Tonderai



Tonderai quickened his step as he tried to keep pace with his grandmother, who was already almost ten metres ahead of him. It was past sunset and darkness was beginning to encroach. It had been a long hard day out in the fields, where his grandmother had been weeding the maize field while he literally played with mud under the musasa tree.
“ Fambisa iwe, uchadyiwa nemapere!” (Walk faster or you will be attacked by some hyenas), his grandmother shouted,

as she increased her pace like a nineteen-year-old girl. Mbuya Chando was fifty-nine years old but anyone seeing her walk would think that she was below forty. Life had been a bit unkind to Mbuya Chando and her only grandson. but she was not at all bitter. She, however, always wondered what she had done to offend the spirits or the Creator, or was it both? She had been a law-abiding citizen who had gone about her business of struggling to survive in rural Guruve, without giving anyone any trouble. She even regularly attended the local Salvation Army Church. When she had a few cents to spare she even paid in her dues to the church for the “extension of God’s kingdom”.

Mbuya Chando had got married when she had just become a young woman, coming from a family based deep in the Dande basin in the far north-western part of the country. She lost her husband when she was fifty. He was poisoned at a beer drink by Tembo who himself died in mysterious circumstances exactly two months after the death of Mbuya Chando’s husband. She had toiled on carrying her burden of loss with great dignity. After the funeral, and for a couple of weeks, good men from the village continued to come to her hut to do the manly chores for her, some of them in the hope that they might win her heart and permission to enter her bedroom, but to no avail. Even her husband’s younger brother, Maruza, had given up hope of taking over her late brother’s wife and moved on to settle in Kachuta, far away from the widowed woman. She was a stubborn little woman with no close relatives in the neighbourhood.

As if the loss was not heavy enough, her only child and son Tapera who was employed as a gardener in Harare died from AIDS two years after his father had gone. This time she felt that she could not bear it any more. She contemplated taking her own life until Tapera’s former girlfriend travelled all the way from Harare to dump Tonderai, then just two years old on her dusty doorstep. Tapera’s former girlfriend had found a new man who wanted to marry her and nobody else was able to look after Tonderai, not even the new-found man.

“Handichengete mwana wechikomba chako ini pano,””(I will not look after your former boyfriend’s son in my house,) he had declared.

As Mbuya Chando approached her homestead, she felt that it was a miracle that Tonderai had grown up now to a point where he was looking forward to going to school the following year. Tonderai was the main reason why Mbuya Chando had not proceeded to take her own life. A lot of people had not given Tonderai a chance. They had thought that he was also going to follow his father very soon, since they had suspected that he had contracted HIV/AIDS at birth. He was rather small for a two-year old, and under Mbuya Chando’s care, poor as she was, he had grown up to be a handsome little boy, a real replica of his father when he was that age.

Their homestead comprised of only two small huts standing proudly adjacent to each other, with a granary and a makeshift bathing shelter not too far away. The roofs for both huts were badly in need of attention. The roof for the one that she used as a bedroom was in worse condition than the kitchen. During the rainy season, water trickled through the dried grass and found its way inside. For her, it was more of a nuisance than a problem. There were more important things to worry about like food and next year’s school fees for Tonderai. Coming to think of it, Mbuya Chando felt that her son’s girlfriend had done her a great favour by dumping Tonderai on her doorstep. As she opened her creaking door, she wondered what could have happened, if Tonderai had not been around. Each time she saw Tonderai, she thought about her long-gone son Tapera. He had been a good son, despite what others said about him. As far as she was concerned, Tapera was not able to send money home, not because he was inconsiderate or irresponsible, but because he earned very little as a gardener. She was sure that if he had had a good salary, he would have been able to come home more often and send more money as well. This talk, that her son was promiscuous and a drunkard was a load of rubbish to her. Who knew her own son better than she? He was just unlucky that his girlfriend was not of good morals, she thought.

“Tora chikuni icho, m’zukuru”” (Please bring that log inside), – she asked Tonde as… she asked Tonde as she negotiated her way into the hut that she used as a kitchen, not because she had a bulky body. To the contrary, she carried a very small frame, but her door always gave her problems. It had almost come off its hinges through use and lack of basic maintenance.

As grandmother and grandson opened the door, they were confronted by yet another challenge. That of lighting up the fire and prepare their second and last meal for the day before retiring to bed.

The following day, Mbuya Chando followed her normal routines, working hard in her maize field throughout the whole day, under a blistering sun that seemed relentless in its distribution of heat. Just after sunset, the old woman with her grandson walked back home as usual. That evening, Mbuya Chando boiled the dried vegetables in water and at the same timeutilized  the last few drops of cooking oil that were left in the bottle. It was about 8.00 p.m. She still had a bit of mealie-meal to last her and her grandson another two weeks. With some of that, Mbuya Chando quickly prepared sadza for the two of them. Close to 9:00 p.m. the two together sprinkled some water onto the fire to ensure that it was completely dead.

“Let us go and sleep, m’zukuru (grandchild), tomorrow is going to be a long day because I did not do much today.””

Tonderai picked up their old paraffin lamp that was made from a used jam container and led the way to their bedroom a few metres away. As they approached the bedroom door, a strong wind gushed from the eastern direction and extinguished the light. There was no moonshine and the two moved slowly with caution to the door in pitch darkness.

“Why don’t you buy a better light than this, ambuya? Like the one Tendai’s parents have?”

“Where do you think I will get the money from, Tonde? Maybe one day when you start working, you will be able to buy your granny a better lamp.”

They managed to get inside the little round bedroom hut with fewer problems. The door to this hut, for some reason, had not suffered the same wear and tear as the one for the kitchen. It did not give any problems to either of them. Neither did it make any unnecessary noise at night. The old lady knew where the box of matches was located. In the pitch darkness, she found it and lit the old paraffin lamp once again.

Ambuya Chando took four thin blankets from a large black box and rolled two on the reed mat and placed a single pillow closer to Tonderai’s side of the sleeping area. It was not a cold night, so the two covering blankets would be adequate. As usual Ambuya Chando went down on her knees just before going to bed. On this day, she prayed:

“Dear heavenly Father, I thank you that I was able to see this day to its end in good health. I thank you for looking after Tonderai and your goodness to both of us. I pray that you look after both of us as we sleep here tonight. We look forward to tomorrow and hope that you will continue to guide us as we go about our daily chores. We ask that you intervene on our behalf, if there is anybody out there who may have evil thoughts against us. We ask you to forgive us for our sins. We ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

As Ambuya Chando turned to sleep beside her grandson, Tonderai, almost in a whisper, asked her:

“Ambuya, if God is good to us, why are we so poor?”

The old woman had not been expecting this question from her beloved grandson. She had prayed in his presence on many occasions in the past, without any problems. She struggled hard to come up with an appropriate answer and was glad that it was dark and that Tonderai could not see the pain and confusion on her face. She was not convinced that she knew the answer herself.

“Earthly possessions are not always very important, Tonde”.

She knew that she had not sounded convinced herself by this answer, but that is all she could offer as of then. In fact, it came straight from the minister’s sermon from a few months back.

“Why then did you say that I should go to school so that I can have a good job so that I will be able to buy a car and a big house in the city, if all those things are not important?”

“Tonderai, I am tired. Let me sleep. We can talk tomorrow”.

That night, she was unable to sleep very quickly. Tonderai was not in the habit of asking too many questions. What had happened to him, she wondered. Indeed, all her life she had grown up in poverty. Her own father never had any material possessions of note except five cattle and a very old plough that was no longer in use. Her late husband was a good man, but again like her father, he did not have much to his name by way of possessions. He had three cattle that had all, but one, perished in the drought, a year before his death. The cow had given birth to a calf only for the cow to die after eight months. Fortunately, the off-spring had gone on to give birth to one more calf and these two animals formed the main basis of their most valued possessions.

By the time she started dozing off, Tonderai was fast asleep. When she finally fell asleep, she had a frightening dream. In the dream, she was with her late husband ploughing the small field surrounding their homestead. Tonderai was in front leading the two cattle drawing the plough. Her husband was the one holding the plough. As they came towards the edge of the field a large black bird almost two metres high appeared from nowhere and attacked Tonderai. There was pandemonium as Tonderai struggled to escape from the monster bird.

“Muri kuchemei, mbuya?” (Why are you crying, grandma?”)

When she woke up, she was shaking like a reed in the river. She was also sweating a great deal, like someone suffering from malaria. Her heart was pounding at such a pace that she was finding it difficult to breathe. After a few seconds, she was relieved that it had only been a dream. She was still extremely uncomfortable because usually she was a good sleeper.

“Don’t worry, it’s only a dream, m’zukuru. I am alright”

She did not sleep at all, after this encounter.


© SonofGuruve 2016

Allan Manyika

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Harambe the *Guerilla


harambe

I think I’ve had enough of this Guerilla/Harambe farce. Here we go with #CeciltheLion Part 2. Guerilla is purposely used as a metaphor in this piece.  While the mammal was indeed a gorilla, I think we are treating Harambe like a guerilla.

A guerilla is a member of a small independent group taking part in irregular fighting, typically against larger regular forces.

“this small town fell to the guerrillas”

synonyms: freedom fighter, irregular, member of the resistance, partisan; More referring to actions or activities performed in an impromptu way, often without authorization.

adjective: guerrilla

“guerrilla theater”

Harambe  was a member of a small independent group of wild gorillas taking part in irregular fighting (for their lives), typically against larger regular forces e.g humans.

Firstly, Harambe was trying to protect, and a potentially lifesaving decision had to be made – instantly.

It’s 100% humans that are to blame for Harambe’s violent death.  Personally, I loathe the dumbfounded and unnecessary focus that has been placed on the child’s father and his checkered criminal history.

If the zoo, administered by humans by the way, had a controlled environment with appropriate measures in place to mitigate deathly risk, this kid would not have fallen in and Harambe would still be alive.  I’ve been to dozens of zoos and most recently,  the world famous Animal Kingdom, Disney, Florida for a technology conference.

In no way are these beasts free.  It’s really like a retirement home for them. 24 hours a day caged, they wait for their eventual and sadly inevitable death. They are captive everyday and sadly, I wander what would’ve happened if, metaphorically, the gorilla wasn’t black.

Maybe the marksman would’ve uttered, #handsup, right?

What’s worries me is the complete disregard for human life. Surely, as the oldest book in the world states, these are the end times.  Had you, your munchkin of a little brother, your smiling sister, or precious cousin been that kid, what would you want to have happened to Harambe? Since when is a 400lb beasts’ life more important than a mischievous, yet precious four-year old’s soul?

As a pet owner, I’m all for animal rights, but if you’re really about that life, why don’t you go to the zoo and and petition for ALL animals to be freed? Perhaps Harambe would be alive if you did that, right? There are plenty of animals in Zimbabwe and across Southern African mainland for you to see existing in their true NATURAL habitat.

Once again, this is why I stopped my obsession with watching mainstream media and have been much happier since. I guess I fell into the trap for minds that eat, eat, eat what you’re given without asking what the ingredients are.

Scribe your your own story and seek your own content from places that provide unbiased truth, not unsubstantiated comments that lead you to debating keyboard warriors and ultimately, no solutions are offered or implemented.

Write your own story and as my pal @iamTehn said to me yesterday, “make your own economy”. I actually listened, so I created and started writing at http://www.sonofguruve.com. Get off your butt and make something that will actually make the world a better place. Arguing back and forth just creates noise.  Organize that noise into something beneficial for your fellow human being, irrespective of their race. Thank you.

© SonofGuruve 2016

#ThisFlag – Blood on the Blouse


Close your eyes for one moment.
Imagine as if you watched your birth. Imagine you were the cameraman or camerawoman when your mother pushed you out of her bloody womb.
Imagine the celebration that ensued. Imagine the first picture taken of your immaculate figure. Think of Ambuya. Think of Sekuru.  Think of your proud Baba and relieved Amai, joyful Tete, Babamukuru and Babamumini. Clearly the seed planted in her womb finally became a reality.  Think of the pain and spillage of Amai’s blood when you were born.
It was a bloody struggle for her wasn’t it?
You can open your eyes now.
Ladies and gentlemen, that day was April 18, 1980.
This is the day Rhodesia became Zimbabwe. The House of Stone.  The Warriors.  The Cheetahs. The Sables.  The descendants of the Monomutapa Dynasty.
I come from the greatest country in Africa. I entered this earth 6 years after her rebirth.  She was a beautiful little girl in the third grade.  She was growing, brimming with bubbling potential. She introduced me to her sisters and brothers.  She told me about the struggle to free her from captivity.  She told me about the valiant veterans who lost their lives to see her freed from her chains.  When everything calmed down, she was told her name would change, and that’s how she got to be called Zimbabwe.
She told me that Bob Marley came to Rufaro Stadium and sang about her in the Mbare ghetto while the rest of the world was watching.  She got to be known all over the world.  She was honored by Kings and Queens and she remembers a cosy, yet deceptive relationship with the Commonwealth.  I began to learn more about my sister, Zimbabwe and in due time good grades in my seventh grade allowed me to enter the best boys school in her city.  Suddenly, I had to leave because frankly I had to go and so did 3 million others.
Zimbabweans are at the core of the most profitable entities in the universe. The country can alarmingly be self sufficient, but sadly it hangs on a thread of what I call dasporan funds and donations.
Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Hollywood and The London Stock Exchange and even Tesla.
All of these entities are full of bright and talented Zimbabweans who would love to contribute to their homeland directly, but over the last 15 years, Zimbabwe has suffered brain drain that is insurmountable.

I received a call from her and she told me some sad news.

She told me people are tired.

She told me people are scared.

She told me people are rising.

She told me $15 Billion is missing.

She told me people are dying.

She told me the water is not clean.

She told me companies are closing.

2.2 Million jobs are missing.

She told me the fields are barren.

She told me her big brother Evan started talking about the flag.

She told me this is forsaken.

But now it has sparked a movement that is rather potent.


She told me there are factions.

She told me she can’t sleep at night.

She told me she can’t pay her child’s fees.

She told me they are stepping on her mothers blouse.

She told me the corruption got her anger aroused.

She told me she doesn’t want to live anymore.

She told me no one knows where the diamonds went.

She told me no one is accountable.

She told me her mothers womb could no longer give birth.

She said someone is stepping on her stomach.

She told me there is blood on her blouse.

She is in pain and she is disdained.

She told me there is a brain drain.

She told me the situation is just insane.

All I could do was cry and pray with her, because I didn’t know what to say.  I didn’t  have the solutions, but could only hope that those in power could wake her up from her nightmare.
I am a product of the loss and brain drain in my beloved Zimbabwe.  I had to leave because Baba had to leave.  Over the last 12 years I have had to gallop across foreign lands in England and America hoping to return to one day return to my beloved Zimbabwe.  Now, I have to negotiate going back to my own place of birth because of the fear of the unknown.  That is ludicrous.  That’s the true reality of the Zimbabwe diaspora.  No one Zimbabwean-born man or woman in America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, UAE or the United Kingdom wants to stay there permanently.


No one.  

Voluntarily, Zimbabweans have accepted living in foreign lands, but sadly because of involuntary, unbearable circumstances.  It’s sad to the point it is heartbreaking and depressing.  It’s sad that it was a joyous breakthrough to leave Zimbabwe through a visa. It’s sad that many Zimbabweans in this very moment want to leave.  I once imagined a utopia of all my friends going to the University of Zimbabwe, but sadly this never materialized. I was advised by my own Zimbabwean friends not to go there because it was a derelict, unfruitful situation.

It’s somber.  It’s melancholy.  It’s depressing.  It’s missing family events, funerals, graduations and celebrations. The homesickness. The corruption in the papers. The greed in the deals.

We, in the diaspora are haunted and all of us know someone like Ambuya vaHector.  But it’s people like Pastor Evan who are making us believe in the hope of the future. A free and fair Zimbabwe where all Zimbabweans can simply enjoy their lives and take care of their kids for centuries to come.

For those of you in the diaspora, this why you can’t ignore what is going on back home. It’s not politics. It’s not Ian Smith. It’s about those entrusted with rescuing our daughter, yet now she has been raped multiple times and now there is blood on her blouse.

Can we give just give her a chance to give birth for a future and give us grandchildren?
#herflag

#thisflag

#lethergo and Read this:

Son of the Soil

© SonofGuruve 2016

Sarikosi University 


Do you ever wander what the university of life looks Iike?

It comes in many unpredictable forms.

Family tragedies, mental or physical disease, financial debt, loss, bearevement, betrayal and even pregnancy.  Many are unprepared with the real expectations of life after completing their chosen field in tertiary education. No one teaches you how to handle yourself when it comes to a rental lease, a mortgage application, how to speak to police, how to apply for a credit card and how to handle yourself with etiquette in hostile situations.

This is the synopsis of many foreign students across the American landscape, so a lot of the above mentioned experiences are first time occurrences and they have to figure it out as they go along.  I speak about these experiences because I am a product of this lack of education.  As the only member of my family to enter the United States for university, I had to ‘figure it out’ as many of my peers did.  It’s riveting and adventurous, but if not guided, it can lead to teething problems that haunt your credit history, marriage life or even job prospects without you realizing.

Prior to college in America, I was fortunately able to take some classes at Saroksi University well before I even travelled for the first time on an aeroplane.  Growing up in Africa you are exposed to oral tradition and you learn potent stories of your ancestors which cannot be looked up in an encyclopedia or even Google.  You are propositioned to listen carefully and guard each of the stories in your heart.  As your life moves on, you have to be very aware because at some point you will need them.  After reflecting on one of the most memorable oral stories shared at Sarokosi University I smiled, because it’s many years later – it proved to be true.

Twelve years later, I enrolled at Bearcat University after receiving  the Mufuka-Mashura Scholarship to get training necessary to enter the business world and give back to my country.  One man took a chance on me and I am eternally grateful.  His name is King Kenny Mufuka.  It was a remarkable three and a half years of tough studies, classes and warm experiences.  I can say that my infant or newfound success was attributed to Bearcat University.

So what did I learn?

I learned about internal controls, accounting, risk, writing a resume,  contemporary art and writing a business letter very well.  I also learned the art of customer service by providing campus tours and working in admissions with fellow American students.  I also learned how to troubleshoot software and hardware problems in the school’s computer lab.  I also got my first ‘celebrity’ experience by serving as a campus leader and as a distinguished member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity (Blu Phi).  Serving the local durisdictin of the college campus gave a me a preview of what it is to be a leader, while creating programs and planning parties for the student body.   This is Bearcat University.

Bearcat University

Alas!

GRADUATION came in a sudden hurry I had to use my lessons from Professor Wood too ensure I landed gainful, legal employment.  It worked out.

So what happens when you finally get that job you always wanted?  Real life ensues and you have no time to slow down – to refer to your notes.  You are chained to your desk for 40-50 hours a week and only have two days to recover, but you probably have to work on Sunday to ensure you’re caught up.  Growth slows down unless you punish yourself with insane hours of continuing professional study to keep up with your industry and quite frankly just keeping your boss happy.  It’s then that I had to refer to the classes of twelve years before while growing up at Sarikosi University.
So where is Sarikosi University?

It’s located at Gota Village, Guruve, Zimbabwe and precisely where my father, uncles and aunts learned tough and strenuous lessons to make them the people they are today. If it wasn’t for Sarikosi University, they would have dropped out of the quest or game of life a long time ago.  One of the most successful sons became a huge success in the HR arena in not only Zimbabwe, but the World.  One became an illustrious pharmacist, another an Insurance professional, another a Church Pastor and a city Planner, and one a Biblical Scholar.  The others became successful customer service professionals while bringing up the kids or freshman of Sarikosi University.  I am one of those freshman so it isn’t surprising that I think I’m doing well in my 29th semester at Sarikosi University.

Who is Sarikosi?

Sarikosi is the Father of Gota Village and specifically my paternal grandfather who is the founder of Sarikosi University.  Every Christmas the family would congregate at his compound to learn lessons and chapters required the pass the examinations that life renders.  He was such a faithful man, he would wake up at 4am to pray to the ancestors for the rain.  He helped Zimbabwe’s liberation heroes as they made their journey through the hills and valleys to seek freedom from political tyranny.  He owned a grocery store.  He owned tractors, tobacco,  land and an American GMC truck that my father crashed mischievously.

The core values required for a family to grow and prosper emanated from his soul.  I distinctly remember his roundtable meetings every time his students or kids rather were in the same location.  He was widowed – but remarried.  He was a potent giver and generous Christian who settled on the values of his African customs and those of the Salvation Army Church.  He had the gift of prophecy, the heart of a lion , but the gentleness of a mother’s touch because his beloved late wife, Clara had passed by the time I met him for the first time.

#Sarikosi, #FatherofGuruve, #UncleofGuruve

You have to wonder how this man predicted so many things.  How did he know? Who told him?  Who was guiding him? All I can say he was truly a man of faith who was relentless in his pursuit of the preservation of humanity.  He helped hundreds and I believe if there was list of a thousand people who contributed to the freedom of colonized Zimbabwe, he’d be in the top 100.

Simply, I’m trying to indicate that Mr. Sarikosi Manyika was a great man.  He did what he said he would do.  He led with distinction.  He taught us to always give back and never forget where we came from.

Sarikosi passed away while I was at Bearcat University, but his spirit helped me reach my goal of graduating with honors. Part of why I write this blogpost is simply to honor him because even though he didn’t visit America, his name will live through a scholarship I founded just the other day at an illustrious American University.  Several months ago I was asked to serve on the Bearcat University Alumni board and identified as a potential leader.  With alarming excitement, I instantly began to contribute and learned that I could start a scholarship just like anyone else.  It didn’t require privilege.  It didn’t require specialized knowledge, neither did it require money, but just the spirit of generosity.  I can honestly say, I’m glad I took the leap.

Myself and Bearcat University Senior Officials met and coined the Sarikosi Scholarship.  Instead of constantly talking about it, I decided to be about it, so put some REPSPEK on his name.  I drove to their offices and decided to stop hiding behind my emails as a keyboard warrior.

Our goal is not only to fund the scholarship, but to make it permanent and endowed for centuries to come.  The Sarikosi Scholarship is a seed planted to give back to the next generation and will be administered by Bearcat University Senior Officials.  Here we are officially putting pen and paper together in a momentous occasion.

There must have been a celebration in heaven when the scholarship converted itself from an idea to a fact.

I leave you now because I wanted to make a call to action to all readers.  Please contribute gifts as small as $5 and up to $500 until we reach out goal of $10,000 and beyond. The goal of the scholarship is to serve a full-time African student who meets the following criteria:

1. Student who is a citizen of an African country.

2. Student meets the academic standards to earn and maintain and 3.0 GPA.

3. Student meets one of the following:

a)   Athletics involvement.

b)  Campus Leadership.

c) Community Engagement.

Now that I have shared the essence of this blogpost, let me share the story or myth that Sarikosi shared decades ago.

He said in life you can’t talk too much.  He specifically said be careful what you release into the wind because there are evil spirits and you can’t control the wind.  You are not God.  You don’t know where the wind will take what you release into its path.”  It’s only now at 29 years old I truly understand what he meant.  I have made the error of sharing myself or inner thoughts with too many people in the past because they handled the information in their own distasteful way.  I am still learning and hopefully I can pass this year’s class at Sarikosi University.

It’s the only school in the world you remain until your last breadth.

How to contribute to the Sarikosi Scholarship:

Willing contributors or donors should mail their checks to:

THE LANDER FOUNDATION (Sarikosi Scholarship),

320 Stanley Ave,Greenwood, SC 29649.

#landerscholarship #ripsekuru #sonofguruve #granddadwasaChampion #thankyouLU

© 2016 SonofGuruve

Protected: The Conscience of a Hermit


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New Age Africa


“In Western media, Africa is too often represented as a violent, destitute hellhole in desperate need of Irish rock stars, American film actresses, and Norwegian NGOs just to remain upright. But the continent is undergoing a renaissance. It’s programming software, making movies, designing clothing, and creating music that is equal to that produced anywhere in the world and frequently exceeds it in quality and creativity”.

The above introduction are not my words but exactly how I feel. Thanks to Curt Hopkins for inspiring this piece below.
———————————-

I also found the following collage to represent my precise thoughts:

Africa

These are the scribes of an alleged deranged and drunken beast. What is this beast? It’s the biggest antelope in Africa! It’s the eland and it’s genus name is the Taurotragus. Here is a little Eland I saw at Animal Kingdom, Orlando, FL just the other day:

You see in Zimbabwe, we believe certain animals represent our tribes and ancestors.  We communicate to them for guidance and direction.  Paralleled with Christianity, our relationship with the mysterious totems is paramount to survival in modern day Zimbabwe.  It’s rare to find a brother or sister who’s values are not influenced by at least one.

As a former British colony, and unfortunately formerly known as Rhodesia, the sacred cultural considerations of what is modern day Zimbabwe was diluted by the white settlers led by Cecil John Rhodes.  They brought temporary riches, merciless trading, Christianity and an acrimonious tension to the local customs and culture rooted in the continent.  You’d have to read “Things Fall Apart”, by the ever-revered Ivy League, Nigerian Professor at Chinua Achebe.  He passed away, but every time I re-read this book, I learn something new.

Now you know what the fuss was all about when “Cecil the Lion” was slain in Zimbabwe last year.  It’s baseless protection of a beast that is capable of eating people. I wonder where those folks are now?  It’s hilarious to think a wild animal caused so much social media fracas when we have multiple, teething humanitarian issues affecting our world today. Wake Up!

Nonetheless, from my research and intuitive reflections, many Africans were initially confused, but I imagine that when the dust somewhat settled,  African customs and Christian beliefs made peace.  I say this because when you meet me, you’re talking to an Afrocentric Christian, his flaws laid bare, displayed, his pride for his faith and profound respect for his ancestral values and beliefs.  SonofGuruve emanates from the African village where I never physically grew up, but our regular family visits created an indelible mark on my conscience and psyche.

It’s difficult for some of my Western friends to comprehend, but I find similarities in several cultures here in the United States. For example, native Americans I have met on business trips to California or New Mexico share similar beliefs.  They revere their ancestors and totems as much as I fear and respect mine.  I thought to myself how we are all similar than we’d like to recognize? Answer at your own peril.

So back to this beast.  My family beast is eloquently known as Eland and translated Mhofu.  It’s one of the several animals or symbols represented in the Shona tribe.  As a Shonaman, when I walk into a room, a scholarship banquet or a party, I love that friends don’t necessarily call me SonofGuruve.  They call me Mhofu.

My brother is Mhofu. My Dad is Big Mhofu and so are many of my real friends, former friends and associates.  Mhofus don’t all get along and this is expected of any group of people.  I can expand on this on a later post or a whole book, but not today.  Examples of these tribal representatives are Lions (Shumba), Monkeys (Murehwa), Hearts (Moyo), Fish Eagles (Hungwe) and many many more.

I always chuckle because I think it’s super cool to have an alias as an individual who represents the born-free, New Age Africa or firebrand millennial diasporan and confident cultural chameleon.  Being a Shona tribesman can be tricky in the westernized world that is rapidly diluting Mhofu principles.  I hope a book is written for the firebrand millennial reader to understand and digest his identity more clearly because even in this age of WhatsApp and FaceTime, ancient old traditions of oral tradition are evaporating.

I’ve been talking about this New Age African phenomenon for years and it finally descended upon me to informally announce this school of thought to a group of African Studies professors in Charlotte, NC.   I was invited into the banquet of the National Conference of African Studies and shared a table with probably 100 years of educated African studies professors. We discussed my culture, African travel, and some of their curricula.  I told them what was missing; the New Age Africa.  It’s then I realized I have to do more research, but would have to ask my good friend, the future Dr. Shingi Mavima and Old Georgian, to verify my assertions.  He’s a philanthropist, poet and part of the reason I am inspired to write here at SonofGuruve. We went to high school together fam.

So who are these New Age Africans? I’ll focus on the ones I know very well. They were born in post independent African countries and are living what I call the African dream.  Some are business owners, educators, and solicitors in their native land. Next are the ones in foreign countries pursuing noble professions and while they probably can’t vote in, lets say America, they know more about America’s political landscape than the average American citizen.  They work for Google, Facebook, Wall Street Banks, start up firms in Sydney and some are artists knocking on Hollywood’s thick impenetrable door.

An example is my former 8th grade crush and longtime friend, Sibongile Mlambo.  She’ll be featured in the movie “Honey 3” shot in Cape Town, South Africa.  It’s such a pleasure to witness how many of these New Age Africans have carried themselves into heir upper twenties and early thirties and now rapidly becoming trend setters in their respective industries.  You can see the trailer for Sib here:

I started writing this blog post because I couldn’t sleep one night in April.  The soundproof spare bedroom of my fellow friend kept me up and as my mind thudded in the silence, I had to scribe a piece about New Age Africa and my reflections of the Mhofu tribe I mentioned earlier.

It pains me a little that Mhofus and other Shona tribesmen have a long way to go when it comes to marketing ourselves.  If you’re a Shona tribesman or Mhofu clansman reading this, pause.  Before you get offended, let me expand.

In the diaspora, I meet may different people of all walks of life and nationalities. When you are from Zimbabwe, you largely settle on being called Zimbabwean and if you’re a liar you say South African to avoid talking about your country’s economic plight and struggles.  A stark difference I have detected is with my illustrious Nigerian brothers and sisters.

Instantaneously, when you meet a Nigerian, it doesn’t end there.  A further dissection occurs when you have to acknowledge and ask whether they are Igbo or Yoruba.  There are many other tribes there, but clearly those two are marketed and shared well in this world.  I envy this and love it at the same time.

Special Shoutout to my first Igbo friend, Ife Chukwu.  I watched his Igbo characteristics bubble over the years at Bearcat College in South Carolina.  He was an older pal, but definitely an unapologetic African prince who brought fear to many opponents on the soccer field.  My hope is that if as a Mhofu, when people learn that I am from Zimbabwe, they ask whether I am Shona or Ndebele.

To end this post I wanted to provide you with the top 14 qualities needed to be an honorable Mhofu man.  I’m clearly not accomplished in 100% yet but I thought it prudent to share what I ought to be when o grow up.

Next time you meet me, you have a choice to call me SonofGuruve or more importantly Mhofu! Peace be with you, reader.

  • Top 14 Mhofu Characteristics:
  1. Never stop learning until you die.
  2. Define clearly in your mind what you think success looks like and spend a lot of your time pursuing that vision.
  3. Stay positive even when the chips are down and when all looks lost
  4.  Learn from your mistakes and make sure that you do not repeat the same mistake in your life.
  5. Especially at work do not get involved in gossip. If you have to say anything about someone in his/her absence make sure that it is something nice about that person. If you have negative views about someone, keep that to yourself.
  6. Be on time ALWAYS.
  7. Never send an e-mail in anger or in haste. Read it over and over and make sure it accurately captures the essence of what you want to say. Words disappear into thin air or memories fade. If an email is not deleted, it is permanent evidence against or for you.
  8. Things are not always what they appear to be. Not everyone who smiles at you is your friend although most will be. Similarly if someone does not talk to you often enough, it does not necessarily mean that they do not like you.
  9. Keep reminding yourself about your good side and also aim to improve your areas of weakness.
  10. Have an annual plan in life and identify the things that you want to achieve and link this to what I wrote in 2 above. It does not have to be many things, maybe 2 or 3 things, but they must be important milestones in your life.
  11. Show RESPECK but not fear to your peers and superiors.
  12. Learn to LISTEN carefully to ever thing people say. Sounds simple, but we do not always listen and sometimes miss key messages in the process.
  13. Honor your promises.
  14. The words “thank you” or “please” should be an integral part of your language.

It’s time for bed now.

© SonofGuruve 2016

Unbreakable Hilarious Ruth


I met a hilarious  princess called Ruth who princes would definitely attempt to court and raise to their throne. How did I meet her?
My IPhone predictably cracked so I made my way on my Black Horse, Not Guilty, to the local cell phone repair shop.  A couple of coincidences ensued on that humid afternoon.  A conversation sparked with local customers about the beautiful weather in the Sparkle City including the recent court case between Apple Inc. and the FBI. I chimed in to provide my opinions to the audience as I had prior knowledge from my online Cybersecurity and Auditing classes.
The lady sitting nonchalantly in the back turned out to be my good friend, Mr. Temple’s mother.  Mr Temple and I met in Sparkle City one Wednesday student night and began a friendship bonded by our interests and beliefs in art, music, British television and alchemy.

What is an alchemist? Well, as you should know by now, I refer to my Oxford dictionary a couple times a day and this is what it read:

1A seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination:

finding the person who’s right for you requires a very subtle alchemy.

Alchemy has led me to believe we all carry a distinct, mysterious energy and each of us collide when interactions occur.  It’s like meeting a person for the first time yet you click like you’ve known each other for decades.  It’s these type of human instincts which irrigate alchemy.  There’s a spirit we all carry and the deeper your spirit of discernment you are more likely to meet with people with similar interests, backgrounds, and carrying the same energy.  Many infant readers may think I’m referring to witchcraft or sorcery, but not at all. Energy creates combustion and the collision leads to interactions an infant mind would describe as coincidence.

Mr.Temple’s mother expressed herself to be an alchemist too and we had a great discussion about life, her move from up North, and her proud understanding of Marketing principles.  We later took a picture and chuckled how her son would be astounded at our “coincidence”.  Mr. Temple wouldn’t be surprised because he taught me this concept of alchemy.  Another lady walked in and this is where the inevitable  combustion with princess Ruth occurred.

I would describe the lady who walked in as a polite artist. She shared her interest in silver art and her infatuation with the artist known as Nneka.  She introduced me to Nneka because I provided information of my African lineage, my heritage from Zimbabwe and interestingly my affection for the prince of Zamunda.  If you haven’t watched the movie  Coming to America, I’d like to believe I’m the character that Eddie Murphy plays.  At Bearcat University I disliked his portrayal of Africa but I soon came to learn it was my ignorance.  If you watch the movie carefully and undistirbed, you’ll learn Eddie Murphy is wealthy and culturally aware, proud and ironically searching for love and for oneself in America.  We all chuckle at his accent, but can’t debate about his wealth.  Like Murphy,  I am a prince and I recently came to love the Barbershop folk who call me Prince of Zamunda.  I accepted honor and figured it’s an opportunity to teach dozens of American citizens I encounter about what Africa is really like.

Nonetheless, the polite artist continued to chat to the technicians behind the wooden desk.  She insisted on showing a video of someone she knew who was run over at a New York Subway Station.  At this point I wasn’t paying much attention, but when she said the victim survived the injuries, I zoomed in. She showed us a video.

It turns out the victim Ruth was her daughter, who walked in just before the video screening.

Flesh was grounded, blood spilled, astronomical medical bills incurred and clearly a near death experience from what I gathered.   Several months of physical therapy and surgeries later, she was standing right in from of me.  My curious mind relatively gets me in trouble, but this was a risk worth taking.  I asked if it was really her and quizzed her how in the world that after a horrific accident she still had both legs. Surely something fishy was going on, right?  It turned out skin was removed from fleshy body parts and essentially planted on her leg to grow. It’s called grafting and gradually her skin began to grow.  Doctors are golden.

She lifted her leg for me to witness the gory, yet beautiful sight.  I wasn’t disgusted but  amazed at how anyone can survive such an accident.  It was awe inspiring moment. It was remarkable that she was living her life like the rest of us except she appreciated the gift of life a whole lot more  and just getting to muster her way through her gifted days.

It turns out that before the accident, she was on her way to a remarkable career in New York City, but now just glad to live in Spartanburg, SC and grow not only her leg, but her spirit of survival.  I was so apprecitative of her courage and willingness to share her horrific yet inspiring story.  We shared the same appreciation for comedy, rap and the controversial Kanye West.  The day we met I was coincidentally wearing my soccer shirt blazed with the Fly Emirates logo.  I didn’t understand why until she said her friend M.I.A would love to see a picture so we took a selfie.  Wait, did I just say M.I.A.?  Yes I did.  M.I.A is the world renown  Srilankan alternative artist facing a legal battle against the Fly Emirates Giant.

I could keep going on but, there’s not enough time to keep writing today.  Ruth is now a good friend and I can’t wait to see her get back to her destiny of being a hilarious comedian.

You see in life, we are going to get scars, injuries, pain but you have to RISE like the Phoenix.  You have to use your faith and self-belief because no one else will save you.  I’m sure it has never been an easy journey for Ruth but hey, she clearly makes the most of her days.
What I’ve learnt about adversity is that some go through it privately while some are forced to endure it publicly.  I have endured it in both circumstances and what I’ve noticed is those that keep it private are usually trying to keep appearances.  True healing doesn’t happen that way because matters of the heart require time and sharing the load with those that are trusted companions.  You can’t do life alone and you can’t fully recover if the scar hasn’t healed.  I speak from experience and inspiration rendered by Ruth’s remarkable story.

So why did I call her Ruth?  If you look in the Old Testament there’s a lady called Ruth who experienced traumatic experiences including a famine and loss of her husband.  She decides to enter a foreign land and more drama ensues.  I read the short book before publishing this piece and here’s my favorite excerpt:

8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. 9 Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” 10 Then zshe fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should atake notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” 11 But Boaz answered her, b“All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12 cThe Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” 13 Then she said, d“I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.”

If Ruth can survive a train and scars created, why can’t you get up on your own to feet and keep going?  I’d like to believe God finds favor in those that keep their faith, and smile through publicisized adversity.

Check out some internationally recognized posts and efforts about my friend, Liza “Ruth” Dye.
http://www.ibtimes.com/who-liza-dye-nyc-comedian-run-over-train-recovering-humor-1555834
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/standup-comic-liza-dye-pals-raising-funds-pay-medical-bills-article-1.1617838
https://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-liza-dye/139438

If you have any letters, donations or gifts to pass on to Liza, let me know at adza@sonofguruve.com and I’ll personally see that they are passed onto her with proof and verification.  Her story still lives.

#SonofGuruve

© SonofGuruve 2016

Allan Manyika