Monthly Archives: October 2014

Sankara’s Spirit, The Upright Man Triumphs


Thomas Sankara

When I wake up and hear that Blaise Compaore has resigned, I know Thomas Sankara is alive. When I switch on the TV and see that Compaore is gone, I know Sankara is alive.

When I see the joyous celebrations and jubilant faces of the Burkinabe, I know there are tens of thousands of Thomas Sankara‘s alive in Burkina Faso.

Compaore the betrayer and murderer of Thomas Sankara has fallen. The Burkinabe Revolution has triumphed.

The express train of Burkinabe anger crushed the iniquity of the security forces and dreams of Compaore under their wheels.

Not only did the brave Burkinabe force the government to be dissolved, but they drove Blaise Compaore out of office. The state of emergency didn’t help him. It didn’t stop the protesters breaking his iron grip on power and prising his fingers from throttling Burkina Faso‘s throat.

Burkinabe protesters

People power: Burkinabe protesters gather in Ouagadougou to protest against Blaise Compoare attempts to extend his rotten shelf life.

As the Burkinabe express bore down on the presidential palace, Compaore fled from the obscene opulence he was accustomed to luxuriating in. Occasionally, that sewer rat tweeted from the hole he took refuge in.

27 years ago, on the 15th of October 1987, Compaore was 36 when he seized power in the coup in which Thomas Sankara, his friend and one of Africa’s most revered leader and revolutionary, was ousted and assassinated.

27 years later, in the same month Compaore ousted Sankara, he has been ousted in October too. Talk about the law of reciprocal action. We have waited for this moment for a long time and feel that justice has been partially done.

Now, we want to know the truth about Sankara’s assassination. Compaore owes the Burkinabe and Africa an explanation for snuffing out one of its shining lights and leaving it in an incomprehensible darkness. He traded freedom for servitude. He traded self reliance for dependence. He sold his soul for a few pieces of silver.

Compaore knew his day was coming and he did everything he could to keep that day at bay. He made the wrong move: he planned a parliamentary vote to change the constitution and allow him to extend his rule and insulate himself from justice.

But the signs were always there. His close friend Muammar Gaddafi was dragged from the sewer by an angry mob who gave him a dose of mob justice. His other cohort ex-Liberian president, Charles Taylor fell from grace too. He was later tried and found guilty of aiding and abetting crimes against humanity.

Maybe they can share a cell together and catch up about old times when they were once in power, looting their countries wealth, ventriloquist dolls for their puppet masters and aiding the looting of Africa.

Thomas Sankara

I do not subscribe to the African Spring moniker some are using to describe the triumph of the new Burkinabe Revolution. They are meaningless phrases.

Let’s not forget what happened to the Arab Spring. It didn’t change anything. If anything, it has left countries like Libya riddled by sectarian violence. It has left stooges in power. Their economy is in tatters and foreign powers shared reconstruction deals to rebuild the country they bombed back into the Stone Age.

The “revolution” in Egypt was reversed by counter revolutionary forces. Any revolution that doesn’t cleanse its structures of the vermin left by the former regime is not a revolution. It is a sitting duck. It is a reactionary movement.

Blaise Compaore is a staunch ally of the French and U.S. They have interests in the region. It is not in their DNA to support regimes that are “hostile” to them. In other words, governments that put their countries and citizens interests above the interests of these imperial powers.

The demonstrators have the upper hand right now. They have to consolidate their power and leave no loopholes for counter revolutionary forces, such as Compaore and other ticks like him, to manoeuvre and suck the blood of the Burkinabe.

We all know how agents of the west were involved in the murder of Patrice Lumumba. His death eerily echoed that of Thomas Sankara. What happened to them can happen again.

Like Sankara, Lumumba refused to remain dependent on the former colonial powers as he stated in his presidential speech. Like Sankara, that decision cost him his life.

Burkina Faso is an ally of the US in West Africa. They are being used to thwart fighters linked to Al Qaida, a group created by US intelligence agencies, operating in the Sahel region.

This will test and challenge the new government. They are doomed if they refuse to join this war because they might be added to the axis of evil or accused of supporting and abetting terrorists. We already know the script and what will happen next.

We heard the obscene noises made by the French. They deplored the violence that resulted in the burning of government buildings and they were calling for restraint.

Restraint is a luxury. It is a comfort that a man or women who has never lived under a dictatorship and oppression their entire life preaches. They lack the urgency of the oppressed. Restraint doesn’t bring about revolutions. It restores the status quo allowing oppression and exploitation to continue as it has for the last twenty seven years in Burkina Faso.

I don’t condone violence. However, retaliation to violence is not the same as initiating it. It is self defence.

The French Revolution was not brought about by practising restraint. It was violent. It was gory. It was savage. It was all out war. The American Revolution was bloody too. Patrick Henry declared in the Virginia Convention in 1775, “give me death or give me liberty”.

You don’t talk about revolution if you are not prepared to die.

One of the greatest theoreticians of the oppressed and revolutions, Frantz Fanon, wrote in the Wretched of the Earth, “National liberation, national reawakening, restoration of the nation to the people or Commonwealth, whatever the name used, whatever the latest expression, decolonization is always a violent event”.

Getting rid of a violent dictator is no different. Violence is the only language they understand. Fanon went on further to say,

“At the individual level, violence is a cleansing force. It rids the colonized of their inferiority complex, of their passive and despairing attitude. It emboldens them, and restores their self-confidence.”

The day those men who once cowed at the sight of the security forces, once they discover that through violence they yield power will affirm its effectiveness. They will wield it like a machete and chop anyone’s head if they get in their way.

They know that they are a member of a powerful life changing force which allows them to believe that they are in charge of their destiny.

Burkinabe protesters

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, None but our self can free our minds. Have no fear for atomic energy, ‘Cause none of them can stop the time. How long shall they kill our prophets, While we stand aside and look?” Bob Marley – Redemption Song

They know that the masses united are more powerful than an army that is no better than a band of well armed mercenaries. They know that they are powerful enough to improve the fate of their comrades and fellow countrymen through combining their power and dedicating their lives to the cause.

The Burkinabe has seized the cause of his oppression and exploitation and ripped out the jugular vein of that beast ravaging society. He is redeemed, and rejuvenated with the exhilaration of action and revolution.

But revolution is not like an apocalypse. It is a dedicated process carried out through mass political education, destruction of the structural pillars of the old regime to build a new foundation from rock bottom.

Revolution is abandoning the old and embracing the new. It is process you cannot go through without tears, blood and pain along the way. It is the rebirth of the new man and woman, in mind and spirit, resulting in the emergence of the envisioned self.

The Burkinabe Revolution is an infant still learning how to crawl. It will take a while before it can walk and run but Thomas Sankara left them a template to follow. They have Sankara’s spirit to learn from. Sankara’s spirit is a beacon to guide them through the dark hours that will come.

Thomas Sankara

The battle is far from won. The counter revolutionary forces are stunned but not fully defeated. They are gathering and regrouping in the background. Their general, General Honore Traore, is currently heading the transition government.

He is very close to Blaise Compaore. And as long as he is in power, the revolution is incomplete. The pathogens of the former regime need to be removed from power to neutralise their power and influence. The Burkinabe need to pick a man who embodies their dreams and aspirations.

That man for them is the former general, Gen Kouame Lougue. It is time for them to decide their destiny. In the words of Thomas Sankara. “We must dare to invent the future”. They have taken the first step and there is still a long way to go.

As long as the comprador’s of the imperialists are in the corridors of power, the struggle continues. ALUTA Continua! As long as the people struggle against exploitation, oppression and French domination, Thomas Sankara is alive.

Viva Revolution! Revolution is the only solution! Sankara lives again!

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Echoes of Thomas Sankara: The Upright Men Stand Up


Burkina Faso

Violent protests against the oppressive dictator Blaise Compaore have broken out in Burkina Faso, echoing the popular revolution that brought the revolutionary Captain Thomas Sankara to power in 1983.

31 years ago, the current Burkina Faso president, Blaise Compaore, played a crucial role in bringing Thomas Sankara to power. He was at the head of the army that overthrew the government then.

Four years later, Compaore overthrew Sankara. But 27 years since then, Sankara’s spirit is rising again to haunt the French comprador.

Compaore put an end to Sankara’s dream to end corruption, oppression and French domination.

Today, the people are standing up in the spirit of Sankara and saying enough is enough. They are tired of the corruption. They are tired of the oppression. They are tired of the domination. The spirit of 1983 is with us again!

The Burkinabe, the Upright Men, cannot be held down forever. The Burkinabe stand incorruptible. The end of an era is near.

Thomas Sankara and Blaise Compaore

The political messiah and Judas Iscariot: Captain Thomas Sankara and Blaise Compaore in happier days.

Today, Compaore finds himself on the receiving end of the wrath of the people. He finds himself with his back against the wall. He finds himself in the middle of an inferno licking the symbols of his crumbling dream.

He is like a snake that has found itself by mistake in a hut in the village compound with angry villagers trying to crush its head with rocks. If it finds a crevice to hide, the people flush it out with fire. They will not let it go so that it can return and attack their young again.

There are reports of dozens of soldiers joining the protests, echoing the role of the army in Burkina Faso that toppled the oppressive regime in Ouagadougou.

Former defence minister, Gen Kouame Lougue is said to be among the protesters. He is the man the people want to lead them to the promised land of freedom. It feels like 1983 all over again.

Protestors are demanding the general’s installation as president. He is the modern Moses leading the children of Israel from Egypt. He is the one chosen to lead them from political, socio-economical and cultural subjugation.

Parliament has allegedly been ransacked and set ablaze. It is a bold statement by the people.

Though Compaore retaliated by declaring a state of emergency, we all know that when the people have turned against you, you are like a straw man waiting to be washed away by the raging torrent of the Burkinabe river.

Burkina Faso protests

People power: protestors occupy seats in the National Assembly after ransacking it. They give new meaning to the term “Occupy” in the protest langue.

It feels like Compaore is trying to flex his muscles an intimidate the people but the end is firmly in sight. He is in trouble as the protests have been going on for the last few days and intensifying with time.

They don’t show any signs of abating even though soldiers and police are firing live rounds into the crowd to try and stem the current of Burkinabe anger.

As a Sankarist, I have watched with intense interest because we have waited for 27 years for Compaore to get his comeuppance. I have signed numerous petitions to get the widow and family of Thomas Sankara justice.

Thomas Sankara

It is the least some of us can do for Thomas Sankara who inspired us and illustrated what an African leader can, could, must and should be. A beacon for freedom and justice.

Compaore’s imposition of a state of emergency to end violent protests against his 27 year rule shows the impunity he has for the Burkinabe. He is a traitor of the genuine aspirations and dreams of the people. He killed their leader Sankara. But he didn’t kill his spirit or his ideas. Today, Sankara is with us.

Compaore has already served four terms and wants to extend his rule, extending the misery of the Burkinabe for the benefit of his neo-colonial string pullers.

Faced with a hostile population refusing to allow the government to vote and extent this comprador’s shelf life, President Blaise Compaore has been forced to dissolve government and respect the will of the Burkinabe.

Mass protests against his rule are continuing in Ouagadougou, the capital. The angry Burkinabe have burnt government buildings and set parliament alight, forcing the government to abandon the vote to provide this neo-colonialist comprador the opportunity to seek re-election in 2015.

The people occupied the seats in the National Assembly, a sign of things to come. The revolutionary Burkinabe women are in the frontline marching alongside their men fighting for freedom and justice. They embody the spirit of Sankara. It’s like he never died.

The undercurrents sweeping across the African continent may gain force and bring in untold surprises. The death of the late President Sata sparked a new era for Zambia. Currently, we are witnessing attempts in Zimbabwe to Occupy African Unity Square, in the capital Harare, a call for President Robert Mugabe to step down after 34 years in power.

Who knows what tomorrow brings.

We are watching. The world is watching. Sankara is watching.

Compaore’s days are numbered. Just a few months ago he survived an assassination attempt and I have the feeling that his days are numbered. He cannot stop an idea in the same manner he betrayed his friend and comrade and ordered his death.

Thomas Sankara and Blaise Compaore

Thomas Sankara and the man who was to betray him and kill him in a plot that echoes a Shakespearean tragedy.

October is the month Thomas Sankara was assassinated by a group of soldiers who burst into a meeting and killed him. It seems like his ghost is not asleep after all and his spirit lives on in the Burkinabe and many more.

Thomas Sankara lives on in everyone of us all who stand up for equal rights and cherish freedom. Support the cause of the Burkinabe.

It feels like 1983 again! Viva Revolution!

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Research


This piece eloquently captures the beauty about writing about what you don’t know but using research to compensate for what you don’t know.

Original version is at http://litworldinterviews.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/research/comment-page-1/#comment-469. Check it out.

Lit World Interviews

Write about what you know is pretty good advice. It is possible to write about what you don’t know, but whenever you do you’re going to have to make sure that your research is spot on. The wonderful thing about Google is that you have a world of information at your fingertips. The not so wonderful thing is that not all of that information is accurate. So when I’m looking for specific facts I always find at least a couple of different sources to be sure that I’m not using flawed or bogus articles.

Most of us have felt the gamut of emotions to one degree or another, so those are fairly easy to convey. I believe though, that there are some extreme emotions that would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible for most – not all – writers to communicate unless they’ve lived them. So all the research in…

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Love is the ultimate revolutionary


African Revolutionaries

Love is the ultimate revolutionary

Love is the ultimate revolutionary

Fighting and defeating

Those external forces trying to colonise

Your hinterland and exploit

Your heart and mind.


Love is the ultimate revolutionary,

That tall, dark, handsome stranger

Camouflaged like an enemy

Who makes the pit of your stomach

Flutter and feel

Like it has been hollowed out;

And makes your knees tremble,

Takes your breath and senses away

With half a glance.


Love is the ultimate revolutionary

Charming and disarming,

Knocking out your defences

And last line of resistance

Without firing a shot;

A revolutionary setting you free

Without a word or fight

Yet turning your entire world

Upside down

Giving you a new found sense of self,

Freedom and Love.

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Love Prescription


image

Love can’t be prescribed

Like a doctor prescribes medication.

Take two three times a day

After meals and blah blah blah…



It has no algorithms.

It can’t be programmed.

If reason is the thesis,

Love is the antithesis.

It pulls tongues at science

And holds the middle finger to scientists.

You can’t slice it open

With a scalpel and pinpoint

Its vital and reproductive organs.



It can’t be legislated

Like those draconian

Immorality Acts

In Apartheid South Africa.

Imprison it

And it will

BREAK OUT STRONGER

Than it was ever before,

Bending and breaking bars.



It is what it is.

A wild seed that germinates where it wills

And takes root where it is unexpected

Until one day you see

It blossoming,

Petals unfolding and full of colour.

And you wonder by what alchemy

It grew in such an unusual place.



Love is its own prescription.

The chemical reaction

Taking over your head and heart;

Leaving you giddy and high.

It’s the elixir

Pulsing through the highways

And alternative routes of your body,

Killing the pathogens and viruses

Poisoning your heart and soul.

It restores your sense of balance

And healthy outlook on life.



It is the prescription

Pharmaceuticals can’t monopolise

And make a killing,

Transforming us into

Over the counter addicts.

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Poets and War


picture of bleeding hand

A surgical-like incision on my hand

Leaks red ink,

Flowing like a burst pipe

Connecting the membrane

Covering my skeleton

And hinterland.

Poetry beats in my heart ♥

And I bleed for my art.

Not only soldiers bleed and die

In the line of duty.

In the frontline of many world wars,

Poets died far, far, far away

From home with poetry locked inside

The kernel of their minds.

Have you heard of Chris Okigbo

That revolutionary poet

Who downed his papers and pen

And picked up a gun in the Biafra War?

Realising the bullet

Was stronger than the pen

He sacrificed his life

Dodging bullets and bombs

In the name of freedom.

He died with his gun

In his arms

And poetry stuck between his gums.

His poetic sensibility –

A politicizing factor.

He bled for his art

To free minds and hearts

And realise the envisioned self.

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October 28, 2014 · 4:58 pm

NoViolet Bulawayo wins 2014 Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Legacy Award


 NoViolet Bulawayo inner magazine page

In my last post, 13 Lessons I Learned From Blogging, a few hours ago I described NoViolet Bulawayo as “one of the hottest literary talents to come out of Zimbabwe.” It might have sounded hyperbolic, but she reinforced my observations by clinching the 2014 Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Legacy Award for her awesome fictional debut, We Need New Names

She received the prestigous 2014 Hurston/ Wright Legacy Award for fiction on Friday at the Carnegie Library in Northwest Washington.

This award is a fitting reward for a young literary star on the rise. Her debut novel has taken the world by storm and caused such a sensation, I can only imagine what her future work will do.

Inner pages on an article on NoViolet Bulawayo

An article, on NoViolet Bulawayo talking about her craft, I stumbled on in the New Books magazine in my local library and I took the pictures. Little did I know I would be using them in this article.

The award is a literary prize awarded by the National Community of  Black Writers. It is the first of its kind to be awarded to black American writers. Richard Wright (Black Boy and Native Son) and Zora Neale Hurston, the awards namesakes, are two of the most influential black American authors.

I first heard of NoViolet Bulawayo when I started writing for the South African Newspaper in London.

In fact, her short story, Hitting Budapest (the first chapter), an extract from her debut, was nominated for the Caine Prize in African Writing in 2011.

My very first assignment was to interview her with regards to that nomination. We were both just beginning our respective journeys and I was humbled and inspired by her humble and focussed approach.

I have watched her rise. She is a phenomenal woman and sister. She is unpretentious. She has an aura and cool, calm collected-ness and confidence that comes with people who are blessed with talent, humility and drive.

She is not a diva. Considering her accomplishments, you could forgive her. But she has remained grounded and approachable and in touch with her humble roots which she has used as a launching pad to dizzing heights. Only she knows where she is in orbit with the Stars.

She went on to win the coveted Caine Prize in African writing that year and has soared to greater heights since then, racking up a host of nominations and awards, including the Man Booker Prize 2013 the Guardian First Book Award, the Pen Hemingway Award, LA Times Book Prize Art Seidenbaum Award, the Etisalat Prize for Literature and ultimately the 2014 Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Legacy Award.

She has been recognised by various prestigious publications and organisations. The list is too long to mention individually.

NoViolet Bulawayo FC

NoViolet Bulawayo, one of Zimbabwe’s best intellectual exports, a rising star on the literature scene. I stumbled upon this magazine in my local library.

NoViolet Bulawayo has come a long way since I first interviewed her in 2011, reviewed her debut, wrote an essay about her for my publishing module and chatted to her numerous times. She is a true inspiration for our generation.

Over the years, I have chatted to her on a range of subjects and she is an exceptional person, very grounded, polite and giving.

During those conversations she was always encouraging and pushing me to publish my book and sharing advice. I was flattered she recognised my talent without ever getting to read my work. She is such a giving person.

I got to know her “almost” as a friend. And I am so happy for her success in the way I’d be proud of my own sister or kinswoman who had achieved some phenomenal success.

Her coup is spectacular considering the strength of the other nominees and finalists in the fiction category. Some of them are legends by right and some are accomplished writers with several novels to their names. They are:

  • Every Boy Should Have A Man by Preston L. Allen (Akashic);
  • The Residue Years by Mitchell S. Jackson (Bloomsbury);
  • See Now Then by Jamaica Kincaid (Farrar, Straus & Giroux);
  • The Good Lord Bird by James McBride (Penguin);
  • The Gospel According to Cane by Courttia Newland (Akashic).

Previous winners include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Uwem Akpan, Aminatta Forna, Kwame Dawes and Junot Diaz. NoViolet Bulawayo is in distinguished literary company and all the names above put her win into context.

I can imagine women ululating and dancing within Zimbabwe and the Diaspora at the literary success of one of her most distinguished daughters of the soil. I say makorokoto, amhlope, congratulations sister. You gone and done us proud.

Front Cover of We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

The award winning debut, We Need New Names, by Zimbabwean Literary sensation NoViolet Bulawayo.

You can read, Hitting Budapest, an extract from NoViolet Bulawayo’s debut novel We Need New Names here. I recommend you get your copy from Amazon, the library or any of your local booksellers. It is a great read. Trust me on this one. You won’t regret it.

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Corrupt Church ⛪ and Capitalist Charlatans


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The church ⛪ today has lost its moral compass. The church ⛪ today has lost its moral and spiritual capital. The church ⛪ today is morally and spiritually decrepit.

It has devalued itself through its complicity with the oppressor. There was a time when the  church ⛪ supported the liberation movements. There was a time when the church ⛪ marched with the oppressed in protests against injustice.

There was a time when the church ⛪ braved the picket lines with the oppressed. Today, it has sold them out for thirty pieces of silver.

Today, the church ⛪ is Judas Iscariot. It betrays its lambs with a kiss. It conspires with the scribes and Pharisees and tax collectors and all that is vile and rank in society.

It leads its flock down the valley of the shadow of death and abandons them to be devoured and bludgeoned and persecuted and crucified by the scribes’ and Pharisees.

At least Judas Iscariot had the sense to hang himself when he realised the gravity of his betrayal. Not so with the church ⛪.

It is subsumed by its desire for a high position on the social and economic ladder. It has become a worshipper of material things. It has devalued itself because it has become a lover of the root of all evil.

It has lost its social and spiritual value in society. It has turned the father’s house 🏠 into a market place run 🏃 by capitalist traders who appeal to your 🏦 purses and wallets and pockets and bank accounts and 📚 and talk no longer about spiritual salvation.

They are wealth gluttons. Their insatiable hunger for economical and material wealth accumulation is behind their zeal to build bigger churches and build larger congregations and bank even larger collections.

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Their eyes are on the bottom line. They are intoxicated by their new found fame and fortune. They are like snakes that dazzle their prey by putting on a show of brevity before they gobble them up unwittingly and mercilessly.

They are spiritual businessmen. They sell everything spiritual. They have a monopoly of the spiritual market and products.

They specialise in everything spiritual: spiritual airtime, spiritual soap, spiritual body oils, spiritual babies, spiritual petrol that tastes like juice to give you greater drive and vava voom in life, spiritual healing, spiritual bricks and if you buy one they multiply and soon you will have enough to build a mansion.

They are also spiritual personal and professional counsellors. They can give you a career if you had none or get you a relationship, a wife, a husband if you are in the relationship wilderness.

These guys are spiritual general dealers, not a specialist boutique, and they have a spiritual solution for any and every ailment that their congregation suffers. They trade in the spiritual cure all.

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These are new age pimps who have stopped trading in the flesh but now trade in the spirit. These pimps dress 👗 in designer gear and drive designer chariots and preach to be rich is to be blessed and to be poor is a sin.

Seyi Rhodes (Film maker) and Dr Sign Fireman

Filmmaker Seyi Rhodes (left) and Dr Sign Fireman with the pastor’s bright yellow Hummer v2.0

To be poor is a sin they preach, and only through accumulating riches will you be saved through tithing a tenth of your wages to their bloated and obese bank accounts in foreign banks.

These pimps are oozing gold, and pockets dripping change 💵, they no longer preach it is easier for a camel to go through the eye 👀 of a needle than it is for a rich man 👨 to enter the Kingdom of God.

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One of the top ten riches pastors in the world – David Oyedepo is his private plane and his acolyte.

These capitalist charlatans pay no tax. Neither are they accountable to anyone. The government ignores these spiritual frauds, these capitalist charlatans, in return for funding their election campaigns and endorsing the oppressor.

These capitalist charlatans’ perform miracles and claim to have God’s direct line where he tells them all kind of state secrets.

Yes, because God is their buddy, he tells them to warn the people not to demonstrate against poverty, corruption, looting of the country’s rich repository of mineral resources, unemployment, misgovernance because the end will not be a pretty sight.

People will die. State institutions will crush dissenters. The people must obey the word of God and not disobey those he has ordained to rule or so say the capitalist charlatans.

They tell the people not to be led by Satan, i.e. Activists’ or the opposition or civic society organisations.

The church ⛪ in complicity with an unjust government is an unholy Union. People are not blind they have 👀 to see for themselves. They have ears 👂👂 to hear. They have minds💀 to think. And they see through this unholy charade. They see through this pseudo spiritual prank.

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Consequently, many young black men continue to drop out of the church ⛪ to seek political salvation elsewhere and the envisioned self through other means. The church ⛪ is a fraud and everything about it smells rank and foul.

For too long the church ⛪ has been playing with the guilty conscience of the oppressed and blaming them for petty evils such as crimes of need not greed committed by politicians and those higher up the political and social hierarchy.

The church ⛪ blames the poor for petty evils yet it ignores the greater evils in society such as oppression, corruption, lack of service delivery, malnutrition, hunger, unemployment, lack of medical services, etc.

Surely, God must have something to say about that. He can’t be a blind God. And if he is an all seeing God, Him and the church ⛪ have to start saying something about the terrible conditions the masses find themselves in.

His silence and complicity portray him as an unjust and unreasonable God who expects people to worship him yet he ignores their plight in contradiction of his teachings in The Bible – seek and you shall find. Ask and it shall be given. Knock and it shall be opened.

Until he answers the prayers of the oppressed and blesses their struggle he has lost the PR war to win the hearts and mind of the masses.

If both the oppressed and oppressor are praying to the same God and he continually favours the oppressor, he has no one to blame when people walk out on him. He shows Himself as an unreasonable and unjust God who is just as oppressive and exploitative of the poor as our earthly oppressors.

Our salvation lies not in the church ⛪. The church is a tool to keep us docile and mentally, physically and spiritually subjugated.  Brothers and sisters come out of that beast and seek salvation elsewhere.

We have been praying for hundreds of years without God responding to our cries. It leads me to believe he does not exist. And I know he is not in the habit of coming down to earth to solve our problems and make everything alright.

We have to fight 👊 for our rights here on earth and not wait to go to paradise after death. Some of us want our share of our slice 🍊 of the economic cake 🍰 while we are still alive.

#Aluta Continua! #Viva Revolution ✊✊✊

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Inspired: Writer Toni Morrison proves we have time to follow our passions


Inspired: Writer Toni Morrison proves we have time to follow our passions.

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13 Lessons I Learned From Blogging


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I started blogging late in life and like Cato [Censorius]  the Censor I am learning in my old age. I have picked up a few things, 13 to be precise, and I thought it would be a good idea to share my experience with you. The order below is random.

1] Write What You Know: It is the golden rule every student of creative writing is taught from day one. It applies to blogging as well. Writing what you know makes it easier to write about that subject.

It will flow better. Your authority and and knowledge will shine. Your passion will tell and your readers will feel it. You will succeed at it because you are doing something that you love and you are passionate about.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write about what you don’t know. If you do, do your research before you write. Bloggers like journalists can do their research or interview experts and can become instant authorities on subjects they know little of prior to taking it on.

Challenge yourself!

2] Content Rules: Never publish sub-standard content. It must be well written, researched, structured, entertaining or engaging. Good content keeps readers coming back for more. Good content makes the audience share. Good content makes readers appreciate the effort you put in.

It makes them trust you. An article riddled with poor spelling or grammar looks bad. It is amateurish and if you can’t get the small details right, people won’t trust you with the bigger details such as facts or trust your opinion.

3] Be You: Alternatively, keep it real. Don’t try to be what you are not. Readers are intelligent and they can smell a fake. If you are true to yourself, your writing will come pouring out of you. Your voice will speak for itself.

I have heard of writers worrying or struggling to find their voice. They struggle because they are trying to be what they are not. Write as you speak and your personality will shine. Your voice will sound distinct and authentic.

4] Trust Yourself: I started blogging late because I wasn’t confident anyone would read what I wrote. My creative writing teacher encouraged me to blog but I couldn’t do it.

I was very conscious of my self and didn’ want people psychoanalysing me. I talked about these concerns in my very first post Yeah, I think a lot about shit.

Throwing myself into blogging excorsised my demons. I didn’t exactly know what I was going to write about but I shouldn’t have worried. The ideas and inspiration found me.

Other opportunities came from people who read my blog. Some articles are inspired. You wake up and they are just on your mind and they basically write themselves.

So, never doubt your talent or yourself. Trust yourself. Be confident. Once you get going, things happen as if they were ordained to, and the pieces come together like a jigsaw puzzle when you need them.

It reminds me of that quote often attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and endless plans. That the moment one definitely commits oneself then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never have otherwise occurred. A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.

5] Know Your audience: When I write fiction, I find it hard to picture my readers. I struggle in this respect.

However, the opposite is true when I write nonfiction for newspapers or online publications. I know who the reader is which makes it easier.

Overtime, I have evolved a sense of who my readers are on my blog. I can see their gravatars or pictures. I read their comments. and feedback. I communicate with them. This is  helpful. Slowly but surely, I am getting to know their tastes.

In addition, I also know that there are different audiences for different articles. There are posts that mainly appeal to other bloggers, poets or lovers of writing or books because they deal with writing. These are totally different to what other readers like who love political cum historical articles.

Some leave niche subjects. No two readers are the same.

You need to understand what your audience loves to read. The stats provided by the blog host will help you in that respect as illustrated below and show you what readers want.

Find topics that appeal to them and give them what they want. Don’t confine them to your own interests. Keep your eye on the stats!

Blog tags and categories

Breakdown of views per post or tags.

6] Love of Research and Writing: Blogging has reaffirmed that I love writing and researching. It gives me the freedom to broaden my horizons and an opportunity to indulge in what I love most.

It is rewarding. It is fun.

As much as I write about what I know, I back it up with research to cover any doubts and to doublecheck facts. I guess its a habit that comes from my background writing for newspapers and other online mediums.

My blogging has rejuvenated my fiction work and I am back to finishing my historical fiction novel. The two mutually feed off each other.

You can spring surprises on your readers and introduce them to something they might not know such as introducing new or rising stars on the arts scene as illustrated on the front cover of this magazine I stumbled on in my local library introducing, NoViolet Bulawayo, one of the hottest literary talents to come out of Zimbabwe.

NoViolet Bulawayo FC

NoViolet Bulawayo, one of Zimbabwe’s best intellectual exports, a rising star on the literature scene. I stumbled upon this magazine in my local library.

7] Continous Learning and Self Improvement: The internet is never stationary. It is always evolving. Blogging is always evolving too and it provides the opportunity for continous learning and self improvement.

The more you write and research, the wider and rounded your learning experience becomes. Research often opens up avenues and doors that you could never have imagined.

Apart from discovering interesting facts, this is a mine-full of inspiration and ideas to blog about or write a full fiction or nonfiction account.

I am learning more about HTML and WordPress and the functions and features I can add to my blogs to make them more interactive. There are still a host of features I am learning about and haven’t got round to utilising them yet.

Maybe if you are a tech whiz, give me a shout out. Let me know how you think I can improve my blog.

Working with WordPress has also improved my knowledge of content management systems and all this experience is and will come in handy in other areas of my personal or professional career.

8] Do What Works For You: Writing regular articles is not easy. Well, let me speak for myself. I can go through anything between 6 – 20 drafts or revisions before I am happy to post.

I am not one of those prolific people who writes a blog a day or several a week or month. I write when I feel I like it. Right now, I am on a roll and blogging regularly.

However, there was a time when I was away for almost half a year or more and I missed blogging because of other commitments. I believe you shouldn’t just post anything because you feel pressured to.

Rather do it, when it is irrestibale and you have a burning urge to write and post. I can write a post in a day but it takes me hours especially if there are plenty of hyperlinks to add.

At times it can take me days because I go through numerous drafts or write in short bursts. That is what works for me. Everybody is different.

Writing and thinking are hard work; so, I understand people who can’t do it regularly. Consistency even if it is irregular consistency is good too.

I have massive respect for bloggers who blog every day or week. It takes great discipline and focus. Massive respect  prolific bloggers!

Blogging is not a competition but a medium for self exppression. Therefore, never feel the urge to compete with anyone. Do what works for you. Simples!

9] Content Creation and Intellectual Property: Blogging in a nutshell is content creation and intellectual property. There is an industry dedicated to content creation.

I do this as an aside. But I don’t own the intellectual property or copyright of the stuff I create because the person who commissions and pays for me to write owns it.

However, when you are blogging, you hold the copyright [intellectual property]. The great thing about it is that you write about things that you are passionate about and love.

I have written plenty of content for clients and some of it made me miserable. I felt like I was prostituting my talent. It restricted my style and voice. But here, I write what I like, how I want to without worrying about what the client will say.

There is so much freedom when you blog and create your own content and intellectual property. You don’t have to sound like a journalist and you can personalise your articles as much as you like. If your readers are happy then that is good for you.

10] Distribution: Distributing or getting people to know about your blog is a nightmare if you are not good at marketing or asking for help.

Authors who self publish understand early on in their careers that they will have to do a lot of marketing, publicity, advertising and distrubution of their books to sell anything.

The same applies to blogging. If you are serious, you can’t ignore the power of social media. With a social media presence, you can raise the profile of your blog, attract visitors and generate a buzz about your posts and encourage discussions.

The brilliant aspect of social media is that you can track down people who are interested in what you write about and share dierctly with them or online forums dedicated to your subject[s].

If you are social media savvy and have already built a community, your audience will do a lot of promoting for you by sharing, recommending, retweeting, and liking your content. Social media is a valuable asset in the distribution link.

Furthermore, it is free. I currently use Facebook and Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest. I love using Facebook because it is popular and easier to distribute material.

Twitter follows next. I have had an account for a while but recently started using it more regularly to grow my presence on that platform. I am still trying to get to grips with it but I can see its potential.

I am not brilliant with Tumblr and Pinterest but I still use them. Hopefully, I will learn more and use them effectively.

LinkedIn is brilliant if you are doing anything that is business related. There are plenty of other platforms I haven’t touched on but there is no limit to the means available to you.

11] Learn From Other Bloggers: Read other blogs and learn from them. Be inspired by them. Ask questions and they will be happy to help you.

Note what they do right whether that is in the structuring or formatting of their blogs. You can learn a lot from other bloggers who have been doing this for ages.

12] Never Forget Context: Never assume your readers know everything you are talking about. Contextualise what you are saying and give them a point or points of reference.

I have noted that my readers are spread all over the world. Therefore, I find that as I write I constantly have to think of the context and frame it within the article. There are other times where I can’t always provide all the information I can.

Thegatvolblogger reader distribution map

An illustration of the distribution of people who view thegatvolblogger.

If there are things that you can’t explain within the article, do the hard work for the readers, and provide them with hyperlinks to a reliable source[s] that provide additional information.

13] Reward or Surprise the Reader: Provide readers with content thoughtfully put together that tells them something new or teaches them something that they didn’t already know.

I tend to provide videos/ films or doccies that they can watch online or links to materials they can access online that adds to what they are engaging with on my blog.

On average, I find a viewer can spend an hour engaging with some of my posts and a reader should feel that is an hour well spent.

These are some of the things that I have learnt as a blogger. I am still learning and hope to learn more and improve the quality of my content.

Please feel free to share your experiences, feedback or any advice relating to the issues I touched above. I hope you enjoyed this article. One love!

 

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