks of life and  have precious, memorable and riveting conversations with all patrons including the cooks, waitresses, friends, strangers, depressants, liars, clergymen, lawyers, professor’s but best of all,  I write best in this environment.  This pub is an honest institution.  It’s a family of regulars – the old, the young, the lost, the found.  It rarely judges. It’s a peaceful place too, and ironically a destructive place for some. The irony and beauty of alcohol and great conversation is that it provides temporary relief, yet I have seen many entangled in it’s side effects, including myself.

Nonetheless, on this Tuesday evening, a Kenyan lager called Tusker was offered by the lovely Amarie. Amarie is the pub’s all-star server. You really could buy anything so long as Amarie was selling it. Mulato skin, she has dark intent and hardworking eyes and a natural smile that warms. Her personality makes suicidal patrons reconsider the deed and she regularly fishes depressants out of the quicksand. After a couple of sips, I began a casual conversation with a regular called Adam Kingsley – now a trusted friend and brother.

Adam shared with me his prior married life and pictures of his beautiful young daughters he is proudly and inspiringly raising. He’s a Soccer Dad. Haha! Class. This gentleman looks Mediterranean, I thought.  He’s a clean cut lad. He’s polite, well travelled, and as honest as as a mirror. His daily job and mission is to help others and I felt attached to this servitude because I consider myself called to do the same. I shared my tension in my current relationships and he introduced a concept to me that will forever be the mantra of my relationship goals-setting because ever since I comprehended his words, the tension has somewhat dissipated, and confidence firmly restored.  He introduced the equilibrium of a relationship as a TRIANGLE and now you can connect the dots with sugarcane and Triangle.

🔼

I asked him to clarify what he meant.

He said for the success and enrichment of any relationship, you have to have a triangle. God at the top, man at the right and woman at the left.  The two cannot manage the relationship by referring to each other’s, traits, goals, appearances, mistakes, successes, flaws and history. None of that really matters, unless both are engaged and focussed on top of the triangle. WOW, I thought, so simple, but rarely is this concept applied due the high rate of domestic violence, divorce and infidelity we alll know too well about.

People aren’t selfless enough and make emotional decisions, without asking what is it that God wants.  God requires us to please him at all times and be the salt of the earth.  Every person in a relationship should ask if what I am doing pleasing to God!

Is what you are doing pleasing to God?

One Tuesday evening , I sat over dinner with a female friend of almost a decade.  Her name is Ms. Paltrow. She taught me about the word, “sonder”. To sonder is to realize other peoples’s unverbalized experiences.  You never know what a stranger is going through. Sometimes you don’t know what your spouse or girlfriend is going through so dealing with them directly isn’t always optimum. Refer to the triangle for guidance is all I can say.

It’s not about me, it’s not about her for its about what God says. If both apply this simple concept, equilibrium manifests itself. Balance occurs and a firm reference point provided.  A framework for all unanswered questions and emotions. I had not began to immediately apply this concept, but I can tell you it began to make marginal gains in my own journey.

There are thousands of scriptures inscribed about marriage and relationships. I mean just check out Song of Songs. I chuckle as I write this  because Song of Songs should be rated “No Under 13”. I think MARRIED couples should have a weekly Song of Songs read.  Bring the fire back people, Bring the fire!

So every time I meet a couple going through the growing pains, the oil changes and considerations of breakups or divorce, I tell them about the triangle. Life is much too short to ponder, to worry for you’ll fall into an abyss of confusion and sorrow.

I began to think of my Amai naBaba and these words were furnished on one rainy Sunday evening while in Northamptonshire, England.

Amai naBaba

Mhofu,

You’re strong, wise and ridiculously able,
You’re a wounded shepherd, your story would be thought of as a warrior’s fable,
Private, pensive, I know God guides you while carrying you in his safe cradle,
I’m honoured to call you father, a leader, a MAN who is cautious and sharp as a needle.

Amai,

You’re loving, considerate and unimaginably blind,
Your love unconditional,
Gifted, caring, you have a precious mind,
You give it ALL and I know you give more than the expected tithe,
Now I know where I get my generosity, my positivity, and my sight.

God,

You’re the head of the triangle,
The Alpha, the Omega and Omnipotent Guide.
Show Mhofu and Amai to draw from your presence, your words, your Love,
Banish resentment, negative spirits, danger, fear, worry, anxiety from their Lives,
Rain peace, rain love, affection and stimulate the jive!
The glory, the fire, the fond memories, the battle, the fight,
The good fight of faith, that strengthens and binds.

God, Mhofu and Amai, I love you. May the triangle be ever present, alive and illuminate your matrimony.

Taste the lasting sweetness of the sugar cane you’ve grown, nurtured and blessed to have!

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#sonofguruve

© SonofGuruve 2016

Allan Manyika

Bearcat University – Be You, Be Meek, Be Grateful.


Blessings come in all forms. Celebrate every one of them.  During struggles, draw from the positive, yesteryear accomplishments, joyful memories with loved ones and having faith.

I wrote this speech in 2009 for a scholarship banquet and after unearthing it from my archives, I had to share.  I hope to uplift others to relive experiences that make you realize how fortunate your journey has been in this maze we call LIFE.

Thanks for your time.

—————

November, 2009.

Dr. Ball, Honorable Guests, Sponsors, Faculty and Students, thank you for the opportunity and privilege to address you this evening.

Last April I was sat in an interview for an entry-level position at a multinational financial organization at their Upstate South Carolina branch. The intimidating interviewer posed a question:

SonofGuruve, so what separates you from the rest of the applicants?

I paused and knew this was an opportunity to market myself, so I responded with the following, “Sir, I am living an African Dream and pursuing an American Dream.”.

I am living an African dream, pursuing the American dream.

This statement has been my mantra the moment I realized I was coming  to America through the support of the  Mufuka-Mashura Scholarship in Spring of 2007. Since then, I have never looked back.

Having grown up and raised in the illustrious, great nation of Zimbabwe, Africa, it is home to 12 million with an unemployment rate of about 80 percent. In the last decade, Zimbabwe has been riddled with shortages of basic commodities, political discord, and harsh realities – Ladies and gentlemen, if you didn’t know it’s also an African Dream for some having the opportunity to leave and seek a better future for oneself.

Before every school term throughout my elementary and high school years my father sat my brother and I and said,

Sons, there is no substitute for hard work for one day you will be rewarded – maybe not today but certainly tomorrow.

Zimbabwe’s economy had continued to plummet before my parents decided to relocate to the UK pursuing more lucrative economic opportunities. I had no idea where I was going to university. Applications to universities in South Africa and the UK were successful, but all required financial resources that my parents would find difficulty supporting. Through the Salvation Army in York Corps, I found out about a Scholarship in the SC, United States and decided to apply. I contacted Dr. Mufuka with my High school certificates and a letter of application. Documentation and visa processing was smooth sailing and in no time I was on my journey to the USA to study an Accounting degree.

My youthful, curious mind was extremely excited and I didn’t know what to expect. I just knew I had to work hard and make my family proud. I wanted to confirm that Dr. Mufuka was not making a mistake in granting me the scholarship.  I was stunned to realize I could be granted more scholarships and so I hit the ground running from day one.  In my first semester I was offered the Business Freshman scholarship, and later offered the Harris Francis P Business scholarship. In my sophomore year I got the opportunity to go on a College and Business and Public Affairs Achievement program in Greenville, SC where I got to meet industry executives and enjoy some networking.

I WILL ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL FOR THIS PRIVILEDGE AND HONOUR!

I became heavily involved in Extra Curricular Activities including Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Lander Professional Business Society and the International Student’s organization. Lander has provided me the opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds, friends from all over the Palmetto state and beyond. My cultural capital has increased and I have received invaluable advice from the superb Professors and faculty here at Lander.
I am so grateful, so indebted that words cannot express how I feel about the assistance the scholarships have given me.

Perhaps this might help: An old Swahili saying emphasizes,

Giving is a matter of the heart; don’t say it is a matter of wealth.

To all sponsors I want to tell you that your giving is not just of the heart, but that it touches my soul and others. The support you have provided to all the students PAST AND PRESENT will go a long way AND WILL stretch beyond your imagination. The doors you opened shall open even many others. The seeds you sowed will germinate, grow and bear fruit for Humanity. My scholarships have fuelled my aspirations to become an Accountant and one day I would like to contribute to the Lander Foundation because I am a firsthand account of what it achieves. It builds character and a willingness of the student to dig deep and achieve his or her best. I can stand here and tell you that my scholarships have given me a constancy of purpose every day. They have built the drive and determination that steers me through my classes each and every day.

I STAND HERE AS A BENEFICIARY AND HOPE THAT THE LANDER FOUNDATION SPIRIT WILL LIVE ON.

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My journey continues.

Watch me as I do me. As for you, Do you.

©️ SonOfGuruve 2018

My Little-Big Brother


As a Zimbabwean (a sunny, landlocked country in Sothern Africa!), expressing emotion has generally always been frowned upon. It’s showing you are meek, probably impressionable, but definitely weak. At least that’s the experience Zimbabwe gave me. You undoubtedly have to be strong every day.

No wonder we’re the most literate country in Africa. Zimbabwean people are not easily impressed. Even honorable fathers don’t say, “I love you”. But I’ve learned that that’s perfectly okay. Their actions speak louder than any voice cord. My baba (father) evidently did. Mildly unemotional, his actions preceded any words he spoke and that’s what I mostly respect about him.

So, even to scribe a note or poem about my little brother may be judged as an emotional outcry. However, I really don’t care. This is who I am, who he is. So here reads a dedication to my little big brother:

His name is Mfana. He’s one of the coolest kid on the block. Always calm and collected. Driven, generous and definitely more pensive than most realize. He’s sometimes arwardly silent. I’ve probably never seen him cry in the last decade whereas my tears, on the other hand, could fill a bathtub. What I’ve come to realize is that we are threaded differently, yet built on the same foundation. I’m the overly emotionally and concerned one while he’s the level-headed little-big brother. I just happen to be the one he calls Mukoma (big bro in our expressive mother tongue, Shona).

We are blessed to have been raised by loving and Christ-abiding parents. We grew up protected and sheltered from the harsh realities of life. Thankfully, we got our fair doses as we grew older. We were brought up humbly and cherish fond memories. We childishly fought. We scratched and bled in our wrestling matches (WWF), however our bond was unbreakable.

Unfortunately, we were separated by opportunity, which I will barely revise later.

We often reflect on the raw principles that make us the bonded men we are today. I admire him. I mean who has lived on 3 continents, played international sports for his country, speaks two languages fluently, and has a Master’s degree in something called Systems Design. He’s virtually been to every corner of globe, and yet humbly still cooks for mother when her arm is in pain? He’s athletic and was even the sportsperson of the year in high school. He played a physical discipline for our country and gave some of his wages to my little grandma in the African rural areas.

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It’s my humble little-big brother, Mfana.

The same little big brother our gardener Thomas called “Rayn”.  For the two years he voluntarily and gladly labored for our family throughout our adolescent years. His cooking was amazing and we secretly crept into his quarters for his leftovers. Thomas, I am grateful for the time we spent. You were almost the big brother I was looking for. However, this scribe is for my little big brother. The same naked Mfana who was ferociously spanked by Sisi Saru (our loving, motherly and compliant maid) for jumping into our sparkly swimming pool after strict instructions not to do so until homework was complete.

The same Mfana who got a sweet beating from mother  when he tore up his math homework and was found guilty after she traced the shreds of evidence in the trash can or the bin as we called it in our household. The bin was kept outside in the blistering cold!

You might wonder why I call him my little big brother. Well, I think I literally, vicariously lived through my little brother for about 7 years. I think he is my big brother, except that the good Lord thrust me on earth twenty four months before his entrance.

He left home at thirteen to take up a rugby scholarship at an esteemed private school in South East England. I mean, who accepts and does that? At the ripe old age of 13 I was busy terrified about high school bullies while he was facing a whole country by his damn self! Imagine the homesickness, the confusion, and the loneliness. Again, who does that? I guess the resilient Mfana. The one my old friend calls “Razzle Dazzle”.  That’s my little big brother.

April 1999, I got my TV debut for a dairy company’s commercial. “Go Flavor! Go Ravor!” was the slogan. Some of you readers may be captured by the nostalgia. It’s just that you had to live in Zimbabwe that year. This commercial was my claim to fame in our spick-and-span Harare household. I must have thought “Hey man, while you’re in England, I’m on TV. I must have been gratified to know I maintained the helm as the big brother of the household.  I later squandered my wages on a BB gun and 100 bullets that I shot aimlessly at quail birds lurking in the trees. If only I knew how to invest back then, I’d be on a yacht now. Z$1,000 back then was a fortune for a thirteen year old. But hey, I got to buy my own BB gun. I earned it and I did what I wanted. Selfishly.

Mfana returned for an Easter holiday a year later to remind me he was still my little big brother. Not only did the familia spend quality time, but it was also the moment for Mfana’s debut on telly. The beautiful TV Host, Patricia Mabviko, invited him to be a guest on a show called, “Breaking New Ground”. It was an one on one interview series that showcased young Zimbabwean talent, the future of Zimbabwe. Thank you Patricia. You are simply our version of Oprah! I wish you’d come back with a “Where are they Now?” series.

As the older brother, I too would get to be on the show. I’d get my first dose of what it was to live vicariously through my little bro. The focus was on his achievements. I was so proud because he was modest and said I was the reason he first pursued sports. A rugby magazine later confirmed this story. Wow.

My little big brother was unpretentious at the tender age of 14. I wish more adults would learn about the basics of humility, but that’s for another blog post. In the show, I confidently predicted that he would go on to be a professional rugby player which he did five years later and even featured the global’s premier rugby publication.

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Ndipei sando dzangu! (Shona slang for, Give me my recognition!).

Anyway, it was extremely exciting because after the broadcast, my Nokia 3210 was vibrating with all these chicks (adolescent girls as we called them from 1999-2001) saying, “Hi SonofGuruve,” I saw you on TV. Was that you and your brother on the television?”.

I chuckled and said, “Yes”.

I was happy I tell you. I got to keep my status as the big brother who led Mfana to make his national television debut.

Yeah!

I will stop this post here because there is too much to write and too much and too much to share. It will have to be a memoir capturing our journey.  All I will say is Mfana has been my little big brother because though younger, he has acted like the older brother I don’t have. He is a constant source of inspiration, humor and brotherly love. He dragged me through bouts of despair, depression and showed me what it is to be selfless and to always keep things simple.

This is a snippet of the joy I have when memories come rushing. As this is the month of your birthday, may the good Lord light the torch beneath your shiny feet because you continue to be a great little big brother!  So cheers to you, cheers to your bright future, and may you simply get to experience the joys of a happy birthday. Our greatest gift is life and may you continue to revel in it. We likely won’t be together, but hey, we don’t need this post to remember how special you are.

With depth,

#sonfofguruve

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#sonofguruve
© SonofGuruve 2015

The Son, the Soil and the Sun


I wrote this poem when my soul was awakened by who I am, where I’m from and the experiences I’ve been blessed to have.

Zimbabwe is the most beautiful country in Sub Saharan Africa, yet heartbreaking when I think of where we once were as a country.  Irrespective of who colonized who, who stole this, who voted for who, can’t we just pause and reflect about what we doing to our country’s future?

No country is perfect, no people are blameless, but can’t we all just get along ?

The Son, the Soil and the Sun

Son of the Soil, Son of the Soil,
Soil under the Sun,
I beat her, I dry her, I bake her, I drum
You,
You betray her!
As I dry her wounds, her breast nourishes and feeds you
Son of the Soil, Son of the Soil,
I want you to know,
The mutilation you have done,
It can still be undone.

Son of the Soil, Son of the Soil,
Soil under the Sun,
The darkness wails when I bestow,
I give light, I give you your shadow,
And follow you wherever you go
I see you,
I hear you,
I know what you do,
You or the soil cannot hide from my hand,
Son of the soil, son the soil return to her ground
And don’t say a sound!

Son of the Soil, Son of the Soil,
Soil under the Sun,
You are upright on her belly,
She is in pain, she is disdained, and she is swelling
The shadow you make is causing a curse,
I said I follow you everywhere you go,
I see you,
I hear you,
I know what you do,
You or the earth cannot hide from my hand
Son of the soil, son the soil,
I said Let her go.

Son of the Soil, Son of the Soil,
Soil under the Sun,
Now that you have heard me, I will move a cloud
The creatures, the trees will not be found,
For they will be drenched in my richness, my thunder, my quench
Thirst will become folly and only a memory,
Now that you have listened, I will bring another cloud
The soil you stand on will be loose and uncoiled,
Son of the soil, son the soil, now let her breast feed you.

For Now, she can give birth and give you grandchildren.

Baobab

#sonofguruve

© SonofGuruve 2014