Monday, August 12, 2013


By Namakando Nalikando-Sinyama The following below is an excerpt from the Summarized Version of The ROYAL BAROTSELAND NATIONAL INVESTMENT POLICY 2012 (First Draft) You will, no doubt, find that this is a very nice piece of writing indeed. However, from the very first paragraph which reads, “Building the nation is an activity that is very enormous and it requires every citizen’s participation for us to have a society that is founded on strong laws and policies which don’t segregate any black bull. We have a vision that is achievable and we need to share this vision with all the black bulls." It must be remembered that, SEGREGATE and BLACK BULL are the operative terms here. It is shockingly blatantly oxymoronic in a way; Am I the only one who has picked it up? Let me explain; I know not whether that was meant to emphasize something that we are probably not privy to or what exactly were they trying to say here? The above statement from the Investment Policy repeatedly and deliberately segregates against 'Black Cows'! This might seem funny,trivial, petty to most and hence viewed as an academic argument but to me we appear to building a sexist Nation that is already making the fairer gender feel more alienated. This type of disposition has a psychological effect of influencing the thought processes and behavioral pattern of the resultant society in whose psyche the expression is drummed into. The effect of which could manifest itself in a multiplicity of ways. What I fear, more than anything is when it gets engrained as a skewed mass tendency to isolate women and marginalize them in the struggle for total liberation and the subsequent rebuilding of Barotseland especially when it comes to occupying positions and roles of decision making. This issue is all the more worrisome in that the statement above appears in such a key document as the Investment Policy which should chart the course for our gallop into the beckoning economic future of the Nation where we all need to be equal and dedicated players. Unless, of course, you tell us that you are using 'BLACK BULL' as a generic term like MAN which to me would be utterly ludicrous as we know that all Bulls are Male! It is also zoologically impossible for a Bull to be a Cow. Moreover, as far as I recall animal husbandry has not yet ventured into the area of transgender operations. It is my humble request that I am afraid we may have to come up with a more uniting expression or phraseology to denote the collective people of This Great Nation of Barotseland and not one that calls its citizenry after some testosterone-packed Bovine species! There is a psychological phenomenon which I have coined ‘Reinforced linguistic Operant conditioning’. Not exactly in your classic sense of Skinner and Thorndike, but their ideas and work were the precursors to my line of thinking. The Reinforcement occurs when Black Bull is repeatedly used to refer to Barotses in general. Operant conditioning in Psychology is a process of behavior modification in which the likelihood of a specific behavior is increased or decreased through positive or negative reinforcement each time the behavior is exhibited, so that the subject comes to associate the pleasure or displeasure of the reinforcement with the behavior. The reward the operant gets is an emboldening sense of Nationalistic identity that induces an unexplainable inner warmth for being referred to by a collective term, albeit a terrible divisive misnomer. The reality and what I feel is the truth about its true origins is in the mistaken belief by most traditional afrikan societies that men are actually in the forefront of any struggle. It is but a male-chauvinistic expression meant to exclude the fairer sex as they are deemed more fragile. It is a well-known fact that cattle is a symbol of national wealth in Barotseland hence its appearance on most proposed future National insignia. The Bulls are a masculine symbol of strength and sexual virility even among our many tribal cousins. The most interesting possible explanation for the use of ‘Black Bull’ comes from my early pre-pubescent years growing up in Rural Barotseland when we used to herd cattle. We used to organise animal duels in the plains between villages. Each village would select what they felt was their strongest stock of fighting Bulls. These would then have their horns sharpened with broken glass so as to inflict the most pain. I vividly recall how the boys from each of the villages would return late evening with their sets of Bulls covered in blood gashing from the multiple goring wounds sustained in the plains at the hands of ill-informed savage boys, that was us, then. In retrospect though, now that I know better and steadily on a Buddhist path, I would never imagine myself engaging in this form of inhumane savagery of the worst order. Visions of equal barbarism by Matadors of Spain spring to mind. Anyway, before I digress too much I believe I have successfully made my point. As for the colour of the Bull, it merely makes reference to the legendary rich skin hue of us Barotses who are heavily endowed with melanin.And for all those that may be curious, I am very much male but I felt compelled to bring this issue up and subject it to stringent public scrutiny. You will find that actually the more accurate Anglicized rendering of the full expression ought to be, “ Children of The Black Bull”. This though, is by all counts, a bit of a mouth full hence it is rarely ever used. But still you realize why it is subtle, The Bull surely must have been born from a cow that was once in calf but this biological logic is scrambled in nationalistic fervor. Knowing Malozi as I do, they may come up with some idealistic mythology suggesting once there was only a solo Bull that appeared mysteriously from the watery deep. I just so love the creativity of my people. We clearly we need to fully understand in depth the sophistication of Malozi in order to know them and how they are really wired as a people. I leave you with my favourite words by Alexander Pope (1688-1744) “A little learning is a dang'rous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again. Fir'd at first sight with what the Muse imparts, In fearless youth we tempt the heights of Arts, While from the bounded level of our mind Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind; But more advanc'd, behold with strange surprise New distant scenes of endless science rise!”

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