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walking on eggshells

Try.

Try walking.

Walking on eggshells

In high heels

Heel toe, heel toe.

Tread softly

To avoid injury

To that ego,

Ego so big there’s not enough room

in the office

Even in the basement,

A reminder

Of the pecking order.

A prized parking spot

for his wheels

Bavarian Motor Works’ finest

Luxury SUV

While you squeeze

Your plebian set of wheels,

A Volkswagen between

The pillar and the dusty pipes.

Yes all animals are equal*,

Only some are more equal

Than others.

You would do well

To remember that little fact.

Smiling through gritted teeth

At the backhanded compliments

On your efforts

to hold onto

That bottom rung

Of the corporate ladder.

*From George Orwell, Animal Farm

*Picture courtesy of Pinterest

©️ Nomathemba Pearl Dzinotyiwei 2018

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Mother’s Day

This is who I do this for

The unborn generations

And the children I bore.

Let me remind you who I do this for

My matrilineal line

Those who’ve gone before.

This is who I do this for

The women that never made it to school

Or to the factory floor.

Let me remind you who I do this for

Those that died in childbirth

Too far from the hospital door.

This is who I do this for

The women in domestic service

Still getting up to scrub the floor.

This is for the hustler,

The worker,

The housewife,

Bespectacled academic

High-flying executive

The married one

The single one

The one grieving

Longing to hold

Her departed child

one more time.

You deserve more than a day

Of celebrations

You are worthy of celebration

For all time.

©️ Nomathemba Pearl Dzinotyiwei

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Traditional South African Music

This song from the Hugh Masekela Tribute Concert keeps ringing in my head.

It’s called Koboyi, a song sung to a child in Siswati. There are two versions on Apple Music. The lyrics are not so sweet though.

Koboyi Koboyi (Koboyi is the name of the child)

Ye Koboyi

Koboyi Koboyi

Ye Koboyi

Unyok’ uyephi (where is your mother?)

Ye Koboyi

Uyokujuma (she’s taking the young men by surprise)

Ye Koboyi

Emajarheni

Ye Koboyi

Uta buya nesisu (she’ll come back pregnant)

Ye Koboyi

Atal’umntwana (she’ll give birth to a child)

Ye Koboyi

Ambek’etsheni (and put him on a rock)

Ye Koboyi

Atyiwe timpetfu (and he’ll be eaten by maggots)

Ye Koboyi

Koboyi Koboyi

Ye Koboyi

Koboyi Koboyi

Ye Koboyi

Ngalala Phansi

Ngalala Phansi was originally sung by Miriam Makeba who learnt it from her mother Nomkomandelo Christina Jele, a traditional healer known as isangoma. It tells of a person who is ill but laments that people are rejoicing at her illness. The song is on Miriam Makeba’s album Sangoma.

Hhayi bajabula bonk’uma ngilele phansi Bawo!

Iya ho ho mmm

Hhayi bajabula bonk’uma ngilele phansi Bawo!

Iya ho ho mmm

Ngagula ho ngalala phansi

Ngagula babo ngalala phansi

Ngagula mme ngalala phansi

Ngagula ho ngalala phansi babo

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Do Not Weep (Tribute to Winifred Nomzamo Zanyiwe Mandela)

Do not weep for me.

I did not just die.

Like a grain of wheat

I fell to the ground and multiplied,

Bringing forth a generation

Of black women,

Conscious, militant and proud

Now awakened from the slumber

Induced by racism, patriarchy

Rank materialism and conspicuous consumption

Now dressed in black with doeks

A multitude of raised right fists

With a single cry

‘Amandla!’

Do not weep my children

I am in a better and beautiful place.

Were it your time

I would gather all of you

Whom I love dearly

And bring you here to stay forever.

Zenani with her spirit in all its beauty

Was waiting to welcome me

Together with Tata

With that broad smile that reaches his eyes

‘Welcome home Zami!’ he said.

All of my family,

Kalushi, Chris and Helen are here too*

With the other comrades

Miriam and Hugh are jamming

Together with Bob Marley

In the name of the Lord.

Do not weep my people

Though you pierced my heart

with a thousand arrows

Careless words

Unleashed from a bow strung with the lies

Spun by the enemy.

Though you do not see me now

You will see me in a little while

When He returns

Then the liars too will mourn

Just as the Jews will mourn

For the one they pierced

Like one mourns a first-born son.

For what they did to me

They also did to my Lord.

Do not weep.

Do not mourn.

I’m the one who tries.

The road I chose

Was a hard one

Paved with sorrows

Birthing a nation is hard

If it takes a village to raise a child

Raising this nation will need all of you.

To feed the hungry

Clothe the naked

Visit the sick and those in prison

Do this for the least of your brothers and sisters

Do it for my Lord

Do it for me.

Do not weep all of you

Now the wagging tongues are stilled

The strivings have ceased

I fought for liberty on earth

But in this place,

I am truly free.

©️ Nomathemba Pearl Dzinotyiwei

*Solomon Mahlangu, Chris Hani and Helen Joseph

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No Fatigue

Sermon: 28 January 2018 at Northrand Methodist Church

Scripture

Nehemiah 4:10

“Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.””

Nehemiah‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

http://bible.com/111/neh.4.10.niv

Nehemiah was a Jew, living in exile. He was the cup-bearer to the King Ataxerxes of Persia. When Nehemiah heard reports of how the Jews were suffering and defenseless in Jerusalem, He requested a leave of absence from his master to go and rebuild the wall in Jerusalem. The Lord allowed the king to show him favour and give permission and provide resources for the wall of Jerusalem to be rebuilt.

What is the background to this story? The people of the kingdom of Judah, those who remained in The kingdom after the people were taken into exile to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. They included the descendants of Judah and Benjamin, plus a remnant of the Israelites who had fled after the fall of the Israelite Kingdom In Samaria. The kingdoms of Israel and Judah were destroyed after the people turned away from God’s command to worship him and him alone and began to worship idols. God allowed the armies of Assyria to first destroy Israel and then for the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem. The people were taken into exile. After Babylonians laid siege to Jerusalem, the walls were destroyed meaning that the inhabitants of the city were not safe.The Babylonians used the siege method, to prevent anyone coming in or out of a city and cut off the supply lines of food and other provisions. Eventually the people starved, the city was too weak to defend itself and it was invaded by the Babylonians who destroyed it, looted the temple of its treasures, destroyed it and destroyed the city walls. Most of the people were then taken into exile and only a remnant was left. This was prophesied in the book of Ezekiel. The empire of Babylon was eventually divided among the Medes and the Persians after the deaths of Nebuchadnezzar and his son Belshazzar who succeeded him.

Admiring The Problem

On his return to Jerusalem, Nehemiah recruited men to rebuild the wall, organized them into teams and they began to work. When they heard that someone had come back to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, the enemies of Israel, Sanballat, Tobiah, the Ammonnites, the people of Ashdod (Anakites) and the Arabs did not want the wall to be rebuilt and plotted and schemed to keep it from happening. They had rejoiced over the destruction of Judah and did not want to see the kingdom rise again or the people to possess the land. The Jews rebuilding the wall were under constant threat of being attacked. So, the men who built the wall worked with their weapons at their side while the others kept watch and were ready to fight in the case of an attack. After some time, the men were exhausted and those watching could see it. There were two problems. The men experienced physical, mental and emotional fatigue because they were working and watching and had to be ready to fight. They also experienced discouragement because they saw that there was a lot of rubble that needed to be cleared and they felt overwhelmed by the task of rebuilding the wall. They felt defeated by the task.

The Significance of the Wall

What was the significance of the wall? Walls restrict entry to the city, the only way to enter an ancient city was through the gates. The watchmen at the gates were stationed there to prevent people entering the city that should not be there. Walls provide protection. Before the advent of modern aerial warfare with explosives, no one dared attack a city with walls because the army only has to defend the Gates. The walls remained in some parts from the original city of the Jebusites after they had been defeated by King David. The significance of the wall was to keep the city safe from invasion. The destruction of the walls of Jerusalem was symbolic of the Lord removing his spiritual barrier of protection from the Jews because of their idolatry and sin. However, the Lord promised to return a remnant of the Jews to Jerusalem and to protect them. This is why Nehemiah was inspired to return to rebuild the wall to fulfill the promise made by the Lord through the prophet Ezekiel. Building the wall was the beginning. This was to be followed by the rebuilding of the Temple as described in the book of Zechariah as well as in Ezekiel. The earthly Jerusalem is a shadow of the heavenly Jerusalem described in the book of Revelation.

So the Jews felt defeated by the task at hand. They could not see how they would clear the rubble and finish building the wall. Some of those walls were built before The Israelites possessed the land. So these were mighty solid structures and they needed to clear the rubble. They were focusing on the problem and not the vision as foretold by the prophets or the possibility of accomplishing the task, which was finishing the wall and creating the feeling of safety, that the people craved. We call it admiring the problem. How many times do we feel defeated by the rubble when we need to rebuild something in our lives?

Mind, Body and Spirit

What is it about human beings that makes us susceptible to fatigue and discouragement? Human beings have a mind, body and a spirit. The spirit is the divine essence, the eternal part of us that is created in the image of God. There is a Mind-Body Connection which means what happens in the mind, affects the body, and what affects the body affects the mind. The spiritual connection is one that people rarely talk about. The Spirit man is eternal while the body and the mind are destroyed by death. The three elements of our nature are constantly interacting and affecting each other. Sexual immorality not only brings diseases to your body and affects your mind, but it also affects your spirit. This understanding is important for our total wellbeing.

So how do we prevent fatigue?

1. Look after the body. The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Ant temple must be kept clean, repaired and adorned. So we must rest, sleep, groom ourselves and exercise. Jesus took time to rest. That was the purpose of the Sabbath. 1 Corinthians 6:19

2. Care for the mind, relax, do something fun, Jesus and the disciples didn’t work all the time. They relaxed, ate together and conversed. In Exodus, there are occasions for celebration such as the Passover and different festivals for people to enjoy.

3. Nurture the spirit. How do we nurture the spirit?

1. Personal Devotions – read the word, praise, worship & pray. Studies have shown that this relieves stress. Worship with others, stay in community. Pray with your family.

2. Maintain good relationships, the Bible talks about a friend who is closer than a brother in Proverbs 18:24. Our relationships help to keep us in good spirits.

3. Read literature and listen to music that is uplifting, too much negativity in the world and it affects your spirit.

4. Maintain personal boundaries. The Bible says guard your heart in Proverbs 4:23, for from it arises the issues of life. A famous poem, the Desiderata by Max Ehrmann says ‘Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. You also need to avoid needy people who drain your physical and emotional energy

5. Avoid negative thinkers – those who remind you of how bad things are, how much better things were or how there is no hope for the future. They are also known as Roadblock prophets. The Jews around Jerusalem also reinforced the negativity which served to discourage the buildersRemind yourself that of Jeremiah 29:11, the plans of God to prosper and not to harm you.

Conclusion

What are you building in your life? Is it your career? A family ? a business? Is what you are building based on a vision from the Lord? The Bible says in Psalm 127:1 Unless the Lord Builds the house, the builders labor in vain. So when your vision is supported by God’s desire for your life, you have every reason to succeed. When you are tired look to the Lord for strength. In the book of Isaiah 40:31, the word says ,Those who hope in the lord will renew their strength. They will rise up on wings like eagles, they will walk and not grow faint.’ I would like to encourage you to get your vision from the Lord, because that vision will not fail. Do the work and when you feel discouraged, put your hope in the Lord.

To Lead Is To Serve (Summerfield Park, Johannesburg 5 November 2017)

Scripture Reading Matthew 23:1-12
“Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others. “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

http://bible.us/111/mat.23.1-12.niv

Introduction

Jesus talks about the Pharisees and their strict observance of religion. How did they became this way. To understand them better, we need to go back in time.
The Jews were a people set apart with to their belief in one God and their observance of the law.  God gave Moses the Law, who gave it to Joshua, who gave it to the elders, the elders gave it to the prophets and it was passed down by the priests to pthe Pharisees who gave it to the people. Therefore they stood in the place of Moses as teachers of the law.  

The law was first written in the time of David and Solomon from about 1000 BC. The 10 tribes broke away from the northern kingdom of Samaria during the time of King Rehoboam, Solomon’s son. Only tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained in the Southern Kingdom. The Northern kingdom was invaded by Assyria, (Sargon and Sennacherib) and the people carried off into exile in 740 BC. The Southern kingdom was invaded by the Babylonianians in 604 -586 BC.   After this, the priests studied and reinterpreted the law of Moses in the light of the disaster and wrote the books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus, to ensure that people kept the law of the Lord, so that this disaster may never come upon them.   There was the return from Exile in 450BC and the dedication of the Law to ensure that people understood and kept the law. 

The Pharisees took the Study of the law to a whole new level, particularly after, when Antiochus Epiphanes tried to destroy the Jewish religion in 175BC by introducing the Greek religion. He introduced the sacrifice of pigs and set up an idol of Zeus in the temple. This was what was called the abomination that causes desolation.
In response to this, the Pharisees emphasized keeping themselves separate and wrote down and obeyed the letter of the law in order to preserve it. That is how they became purists, regarding the law.  

Main Body

William Barclay writes this of the Pharisees: ‘The Pharisees then were two things. First, they were dedicated legalists; religion to them was the observance of every detail of the Law. But second–and this is never to be forgotten–they were men in desperate earnest about their religion, for no one would have accepted the impossibly demanding task of living a life like that unless he had been in the most deadly earnest. They could, therefore, develop at one and the same time all the faults of legalism and all the virtues of complete self-dedication. A Pharisee might either be a desiccated or arrogant legalist, or a man of burning devotion to God.’ http://www.studylight.com

According to William Barclay, The Talmud described seven kinds of Pharisees:

There was the Shoulder Pharisee. He was meticulous in his observance of the Law; but he wore his good deeds upon his shoulder. He was out for a reputation for purity and goodness. True, he obeyed the Law, but he did so in order to be seen of men. 

There was the Wait-a-little Pharisee. He was the Pharisee who could always produce an entirely valid excuse for putting off a good deed. He professed the creed of the strictest Pharisees but he could always find an excuse for allowing practice to lag behind. He spoke, but he did not do.  

There was the Bruised or Bleeding Pharisee. The Talmud speaks of the plague of self-afflicting Pharisees. These Pharisees received their name for this reason. Women had a very low status in Palestine. No really strict orthodox teacher would be seen talking to a woman in public, even if that woman was his own wife or sister. These Pharisees went even further; they would not even allow themselves to look at a woman on the street. In order to avoid doing so they would shut their eyes, and so bump into walls and buildings and obstructions. They thus bruised and wounded themselves, and their wounds and bruises gained them a special reputation for exceeding piety.

There was the Pharisee who was variously described as the Pestle and Mortar Pharisee, or the Hump-backed Pharisee, or the Tumbling Pharisee. Such men walked in such ostentatious humility that they were bent like a pestle in a mortar or like a hunch-back. They were so humble that they would not even lift their feet from the ground and so tripped over every obstruction they met. Their humility was a self-advertising ostentation.

There was the Ever-reckoning or Compounding Pharisee. This kind of Pharisee was for ever reckoning up his good deeds; he was for ever striking a balance sheet between himself and God, and he believed that every good deed he did put God a little further in his debt. To him religion was always to be reckoned in terms of a profit and loss account.

There was the Timid or Fearing Pharisee. He was always in dread of divine punishment. He was, therefore, always cleansing the outside of the cup and the platter, so that he might seem to be good. He saw religion in terms of judgment and life in terms of a terror-stricken evasion of this judgment.

Finally, there was the God-fearing Pharisee; he was the Pharisee who really and truly loved God and who found his delight in obedience to the Law of God, however difficult that it might be. Of the seven, six were all about the show, only one truly delighted in God’s law and in obedience.  

Leadership is a form of service. The purpose of a leader is to provide a vision, guidance, direction, to motivate and encourage people to do great things and be great.
The Pharisees were leaders in Israel. They played a every important role, to bring people closer to God, through teaching them to obey the law as an act of love for God.  They failed, because their leadership was self-serving. Matthew 15:8-9 says, ‘these people honour me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ Jesus condemned them, because their obedience to the law was not out of love for God, for the most part.  

Jesus deplores the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. The word hypocrite comes from a Greek word: hupocrites which means to wear a mask and play a role. It was all an act, all for show. So he says do as they say, i.e. Obey the law, but, not as they do, i.e. to make a great show of their obedience.  Jesus encourages the disciples to be humble and serve each other. He illustrates this by washing their feet. He led by example, and performed miracles and taught the word out of love for God, not to be seen by men. He continued in his service unto death, even when his disciples had abandoned him. He was genuine, not playing a role.  

There is a lot of talk about leadership these days. But there is a growing recognition of effective leadership as being a role that serves a purpose. If we bring it back to our country, we lack leadership in business and in politics and even in some churches, because the actions of the leadership are self -serving. We have leaders who:

o Want to be rich and live lavishly at all costs

o Are prepared to subvert justice and bend the law in pursuit of power and wealth to keep their ill-gotten gains,

o Persecute those who speak out against them

o Love the limelight, always posting on social media

o They spout ideology, anti-crime, anti-corruption, etc. Lots of talk, no action, so they do not practice what they preach.

King Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the Sun. Even in Old Testament times, priests were expected to serve God and their to lead the people. The Lord killed both of Eli’s sons Hophni and Phineas because they abused their positions as priests. When Eli died, he was replaced by Samuel. Samuel was tireless in his service.
What God desires is obedience, not sacrifice (1 Samuel 15.22) and service to others out of love. Do nothing out of selfish ambition. Consider others better than yourself (Philippians 2.3)  

Conclusion

True leadership is an act of service, to God and to Men. If you are in a position of leadership, ask yourself whom are you serving?
If you want people to follow you, you must serve them, Jesus does so much for people. As a result huge crowds followed him.  How does your leadership serve the purpose of God. How does it serve those whom you lead? I encourage all of us to model our leadership according to the pattern of Jesus Christ and to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us . Let us pray for all our leaders to be authentic and humble, to have a sevant’s heart and a teachable spirit, subject to the authority of God. Only then can we live in peace and prosperity in harmony with God and with each other.  

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Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate

From the equatorial forest.

In my imagination,

We make a beautiful duet.

His dark chocolate

with my caramel entwined.

Heady and sensual,

Utterly irresistible.

Electrifying,

Like shot of espresso

The colour of his eyes.

One look, is all it took.

The cup of my heart is brimming.

My head is swimming,

Like after an Irish coffee.

A shot of whiskey,

A dash of cream,

Stirred with a chocolate spoon.

The worst addiction

Demands gratification.

The food of the gods and

The Devil’s own elixir.

Secretly brewed in the dead of night

Now incarnate.

The ultimate black magic,

No cure from a medic.

Desperately sinking,

A maelstrom of emotions.

The worst part of it,

We’ve never even spoken.

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Perfect Match


Smart girls make dumb choices. I’ve made a few of my own. Ladies hear this:

Your perfect match does not:

1. Shine on your shine. We know what that’s about. He has to have the spotlight ALL THE TIME. *eyes rolling*

2. Disrespect his mother, his sister or any female member of his family. He is courteous, even under provocation. He walks away rather than escalate a fight.

3. Talk badly about you behind your back, to ANYONE, especially the OTHER WOMAN. And if you are the other woman, he is not your perfect match either.

4. Disrespect you in front of the family. Especially HIS family. Nor does he embarrass you in front of other people, random strangers in particular.

5. Keep you waiting. You’re dressed up, dolled up, it’s 8pm, he’s a no show and he hasn’t called. NO, that is not the time to cry, change, then lie on the couch with a tub of ice-cream. You grab your purse, take an UBER ride and you hit the club, with or without him. Take a girlfriend if you can’t do it alone. If you meet him there, act like you don’t know him. He has already proven that he is not worthy of you. Keep it moving.

6. Ditch you for his friends, see point 5 above.

7. Push, shove, slap or kick you. In fact that should be point no. 1.

8. Start drooling over other women in your presence. However hot, he’s feeling about that girl in the hotpants, low cut blouse, whatever, he keeps it to himself ALWAYS. In fact if he’s the one, she could be stark naked and he won’t even see it.

9. He’s generous and responsible with his money. He doesn’t “forget” his wallet. He pays his bills on time and doesn’t spend every cent of his money, or yours for that matter.

10. He keeps his word. See point 5 above. Life happens, but he is civil, maintains healthy boundaries with his ex- girlfriend, ex-wife and he takes care of his children. And if he can’t make it, he calls.

Ladies, I pray you attract The One. That you will know that he’s the one and there is no doubt in his mind either, that you’re the one for him.

And gentlemen, if you do not do any of these things, then You’re the Man! I know your soul mate, your perfect match is out there. I pray that she recognises the good man that you are,  when you meet.

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No Rules Digital Edition Available on Amazon


It’s Official! No Rules: An African Love Story is now available on the Amazon Kindle Store. To go to the store, copy the link below into your internet browser.

If you want to purchase the book and you don’t have a credit card you can send me your details via the contact form on the blog and I will assist you.