Jun 27, 2007

Ikhephu

Apha-a-a eMzantsi Africa (Here in Southern Africa)
Kwenza-ka-l’ isimangaliso (Some marvel wonder happened)
Kwaku-band’ isimangaliso (It was wonderfully cold)
Kwafa –a-a nempahl’ emfishane (Even the small creatures died)

Kwaf’ ibhokwe ngenx’ yalel’ ikhephu (The goats perished because of this snow)
Kum-hlo-phe qhwa, naphezu kwezindlu! (Its white on house tops)

Refrain
Ikhephu apha eMzansi Afrika (The snow in South Africa)
Kwakuband’ apha, eMzants’ Afrika (It was cold here in South Africa)
Ikhephu, ikhephu……..! (The snow, the snow!)
Li-ka 1963! (Of 1963)

This is a song that my beloved mother sung to us when we were young. She learnt this song when she attended school in one of the remote villages of north-western Matabeleland in Zimbabwe. It was a song of the 1963s sung to express one of the climatic wonders of the time-a snow fall. The snow fall did not occur in Matabeleland, not even in Zimbabwe but in South Africa. It must have been really cold that such was captured by school kids as further as a thousand kilometers away.
When I woke up today and saw of the snow fall on grasses, pavements, and plants, I remembered the song above. Since my stay in Johannesburg, I have never seen such a snow fall. I have been hearing of snow falls in such places as KwaZulu-Natal but not in Johannesburg before.
The meteorologists have stated that more is yet to come. In fact, we just entered the winter solstice last Wednesday hence we have to gear ourselves against more winter bit lest we get the bug. The trick is to keep warm, drink more water not more coffee! And sleep under warm blankets.
But why all this cold whether? Reason: Climatic change! Indeed, climatic change has become a thorn in the flesh of global leaders. The million-dollar question is how we can arrest it.

Jun 19, 2007

My First Day at Work

Yesterday (Monday) I found one paradox in human make up. For all this time I have been telling my prospective employers of all my capabilities, and have been able to express my suitability as an applied Social Science Researcher with unquestionable clarity and lucidity. Would you believe today that the first question that I asked my supervisor after she had described what I shall be doing as a Research Intern was “What is it that I shall be doing as a Researcher Nirvana?” My supervisor’s name is Nirvana by the way. I thought I was being silly at the first instance but I discovered the relevance of my question later.
I had not been clear about what I had precisely wanted to know but it dawned, as Nirvana replied me, that what I wanted to know was what my job will entail. Therein lies the power of questioning-getting to know what it is that you have to do.
Sometimes you get nervous when you have to ask in order to get some clarity on a particular issue. This is often true if the person you have to ask is one of seniority. Causes of that are multiple but I think chief among these is the feeling that asking questions will expose the stupidity in you, and the emptiness that fills your medulla oblongata, and thus bring to question your credentials as a newly recruited employee. Let me share with you some wisdom that I begot from my mother. She said:
“Look Mbuso, if you ask a question, you appear stupid for a very short time but become wise for the rest of your life.” The vice versa is true. I cannot go further lest I dilute such great wisdom.
I had gone for an interview at Health and Development Africa (HDA) on the 4th of June. It was not an interview as such but an informal chat with Dr Gill and Saul Johnson, both directors at the company. I got an offer of an internship from Dr. Gill through an e-mail last week on Thursday. Yesterday was my first day at work. What a day it was. I have hitherto alluded to contradictions in me. I must state one of these at this juncture. One must be familiar with the kind of feeling that one develops when one believes that his/her colleagues have left him/her in the race. Such was my feeling when almost all the 2007 WoW interns, save for me, were invited to interviews immediately at the end of the training programme. I knew Lesley and Jean could not neglect me but I must be honest to say that a thought of being abandoned was beginning to creep in my mind. Doubt was beginning to build itself into an imposing edifice. Every time I had to think of myself, I saw a deficit in me that needed to be attended to.
But here comes a call on Thursday the 13th of June from HDA inviting me to an interview. An hour later, I receive a call from Lesley informing me of the same interview.
Interestingly, Lesley had this to say: “Mbuso do not put on your white suit.” Our telephonic conversation was too short that I could not tell her that it would have been impossible to put on that white suit again because on the day I had put on it, I had borrowed it from a friend. He would have been less willing to lend it to me for the second time around! Besides, he has since relocated to Cape Town!
The last thing Lesley said was: “Mbuso, do not put on your spectacles because one can hardly see your eyes when you are putting on them.” Surely, I could not resist such strategic advice.

So, yesterday was my first day at work. I arrived at 8.00am and found two of the company directors already in. There are three directors at HDA. The working environment is fabulous and the patrons very interesting. At 08.30, we went for a meeting during which I was introduced to the rest of HDA staff, and where I had the chance to introduce myself to them all. At 10.00am I had a project meeting with my supervisor and three other colleagues. We are working on a project on the provision of psychosocial support to HIV/AIDS orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in Eastern Cape Province’s four districts of Lady Freire, Lusikisiki, Dutywa, and Port Elizabeth. My job is to research on background material for the programme. The programme runs for a year beginning from now up to next year around this time. The meeting lasted from 10-2 pm after which I was so exhausted and hungry. I could not, however, eat because I had a stomach disorder that had kept producing funny sounds even during the two meetings. Thanks to caring HDA patrons who turned these horrible sounds into a joke: “Mbuso’s stomach gymnastics!”

I spent the rest of the day at my office that I share with a lovely lady called Nicky. The whole day was an interesting one. I had to smile and smile, nod and nod, yes and yes, okay and okay until I was okayed! I had to laugh and pretend that I was laughing. I had to maintain a professional posture, things that are hard to do especially when you engage into a conscious effort to do them. I did not have my own laptop but it will be availed on Wednesday. The human journey has reached its zenith. Do I have the steam to keep going?

Alas, I had to sympathize with the company patrons. When we arrived in the morning we found that company offices had been broken into. Only a projector was stolen. It appears this happened over the weekend. This is the second time, I am told, the company offices have been broken into. The last time there was a burglary, a whole lot of computers were stolen. This time around, only a projector was snatched! Dr. Saul Johnson, one of the HDA directors, said of the latest break-in: “This is an indication of the fact that HDA is growing from strength to strength!” It appears the thieves used the basement door of the building and hawksawed themselves into one of HDA offices where there was the projector. It looks like they triggered the alarm system in the process which led them to leave before they rampaged and looted the offices of my beloved company.
The talk of burglary, the Stallion bosses, the Stallion Security Company was contracted to man the building; and concerns on security of company property, punctuated the conversations of the day. I pray that the commercial guardian angel shall protect our priced company. Long live HDA.
What a day of fun, activity, and surprises.

The Human Journey

When I came forth into this world from my mother’s womb, I began a journey along a path so abstract to define but well-trodden to be missed. This is the path that I still tread today. A path traveled by all those of the human family whose limbs and torsos still have the energy to carry them around. This is the path prescribed by the Father of Life in Whose bosom we exist and by whose instruction we do and accomplish projects.
I, like a candle whose string needs to be burnt in order that its glow may illuminate the dark corners of the house, have been consuming myself to extinction. The candle burns itself out. It is an eventuality that one who wants to light his/her house must burn the candle. This is inescapable. In the same way, one who needs to accomplish works that impact on other people's lives in a positive way must sacrifice him/herself to the vicissicitudes of time. Existence eats one away.
Thus, as I exist, I am set toward that dreaded place of the silent and the dead. I am happy that I am now at the prime of my existence-WORKING AT HDA!

May 20, 2007

The Party

I arrive at half-past-five at the Graduate School Offices. I am carrying my usual book-case. I am dressed in a white shirt and a black trouser. I am putting on my usual spectacles that add an academic posture. Not many of my colleagues have arrived. I see Bruce, Dr. Minors, and Roy. Roy is carrying assessment forms. He wants to find the blogger-of-the-year. I and Bruce begin to fill the grid with which Roy seeks to select the best one or two bloggers of the year. It was one of the grids that he used during the internship training course. I have forgotten how it works. He takes his time to remind us. The top five bloggers are Temitope, Susan Arthur, Ijeoma, Adam, and Maxwell.

The place begins to breathe life. People are beginning to tickle in. I can see Wanjiku and her friend. Two of my friends arrive. Oh I get a call from my friend who comes from Sandton. As I rush to meet her at the Origins Centre, I meet Jean by the Graduate School entrance. I greet her. I tell her that I am going to fetch one of my friends by the car park. She urges me to rush because the party is about to start! My friend has not yet arrived at the car park. When I am about to leave the park, she phones me that she is about to arrive. She tells me that she can find the Wits Seminar Room (the venue for the party) by herself. I am relieved!
My friend arrives from Sandton. She works for the African Leadership Academy. She brought a gift for me. I am so happy.
All the internship graduands have arrived save for Susan Wangi. The place is now alive. The party has begun!
Chairs have been arranged for the guests, the internship patrons, and the internship graduates. The atmosphere is ballistic. Joy is throbbing in the air. The party has begun.

Dr. Susan van Zyl officially opens the party by making a speech of a profound sort. She relates to the importance of internship and outlines why the World of Work Internship Programme at Wits is one of its kind. She introduces Jean, Roy, Lesley, Wanjiku, and Elspeth. Roy captures attention by his gyrating hands. He is such interesting today!
She turns to us and says-“This has been the most interesting group of interns I have ever met in this programme. I am proud of them.” I say to my heart-“We are also proud of you Sue.”
As she finishes introducing the guest speaker, Professor Lovemore Mbigi, she gets a standing ovation.
Mbigi was one of the keynote speakers during the internship training course. He begins by saying: “Many people are prisoners of disciplines.” As he repeats this, people are already shaken to the edges of their seats. Mbigi bursts in a metallic laughter. “Yes, he continues, “I have two degrees in business economics but… I do not know what to do with them.” He says “Thank you” at the end of his speech. Mbigi. What an interesting Professor.

Now is the time to announce the intern of the year. Lesley takes the stage. She begins by outlining the criteria that was used for selecting the top intern. “The top intern of the year is Ijeoma Uche-Okeke” , Lesley announces. Well done Ijeoma!

Now is the time to announce the-blogger-of-the-year. Here comes Roy. He climbs atop the tables, greets everyone and makes an explanation as to what blogging is all about. He begins peeling down papers of the envelop in a dramatic way. “The two bloggers of the year are Susan Aurthur and Ijeoma!”, he announces. Well done Ijeoma and Susan!
Certificates are handed to all of us. Jean and Lesley also bought us small bags! Thank you so much Jean and Lesley. We are proud of you.

As the party matures, dancing and eating begins. Cameras flash in all directions. Partying has begun. I am dancing with two of my friends and suddenly one of my classmates joins us. I leave them to join Temi, and company. They are being led by Adam in a very interesting dance. You turn your head to the right, to the left and then stretch your neck. You turn your head to the left, to the right and then stretch your neck! “Left-right and stretch”, says Adam. You repeat the same thing until you sweat! Adam is a good dancer.

As the lights turn off, I have sweated, I am tired and happy.
This has been the most enthralling conclusion to the World of Work Internship Programme. But the journey begins. Am I going to get an internship? This question creates a lot of anxiety for me. I am positive that I will get one because I have done the best for myself. I am in the safe hands of Lesley and Jean; I am part of a dynamic group of my colleagues in the internship programme, and I have branded myself in the most strategic way.
This world is good because it never lets down those who work hard. I am one of those who are prepared to expend the last kilo joule to attain the good.

May 9, 2007

Time management

Who has ever seen people hurrying clumsily to the point of bumping on every one on the way? Who has ever seen a company boss rushing out of his car clutching a briefcase on one hand, and a jacket on the other? Who has ever seen a university student sweating on the edge of the chair trying to calm down because s/he has to start writing the examination for which s/he is late? I have seen all such people at the worst scenarios of their existence, that is, having run out of time!!
Time is a precious commodity. I used to think that time is a finite resource because it is not manufactured anywhere; nobody can ever exhaust hours, days or months because they naturally reproduce themselves! But we always race after time. Why? Time is a "finite-infinite" resource.
Time management has become a buzzword in modern existence. People have to manage their time in order to get things done. If you do not manage time properly you will always find yourself racing in a competition that you will never win! In the modern world, a human being has to perform a multiplicity of tasks within a limited time-frame of his existence. The secret to achieving one’s aspirations begins with managing one’s time. Time is money, as a popular cliché goes.
The concept of managing time has become salient in business life in which company patrons have to make strategies, and implement them within a short space of time in order to retain their competitive edge.

May 4, 2007

The key to transition

A transition from the classroom to the work place is difficult. Most people often think of this transition in terms of getting a job. During his presentation on the ways to achieve prosperity in life, Professor Lovemore Mbigi argued that this is a flawed conception of change. “Don’t look for a job, look for a problem to solve, the bigger your problem, the bigger is the reward. The companies have already an answer to you as a job-searcher-No!” For many of us, this was unnerving. We all look forward to being employed so as to gain experience, to learn how things are done beyond the classroom, and to improve our wellbeing. However, we had not viewed the job-search process in the perspective that Mbigi has suggested. I think there is some validity in what he is saying. Mbigi suggests that there are very few companies that are willing to employ people who have not defined what they will solve. Thus, if in any case one is invited to an interview, the whole issue is an attempt, by whoever has invited you, to find reasons not to hire you! It is your obligation to prove that you are worth the very job for which you have applied during that interview. This is a powerful revelation, I think.

Going back to Mbigi’s concept of identifying a problem to solve, you need to make a compelling sales proposition around your solution. The next step is to develop this solution into a product or production. Otherwise, Mbigi suggests, it is not enough to have a solution. The question is how you create a problem for which you will have a solution or solutions? And how you communicate your solution to the problem of your own creation! This sounds tricky.

You will realise that this world is replete with problems-economic, social and political problems. So the issue is not for you to create more of these but to identify them and suggest ways of dealing with them. One of the problems faced by South Africa is the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I have suggested in one of my blog-posts that there is need to deal with stigma as one of the national interventions against the disease. This is one of my “solutions” to this problem. I am proposing this through my profile in my blogspot. In this blogspot, I have turned myself into a product because it is where I have expressed my selling points, that is, my ability to think out of the box, my ability to lead and work in a team, my research and writing skills, and my ability to formulate policies towards employment creation and poverty reduction in South Africa.

Apr 27, 2007

Dealing with HIV/AIDS-related stigma

Stigma and metaphors built around HIV/AIDS have drawn academic and public interest. Particularly interesting is that the severity of the AIDS pandemic has transformed our lives profoundly, and that stigma experienced by persons living with the disease has grave consequences for public health efforts. Stigma constitutes prejudice, discrimination, categorisation, differentiation, and stereotyping. The phobia and metaphorical references attached to HIV/AIDS marshal fear, isolation and shame. Powerful metaphors have been mobilised around HIV/AIDS to reinforce stigmatisation. The word plague, for example,(derived from the Latin form plaga for collective calamity) is the principal metaphor by which the epidemic has come to be known in modern society. This conception of the disease contributes to the resonance of the inexorability and inescapability of HIV-infection. It also produces laxity on individual protection. Such thinking has been fostered by some religious leaders who have come to see the presence of HIV/AIDS as a fulfilment of apocalyptic prophecy. A sign for the end of time and a general punishment for immorality! The conception of suffering from HIV/AIDS as a consequence of immorality leads to the view of the epidemic as a disease of others and thus leads to the rejection and discrimination of those suffering from it. Getting the HI-virus is regarded as a wilful act that deserves punishment.

Another conjecture that has often come with HIV-related stigma is the popular discourse which equates testing HIV-positive to having AIDS yet testing positive points to the presence not of the HI-virus per se but of the antibodies to the virus. Nonetheless, this perception is so strong that once a person is diagnosed HIV-positive, people often see the person as “already dead!” While death may be inevitable for a person living with HIV/AIDS, it is often quickened by the landscape of “social terror” that produces anxiety and stress for sufferers. Metaphors kill because they make people to be irrationally fearful of even effective measures and foster credence in virtually useless remedies such as sleeping with virgins as a cure for HIV/AIDS as some reports say in South Africa. In light of the above, I want to argue that the mystifications and metaphoric trappings that have been built around HIV/AIDS have produced a profound impact on social and moral responses to the epidemic. It is, therefore, important for public health practitioners to deal with stigma because it is one of the greatest barriers to HIV/AIDS disclosure.

What is in a name?

I was quite taken by the debate on Asikhulume, a television programme on SABC 1 hosted by Xolani Gwala every Sundays, yesterday. The topic on discussion at this particular moment was the renaming of Luis Trichard, a city in the Limpopo Province, to Makhado. The AFriforum, an organisation that champions Afrikaners’ interests, culture and politics, objects to the project of renaming Luis Trichard to Makhado on the basis that there was no extensive consultation by the South African Geographical Council before which name-change was effected. According to this forum, the Afrikaner community which had crafted the name Luis Trichard is at loss here because name change constitutes a disregard of its contribution to the reshaping of modern South Africa. To it, a change of the city’s name is not only an affront to Afrikaner’s dignity but involves a terrible worst of public finances that could be otherwise expended in other meaningful projects such as housing for low-income earners. A variant argument to this was that the name Luis Trichard had racial and apartheid connotations hence it did not capture the whole spirit of democratic transition and reconciliation. So, those names that seem to represent a residual of apartheid should be done away with in favour of all-inclusive and progressive names.

There are a number of competing theories for or against geographical name changes in South Africa. I do not want to delve into the depth of these positions at this point. The argument is that this debate inspires me to look at myself and ask the question: How different would I be if I were not called Mbuso? Crafted differently, the question could be: What is it that identifies me as Mbuso?

In light of the above, it cannot be disputed that there is a lot in a name. A name carries culture; it carries pride, and national consciousness. Conventional social thinking posits that people’s names tend to constitute a true epitome of their personalities and abilities. Thus one who is called “Diligent” would always execute his obligations diligently! A name, in other words, is an embodiment of one’s skills, values and principles with which he identifies himself/herself. Interestingly, skills, for example, are not the creation of a particular name that one is given at birth. Skills are acquired over time. Thus, I am able to define myself as a skilled social science researcher, report writer, a team player, a developmentalist, and a self-driven person because I acquired some of these skills through rigorous academic training, and from the World of Work Internship Programme that I am currently attending at Wits University. As such, one can easily say that Mbuso has particular abilities that employers are looking for. It is these abilities that I need to supply to prospective employers. This does not end here, however. After securing employment, I must prove to my employers that I am worth my name!

What is your purpose in life?

Our life has become so routine so much that our minds have become conditioned to doing things almost in an automatic manner. For example, one does not need to work up in the morning and study a health manual in order to decide on what will be best to eat in that morning. We almost converge on the same habit of eating bread, butter, and cakes as our breakfast. Beyond this routine, who has ever asked himself/herself what his or her purpose in life is? Listening to Anton Gollub’s presentation on the Johannesburg Housing Company on Friday last week made me to think afresh as to what my purpose in life is. Interestingly, I discovered from Anton that what I had always considered as my purpose in life in fact constituted my goals and objectives! My opinion is that everyone in life must make someone else’s life more bearable. One must strive to fit into the greater scheme of existence. Rather than search for food, eat, sleep and go to the private house!, we must try to make sure that our lives make a positive impact on our fellow men, communities, and the globe at large. Many people are not alive, they just exist. They buy best cars; good houses, and marry the most beautiful women but remain as unsatisfied as before. Yet those people who started orphanages, for example, and are less materially rich, are the happiest people because they are fulfilling their purpose in life (that is, that of salvaging the fatherless and motherless). Let me take the example of teaching. Teaching is not a great profession, one may say, but there are some people who have been teaching for twenty years, and given a second life, they would teach for another twenty years because teaching gives them a chance to impact on other people’s lives forever. It is therefore important to make sure that all that we do in life impacts on other people’s lives in a positive way. My purpose in life is to commit my expertise to the health and economic development of African states. Hence I have termed my blog "The Developmentalist." I cannot express this better than Dr Azar Jamine when he said that “Business needs to wake up to the fact that just making money is an empty goal without contributing to the betterment of life of your fellow human beings.”

Inequalities and HIV/AIDS in South Africa

Socio-economic inequalities produce different outcomes of HIV/AIDS infection in South Africa’s demographic groups-Africans, Whites, Coloured and Indians, with Africans being the most infected and Whites being the least infected. This disproportionate distribution of HIV prevalence rates reflects on the cleavages and inequalities born of disparities in wealth distribution and education levels, among other things. Most Whites, for example, have high socio-economic status as compared to most Africans hence they are more likely to be less vulnerable to HIV than the latter. Thus, such views that the HI-virus is not a virus of equal opportunity underscore the notion of differential vulnerability to the HIV/AIDS epidemic as produced by socio-economic inequalities. Basically, HIV infection is conditioned by people’s behaviour but this behaviour is a function of, and is profoundly influenced by individuals’ socio-economic positions. It is in these contexts in which are found aspects of material deprivation versus material satisfaction, possession of power versus powerlessness, and working conditions all of which impact on people’s freedom of choice about lifestyle, and all of which may induce vulnerability or invulnerability to HIV infection. Material deprivation for example, negates the poor’s health and renders them powerless against HIV. So, the presence of HIV/AIDS is not simply the emergence of a new virus but an issue of social and structural changes creating conditions of vulnerability, conditions that open spaces for the virus to gain entry. Inequalities open such spaces.

Music

Music is one of the most fascinating endowments ever bestowed to humankind. Like the manner of the circulation of blood, it is one of the most intricately embedded aspects of the physiological (spiritual), social, and emotional well-being ever nurtured and cherished throughout the whole dispensation of human society. Music has evolved in various manner and perception, culminating in itself becoming one of the most glamorous and rewarding occupations on the globe. It can be rightfully classified as a gift eternal.

Music is a methodical combination of instrumental and vocal sounds. Music is a genre. Music has power. It has power to change, and power to herald change. Music appeals to the sub-conscious part of the mind and causes it to send impulses to the muscles. Thus, when people sing, or when you listen to music, you find yourself nodding to the rhythm of the song without thinking. The goodness of music is not felt with the tongue; it is felt through the skin!
During the struggle for freedom in South Africa, the oppressed sung the “Nkosi Sikelela i-Afrika” (Nguni for "God bless Africa"). With this song, they expressed a desire for freedom and the restoration of African dignity. Indeed, music is good for those in struggle because it energises them; it restores their hope and gives purpose to their endeavours. In Zimbabwe, every morning at five o’clock, the national radio station, Zimbabwe FM, sings the national anthem-“Phakamisani ifulegi yeZimbabwe” (Zulu for “lift ye the Zimbabwean flag”). In this song are contained the aspirations of our nation, its history, its geographical endowments and the general national consciousness. We used to sing songs of celebration during our childhood. When the rains poured in early November, we would dash to the open of our homestead and shout to the skies: “Zulu, zulu nana sidl’ amabhece” (Come you rain so that we eat the gourds”. This was a song of celebration for the coming of the rain season.
Music is powerful. My grandmother once told me that when she sings in church, she feels the Holy Spirit moving about! She feels uplifted. She feels blessed! During the time I was a baby, my mother sung lullabies to quieten me to a deep sleep. She would sing: “Su su, thula sana thula” (Quieten child quieten!”). This was a song to stop me from crying. Those crying need a song to quieten, those in victory need a song to celebrate championship; those in anguish need a song to see hope in bereavement, and those in love need a song to tighten their bond of love. Even the angels sing holy, holy in praise of the Almighty up in heaven! The World of Work Internship programme has been hectic this week, hence you need a song to relax yourself. What song do you have today? Is it a song of sorrow, celebration, love and revolution? You all have songs to sing. Music is good. Let’s sing along!

Apr 26, 2007

Poverty: A global problem

Millions of people across the globe are engaged in a daily struggle against poverty. While some people see work as a way out of poverty traps, some see entrepreneurship as the principal arsenal with which to fight poverty traps. The latter are those who see work as an unsatisfactory response to deprivation. Simple work, they argue, does not allow room to unlocking one’s entrepreneurial abilities. The poor should be encouraged to do for themselves rather than wait for their governments to give them food stipends. The question is, how possible is it for nation-states, which have become part of the global web, to combine national resources in a bid to combat material poverty in this globalised world?

Apr 19, 2007

Today

Each day has its own happenstances. So is this day. This day is unique in its own right. It was misty in the morning. The mist decreased visibility so much that drivers had difficulties negotiating their courses past each other on the roads. In Central Johannesburg, cars and buildings looked silhouetted in the mist like a ghost that hangs eerily in the morning air. People looked like moving-disfigured, and limbless torsos. You could hardly see hundred metres away. The accident at the Main Street, in which two taxies collided, must have been caused by this reduced visibility. I did not see any casualties. I pray there were not any. Surely, we need to look before we leap but today there is mist in the air. So we need to look and look before we leap and look again! This is a different day. It needs more looking. As we shall be going to Newtown, are we going to look, listen and learn?

Music

Music is a methodical combination of instrumental and vocal sounds. Music is a genre. Music has power. It has power to change, and power to herald change. Music appeals to the sub-conscious part of the mind and causes it to send impulses to the muscles. Thus, when people sing, or when you listen to music, you find yourself nodding to the rhythm of the song without thinking. The goodness of music is not felt with the tongue; it is felt through the skin!
During the struggle for freedom in South Africa, the oppressed sung the “Nkosi Sikelela i-Afrika” (Nguni for “God bless Africa”). With this song, they expressed a desire for freedom and the restoration of African dignity. Indeed, music is good for those in struggle because it energises them; it restores their hope and gives purpose to their endeavours. In Zimbabwe, every morning at five o’clock, the national radio station, Zimbabwe FM, sings the national anthem-“Phakamisani ifulegi yeZimbabwe” (Zulu for “lift ye the Zimbabwean flag”). In this song are contained the aspirations of our nation, its history, its geographical endowments and the general national consciousness. We used to sing songs of celebration during our childhood. When the rains poured in early November, we would dash to the open of our homestead and shout to the skies: “Zulu, zulu nana sidl’ amabhece” (Come ye rain so that we eat the gourds”). This was a song of celebration for the coming of the rain season.
Music is powerful. My grandmother once told me that when she sings in church, she feels the Holy Spirit moving about! She feels uplifted. She feels blessed! During the time I was a baby, my mother sung lullabies to quieten me to a deep sleep. She would sing: “Su su, thula sana thula” (Quieten child quieten!”). This was a song to stop me from crying. Those crying need a song to quieten, those in victory need a song to celebrate victory; those in anguish need a song to see hope in bereavement, and those in love need a song to tighten their bond of love. Even the angels sing holy, holy in praise of the Almighty up in heaven! What song do you have this morning? Is it a song of sorrow, celebration, love and revolution? You all have songs to sing. Music is good. Let’s sing along!

To the beloved intern

It is not the dark night that matters but the light that will come with the day after it. It is not the thick books that you read during your studies that matters but the degree that you have today. It is not the degree that matters but what you will do with the degree. It is not what you will do with the degree that matters but how you will do it. It is not how you will do it with the degree that matters but when you will do it with the degree. It is not how you plough that matters but the harvest that shall come out of the sowing. It is not how the seed looks like that matters but the flowers that will come out of the seed. Dear intern, get ready to move. Do not veer off the course of success. Remember: Good better best never let it rest until the good is better and the better best. Jack was never first but he always tried his best until he became first!

Apr 13, 2007

My CV

MY CURRICULUM VITAE

Personal details
Full Name: Mbuso Moyo
Phone: 079 366 8699
E-mail: mbizo2003@yahoo.com

Career objectives
My career objective is to make strategic contributions in delivering development objectives in the areas of economics and HIV/AIDS. I aspire to become a Development Research Officer/Consultant specializing in corporate social investment and environmental sustainability.

Education
University of the Witwatersrand, (Johannesburg, South Africa), 2005-2007.
University of Zimbabwe, (Harare, Zimbabwe), 2000-2003
Mzilikazi High School, (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe), 1998-1999.
Majiji Day High school, (Bubi, Zimbabwe), 1993-1997
Majiji Primary School, (Bubi, Zimbabwe), 1986-1992

Work experience
The Edge Institute
Position: Research assistant
Duration: 01 June 2006- 30 June 2006

Skills acquired
I gained excellent verbal and writing communication skills
Collecting and capturing information on foreign direct investment (FDI) using Microsoft excel

Inyathi High School
Position: ‘A’ Level History and Ndebele/Zulu teacher
Head of the Humanities Department
Duration: September 2003-April 2004

Skills acquired
Assessing and appraising colleagues in the teaching of history and geography.
Chairing meetings in the department.
Purchasing prescribed textbooks for the department.
Suggesting and managing the implementation of appropriate teaching methods to improve passes in the department.
Responsible for HIV/AIDS education in the school.

Other skills
Microsoft windows based programmes (word and power point, excel)
Flexible and able to respond quickly to problems as they may occur
Providing excellent written material or reports under tight deadlines
Good presentation skills
Developing research proposals, including literature reviews and constructing appropriate research instruments, having learned this specifically through my graduate studies at the university of the Witwatersrand

Interests
Reading and writing novels, socializing, researching, listening to classic and gospel music, singing & reading business news.

Referees
1. Dr. Noor Nieftagodien Tel: +27-11-717-4284
Private Bag 3, Wits Fax: + 27-11-717-4336
History Department
2050, Braamfontein
Johannesburg
South Africa
E-mail: nieftagodienn@social.wits.ac.za

2. Prof. Stephen Gelb Tel: +27-11-339-1757/ (+2711 or +2782 outside SA)
Private bag 3, Wits Fax: +27-11-403 2794
School of Economics and Business Studies
2050, Braamfontein
Johannesburg
South Africa
E-mail: sgelb@the-edge.org.za

Ideologies and Theories

Ideology and Theories.
Does ideology really matter? Why not look at the society as it is, that is, as a group of people inhabiting a specific geographic area instead of burdening ourselves with confusing “isms”: “social-ism”, “Marx-ism”, “modern-ism”, “post-modern-ism", to name but a few. Would it really make a difference if I were to write about class antagonisms without making reference to Karl Marx’s class theory? If workers and their employers are in disagreement on wages, how worth is it to understand the differences in opinion therein in terms of Marxist thinking? Why not just state that “There is a dispute between employees and employers over wages”, finish and klaar! I tutored first years in sociology at Wits University and one thing I realised is that the moment I expressed an idea in which there was what I will call an “ismized” term, the students, almost in a chorus, said: “We do not understand!” What emerges from this example is that ideologies, which are usually expressed in technical and difficult-to-pronounce terms, leave most people more confused about particular phenomena than before they read them. So why ideology? I must confess that I am one person who was strongly married to ideology until I was made to realise that “isms” have a tendency to blur one’s positions in writing if not properly handled. To me to use a theory was an expression of an excellent form of academic pedigree-academic smartness indeed! But it got to dawn to me that ideologies would always be a serious disservice if they are used without a clear understanding of their fundamental implications. It was at high school, the first point at which I was introduced to theories, (Joseph Schumpeter’s theory of imperialism for example), and also the first point at which I was dissuaded from using the same ideologies in essay-writing. My history teacher would always say: “Don’t be verbose Mbuso!” From then, I developed a sense that those who use technical terms such as “existentialism” suffer from inability to state the simple as simple. “People are fighting, can you see that?” “Yes they are fighting.” Simply that!

The word “verbose” is a big scary word. I made some serious thinking on the real meaning of the word itself. After some time, I came to a realisation that the words verbose and existentialism were simply two big, and high sounding words for very simple ideas.

But can we really dismiss ideology as absurdity consummate? If you walk into a class and teach Marxism and feminism, you are not saying something new. You are just stating the same thing in a paraphrased way. Isn’t that so?

People really live ideology but they do not want to hear about it. Ideology is best-lived than trying to write and bind it in a book. It is a creature that resides somewhere in the netherworld.
Someone simply took a simple idea and stamped his name on to it and called it Marxism. Don’t we all believe that people should be equal; don’t we all think that workers should not be exploited; and don’t we all think that there should be equal distribution of economic resources to achieve social justice? If we do, so what is new about Marxism that we did not know?
Alas! All we do in the world as we know it today is not by accident. Someone thought of how the world should look like-hence the nation state; someone thought that an educated person must be the one who spent a considerable number of years mastering theories, etc. So this world as we see it, is a product of ideology. So, does ideology matter? Well, if you do not think about it it doesn’t but if you think about it, it does.
Mbuso Moyo