About Raymond

Raymond Kasinganeti is a Keynote Speaker, an Author and a Business Consultant based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He holds a BSc in Mathematical Sciences and a Certificate in Investment Management from the University of South Africa. He speaks and writes extensively on the subjects of Game Changers, Entrepreneurship, Wealth Transfer, African Transformation and Market Place Transformation. Currently Raymond is completing his first two books for publication in 2012/2013: Game Changers and In The Quietness of My Mind. He hopes that through his work he can inspire others to bring transformation into their lives as well as society and in the process leave an enduring legacy within their only lifetime.

Has Africa’s time finally come?

Africa RisingAlbert Einstein, the father of modern physics came up with the theory of relativity, which at its finest, resulted in man landing on the moon.

A simple definition of this theory in our practical day to day living is that we see things relative to the others. In other words, if the chicken crosses the road, did the chicken really cross the road or the road moved under the chicken.

Or, if Chuck Norris does push ups, is he really moving up and down or, in his awesomeness, he pushes the earth down and up?!

We have also made much of the fact that some people are light and others dark but the only reason the light ones are light is because of the presence of the dark ones and vice versa. If we were all one colour, there would neither be black, white, yellow, navy blue, etc.; we would just be human.

And this is where I drive my point home. Isaac Newton said that if he had seen further, it was because he had stood on the shoulder of giants.

We are what we are and where we are as a result of the global effort of different nationalities and races. No one race or nationality can claim credit for everything it possesses. That is why any approach that is based on segregation ultimately crumbles; we were never meant to function, as human beings in a vacuum.

Throughout history, we have seen the rise of different kingdoms, from the Jewish, Persian, Egyptian, Roman, Greek, British,Japanese, German, American and to now the Chinese Empire. The question is, which empire was better and can say all it has was a result of nothing but its own isolated technology, philosophy and science?

All these empires, kingdoms and nationalities are were they are because of what their predecessors passed on to them.

The world has become a global village and the world is moving towards integration. Every people, race, nationality and continent must sit at the global table and present what its contribution is to the advancement of human kind, but while that is happening, let not one say to the other we are better than you and we don’t need you. Remember, did the chicken cross the road or the road crossed the chicken. Wait; even if it crossed the road, another chicken gave birth to that chicken and most likely that chicken is a result of generations of cross breeds. So ultimately, does it matter that this particular chicken finally crossed the road, or the fact that the chicken race, represented by this chicken, finally crossed the road?

If we all reach out and try to find each other, and our various contributions towards our future as humanity, there would be less wars, hunger and starvation in the world.

Let us celebrate our diversity and recognise each other as equals; none superior; none inferior. If inequalities persist, they must be corrected, not because of inferiority or superiority but simply because of humanity.

The fact that I was born earlier than my daughter, who is four months old, does not mean I can brag and say I know more than her and therefore I am smarter. Maybe one day she will prove to be smarter than I am; its just a matter of time.

My last thought is this; we have learnt that a seed can withstand all sorts of punishing physical elements, without dying or germinating, but dormant because the conditions are not yet right. In this case, chronological time does not actually matter nor say anything; it’s all about the conditions not being hospitable or right for it to germinate. All it takes is one day,when the rain falls, for that same seed to turn into a tree. The trees that germinated long before this one can therefore not say, this one was weaker; it all had to do with the timing (kairos) and not the kronos (time).

This perspective is critical in understanding humanity.

It explains why empires rose when they rose and fell when they did but it was not all about who is the smarter people.

Much has been said about Africa and Africans being sleeping giant but we have not had such unprecedented focus on us before, for economic reasons. Ten of the thirteen fastest growing economies are in Africa.

We have leading innovators and some of the word’s richest people hailing from Africa. Even through the ages, our contribution to society has been remarkable already. But has Africa’s kronos finally come? Is it now the season of the rise of the African Game Changer?

And this is my understanding of Einstein’s theory of relativity, from a layman’s perspective.

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The Origins of Evil

LightIn physics, we learn that you can’t measure “cold” but you can definitely measure “heat”. In other words, cold is defined relative to heat, for it is the absence of heat.

That explains why you have subzero temperatures like -30 degrees, etc. So the cold is not exactly an entity by itself in that it cannot exist alongside heat. The moment heat is introduced, the cold vanishes. While we have sources of heat, can you tell me what the source of cold is?

The same concept is seen with light and darkness. Light has a source but who can tell me what the source of darkness is? I can tell you what the sources of light are; the sun, electricity bulbs, candles, etc, but what is that one thing that broadcasts or emits darkness?

However, the moment the light goes out,darkness pervades. So darkness is not an active entity; light is. Darkness is simply the absence of light. While we can measure light, we can’t measure darkness. Why? Because darkness is actually, simply, the absence of light.

Lastly, what happens when the sun “goes” down? You are right, the earth simply moves away from the source of light and becomes dark and cold. But there is actually no source of darkness or cold i.e some dark sun that emits darkness and cold as part of the 24 hour rotation of the earth.

So it is with evil. Did God create evil, since He is the Creator of everything and in Him all things consist? A resounding no!

How come then, we have evil in this world? What are the origins of evil?

Well, I will tell you my opinion. Evil was not created; it is simply the result of the absence of the light and heat of an entity called The Creator.

Whenever, anyone or anything turns away from the righteousness and light that the Source, namely God, emits, the result is a state of being called evil. Evil is only defined in relation to good and God is that Source of good, light and righteousness.

That explains why, when lucifer turned away from God, he transformed into satan. God created lucifer but he never created satan. satan was a result of lucifer turning away from the light and heat of God’s love and righteousness.

Turning away from the light of God and subsequently becoming evil was a choice that lucifer and his angels made, out of their own freewill and they became who they became. What they decided to do with their new state of separation from the Source of light was their choice and as a result, we have evil pervading the world.

The same applies to man. When we turn away from God, evil is the result. What we see in this world, are just manifestations of evil but if I were to ask you to define evil, you would give me examples of evil but not evil itself, and do you know why? Because evil is the absence of God’s light and righteousness.

This explains why things that we might not consider evil, or that we might not see why they are wrong could still be regarded as evil by God. It has got nothing to do, per se, with the deed itself but everything to do with the absence of God’s righteousness.

And when a person turns to the Source of light, namely God, through Jesus Christ, they experience the light of God and evil has to depart. That explains why there is righteousness, healing, love, forgiveness and prosperity in Christ. So the important thing here is that everyone has a choice to embrace the Light and stay warm and in the light, or turn away and face the coldness of darkness. And we know what to expect in the darkness. There is a reason satan is referred to as the prince of darkness.

So then, here is the conclusion, as I see it:

Evil is the absence of God’s Righteousness.

By Raymond Kasinganeti.

( Thoughts distilled from the God on Trial Series at City Life Church in a sermon by Adrian Wright, subsequent discussions with, Lindi Zulu and my own understanding of physics)

Game Changers: Inspiration to change your world

Game Changers CoverIn Game Changers, Raymond presents his ground breaking philosophy on the art of changing the game. He also uses his personal experience to illustrate how this approach helped him win victory out of crushing defeat. Skilfully weaving his theory through business, academia, sport, religion, politics, nature and even cosmology, he makes a compelling case for the need to leave a legacy. Raymond pays homage to the current rising of Africa to take its rightful place on the global stage by dedicating the last chapter of this book to the African Transformation cause and the change agents driving it. This book is a must for every aspiring game changer.

http://www.amazon.com/Game-Changers-Inspiration-change-ebook/dp/B00CZ7NV4I/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1369753387&sr=1-1

African Transformation: Towards a True African Identity II

As important as knowing and giving it a positive evaluation is, the tricky thing is finding your true identity. How do I know for sure that the identity I have or think I have is the one I must have? How do I find my true self; my true identity such that I will be able to live my life from this position of being truthfully informed and aware of my identity? That, my friend, is a very tricky undertaking but first, let’s look at possible culprits shaping our identities.

Family Background and Upbringing

This is the most obvious one. They have even invented all sorts of expressions to explain this one. ‘An apple does not fall far from the tree’ and ‘You are just a chip off the old block’, are a few examples. Whether we like it or not, our family upbringing shapes our perception of self. We have the genes of our parents; we grow up eating the food they cook and we are nurtured in a certain philosophy which will probably ring in our ears for life. Later on in life, when we have our own kids we are shocked to find that we have turned into mom and dad! That is not necessarily a bad thing as long as we don’t use our family background, particularly the really negative aspects, to our detriment. Let me explain.

Have you heard of self-fulfilling prophecies? This is a prophecy you make about yourself and find that it actually comes to pass just as you envisaged it. Generally they are associated with the negative aspects of our lives; I don’t know why. There are positive self-fulfilling prophecies but the question is why self-fulfilling prophecies self fulfil?

If you were raised in a family that struggles in the area of wealth creation for as long as anyone in your family can remember, it’s likely that you grew up being told that you would not amount to much in life. At some point because of both constant and consistent reminders that you will die a pauper and the empirical evidence all around you within the family, you begin to believe it. And once you believe it you begin to say it. Before you know it, you actually begin to act in such a way that you squander opportunities that could have lifted you out of that rut. It becomes a classic case of digging yourself deeper into your hole because you are so focused on your surroundings that you forget to look up and see the sky. That becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

One of my friends was going through a particularly difficult period in his life. We met for coffee and he spent a full hour telling me his problems, how he had traced the same problems through the generations and now could see the same things happening in his life. It was depressing. After I had taken it to my ears I stopped him and told him that was why he was exactly where he was. He believed that what he had was coming from his identity, he could not escape it and he was therefore actively encouraging the same problem in his life. This man had his identity totally messed up. So we had to start from there and try to pry him out of this mental stranglehold.

Unfortunately old habits die hard and one counselling session does not begin to suffice.

The same patterns are repeated in abuse victims, failed marriages, family sicknesses and so forth. If you believe that marriages in your families are not meant to last because of some sort of curse, even when you find a really good partner, you find that you will find something wrong with the relationship, so that at the end of the day you can shout, ‘I knew it would never work! Marriages never work in our family.’ You have assumed the identity of your family.

So it’s very tricky to know for sure that the identity you have is truly yours and not one given to you by your family. But this issue is too important to leave to family.

Literature

Depending on what you read, listen to and get attached to, you are likely to start assuming that originator’s identity. A lot of young people have turned into thugs due to excessive influence of music glorifying this thug life. This also goes together with peer pressure and the desire to fit in. In my opinion, we should be well balanced people who are able to listen to anything and critic it before internalising it because we are aware of what it can turn us into especially if it colours our perception of self or makes us feel like we need to assume a new identity.

The influence of literature can be seen in trends, life styles and even religion, depending on the degree of exposure and our ability to filter what we allow to influence us or lack thereof.

Religion

This is a seriously big one. There is nothing more powerful than belief. Belief is at the centre of self-fulfilling prophecies, superstitions and even suicide bombings. Of all the things I can think of that shape our identities, religion is high up there. It does not need proof, it just needs you to accept a certain belief and before long, you have totally opened yourself to all that that particular belief system espouses. You then strive continuously to become what that belief system says you must become. You begin to see life and everything associated with it through the lenses of your beliefs. It does not matter that evidence is all around you to the contrary; you still believe.

At the place I stay, there is a really friendly black cat that likes to pay me visits every now and then. Sometimes it gets in through the window and lies on my bed. I will never forget an episode when one of my friends was visiting and this cat strolled in casually and lounged on my couch. There was pandemonium in the house. A black cat in your house, Raymond, and you are so relaxed? No, we need to do something quick! This is a bad omen of impending trouble. About the same time, an owl started to hoot and that was it for my friend. I was living with witches!

Beliefs are powerful.

I could go on and on but I believe I have made my point. It really isn’t that important dwelling on things that possibly shape our identity, if we are not going to get to the crux of the matter; where do you get your true identity that liberates you to be who you really are? This is where it really gets interesting.

And my answer is inside. Not outside. Inside. Not your family. Inside. Not what the preacher said. Inside. Not what your favourite song says. Inside. Not what your friends are saying. Inside. Not what the self help book says. Inside. Not what the popular trends say. Inside. Look inside.

No one can tell you who you are. That is your job. You need to solve this riddle. You need to process this issue. You need to bring this matter to finality. The moment someone steps in with their perceptions, you have just been given an identity. Don’t look to the west or to the east. Look inside you and you will find your true identity waiting for you.

Why do I say that? Let me explain.

The essence of who you are is contained in your spirit and your spirit proceeds from your Creator, God. I don’t have the time to argue with atheists here because I want to make a point. If God created you, surely he knows exactly what He put on the inside of you. He has hidden you in you. Your homework is to dig inside you and find you in you as your Creator intended. He is the one who created you and He is the ONLY one who can give you your true identity.

Are you tired of searching in all the places for your true identity? It’s time to focus on the inside of you and let God reveal to you who you are. So connect with Him. Spend time with your Creator and take time to know yourself.

You will see that things will become clearer. For the first time, you will see that your family’s story is not your story. Your past is not your future. And once you have established your true identity in Him, you have started on the journey of life in earnest. Who you become, going forth, is who you really are and therefore what your recreate on the outside will change to reflect your new-found self.

What I have simply done is to point you in the right direction. The rest, my friend is your job.

Tipping Point

Put on your thinking caps. Let’s start with defining two phrases central to this article namely, tipping point and critical mass.

Tipping point is the critical point in an evolving situation that leads to a new and irreversible development. The term is said to have originated in the field of epidemiology when an infectious disease reaches a point beyond any local ability to control it from spreading more widely. A tipping point is often considered to be a turning point.

In Physics, Critical Mass is defined as the smallest mass of a fissionable material that will sustain a nuclear chain reaction at a constant level.

Critical Mass can also be defined as an amount or level needed for a specific result or new action to occur.

In other words, loosely we can say that critical mass is defined as an amount or level needed to reach a tipping point.

And that is where we start from.

When I started my blog, I had no idea I would write fifty articles. I did know though, that I wanted to reach 5000 hits before even considering retirement from blogging. So when I reached that target, I took a break but something strange began to happen. The blog hits continued to climb. It seemed I didn’t need to do anything more to keep the traffic coming to my blog; it had become self sustaining. In other words, it reached critical mass. I have a clean 1000 hits unaccounted for!

The principle of critical mass is one of the most crucial elements that you must master and utilize to your advantage in life because many times it gives birth to another equally important but more spectacular phenomenon; the tipping point principle.

With that in mind two issues promptly develop; where you are now and where you want to be. It is possible that in some cases you find yourself just wanting to reach critical mass. You are not looking for anything spectacular or sensational. All you want is to reach that level of equilibrium where you have a balanced ecosystem, so to speak. This is very likely when you are starting out building new ventures like family, business, church or any other. At the beginning you are not necessarily looking for tipping point. You are looking for critical mass.

But the thing about critical mass is that it takes time to accomplish. Critical mass requires you to take a million small steps, day and night and in some cases year after year, till one day you realize you have achieved it. Small dreams do not require a lot of time and effort to reach critical mass. It is the truly great ones that will demand every drop of sweat you have before they give you critical mass.

And because of that, it is far easier to walk away than to stay. What do you do when you have sat the whole night and you just haven’t got any more strength to continue yet critical mass seems so far away? Are you going to catch a power nap and wake up after a few hours, dragging your battered body back to work for another day of trudging towards critical mass or you will hear the alarm and chose to remain in bed because the load is just too much? You know what? You are right. It’s too much and you will never reach critical mass. But the other guy in the other bedroom is getting up and doing what he needs to do so that when you wish you had stayed the course, he will be doing what he wants to do.

What makes achieving critical mass tricky is not knowing when it will be achieved. The question of when to stop will actually answer itself. Some people have gone on till their death trying to reach critical mass and never achieved it. Others have achieved it in a relatively short space of time. Do you quit or you stubbornly continue? No one can give an answer to that. It boils down to what you believe on the inside. As long as you believe in it, it is always time to keep on keeping on. In other words don’t jump ship as long as you are still convicted in your heart that this is what you should be doing.

Thomas Edison tried 10,000 before finding the right combination to create the first light bulb. I bet after 9000 times a lot of us would say, “Hey, it’s time to face reality. It’s time to quit.” Right now there are trillions of light bulbs in the world used by everyone in every corner of the world. We don’t need Edison anymore, to invent the bulb. Bulbs don’t need him no more! That is the power of critical mass.

And so I look at my own life and assess my achievements. I look at the things that break my heart and those that warm it. I pay attention to my losses and revel in my victories. I look at where I am at and compare with where I want to be. One thing becomes clear. For me, it’s not just critical mass I am looking for. I believe I have achieved it. My life is stable. I feel like everything is where it should be. Every department of my life is poised for the next phase. Positions have been taken and guns have been corked. Anything can happen any moment now. I sense the tension in the air. All the facets of my life are pregnant with expectation. I just can’t wait a second longer. I get ready to pull the trigger to usher in…tipping point.

Tipping point is that point where you might have achieved critical mass and everything is working as it should but you just know you are due for or really need a complete and irreversible reaction in your life. Life will never be the same again. It is tipping point that ushers you into the next phase of your life. It is that one action, the last is a sequence of many that just tips the scales and triggers everything you have dreamed of and more. And I am saying I smell it in the air. It’s my time to experience tipping point!

The mistake that we make is focusing on the tipping point and not on the process before the tipping point. When we see the explosion, naturally our attention is arrested. No one is there to witness the guy who worked the whole day to mix the chemicals and make sure the conditions are right. We look for the guy with the detonator and we make him an instant hero. And somehow we begin to believe we can reach tipping point instantaneously. That is a fallacy.

Tipping point is a result of innumerable and focused decisions that we will make till we reach critical mass and then things tip for good in our favour. The people who have happy marriages; do they have happy marriages because they are so full of love for each other or because they put in the hours and the hard work that might not necessarily be fun to do but necessary for the marriage they want? They plan holidays and save for them the whole year long. And they achieve critical mass.

And so it is with business. You advertise yourself. You pump money into your business. You work long hours. Maybe you can even breakeven but you are not quite making the kind of money you know you want to make. You can stay where you are or you can put that extra effort relentless until you get that one phone call that will change your life for good. We all know that phone call. It is sweet when it comes but extremely nerve wrecking to wait for.

So life gives us plenty of reason not to continue. It give us plenty of reason to continue. The difference is what you choose to see. What project are you working on? Is it getting tough? Do you feel like giving up? Keep on keeping on. Join me and other visionaries as we keep putting in those little grains of sands that will one day tip the scales in our favour and change our lives for good. It might be closer than you think. It might just be one more grain before you reach your tipping point!

African Transformation: Towards a True African Identity I

I admit it. I have been very scarce; in fact too scarce. A lot of things have been taking place in my life and I needed to see them through while developing new material in the process. I guess it was a good break. I like to implement what I write as well and that is the beautiful part about my blog. If there is one person more inspired than everyone else by my writing, it is me. I believe that with all my heart.

And over the past six months I began to separate things that were truly important to me and those that were not. I began to think a lot about the kind of life I wanted to live going forward, my legacy and how I was going to achieve it. I wondered what kind of a wife and family I would want for myself as I prepared for this phase of my life. In short, I did a lot of soul searching to answer this question; who am I?

Who am I? That question lies at the very heart of my identity and yours. And as I think about the solutions to the African challenges acknowledged in previous articles in the African Transformation series, I understand that it must all start with addressing the issue of identity. It must start with you and me. There is no African Transformation without yours and my transformation. It has to be a holistic transformation. We are the building blocks of this 900 million continental population.

I think the question of who or what is an African is one of the most hotly contested in the African Transformation agenda. Thabo Mbeki wrote his famous ‘I am an African’ poem which has gone on to achieve cult status. And in it he dealt with the issue of identity.

The issue of identity must be dealt with because before you establish what you will do in life, you need to know who you are. It informs why you do the things you do. Unfortunately, in our modern world, without knowing and being very comfortable in your identity, you will find that an identity will promptly be given to you. And you tend to become who they say you are because you begin to believe it. It won’t be long before you start acting the way someone carrying your identity should act. And do you know why? Because identity is closely tied to your self esteem.

I noticed something very strange. For most of my life, I have lived alone. It wasn’t until recently that I began to live with people from time to time. When I moved into my current pad, I found nothing in there, except a renovated and fresh-paint smelling house. Then I cleaned the place out and moved in with my furniture. I kept moving furniture around and buying more until I had satisfied myself that I had exactly the outcome I wanted. In other words, I didn’t rest until I felt like the place was more…me. Identity. Hold that thought. It’s about to get interesting.

Then I began to have visitors. They always use the guest bedroom. Of course I would go in every morning and greet them and make small talk before going to work. Overtime, I realized I didn’t want to go in there anymore. I felt strange. The place was changing into something else! It was no longer the same place! I began to gasp! My throat dried up! This couldn’t be happening! I needed a glass of water, quick! Somebody call 911! *Movie-type suspense music in the background!!!!* What was the problem? You want to know? Well, suddenly my place just didn’t feel like…me. Identity.

What am I trying to say? Whether you are conscious of it or not, you carry your own identity with you everywhere you go. And you recreate who you are on the inside on the outside. If you want to look at what is going on inside a person, just look at the environment they have created around themselves because your identity has an environment in which it needs to be nurtured and grow into more and more of itself. See the danger in that? An addict becomes more and more addicted because he keeps on recreating an environment that natures his addiction. Equally true, a musician becomes better and better at his art by recreating music everywhere. That is why both are where they are. People recreate their identities. There is a popular saying that when people move, they move with their clothes, furniture, vehicles and …rodents. Truer words have not been spoken.

In view of the foregoing, the issue of identity cannot be left to others to define for you. You will try to live your life in other people’s realities and will constantly try to be them. If you are lucky you will get frustrated to the point where you cast aside other people’s identities and mould your own. Only then will you begin to experience true satisfaction and make a positive impact as your Creator intended.

That is why, as you begin to evaluate your identity, you must look at that critical component of the process of forming one; self esteem. Let’s unpack this one.

According to Wikipedia, Self-esteem is a term in psychology to reflect a person’s overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth. It is conceptualized as an attitude toward the self and is similar to a judgment of oneself. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs (for example, “I am competent”, “I am worthy”) and emotions such as triumph, despair, pride and shame. The self-concept is what we think about the self; self-esteem, the positive or negative evaluations of the self, is how we feel about it’.

According to the above definition, and loosely, your self esteem is an evaluation of your identity. If who you think you are is evaluated by yourself in a negative way, you will have a low self esteem. If who you think you are is evaluated in a positive way, you will have a high self esteem. And we know that depending on the state of your self esteem, you can go near or far in life. If you believe you are not worthy it, you will begin to recreate that feeling on the outside and before long, you will be treated like you are not worthy it. Deep calls unto deep. Shallow never calls unto deep.

Depending on who you have defined yourself to be you can have a happy life or a depressed life. You can smile and have fun here and there but as long as the issue of your identity and therefore self esteem has not been settled, you will look for it in the wrong places and will constantly be frustrated. I have learnt to vigorously defend against anything that encroaches on my self esteem because it won’t be long before my evaluation of my identity becomes negative and before long I have to change into something I am not and that is not necessarily beneficial to me. My point is, we need to form our own identity based on a number of factors, form a healthy evaluation and opinion of that identity and use that confidence in ourselves to move forward in life, recreating that state of affairs in ourselves on the outside. We will then tend to attract more and more of what we have on the inside.

And so the question to be asked is, who are you? Who am I? What constitutes my identity? If I continue to hold the same opinion and evaluation of myself as I do, where am I likely to be five years from now? How about ten years? Am I going to have the kind of career I want? What about the kind of family I desire? What about my friends? Am I likely to go through life happy or depressed? And if you don’t like the answers you are getting my friend, it is time for a reality check. Check who or what is giving you your identity. Whose philosophy are you following? Is there an incident you are holding onto that is a source of a negative identity of yourself? Is it like a spring bringing forth bitter waters continuously and poisoning everything in your life?

As I wrap up this article let me bring it all together now. I love it when a plan comes together.

When the Europeans came to Africa, their ability to conquer Africans was based on their ability to convince us Africans that they were superior to us and therefore we needed to give up everything in order to try and be like them. As we gave up everything, including our resources, trying to be them, we woke up one day to find that we had lost our inheritance and up to now we are fighting to regain it. They messed with our identity until we loathed ourselves for being Africans. I heard a funny story about how the Europeans came and said to us, “Let’s close our eyes and pray.” When we opened our eyes, we had the bible and they had the land.

If you want to mess with a person, mess with their identity!

Therefore, as an African, the first place you want to start from is settling this issue that there is nothing wrong with being born on African soil. You are who you are. You can’t change that, even if you wanted to. Once you accept your African identity, and I am not necessarily saying African culture, you have started on the journey to Personal Development. As you go out there in the global village then, you are not afraid of being exterminated for being an African but you will proudly make a difference while telling them your surname is Mukonoweshuro!

Forming a true African identity, as opposed to forming an expedient African identity (as eloquently expounded and cleverly manipulated by politicians) and its role in the global village is the subject of part two of “Towards a True African Identity”.

Lindi Zulu writes for us: Before I say I do

Image

…Single, never been married.

…Divorced or separated.

…Widows or widowers.

…Recent college graduates or students.

…People who have emerged from same-sex relationships.

…Independent and successful professionals who are aware of the quiet ticking away of their child-bearing years.

…Any of the above with a child or two that was conceived in or out of wedlock, virgins, those who have been around the block a few times, those who made it to the block but didn’t really go all the way around it, the broken-hearted, the naïve and starry-eyed romantics, the sceptics, the love veterans who came back from the battle of their lives, the proverbs 31 wannabes, the desperately seeking, those with hobbies and ministries to keep them happily pre-occupied….

This whole list is broken down into one very simple term in the church… “The Singles” – One monolithic block of inexplicably unmarried people.

Compare these people to the Pastors and Church Elders who have been married to the same woman since the beginning of time, have neat little families all loving the Lord together and looking like bright and shining examples of God’s plan for all of humanity and you can see right away that there’s a cultural disconnect somewhere between the “The Singles” and these people.

Why?

The unprecedented explosion of single adult households that we are currently in the midst of is the underlying cause of the disconnection. It’s one of three demographic changes that the marketing research firm Yankelovich Partners is advising Fortune 100 companies to consider if they hope to “stay on top”.

Seeing single mommies, bachelors well into their forties – still dating, bachelorettes who have it all together but no-one to share it with, etc. is becoming more and more common in society and the dating pool is getting wider and wider, teeming with people who are single and ready to mingle, but quantity isn’t really the issue when you’re looking for a life-partner, quality is.

When society devalues the institution of marriage and writes off its credibility, it’s no wonder that brokenness shows up in the church. With the hands-off approach parents and elders have slowly adopted when it comes to the dating habits of today’s singles, many single adults tend to go adrift in their pursuit of a life-partner, not sure if they should even be asking for help meeting and marrying wisely for fear of looking like they’re unsatisfied, too eager, interfering with God’s divine timing, unable to produce the fruits of self-control and long-suffering etc.

One wise pastor once told a group of single adults that he was sympathetic to the challenges of “Endless Opportunity”. Because he was a pastor, father and husband, the boundaries of his day were fairly well-defined from the moment he woke up in the morning. He knew his responsibilities and the priorities he had to attend to and didn’t have to spend a lot of time deciding what he was supposed to do, when and with who.

Single adults on the other hand have so many options that are available to them each day that making the wrong choice is fairly easy. I mean, unlike a generation or two ago, two singles can hook up, decide to move in together without getting married and not even consider that they are missing out on anything by choosing not to officially tie the knot. They’ll just do everything else without all the heavy commitments.

And this isn’t going to make much sense, but contrary to popular belief, my personal belief and conviction is that as a result of this current state of affairs (no pun intended) marriage is more relevant today than ever before.

Stay with me now, I’m about to explain.

There was a time when marriage was a given due to societal norms. Now it is a choice that is made as a statement of faith in true love despite the depravity of society, a choice borne out of the conviction that the person you love deserves your faithfulness and the security of a covenant that is made before God, both families and friends, a choice that isn’t externally induced by society but internally induced by a need to follow a divine order because you value this union and want it to be the foundational platform for future generations that will be born out of it.
Whether or not it is endorsed by movies and music videos, whether or not your own parents had a successful marriage, whether or not the statistics declare that the odds are stacked up against you, you still take that step, selflessly and sacrificially forsaking all others for one when you could have as many as you want if you’re willing to buy all those drinks at the club.

What I’m realizing is that what were once good reasons to get married in my parents’ time are rapidly becoming irrelevant today. For example:

So we can live together. Many couples live happily together for many years without getting married and it’s no longer frowned upon.

For sex. Please.

Financial Security. Both men and women now have the capacity to earn the income of their choice in relation to their skills to achieve a certain lifestyle without anyone having to rely on the other.

So we can have children. Many couples who live together eventually have children out of wedlock too and that’s no longer frowned upon either.

To make our relationship official. You could achieve that by posting up on Facebook that “…. And I are now OFFICIAL” and tag all the people that really really needed to know that and proceed changing your profile picture to one of those “they’re obviously officially together” pictures.

Cooking, cleaning, etc. Get a maid.

So what are we left with?

Well, marriage makes a relationship divine. It’s bigger than you and your feelings for each other, because marriage introduces God into the relationship and makes Him an integral link between the two of you. Until they are married, a couple’s commitment to each other is a human commitment, with all the limitations of being human. We can’t predict the future, what may change in and around us, how the other partner will wrong us. But the marriage covenant elevates the commitment beyond human limitations. It makes the union sacred.

The world has shown us that marriage doesn’t work.

But of course…It’s marriage our way in our own strength through our own intellect.

Of course it won’t work.

It’s not supposed to.

Only after the wedding is your love rescued from superficiality, selfishness and temporality, but blessed with the divine imprint of eternity.

Not that this ideal is dangling like a carrot at the end of my singlehood. It’s not the reward for being a good single person, for memorising enough scriptures, for praying hard enough, for all the occasions of self-denial I have survived etc.

I’m just willing to accept this ministry if and when it comes, understanding full well that as the steward of my husband’s life, I will release Him back into Our Father’s hands one day with an account of how I served faithfully in the position of his wife with the understanding that it never really was about me…

http://lindiwezulu.wordpress.com/2012/10/16/before-i-say-i-do/