Videogames? Yes Please.

Videogames? Yes Please.

I haven’t been able to make a lighthearted non-analytical post in a while but breaking from the once every Sunday schedule, however, today is “National Videogame Day”. It’s probably not, but its a good day to get some discounts and hold off doing today’s chores (master procrastinator). But despite the fact that its probably not even “National Videogame Day”, in fact I don’t even think that’s a day, I’ll use it as an excuse to write up some of my favourite game games as recommendations for the vetran gamers, N00bs or those who want to dive into gaming. Note that all my choices will have reasoning in them, and whilst none are in any particular order, these are all my personal choices, so they might be high on one list, high on none or completely overlooked. I’ll only really be going in depth with systems that I’ve spent a significant amount of time with, so I’m terribly sorry Xbox owners but…no. Also, If  game is cross platform, I’ll mention it but put it on the platform I first played it on or best prefer it.

So to begin with, we’ll start with the filthiest of filthy casuals. Mobile Gamers

I really have nothing against mobile gaming. When I was in boarding school and deprived of almost all technology besides my shitty phone, I almost felt like drowning. Mind you, I went to highschool in 2010, before smart phones were a regular thing in Malawi. You know, back when we used Mxit (kill me now), and you could see that someone was watching porn on BBM if you were lucky (or unlucky) enough to have a Blackberry or Symbian device (chat shit if you even know what that is). All bants aside however, although my preferred devices are an Android phone and iPad Mini, I’ll include both.

Android
One of my favourite games was Super Monster Ate My Condo by PikPok studios in partnership with Cartoon Network which was a bright and colorful rollercoaster ride of a game. If you like fast and furious swiping and hours on end mindless swiping, this is for you. The ridiculous high scores you can get and crazy multipliers are just further incentives. Another game is Badlands, which is a game best played on a large game and with friends as you control squishy beings through a course. Fun co-op adventures with your friends. Finally, Plague Inc, which is a game where you create a plague, playfully name it and unleash it on the world. If you’re one with little to no sympathy for the suffering and plights for AI, and imaginary worlds, you’ll definitely love this one.

Apple
I’ve owned both the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini and for any naysayers, gaming is delightful on Apple devices, arguably more so than on Android. Not only because of Apple’s top notch specs and craftsmanship, but because they keep a strict eye on exactly what’s on their store, meaning you won’t find 70 clones of the same game, and also if there’s a game on Android, it’s sure as hell on Apple. So kicking it off, we’ll go with two games by Rayark studios, Cytus, and Deemo. These are rhythm music games with incredible art. So think of them as that old school mobile Guitar Hero but 50 times better. The games cover genres from metal, to electro to classical, and you’ll hear original compositions from talented artists making for a unique experience. They’re both on android but I prefert hem on Apple. The second game is Monument Valley, and honestly, if “aesthetically pleasing” is your middle name, this might be your brainchild. It’s a wonderfully brilliant isometric puzzle game that will leave you breathless at it’s beauty, and it’s definitely worth playing if you like getting the brain muscles straining.  For the final entries, I’ll give it to Infinity Blade. A marvel of a game with exciting battle mechanics, a rewarding loot system, replayability value, a continual story and so…much…armour! It was developed using the famed Unreal Engine, meaning the graphics are magnificent, and it’s an IOS exclusive and as far as I’ve heard, has never been on Android. Finally, we have Broken Age, another beautiful game with hand drawn animations. However, what sets it apart is the fact that it is a story driven game directed by Tim Schafer, well known for his comedic writing style and wit. He’s been behind some pretty famous cult hits so, your loss.

Moving on from the filthy casual to the eccentric gamers, or not so filthy casuals is the realm of Handheld Gaming. Some people don’t see the use of having a dedicated gaming system in their pocket, but people overlook the great titles on these systems for the most part. Nintendo and Sony both have a big market claim to this, but we’ll be covering the dying Sony PS Vita and fading 3DS due to the fact that I’m too poor to afford a Nintendo Switch

Nintendo 3DS
Nintendo have a myriad of great titles existing more in the real of franchises, which is how I’ll tackle this gaming beast. I owned both the Gameboy Advance SP and currently have my prized Solgaleo & Luna Edition Nintendo 3DS XL. I won’t cover well known titles like Mario and Pokémon, so my first title suggestion is Super Smash Bros which is a brawler type game which contains many character both within and outside Nintendo such as Lucario, Pikachu, Cloud and Ryu. It’s a great fighting game that is just as fun as Mario Kart and less friendship ruining. The second title for me has got to be Dragon Quest VIII, a little known game first released on the PS2 and rereleased on the 3DS with tons of additional content and the same classic and biting British humour. It’s a charming RPG wrapped in a childish package but peppered with enough obscure adult jokes to draw in all types of players. The third entry which is a franchise is Fire Emblem which has a number of titles for you to pick from though I recommend Fire Emblem Awakening for beginners due to it’s amazing story, great soundtrack and epic anime cutscenes. It’s a turn based strategy game for all you intellectuals who are above boorish brutality. And for all of you who want a good long story with a sprawling open world, Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is the way to go. Another RPG, but with great voice acting as well as an intriguing combat system.

PlayStation Vita
The PlayStation Vita is a bit of an odd one. Sony announced this beast in 2012, a beautiful OLED screen paired with dual analog sticks, a touchpad and a touchscreen, it had every means to be a household necessity for gamers. However, Sony dropped the ball quick and it was never picked up again, but that doesn’t mean it has no good titles. It has many, and some that can even go against the best of Niintendo’s. The first for me has to be Persona 4. The Japanese are weird as hell, but this game which is equal part RPG and school simulator blends gameplay and story together so well that it becomes straight up addictive. The second game for me is Soul Sacrifice Delta, which is a crazy RPG where you can sacrifice your body parts or even your soul to gain access to powerful attacks and magics. Besides the great story, theses are gamplay changers that breathe life into the usual run-of-the-mill RPGs. The third game is definitely Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 which is a cross franchise fighting game which puts you in control of your favourite Marvel and Capcom characters for an exciting fighter experience. The final game for me is Hotline Miami. I cannot stress, just how intense this game can get despite its seemingly simple premise. Its a game best known for intensity, difficulty and violence. Active gore seekers, this one’s for you.

Now before we go onto console gaming, we have to cover a section that I’m just getting into, which is PC Gaming. It’s definitely something I wish I had more experience with PCS growing up. However, getting into PC gaming is an expensive venture that is good for the long term for the most part. If you build your own gaming rig, it can last you a decade if you take care of it. With that said, I’ll go through my top 6 PC Games.

PC Gaming
I grew up with an abysmally shitty PC. We already had a PS2 so there was no way my parents would dole out any more money on a powerful PC. However that didn’t stop us from trying to run games on our potato laptops and desktop. The first genre I got into was strategy, and that genre is widely covered and well saturated. However, I would suggest Age of Empires, Dawn of War, Civilisation and the Total War franchises which will count as one entry for the purpose of this blog. The second game, however, is a timeless classic. Half-Life and Half-Life 2 were marvels of gaming that reinvented the genre, showing that storytelling and gameplay were not limitations, but obstacles to be stepped over when making games. To put it into perspective, Half-Life 2 came out in 2004 and people are still crying out for Half-Life 3. Third on the list is Limbo, by Playdead studio. An indie game about a boy who wakes up in a forest and is trying to find his sister. Throughout his journey, he encounters dangerous puzzles and a horrifying spider, however, this is much a story of loneliness and desperation, filled with dark and haunting undertones and a highly contrasting black and white art style. Keeping up with the high expectation, they released a sequel called Inside to critical acclaim. The fourth entry is Left 4 Dead 2, which is a zombie shooter game which released on PC over 10 years ago. It is high paced and got so many things right, and its been a while since gamers have experienced the type of high stakes team based action from a game. Now, the fifth game is a bit of an oddity, mainly because it is something of an arthouse game. Alan Wake is a supernatural, horror, story driven game in which the titular main character arrives in a town and fight enemies with light. It is chilling, depressing and fantastic all at once and a must play for anyone who can get their hands on it now that its been removed from the Steam store. Finally we have Bioshock, the original rendition not the shitty remaster. Bioshock is an interesting game because A) it takes place underwater and B) it contains Orwellian undertones you wouldn’t expect in a PC game. With its iconic enemies and the distinct gloom in the underwater Rapture, the game and its sequals all the way up to Bioshock Infinite will leave you enthralled.

Now onto my favourite part because nothing warms my heart like a controller in my hand. I’ve been gaming since the PlayStation One and I’ve had every iteration of Sony’s PlayStation ever since. Because of this, I’ll focus on my 6 PS4 exclusive titles/ So without further ado, lets focus on the best PlayStation 4 Title’s

Playstation 4
The PS4 is something you’ll either covet, or overlook. So if you’re the type who only buys a PS4 for FIFA and 2K, then kindly fuck outta here. If not, time to look at our number one pick, InFamous Second Son. The story wasn’t as high stakes as the first game, however, being one of the Flagship games and exclusives the PS4 had during its release, it cemented the PS4 as the top and go to console of it’s generation. With its fantastic open world and destructable environment, InFamous showcased the PS4’s immense power and capability to play beautiful games at 1080p. The second game is undoubtedly Uncharted 4: a Thief’s End. With movie level storytelling, hyper-realistic graphics and action scenes that would put Michael Bay to shame, this is a game that deserves to be in everyone’s library, and one that only PlayStation gamers have the liberty of playing. Thirdly, we have Bloodborne. I’ve spoken about Bloodborne before, but never at length, which I will do some other time. The game epitomises atmosphere, and everything from opening the cathedral doors to defeating a boss will leave your heart pumping like a 13 year old boy’s after his first kiss. The Last of Us Remastered which can be summarised in one word…feels. Honestly, this game had me crying like a little bitch before the first act was done, and by the time the game was over, I was an emotional wreck who was very irritable and brooding.  Go…just go play it. For our fifth entry, we have Guerrilla studio’s very own Horizon Zero Dawn. For a studio that developed only shooters, this was a big departure, and an even bigger payoff as Horizon Zero Dawn was an exciting open world game with a strong, well written female lead and an intricate world with ample lore. It’s best to get this because Guerrilla studios will be looking to raise the bar even higher with the sequel. Finally, we have Atlus studio’s Persona 5 which released only on PS4 and PS3. Style and Life, are the only ways to describe this phenomenal game. Seriously, like go play it and see how addictive it can get. Even answering a question wrong in class affects gameplay. Fuck.

But that was my list for you guys, and I hope you enjoyed it. What are your favourite games to jam? Anything you think is particularly interesting, I’d love to know.
Anyways, never stop playing.

**Persona 5-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tP4UkC6dB0
**The Last of Us Remastered-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4Pz9O2Pts0
**Horizon Zero Dawn-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrxIRk3q-ck
**InFamous Second Son-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gACPlAiFlRo
**Bloodborne-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1iKYjVFigM

**Broken Age-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPfH5AmMVH8
**Monument Valley-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqfytVQlhAM
**Infinity Blade-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56XseC2DBB4
**Cytus-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufxIARGVpuk

**Dragon Quest VIII-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZPa17muTZU
**Xenoblade Chronicles-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fY5N5sX5t-4
**Fire Emblem Awakening-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvupmEk1peE
**Super Smash Bros for 3DS-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCbDMwzUPAA

**Soul Sacrifice-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTQKFIZC3Qw
**Persona 4 Golden-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ba8LKmqYxA
**Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_spykdPbu4
**Hotline Miami-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53tfOJwmg9I

**Civilisation VI-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lV2r7kORKs
**BioShock-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp0Tz-qWmM8
**Warhammer:Dawn of War III-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpqvjUslvgM
**Half-Life 2-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxQVP3LHciQ
**Left 4 Dead-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3o3_5GmnebI
**Total War Rome 2-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmEp1U9_rG8
**Alan Wake-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWmLj0SN_hY

 

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The Cancer of Safe Spaces

The Cancer of Safe Spaces

This’ll be a long one folks. Buckle up.
As I become ever so slightly more mature, I find myself noticing more and more trends and trivialities in our society. Gone were the days of youthful ignorance, where nothing in the news would bother me, mainly because everything I loved and held dear was relatively unaffected by all the political or social upheaval going on at the time. And my biggest loves at the time were anime/manga, comics and gaming. I may have mentioned briefly that I am a huge geek. That would be the understatement of the century. Asking me to choose between my favourite character in any of the three would be like asking me which child I would rather kill. My escapades began with a PS One my dad got for my sisters, but which they obviously didn’t care for. We also had a SNES and Saga Genesis, all of which I would play often with my older brother whenever we were at my dad’s place. However, the first time I truly loved playing a videogame was when my dad bought me the PS4 for my fourth birthday. Playing the Ratchet and Clank Demo brought me unfathomable joy, but that was nothing compared to the utter elation I felt when I popped in Jak 3. It was a beautiful “open world” action adventure game with amazing humour, and a daring and dark main character. The art was cartoony, but at the same time, you could see the levels of detail and appreciation that went into the levels, and gameplay elements that the game had to offer. This, arguably could have kickstarted my love of the arts, as videogames, the best tend to meld the best of the arts into a playable package, design, music, dialogue, themes, and more. It’s hard to emphasise the level of detail and commitment that goes into games and I could say that it’s one of the most artistically free mediums of expression. You have almost every genre, every trope, every representation of culture and so many new ideas being generated that there’s something for everyone, and that’s not counting the existing legendary franchises already existing like The Legend of Zelda, The Witcher, Fallout and more, but I’ll be talking about them another time.

That being said though, my favourite mediums and sources of enjoyment have been hijacked by the dreaded Social Justice Warriors. Imbeciles that become indignant at anything they feel might offend them in any way. They are usually feminazis, or ignorant virtue signallers who think bashing something just because their favourite youtuber or blogger complained about them will get them “good citizen” points. What do I mean by this? Well my strongest gripe has been with one Anita Sarkeesian, a woman who has made it her personal mission to denounce, and change sexism in videogames. This, is a value which I find admirable. The equality that should be found in both sexes, and good representation which should be given to women. However, Anita Sarkeesian, whilst having a fundamental understanding of videogames, has done very little to appeal to the very mixed and diverse gaming community. She has continued to alienate and insult the community, displaying her lack of knowledge and biased opinions on videogames, failing to name games that have done amazing things for the series. For years now, purer RPGs have given players the choice between a male and female character. There are many videogames with a female main character such as Tomb Raider, which was released more than a decade ago, The Last of Us and more recently, the amazing Horizon Zero Dawn. More recently, she has criticised the amazing Breath of the Wild for portraying the princess Zelda as a “damsel in distress”. An unbased accusation to say the least. For someone who looks at things from one perspective, and doesn’t record her own gameplay, meaning that she doesn’t even play the games that she critiques, she is simply an unwanted scavenger leeching off one of the most versatile and egalitarian form of entertainment around.

Now, switching to comics. I developed a love of comics from the time that my cousin showed me a Namor comic. And as I’ve grown and read many comics growing up, more mature and more diverse I am exposed to many ideas. Notable mentions are V for Vendetta, Watchmen, Blackest Night, The Sandman series, Death of a Family and Marvel’s Civil War. I truly love the writing and different art that goes into the pages of the comics. The story can be told from dialogue, as well as the art, and the impression it can leave on you can be emotionally shocking. Especially if you read amazing graphic novels. And thus, the comic book industry has prided itself in its consistent and sharp writing. Something that keeps readers coming back from more. Now, due to the current state of the media, comic books are being filled with utter trash. A good example would be the cancellation of the Killing Joke variant comic book cover for Batgirl. Which was a huge blow to the comic book community as it showed blatant disrespect for the fans, and free speech. And while DC reeled from the hijacking of its comics by SJWs, they have recovered with their Rebirth series. However, Marvel, which is my personal favourite publication company is falling behind in sales due to its SJW swivel. The writing has become abhorrent, the characters are being replaced left and right, and it is clear to see how Marvel is marketing their comics. “Our readers are misogynistic, racist and cisphobic white privileged males who need trashy comics and more diversity whether they like it or not.” My mum taught me how to respect women, and anyone else for that matter, and I don’t need you to tell me how to do that.

And that’s the thing, this leftist crowd is acting  like there has never been diversity in comics. There always has. Has tit always been handled well…? No, the 70s were particularly bad, however, comics have never been a single shade. And neither have games, or anime, or manga, as each form of entertainment is shaped by its culture, and many cultures have advanced significantly. Trust me, some Englishmen could sell their wives up to the 1700s. I enjoy the things I love. And I love to talk about them. These people screaming from their safe spaces, denying people the opportunity to express their ideas, and denying free speech are encroaching upon my hobbies and passions, and I hate that more than anything. Filling the media with their conceited bullshit and having their heads so far up their asses, they can’t even hear the nonsense they spew. Society has always benefitted from the exchange of ideas. The discussion and the debate that allows us to become better as people, and create  better things. And from these safe spaces and banners, riots and demonstrations, they hide from the truth and spread their lies and skewed ideas of society to you, screaming as loud as they can.

And I write this to make sure that this doesn’t happen to you. That your favourite forms of entertainment aren’s hijacked and rewritten. Always be mindful of what you read and watch, especially on social media. Some agendas are worse than ever, and fake news will always be prevalent *cough cough, BLM*, however it is up to us to  challenge the ideas we hear everyday. Be skeptical, and stay enlightened. Expand your knowledge, and beware the cancer of safe spaces

Hip-Hop: The Art of Storytelling

Hip-Hop: The Art of Storytelling

Hip-Hop and Rap, are perhaps the most diverse and intricate forms of music around today. Rap itself, originated in the late 1970s, poverty stricken Bronx area of New York. Poetry met music, and spread across the US like wildfire, before becoming a worldwide phenomenon. In fact, Hip-Hop has such a wide and influential history that I could sit and write a full essay about its origins, controversies and influence, but that would leave us here till the next semester rolls through. We are currently in the “Hip-Hop” era, and that much is undisputed. At this time, Hip-Hop outsells any other form of music, and while I have an immense love for all music, in particular, it would be foolish to underplay the value of Hip-Hop in today’s society. From the great faces it has brought to the light, to the culture that has spanned generations and influenced teens and music scenes across the world.

Some of the best rappers in the past 2 decades have spread their message and stories to many avid listeners across the world. For anyone doubting me, you’re reading the blog of a Malawian who’s listening to the Wu Tang Clan, and has almost every rapper from Ab-Soul to Yelawolf. My personal favourites include Earl Sweatshirt, Mac Miller, Tyler the Creator, Kendrick Lamar, Flatbush Zombies, Kanye West, Tech N9ne, J. Cole, Method Man, Nas and Mike Shinoda, just to name a few. As you can probably tell from that list, I love the storytelling aspect that rap gives, as well as the less mainstream aspects of Rap. I feel like I lean towards underground, non-mainstream rap, because as the years go by, Rap moves further away from the original movement of inspiration, innovation and change. You see, because while in Rap’s long and weathered history, the music has, strangely, been immensely diverse, with perhaps more sub-genres than even Rock. As long as I can remember growing up, even if two rappers were similar, they were never ever the same. They had their own nuances and differences that allowed the Hip-Hop Scene to grow even bigger than it already was.

Storytelling Rap touched my heart quite strongly, especially after I first listened  to Stan, by Eminem. His Magnum Opus according to many people, myself included. And as I grew older, and more involved with writing, documentaries, and the common man’s story, rap became a very strong source of inspiration. Hearing how your favourite rapper truly made it to the top from the bottom through skill, luck and a hefty amount of commitment really hits a nerve. and listening to Kendrick Lamar go into depth throughout Good Kid MaaD City really got my imagination running. And lets not talk about how deep J. Cole went in 4 Your Eyez Only. Whilst many stories have been told throughout other genres, Hip-Hop’s stories manage to go to the core. And why may that be some ask? It may because of the clever wordplay and punchlines. The sublime rhyme and cadence as well as the masterfully crafted beats. But, I think it may be because of the variety of stories told, and the numerous ways they’ve been told. From the linear narratives, to the disjointed tales that span albums, simply to the brief hints placed throughout albums. A lot can be told about an artist and his story from what he sings, and the personal touch bleeds through hip-hop profusely. A good example of this could be Mac Miller, who doesn’t exactly narrate his raps like a story, but gives many hints of his life and his struggles through his music, all while keeping to the themes of his music.

Now that we’ve covered that, its time to bite into the heart of the matter. The so called wave of Mumble Rap. This is entirely my opinion, and I won’t hesitate to say just how distasteful I find the stuff. It’s an amalgamation of the recent trends of finding a catchy beat to make some fourth grade rhymes to. Fine, I’m not saying you can’t listen to it, in fact, I admit that some tracks make for good club bangers. I can bump to Panda and Broccoli in the heat of the moment. But that’s about it for me, the heat of the moment. I’ve almost never gone into my playlist to sit down and listen to some Lil Uzi or, (god forbid), Kodak Black. Do not come to me with some trash like, “Oh, they’re just as good as Kendrick or Kanye.) Respect your fucking self. It lacks the heart and soul that makes Hip-Hop what it truly is. The intuitive flow and wit that compels people to sit down and listen. A comprehensive look into the history and culture of African Americans, and their long struggle. The true soul, is what Mumble Rap lacks.

Now, I still say that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, as I am to mine. I am not barring anyone from listening to the music that they prefer. That, to me, is as sacrosanct as any of your holy books are to you. Perhaps I am more inclined to speak out in light of President Trump’s rise to presidency and growing race tensions in the US, and another country that is quite close to my heart, South Africa. Hip Hop has the power to move hearts and spread powerful message. Many artists have managed to make money spreading a message that encourages black on black violence and gang affiliation, and that should never be forgotten. others, have made it clear to tell the story of their lives and the struggles that they saw growing up. People like Kendrick Lamar and Logic, who have experienced drugs and violence, but have nonetheless risen above their pasts and are still spreading positive vibrations in their music. Far too few artists in Hip Hop have promoted peace and love, which is a shame, because it is something the genre, and culture sorely needs.

My admiration for Hip Hop goes deep, with many of my friends and peers being involved in the genre in one way or another. I have grown to love the diversity and history of the Hip Hop culture as I have grown and my musical tastes have expanded. The influence it holds as well as the power and allure that keeps many young people flocking to its boughs. As for me, I will continue to be enthralled by music, and its healing nature. My parting words are to continue to explore the hidden facets of your interests. Never be deterred or overwhelmed by the amount of content, because you’ll never know if you’ll find a diamond in a rhinestone unless you search. As Nas said, “Let the music diffuse all the tension”.

 

What it means to be part of Generation Z

What it means to be part of Generation Z

Juvenoia; which is the hostility, or fear directed by an older generation towards a younger one. The general belief that the current generation is better than the one to come. Remember this, ‘cause it will come into play later on.

But for now, you must be asking yourself, what is Generation Z? How do you know what generation you’re in? Well, I trust that you people are smart enough to do your own research, but Generation Z, for simplicity’s sake, is the generation following the Millennial Generation. You know, most of our parents and uncles, and some cousins. It’s a generation that is conservative in nature, being involved in major political affairs, such as the Cold War and the Iraq-Iran War. For Africans, it’s also a period associated with freedom! Independence! and the subsequent rise of incompetent, ruthless, and corrupt leaders. It’s no wonder many people are so mad at the Millennial Generation, they appear to have successfully fucked things up, almost to an irreversible state.  If you were born sometime between 1997 and 2004, good news, you’re part of Generation Z! As cool as it sounds, it doesn’t seem to be going well for us. I jokingly often write in my journal that we are the “Generation of Fear”, primarily being the ones scared. Before many of us could even experience fear…boom! The Columbine Massacre, which shocked the world, the Y2K scare, which many thought would end the world, the horrific 9/11 attacks, and the Great Recession. As we grew older, we witnessed the Iraq War, and more terror attacks than had ever been seen. And not just terrorism from Islamic factions, but gun violence and mass shootings too. The Garissa University attack in Kenya leaving 150 people dead, the kidnapping of girls by Boko Haram, the Paris bombings, and most recently, the possibility that a racist and misogynist like Donald Trump might become president of the most powerful country in the world.

Yes, it seems we are a failed generation despite not having reached our potential. I, for one, am still not in college, yet I seemed to have disappointed the majority of my onlookers and relatives by becoming a rebel and not striving to be an engineer, doctor, or lawyer. I instead have a deep rooted love of quiet, books, photography, and technology. Maybe because of this, the juvenoia directed towards me is rather strong. I feel constantly berated by my elders for my own life choices, choosing happiness, and a little bit of money, over the money alone. Some people might argue that juvenoia is a good influence on us youngsters. It’d do us some good to listen to our elders for once. Wrong! And this is especially true for us Africans, especially considering that our elders are the corrupt and unreliable leaders who have contributed some part to the general state of things on our lovely continent.  I think that their juvenoia is terribly misplaced, considering we are more educated, well informed, and knowledgeable than them. We may not have their wisdom, but the ability to change our destinies and break the cycle of tribalism, hatred, racism and poverty is in our hands. Basically, what I’m saying is, stop giving us so much shit. This isn’t all our faults.

We may not be even near to perfect. The media makes us seem like a bunch of unruly animals, what with all the teen pregnancies, and drug abuse among teenagers, and the thousand other things said about us. But really, who can put all the blame on us? I’m not trying to make us unaccountable, but when you see what we see, you’d understand. Oh the glitz and the glam! The rappers with their jewellery and cars, the models marrying said rappers. The celebrities who sniff lines of coke and win Grammies and Oscars and the reality stars who are able to rise to stardom from saying, or doing things that would ordinarily warrant quite a lot of shame. We are the recipients of a world that has seen the most organised drug trafficking, human trafficking and crime…yet. Not to mention the generation that has been introduced to all sorts of new substances, all at reasonable street prices, and introduced to the worst sorts of radicalism, all accessible through your favourite media platform.

Cyber bullying, ebola, police violence, riots, child porn, drugs, zika, terrorism, radicalism, mass shootings, increasing suicide rate, anxiety, been there, done that. Fear, fear, FEAR stress, stress, STRESS….are you scared yet? Good, because we’re still here.

We’re not only hanging on, we’re becoming better for it. Our generation is the first to, for the most part, be alright with same sax marriage. We are the least racist generation in a long time. We’re independent, wanting to become entrepreneurs and carve our own paths. We’re the generation with the most friends outside of our sex, religion and race. More educated and open minded, we’re very serious about change for the better. At least, those who can manage to do so, even in the smallest ways. We’ve been exposed to the worst of it, and we’re moving forward. “Kids these days,” they say disapprovingly. Yes, kids these days. Us. We may be young, but we’ve got big plans. We dress differently, and listen to, admittedly, awful music(at times) and we think differently. But if we’re fixing some of the messes you made, and some you couldn’t fix, then it might be time to change that tone.

We’re the generation of Crisis, after the Unravelling, and we were born to not be just another statistic to scare the next generation into behaving. We’re the harbingers of change, and revolution, to inspire the next genration. It’s time to start moving.

Ignorance, And what Becomes of It

As I write this to you, 25000 ft in the air, I am currently contemplating three things. What my last words would be if this plane crashed and I was in it, which method is more favourable to me, the Epicurean, or the Stoic, and what new piece of knowledge to digest when I land. I, by nature, am a curious creature. And that isn’t to say that I am a foreign being unknown to humans, but that I am one interested in the workings and mechanics of many things. I have, much to the disdain of my parents, opened, and shabbily put together various pieces of equipment and technology, ranging from watches, to laptops. However, my curiosity does not stop at the practical level. It has always been surpassed by theoretical knowledge. The type that stems from the ancient pages of books, some new, and some long forgotten.

As a young child, I was raised mostly by my grandmother, and various relations on my mother’s side. Tough as nails, this woman was very strict on what I watched, especially cartoons. While this didn’t stop me from finding rather mischievous ways to get my daily dose of Samurai Jack and Courage the Cowardly Dog, it did mean that more than half of my time was spent       watching National Geographic, History and the Discovery Channel. While, at first, this was a very tedious exercise, I began to grow rather fond of it. Very quickly learning how the universe was most likely formed and of the Allied victory against the Nazis during WWII, I had by the age of six, a rather large well of knowledge. Most of it seemed utterly useless at the time, but I was still pleased that I knew four times more about the world and its history than any of my peers.

Ancient History at the time was my absolute favourite. It was almost like being transported to a whole other world. One which had grown, prospered and died. Probably one of the reasons my favourite subjects are the arts and humanities. And despite my absolute loathing of mathematics and the sciences, I would never miss out on an opportunity to learn about the universe or our planet, even dabbling into the basics of quantum physics and the like. For a long time, I took this for granted, at least until my first year of high school.

It wasn’t so hard to notice I was more versed in real life knowledge than my peers, taking a more pragmatic approach to many other things. Thus, when presented with a plethora of conspiracy theories and myths, it was extremely easy for me to shrug them off. Unfortunately, I had to deal with their ramblings, and that made me wonder why I was so different. Now I realise that the vast amounts of information I had amassed over the years had both contributed to my general knowledge, as well as made my friends seem a tad bit more stupid. I had to deal with their irrational behaviour, and that, I’m sad to say, did influence the way I looked at them. They just seemed more childish and, well…ignorant. And that’s the sad truth. In my case, I’ve always known there are millions of people more knowledgeable than me, but I always try to learn to my greatest capacity. In that way, I always feel like I can hold my own in a conversation, be it with a learned scholar, or an adamant geek.

Ignorance, is the bane of a species that has survived, thrived and conquered due to our ability to learn and adapt to the problems that we face. Ignorance breeds hatred, and mistrust among us. Look at the slave trade and segregation based on sexual orientation, race and religion. We align ourselves with one point, rooted to the spot and never bothering to consider other options or possibilities. We believe that our knowledge is unparalleled despite other voices that rise up, or evidence against us. Worst of all, we pass this way of thinking to other people, especially those close to us, and this creates a cesspool of filth and ignorance. Bigotry and racism.

We never question the small things that we take for granted, and unwittingly create a dark pool from which a number of nasty things can fester due to our ignorance. To the enlightened soul, this darkness is akin to poison, and must be avoided. Which is probably why a learned man will speak with an uneducated one with a curled lip. However, this can be avoided by doing something simple. No, you need not read Gray’s Anatomy, or every Shakespearean work. You need only question. And by doing that, you open yourself up to possibilities, and facts and theories. After which, your curiosity will entice you to do a little research and you will sound, at least, a little more intelligent, and can engage in conversations with more people. But most importantly, you will begin to understand. Not just about our beautiful world, but about cultures, and history, and people. You won’t think that all Africans live in trees, or that depression is a first world problem. You’ll have better empathy for other people, and a little more love because of it.

Stamping out ignorance, won’t single-handedly solve the world’s  problems. Nor will it make every person better. But I do hope it broadens perspectives, and that’s what everyone should be doing in the 21st century.

Until next time.

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I would like to thank everyone who has visited my blog so far, and those who have encouraged and commented on my posts. If you really like it, I would love it if you shared and subscribed to my blog. And if ever you think there’s a topic that needs discussing or would just be plane interesting, say so in the comments.

Teenage Love, Aphrodite and a Pragmatic Motherfucker

Teenage Love, Aphrodite and a Pragmatic Motherfucker

I write this because after a moment of sombre reflection the other day, I began to ask myself, “why the hell do I have to listen other people’s girl problems.” It began to irritate me after I figured how often various people come to my room talking about their so-called “girl problems.” And this isn’t counting how often I hear other people’s girl problems in, say, a prefects room. The hub for all the hostel news. So why am I writing this you ask? Well, this particular post isn’t one with a beginning and end. Just a thoughtful analysis.

If you haven’t guessed it already, I’m the “pragmatic motherhfucker” of the title. And I choose that title, mainly because I am not easily moved to emotion, being one of those people who, quite honestly, has something only resembling a heart. I barely ever catch feelings, and when I do, I am very slow to be moved to said feelings.As a result of this, more often than not, I am able to easily assess and solve rather complicated, or maybe seemingly complicated life issues. This is perhaps, one of the reasons that I am unable to feel much sympathy for the people who end up whining about their girl problems. More often than not, I hear such stories from “fuckboys”, as they are now widely known. The ironically much hated, yet much sought after male. Let it be known that I have no sympathy for total dicks, because that’s basically what a fuckboy, or anyone for that matter who does that, be it girl or boy, is. However, it amuses me greatly to hear their complaints. It’s still rather annoying though.

But in the end it often comes down to my advice, and this is perhaps the simplest, and best thing to do, and what should  have been done in the beginning. Something that, perhaps comes easy to me because of the way I was raised. I usually give different advice to what I really think, which is usually just, be nice to her bro. Sincerely compliment her every once in a while. Tell a funny joke, surprise her and just be yourself. If you’re being unfaitful then you might as well just break it off and choose one already. It would savee you a lot of strife. I’m fairly certain that it isn’t that hard to not be a total dick. And if you are a total dick, you don’t have a right to  complain about your problems. From casual observation, I simply find it strange for someone to be in a perfectly fine relationship, have three girls on the side, and expect to both have a stable and normal relationship. If you are in the 10% of guys who can manage that, I laud your cunning, and sheer sociopathy. But I still wouldn’t want any complaints if all that somehow backfires. It’s vexing, to say the least

I was pretty much raised by my mother, and grandmother. So respecting women was not a choice, and chivalry was a given. So when I came to KA and was faced with such a different environment, it was either become one of them, or turn into a black sheep. I chose the black sheep route, joining a plethora of “nice guys.” According to multiple sources, girls love the bad guy, which is, in my odd head, rather contradictory seeing as though the most complained about guy is the bad guy. Good guys always complain about the ever-present “bad guy”, especially if you’re in, or dangerously near, the friendzone. I promise you he won’t be gone anytime soon, and you pretty much don’t have a chance, but you might as well pride yourself in being a little better…that is, morally speaking of course. Needless to say, I regretted that very little because of one prevalent factor in my life.

Boarding life. KA is first and foremost, a boarding school, which means that every kind of drama that happens inside of its walls is amplified by a factor ten. I have happily avoided the worst of unnecessary drama in my life for six years. For me, I would not easily give up freedom and calm for fleeting love. But then again, who am I to judge those people who have felt Aphrodite’s sweet kiss?

I’m fairly certain that if the right conditions were met, I’d be just another lovesick puppy. But I think I’m happy where I am now. I don’t search for love, or perhaps I’m too lazy. I don’t envy happy couples or that one guy who got the hottest chick. Maybe I exist out if the social norm,  because I’m the type who indeed, doesn’t want a perfect relationship, or the perfect girl. Don’t be silly, those things don’t exist. And in a world where everyone wants the “baddest bitch”, or “a real nigga”, whatever the fuck those things are, perhaps I’m simply destined to an ironic and harder path for love. But I’m not gonna go against the flow to find it. I’ll just ride the wave and carry it to where it washes me.

I think that as detestable as fuckboys are, It’s a sad cycle in which people are, for the most part attracted to fuckboys, and the good guys have to turn in to fuckboys so that they aren’t ignored. I don’t think this post exactly has a moral, after all, I couldn’t care less. I hate drama, and perhaps that makes me a black sheep. But I still wouldn’t want to give the most carefree years of my life over, single-mindedly. Think before you act, and never act out of place. Guys, don’t be fuckboys. Just…don’t.

The Delusion of Society

The Delusion of Society

I do not like labels. Detestable things, they aren’t used by just the jealous and the unsympathetic. Society makes it a mission to label us even before we are old enough to decide what type of people we are. We are given high expectations from birth, maybe as a byproduct of our parent’s wishes and dreams. That in itself is not bad, as children require a guiding hand. But at the age of 14 or 15, hell, even as young as 7, who are you to say that I don’t know what I want to be in life? If I’m old enough to know the difference between right and wrong, are you to tell me to be a doctor instead of a lawyer? An accountant instead of a writer? An engineer instead of a musician? I have the belief that if Malawian, or African parent in general, weren’t so overbearing, perhaps their children would not be so stressed and worried about their futures.

Since I was young I’ve had a rebellious streak. I was in love with rock music and art since it was strongly associated with rebellion.Telling my parents that I’d be a skater or rock star when I grew up just to piss them as I was already handed my fate to me when I was born.  “Adlai, as my firstborn, you will inherit my university.” The mere thought of that was abhorrent to my five year old self. You cannot heap such responsibilities on a child and be surprised when they become an anarchistic rock & roll rebel child. As such I quickly developed my own values and ideas whilst retaining and shaping my own moral system that, if I may be so bold, is not too shoddy. I quickly shied away from society’s vice grip and decided my own fate. Whilst I no longer wish to be a center-stage celebrity or the next Nyjah Huston, I have settled on my much loved passion of writing and have chosen the unconventional path of being an author in the near future.

I know it’ll be hard as hell. Edgar Allan Poe, in my opinion, the greatest American writer of his generation suffered inconceivable loss and struggles, all whilst pursuing his passion. He was determined to survive as a writer, making a measly salary. He eventually fell into alcoholism and died a rather miserable death before the age of fifty. But, he died doing what he loved most, and I would much rather live a short and not so glamorous life doing what I love, than spend a chunk of years I’ll never get back doing something I detest. If you want to be a doctor, do it! An engineer? Do it! The next president of the AU? Go on!  If you have a voice so beautiful that even a few people acknowledge it, don’t be disheartened when someone tells you you’ll never make it. If your art is so amazing the occasional people stop for a second to gawk, don’t let that talent go to waste! If you let society and your peers decide your fate and fill your life with negativity, then you will no doubt be stuck doing something you wouldn’t have enjoyed as much. You only get one life…is it so wrong to prioritize your future above your parents wishes?

But labels don’t merely extend to expectations of someone’s future. They always end up being used by someone else to define you in the present. And I hate that because those labels tend to come from people who either don’t know you or think they do. That girl who dresses up a little too skimpily? Oh yeah, she must be a slut. That guy who’s a little shy around most people? He’s just a weirdo. The guy who brags too often must definitely be a show off. And the girl who bounces from guy to guy is a golddigging whore. Well as someone who obsessively reads between the lines, I’ll tell you that the “slut” is simply proud of her body, and is probably being shamed out of jealousy. Did you know she was body shamed years ago and feels it’s a necessary precaution to flaunt what she’s got. That “weirdo” suffers from intense social-anxiety. Talking to anyone other than his closest friends, the ones he’s afraid to come out too, takes all his effort. The “golddigging whore” can’t keep a guy because she’s misled, just like every other person. But she doesn’t have friends to warn her against people that she doesn’t need. The “show off”? He has low self-esteem, and his bragging is simply a fragile shield.

As someone who has been judged time and time again this topic is a little personal. Satanic, stupid, crazy, untalented, directionless, godless, and bad influence are just a few of the titles I’ve accumulated over the years. But here I am, sharing my art and thoughts with you. The labels? They don’t bother me. They just motivate me. So the next time someone labels you, never let yourself be filed away with them. You are you, wonderful and unique. You have the power to decide your own fate and change your destiny, no matter what anyone says.

As always, until next time.

 

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