7/11/2016

Our love for suffering

Have you ever heard of an inspirational story from our football national team, the Flames?

If you have, how did it start, did it start with the team playing brilliant football, attacking with exceptional talent and giving the hope that we would carry the day or emerge victorious in that tournament?

I bet it really started like that. The question is: how did it end?

I can predict: with all those hopes dashed, a loss in the dying minutes. Poet Robert Chiwamba already covered the fate of the team in the famed Flames Sidzamva!

It is not as if he recited anything new, he told us what has been our football ailment since about 10 years ago when it became so worse.

The loss of our football national team, now, is a result of a lot of issues among them uninspired an underpaid players, alcohol-infested players, a negative media (yes! a negative media) and - most importantly - football administrators.

These football administrators, usually, are behind the other problems. They fleece the players, suck their benefits dry and steal anything and everything that can be 'stealable'. I bet if the football pitches could be a thing that you can steal, they would have tucked them away in their kids' bedrooms.

It is not as if we do not know that these people are clueless about running football, we know. Even if we do not know but the experience we have had from flirting with them tells us loudly that their knowledge of ruining football is excellent than of running it. Yet when their term runs out and they come jostling for votes from the few they handpick to vote what happens?

They win again. Resoundingly. On the wave of tired and replayed promises that cannot bear any fruits.

It is as if we love them because they have not brought any smiles on our faces. It is as if they are darlings for their exceptional talent in being inspirational.

Somehow, you would be excused to think, we love suffering.

Like Yesterday, Sunday, in Blantyre. I was passing by the filling station at the Shopping Mall. At the shop there, there was a queue. Long. On a Sunday.

I asked around what they were doing on that queue in that cold.

"They are buying electricity."

All that queue, for electricity? I was really surprised.

I tried, on my phone, to use mobile payment and see if the system was not down for electricity services. It was not down. One could easily buy on their phone. In the comfort and warmth of their homes.

What was worse? More than half of the people I saw there were busy on their phones. On their smart phones. Busy typing 'Amens' on fake posts bearing the names of some self-claimed Prophets, thinking they will get some miraculous money or a long life or a job by typing on that post. Others were busy celebrating over some scandal, most likely.

These people who manage to feed that phone money in Airtime could just not know that they could use their phone to buy electricity. They opted to bask in cold, shivering, and suffer for something they could do at home.

They are not alone.

You should see the queues that form on the banks during month end. On ATMs. Those who have an account with National Bank line up in longer senseless queues to get their money while just across the road there is an FDH Bank ATM lying idle.

It is not as if their cards will not work on that ATM. It will work. But, perhaps, for the love of suffering they choose to stand in the sun, rain or cold for something they can do urgently. With ease.

Also, that day. A small pick-up had packed to the brim. People were overflowing from the body with some only holding on to another person who was also on the verge of falling off.

Each time the car swerved, the mass of humanity in that car swerved along. It looked risky. Like just a simple brake while the car is driving would have been a mass death.

In that car were fathers, brothers, uncles and friends. Risking their life.

I asked around: why are the people in that car risking their life, which company dispatches that as a transport for its staff, which senseless boss really does that?

I was told the people were just heading home after a long day of work. That was a cheaper transport.

Cheaper by how much?

K50. If they boarded a 'proper' minibus, they will be asked to pay K150 while that death-trap aonly asked them to pay K100.

I sighed. Feared. And thought: how much really is K50, how much do these men spend on beer, sex with other people than their wives, cigarettes or church offering? I thought, seriously, they could save from that and use it for a 'decent' and 'safer' modes of transport.

But then, I remembered it is as if we are programmed to love suffering. And, that explains our choice for leaders.