Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 The Year in Frustration & Not So Frustrating Events

I have decided to hold onto releasing this list till the very last day of 2012. I was anticipating that something very frustrating would happen to cap my year off in style. Unfortunately, nothing of any grandiose proportion happened hence, we can safely sum up the year. I reckon we have already said our Goodbyes and Au revoirs to 2012. However, as a Frustrated Brotha I decided to reflect on a year that has been. So below are my top 10 events that marked my year of frustrations and others that tried to transform me into a more content brotha.

This is one show that we love to hate. The 2012 show was known for both voluntary evictions and expulsions due to physical altercations, one most prominent DKB slapping Zainab. This violence was not condoned by Big Brother and they were both booted out. And yes how could we forget the escapades of our very own Talia in the house.  I will still stick to my suggestion; they need to put some ex-prisoners in that house to add some real tension and drama. It is what we all want after all isn’t it?
As long as you own a mobile phone, I am sure you have been subjected to some pretty pathetic service by our network providers. In 2012, the mobile networks took customer careless services to another level. We had to endure congested networks, dropped signals, unreachable customer care, rude customer service operators, irritating promotions and the list is endless. Surely, the theme for 2012 was ‘The Year of Ultimate Sucking’. I fear what their 2013 theme is, I cringe at the thought. Vodacom please come to our rescue, I begg’O.
Who can forget the backlash that government had to endure when they announced the minimum wage for maids? People were almost jumping onto the streets protesting this unpopular move. Some threatened to fire their maids because they could not afford to pay the K525, 000. The sad part about all this was that these were people who blow that amount on a bottle of perfume or in a night binge drinking. It was absolutely ridiculous, the work that maids do was not appreciated and it was as if they were some feeling less machines. Gladly, the government did not badge to the threats and maids could finally smile.
This is a sex tape that bruised this Christian Nation’s image some claimed. The infamous Iris Kaingu guilty verdict and the fact that she spent a few days in jail were received with polarising views. One section of society was in jubilation claiming that it served her right while others claimed it was unfair justice. The amazing part about this court case is the debate of Zambia’s double standard Christian morality that was brought to the forefront of most discussion. People use that card whenever, it suits their situation or argument. I just hope that in 2013 we speak and protest everything un-Christian Nation and not being selective if that is the tag we want to have.
How many tears do we have to shed before this torture stops? I cannot stand it anymore; putting pathetic adverts on TV should be a crime against humanity. I mean surely save for a few adverts nearly all adverts on ZNBC, TV2 and Muvi TV have been devoid of creativity. The ads have been characterised with jingles, stupid jokes, childish speech and meaningless concepts. Somebody please put an end to this; I cannot take it no more.
Facebook forced me to get onto that lousy timeline after resisting to be on it for so long. Then I still kept adding friends I did not know, had to read peoples diaries on Facebook and then explain those embarrassing moments when you get tagged in an obscene picture. Yes, in as much as I love my Facebook it has added to my share of frustrations. Now I have to think twice about what I post on it due to the new privacy settings. Anyway some things we just have to accept because we are Facebook addicts after all.
When I first wrote this blog I never imagined that it would be the most popular blog I ever typed. It has been read nearly three times as much as the second most popular blog. It is also the blog I have received the most comments and questions on. Clearly based on this it deserves a spot on this list. It is satisfying to know the power of information and how enlightening that information can be. This is what this blog aims to do, sometimes of course.
I pray that may we never get tired of telling these stories and immune to listening to them. It is an utter shame and despicable that some men still choose to rob girl children of their innocence just to satisfy their devilish sexual appetites. Nearly every single week the press reports of a girl child who has been defiled. The most heart breaking issue is that many of the girls defiled are usually abused by their fathers, uncles, cousins and neighbours people who are supposed to protect them. If girls cannot be safe in their own homes where can they be safe? I hope that in 2013 more is done to sensitize girls who are abused to speak out and the perpetrators feel the wrath of the law. Castration wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Technically I should have made this number 1 but hey this blog is called Diary of a Frustrated Brotha so it just has to end on a frustrated note. The Chipolopolo victory at the 2012 AFCON was by far the happiest moment of the year for me. I cannot recall the last time I was engulfed by such a wave of jubilation. I will admit I had not expected much from the boys, however, they defied the odds and showed us that it doesn’t matter how big your Goliath is if you believe in yourself. We have been celebrating that win for the whole year and who can blame us. I reckon the only time that joy can be surpassed is by Chipolopolo winning the World Cup and may that be soon.
Yaba, do we need to say more about these chaps. I am even exhausted rooting for them to succeed but once again they showed us everything that an awards show is not supposed to be. It is as if the producers live in a cave and do not watch shows like the Grammys, Kora Awards, Channel O Awards and hey even the Ngoma Awards were better. One of the things I would love to lock, leave behind and throw away the key in 2012 the Born and Bred Awards would be one of them. Sadly, deep down in my heart I know they will be back again in 2013 with a bang! A bang of MEDIOCRITY! How is a Frustrated Brotha supposed to get happy like this?


Monday, 17 December 2012

Hello Messi, Introducing Godfrey 'Ucar' Chitalu

Lionel Messi (L) and Godfrey 'Ucar' Chitalu (R)

After making worldwide headlines in February for winning the African Cup of Nations 2012, Zambia has once again successfully bulldozed it way back into the spotlight. This time around claiming that the record for most goals scored in a calendar year does not belong to Argentina’s Lionel Messi, but it is actually owned by a Zambian namely Godfrey ‘Ucar’ Chitalu. At the time of writing this Messi took his tally to 90 goals. It is still a long way from Chitalu’s 107 goals. It is a tally that Messi is unlikely to break with a couple of weeks left before the close of the year. So how did we find ourselves in this mess?
This story is a strange one, and it is almost amusing to think about. So in 1972, there was a German fellow called Gerd Muller, who scored 85 goals in a calendar year. He was hailed as the record holder until a minute fellow called Lionel Messi came along. Well apparently in the very same year that Muller set his supposed record, a fellow in a Southern African country called Zambia was smashing goals as if his life depended on it. His name was Godfrey ‘Ucar’ Chitalu and he scored a staggering 107 goals for club and country. Before, Messi broke Muller’s record Chitalu was hardly known by the world and would have probably remained so if Messi hadn’t broken Muller's record, and the rest of the world was applauding him for it. It is at this moment that the name Godfrey Chitalu emerged.
Some clever people decided to put the record straight and thankfully, Twitter and Facebook were around to lend a helping hand. Chitalu who plied his trade for Kabwe Warriors when the 107 goals were scored deserved the record and not Messi. Backed by the Football Association of Zambia, the world media was forced to take notice of this nation that was making noise. Many thought that it was one of those stories that could not be proven because there were no records, therefore, it would die away naturally. However, as proof began to emerge one of the most significant being the black-and-white picture with Chitalu holding a ball printed 107 goals on it; the world could not ignore us anymore.
The debate around the world was whether Zambia’s league could be considered as a worthy league to be taken seriously. Therefore, any achievements accomplished in what many consider an inferior league cannot be taken into consideration. Then others claimed that we did not have the records but once the research done by Jerry Muchimba was revealed that argument was no longer as strong. On the other hand, some believe that Godfrey Chitalu deserves the honour and should be recognised for his accomplishment. The matter at hand is goals scored in a calendar year. It is not accompanied by a disclaimer of only in stronger leagues or the player must hail from Europe or South America. Therefore, 107 goals is the record which was set by Godfrey ‘Ucar’ Chitalu.
If I may play devil’s advocate here, where were we for 40 years? Where were we when Messi reached 50 goals, 60 goals, 70 goals? As soon as Messi broke the Gerd Muller record then we realise Chitalu's record exists and choose to blow our horns. We should have been talking about Godfrey ‘Ucar’ Chitalu’s record way before Messi came along or was even close to reaching Muller's goal tally. Here in Zambia itself except for a few football pundits very few people knew of his record. Frankly, I only knew of this record when we were contesting Messi’s record. If we ourselves did not celebrate Godfrey ‘Ucar’ Chitalu’s record why on earth should the rest of the world celebrate him? Also spare a thought for Lionel Messi. The chap had Gerd Muller’s record in sight all along because that is the only record that he knew. Imagine the celebration that was there when he shattered that record, and he achieved what seemed impossible only to discover shortly after that someone, somewhere had scored 107 goals. I would be furious and throwing a tantrum. Maybe if someone had taken the liberty to let him in on that little fact, he would have scored more hat tricks.
Apparently, FIFA has taken the wise choice to neither ratify Lionel Messi nor Godfrey ‘Ucar’ Chitalu’s record. This, in my opinion, is to avoid any further debate about this matter. So this still remains an open case and subject to debate depending on who you ask. Sadly, Godfrey ‘Ucar’ Chitalu died in the 1993 Gabon football disaster when he was the coach of the national team, so we do not have the luxury of hearing from the legend. All we have are the bits of history and records we have left.
Regardless of what people say, finally the world knows of the legend that Godfrey ‘Ucar’ Chitalu was and what accomplishments he achieved. For people choose not to accept it that is their problem. This must also be a lesson to us as Zambians to start honouring own people and documenting their lives. These are the times to start writing biographies, producing documentaries, shouting their successes so that the rest of the world may know. On the other hand, Messi is still young he has next year to target breaking the 107 goal record. Until then, I do not consider him as the record holder, that accolade belongs to our Godfrey ‘Ucar’ Chitalu.

Congratulations to Christopher Katongo for winning the BBC African Footballer of the Year Award. I just had to add that in.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

ZNBC Can Do Something Right After All

 Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) has become synonymous with what bad television is. Despite the mandatory TV licences that we are made to pay, there seems to be very little difference that can be seen. We are subjected to the outdated programmes and even the programmes that the station innovates leave much to be desired. Apart from watching the Main News, ZNBC is losing its relevance in my life. The live broadcasts on most instances have bordered on embarrassing for a station that has been around for over 40 years. However, maybe just maybe ZNBC is beginning to turn the leaf.

 I am a firm believer in giving praise where it is due, and in hopes that the praise will be a motivating factor for better things to come. I am not talking about ZNBC finally showing movies and series that were actually produced in this decade, that day, we still wait to see. The improvement has been in the recent live broadcast of the Supreme Council of Sports in Africa Zone VI Games. The picture quality has been rather impressive. The camera men and women are finally doing a good job. This impressive live broadcast has been across the sporting disciplines- football, basketball, swimming, judo, and boxing among the multitude of sports. ZNBC claim that they invested around K12 billion to ensure that they deliver live broadcast of the game fit for a station of its status. I guess the money did make a difference

This new shift of ZNBC towards delivering excellent live broadcasting pictures has forced me to actually look forward to the games when they are on air. My only frustration is the commentators. Eish, those people are boring. If it wasn’t for the action, they would have been the perfect dosage for a sleeping pill. Surely, we have failed to find a replacement for the highly entertaining commentator Dennis Liwewe.  I am sure in the 13 million-plus Zambians, there should be some commentators worthy of the mic. Anyway until such a commentator comes along I just have to endure. I pray that ZNBC will continue towards the step of progress they have made and not go back to do what they do best, which is returning to television when it was 1970. In the meantime, bravo ZNBC for a job well done this time around, BRAVO!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Trevor Noah- He Came, He Saw, He Laughed at Us

Attending comedian Trevor Noah's That's Racist show was an experience. His two shows were sold out months before the actual show. The tickets for the New Government Complex show were the most sought after with people willing to pay triple their recommended price. Trevoh Noah has built quite a formidable reputation of making people laugh at themselves.

The Golden Tickets
I do not think that I have ever laughed as hard as I did at the Trevor show. It all began with the Zambian curtain raisers in Kapalu Mutenda and HK. They were funny in their own right and definitely comedians to watch in Zambia, however, they were only appetisers for the main man. Immediately, Trevor Noah hit the stage there was no stopping the onslaught of laughter that was to befall us. I do not think I have ever laughed that hard to the point at which my lungs hurt. I apologise to the people seated next to me.

 The brilliant part about Trevor is his ability to come up with jokes based on the culture of the people. In this case, he was having a field day at laughing at us. I mean he found things that we take as every day normal such as selling puppies at the traffic lights and made a joke about it.

"So what do you guys do? You are driving on the road and when you see the puppy then you go 'Oh that is what I forgot to buy on the grocery list a puppy'..." he joked. It is paraphrased. If you haven't laughed I understand. My niece who did not attend the show asked me to tell her the jokes if it was so funny. But the truth is, it is hard to repeat Trevor Noah jokes, they do not sound as funny if someone else tells them. His delivery is unique and it is part of the joke too. It is the way he builds to the punch line, the pace of the joke and then add the accent. You just can't replicate those things.
Comedian Trevor Noah "That's Racist"
 I know some people were probably offended by his use of stereotypes to poke fun at us. For example, why black people are not fans of water, white people do unnecessary stuff like jumping from space or coloureds are known for their short tempers. I mean truth be told whether we like it or not, the reason hundreds of us laughed so hard was because we could relate to many of the things he was talking about. In my opinion, one of the most effective ways of breaking down issues of stereotypes and racism is to laugh about them. And laugh about them we did.

So Trevor Noah laughed at us and made us laugh at ourselves too. We laughed about how too friendly Zambians are, how the escalators seem to mersmerise some, how chaotic our driving is, how we name roads after cities i.e. Addis Ababa Road, Cairo Road and how we answer questions with questions. I mean that is so true and should I be upset about it? Hell no, that is what makes Zambia so unique and we should be proud of it. It is just who we are. I am sure Trevor got a bucket load of jokes from being in Zambia for his other shows and the rest of the world will be laughing at us. We don't care because we will be laughing at others too. Hey, it is all a joke.