Archive for September, 2011

Girl – One time is too many – Get Out!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 19, 2011 by Dante Bello

It has been a while since I put a pen to paper, I am not really sure about why but definitely when I have the spasm of not writing most times it due to me getting all caught up in the current happenings around politics, social media trends or doing research for articles that are almost due as deadline dates come knocking.

There is a trend I have witnessed and observed in Freetown since I have been down here for a while now and it is sickening and calls for urgent attention that in the 21st century we still have men that blatantly abuse and molest women all in the name of tradition, culture and patriarchy.

So I decided to write this piece from my poetic side being all abstract with the hope that you’ll be able to relate as you read through, letting the words paint the pictures according to how you perceive the words therein.

Last night he raised his hands on her and apologized, yesterday he screamed at her, calling her names because she made error in preparing his food. Today he abuses her because she now accepts it as a cross she has to bear.

She wails in her pain and in loneliness, hiding the scars under her designer sunglasses, she wore full body clothes to hide the wounds on her body. It aches but she keeps quiet inside out. Pretending that everything is alright and that he will change, someday that started with weeks, days, months, and years and everyday it gets worse.

She is loyal and faithful but he raises his hands to her one too many times. Her self-esteem is battered and tattered, her pride as the glory of a man is taken away from her. The beauty that serenades the soul of her once beautiful mind and body is locked up by him and the keys thrown away to the unknown.

She is trapped and toggled in a triangle of, “I love him and he will change someday”. She is strapped in the moral sentiment with the idea that “We’ve gone through a lot and I have spent half a decade of my life with him and I can’t give that all up now”. She is tied up in the façade that “the devil you know is better than the one you don’t”.

She gets all flaccid, soft by his tears when he apologies because his sinewy body is wrapped around her and she opens up herself again to more torture. She hates and blames herself that she is the cause of his tantrums and tries to be selfless. Sacrificing all to make him happy but it all ends up in scars of emotions, physical pain, psychological trauma, depression and tears.

He blames it on the alcohol; he makes feeble excuses for his actions. He does not take responsibility because his ego claims ‘I am a man’, and she still succumbs through thick and thin until beaten to stupor. And now she is hospitalized because her soul, body and mind can’t take it anymore.

Take heed sisters as I write these potent words: Woman, you are a life giver, you are phenomenal and powerful.

Never stand for a man that will raise his hands on you. Never tolerate a man that will not celebrate you. Never open up for a man that will not bring out the best in you.

Never be with a man that will make you an option. Never give in to a man that will not nurture, cherish and respect the royalty in you.  Never allow a man to physically, psychologically, financially and emotionally abuse you.

Never entertain a man that is intimidated by your intelligence and success. Never allow a man to look or put you down in any way.

Never and never again be put in a box where you are not free to speak your mind or be heard, explore and live your life full. Never be with a man that is competing with you. Never again ‘coz it is one too many.

As I elapse into my thoughts, the virginity of soul is broken wide open in celebrating women and it’s my wish that in the future, women will have a voice, they will be celebrated, appreciated, loved and respected by the brotherhood.

It’s my incessant cry to see the emancipation of women to live their purpose in life.

It is my heartfelt wish to see women living life without holding bars or hiding within the four walls of a man’s home or otherwise, without being empowered to be independent and taking responsibility for their lives.

It’s my dream to see the emancipation of every woman in all facets of life living her dream and being loved with or without a man in her life.

Girl, it is one time too many – Get it out before late becomes a lifetime trap or you’ll end up dead.

@dantebello on Twitter


Postcard from Freetown: Six months since I left South Africa

Posted in Uncategorized on September 13, 2011 by Dante Bello

It is now six month to be exact since I left South Africa for my country of birth – Freetown, Sierra Leone – It has been a process of readjusting myself to the life in Freetown and to be honest I am finding it hard to – The slow pace lifestyle down here is just not my thing – I love the fast pace, mind your business, information flow, politically and socially charged kind of setup of South Africa where you have to be on top of your game to keep up as things evolve.

Karma has visited me in full since this year started and I have layered myself on the threshing floor to go through the process of harvesting the seeds sown in the past years in exchange for starting anew. Pressed on every side – I am holding on thin ropes to see me through the season.

A fortnight ago was my little sister twenty-second birthday. She has grown almost reaching my stature – amazingly, she is beginning to look a lot more like our mum – Whenever I look at her, I see a reflection of our mother. Memories fall, I am reminded of the pain of missing mum not being around by her when I look at her – I am forced to wonder back into places I am trying to outgrow in thoughts but I don’t see that happening any time soon – I have decided to embrace the moment and use the memories of my late mother to stir me into this path of starting anew that I am now on.

Every day I walk towards forgiveness, using sage elements to teach myself to understand that the forgiveness of self is a vital omen in releasing oneself from the negative lynchpin of the past and at the same time using the lesson learnt from mistakes as guidelines into starting afresh. I am presently on this lonely narrow wide path and it is my wish to envelop these moments to my advantage in the days to come.

I have been asked about my family and why they are not coming to my aid in this down turn moments of my life – The reality is my family died in 2002, she was my mother.

As I reflect on my journeys so far – I celebrate her because despite her short span on earth – she gave me un-measurable love, her hustle was pure, her words of wisdom anchors on in my ears till this day – her life and all that she survives during the civil war in Sierra Leone in ensuring that I was not abducted to join the RUF rebels as a child soldier, I cannot but be grateful for her tenacity as a single parent to dodge bullets and grenade bombs and make sure that, that does not happened. Thank you mama, for it was all worth it.

Death has visited me several times. Last night we had a discussion, a feisty one if I may say. Do I really want to die now, take my life and leave this planet into somewhere I have no clue of what’s out there for me? I don’t think so. I am not ready to make that decision of leaving my two sisters behind to fend all by themselves – I promise Mama I’ll take care of them. Will that not be selfish on my path making permanent decisions because of temporary setbacks? I still can’t come to conclusion but so far the vision ahead of me would not let me venture into such – Grace to hold on and stay on my two feet I ask the Universe to grant me daily.

As I lament and let my manly ego down into admitting that life is hard for me now – so hard in that in my sacred space and solitary moments I cry and let the steam out, holding on to hope and waiting for a new opening to be granted to me in due season.

I am hoping that when the set time and time of life is here, I will look back to reflect and be thankful for all that I have been through.

As I walk on this lonely path of retribution – seeking forgiveness and mercy for a fresh start and a chance to reignite and realign myself back into a place of purpose – I have an announcement to make to all those who have counted me out and said: ‘I am finished’ – ‘No, I am not finished and I am coming out of this season unscathed with my head held high.’

I lay on this threshing floor in Freetown waiting for that which I am here for to unfold – “the ashes on my bed are keeping me warm, healing all the sore wounds on my body – music has been my comfort – poetry my joy – as I go through the processes and different stages of healing.”

– The divine is blessing me with words to write on the empty canvass readily made available to me, penning down every word given to me as the ink drips from my pen onto the canvass.

I am thankful for life that in the midst of it all – I am not complaining but embracing all that I am going through each day and in the end hope to come out still standing on my two feet.

To my son Malakai back in South Africa – I miss you so much and every day I go on my knees and pray for you – My tears will not fade nor dry until the day I am reunited with you – Be rest assured my boy, daddy will be home someday soon, Omega (Godson) that goes to you too.

Zolile take care of your mum – she is a beautiful soul and deserves nothing other than the best.

To Joni Malakai’s mum, thank you. Despite our differences – I am still celebrating you and hope we will see eye to eye someday when all this madness simmer down at least for the sake of our child.

To the Universe – I am asking on you to grant me a new beginning, a fresh start as I embark on this journey of reformation, retribution and restitution.

I am coming home to South Africa but for now it has been six months transiting in the Lion Mountains and Peninsula’s of Freetown.

@dantebello on Twitter.


The Art of Release!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 10, 2011 by Dante Bello

Stagnancy is the enemy of progression, against all odds, keeps moving. When you learn the art of release, you will begin to expect greater things.

“People only hold onto something when they believe nothing else will come by.”

Don’t allow your leaf to wither just because your season is ending. Seasons change, life evolves but the circle of life is consistent. Fruit-bearing and leaf-withering are two entirely different things. When the fruit-bearing season is over, you still can keep the leaves!

“Withered leaves signify the presence of disease, or the impending death of the tree.”

Do not allow the disease of bitterness to wither your leaf and change your attitude towards life. If you are wise you will be able to live on the harvest and prosperity of the past and use the lessons learned to your advantage proactively.

Beneath your branches you should see new saplings coming up as a result of your presence. They may be new trees, a new start, but they are still your fruits. It is never too late to start life all over again and still fulfil destiny as long as the common denominator of man who is life is still alive in you.

Let it go, release your fist on that grip, the new will emerge if only you will let go off the past failure and usher in the new. Men may soon forget the work that you have done, but that is their loss.

Release and let go – It’s an art…

@dantebello on Twitter

Raison d’être: “Hope to face one more day longer”

Posted in Uncategorized on September 9, 2011 by Dante Bello

Heaven’s voice whispers to my soul, I try to listen but my raging mind is tormented by unresolved issues of life. Yesterday wrapped in today’s reality of what’s next to do and to be as all that is, is a soul tired of chasing purpose into reality because the pigmentation of my skin is looked upon as inferior.

Am I giving excuses or masking behind the old norm of the “black child”? No, it’s a reality and we are living it daily in this age and time. Race is a fundamental issue and racism is alive and well. Can’t you see it?

I press beyond boundaries to assert my truth breaking down walls and limitations set by those that think the “good life” is their birth right. I announce my coming, the dawning of a new era. I am entitled to the same opportunities as them and I am here to take it by “any means possible.”

Weary and fermented by the pain and hurt of man’s uncanny nature,

I look back and realize that letting you go was not easy but was the best decision ever.

I smile at silence in an insane way and silence slap my fickle mind into reawakening the core purpose I am here to fulfil in correcting the wrongs of my past.

Focus boys and girls, focus!

Each day is a race, a rat race, living in a racist world. You never know when a racist will spat the viper of racist slur or when rhetoric will be spat on you to the pleasure of the denialist. The racist crusader are lurking around to assert and betwixt the reality of the truth to sooth their dead conscience.

Embrace the struggle, this revolutionary is far from over – so I journey into rediscovering self as I resolved my stance in life with no apology for who I am, the colour of my skin, I write what I like and say it as it is.

Friends have deserted me, mates have departed, acquaintances have come and gone, ex-lovers have become “enemies” even though I choose to make peace.

Peace has gone yonder to become the untouchable and all I want is to speak my truth and be heard.

My voice resounds in the hearts of humanity with lyrics of hope and faith to change the ends of time. I still don’t want to change my past – the lessons are sages to learn from.

I strive to see humanity fulfilling its quest into living a life of glory regardless of colour, caste or creed but the harshness of life sometimes sways me into submission.

Like the saying goes “Life has never been fair to anyone” and neither you nor am I an exception. Saddle your horses and keep going ‘cos why worry over the things that are beyond your control.

Falling so many times but I keep standing up, gasping breathlessly and limping to the finish line of my purpose.

I see tears in my child’s eyes and it hurt me – ‘cos I am not there to be a father to him – I quest not to repeat the mistakes of my father but to be a responsible and a loving father to my child and the child in me.

The absence of a manly figure in our lives haunts so many deep down, but the beauty and guidance of a mother’s love has seen many of us through thick and thin. Mama’s love was always enough to see us to the next day.

The strength of my mother has ushered me new pathways and gave me a sense of hope. The innate ability of a mother’s love supersedes all and will never be replaced.

She was beautiful and strong, her tears at night in prayers were watering and nurturing my destiny into coming to pass. I sit back and look at all that I and her have been through and realise “Mama” was a little girl, she made her own mistakes, she had her own weakness, she defaulted in some ways and life was unfair but in the midst of it all she gave her all and brought me forth, gave me life and made me the son I am today.

I look back into time; all I see is a beautiful life. A processed soul that has seen all that life can throw at me and not shaken or befuddle for in the midst of it all I strive to live a legacy in the sands to time, not to be erased but to be engraved in the hearts of my son and generation.

I’ll journey on for as long as my breath will have me. I am hustling down the dream, that legacy into reality. Heavens voice whispers and I hear Mama’s words of hope to face one more day longer.

@dantebello on Twitter



Silence will take me there

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8, 2011 by Dante Bello

I walk in silence to find my lost self. I am becoming the solitary man standing and not moving, outmaneuvered and imprisoned by the illusions life throws at me.

I am working hard to stand on my two feet to resist myself from adhering to the expectations and labeling of this world. Allow me to impress myself first – I might consider seeing if I can impress you later – My advice, don’t wait up – “I intend to do me till eternity.”

In tumult, I wonder why I ever bother to live. Why must the world care about me? Why should they even come to my rescue, do I really need their sympathy? Maybe I am lost in apathy, trying to get attention like a golden sparrow that crows in the wee hours of the morning.

I am being judged by the clothes I wear, by the way I speak, the friends I have, the car I drive, the relationship I have, the way I write, by my spirituality – when being me is all I ask.

Society speaks all the time and they can’t stop talking. I can’t hold my tongue long enough not to say a word because silence is like an antique craft, hard to maintain.

I find peace in silence but harder to be consistent when there is a lot going through your mind – my loyalty to my purpose and the higher force that orchestrates my life is for sure certain – The creator so far has held His own part of the agreement, though I falter once in a while – for my ancestor, the debate is on.

The unknown I still can’t figure out but my problems are my responsibility. My weaknesses are for me to deal with. My failures are for me to come to terms with. My victories are my trophies. My failures I am learning from. My strength catalysis me to step up my game and face the challenges life throw at me daily.

In silence I wait for that inner voice for my next move, discerning the times and season though it might seem all blurred out but I am keeping still in silence.

Am I immortal? Does mortality truly exist? Where is the place of totality and mortality? Still searching!

How do I get there in the midst of this noise? What if I could buy a new start to my life and start all over again – would that make a difference?

My destiny is written by my own hands as I walk to the gate of the prophecy to fulfill it.

I am in search of the truth, my truth. Maybe silence will take me there.


@dantebello on Twitter

Educated but Unemployed in South Africa: Where are the Jobs?

Posted in Uncategorized on September 7, 2011 by Dante Bello

The commoditization of our universities and the policies of mass recruitment of new students are alarming with limited institution to accommodate the mass numbers of learners from secondary schools to tertiary institutions and into the labour market. With the cohorts of graduating students entering the job market, the unexpected precariousness of job opportunities has given rise to relatively divergent viewpoints within the government’s ranks and the world of education at large.

In reading history I came to the understanding that the word “unemployment” got it importance from the great depression days in United States and since then the governments started giving importance to the unemployment rates in the country and this understanding was exported across the world from North America to Europe and Africa.

“If the people are unemployed, there is bound to be social unrest in the state and even those who are employed are in constant strikes for wage hikes in other to meet with up the high rise in the cost of living due to the wavering economic trends that is presently affecting the world’s economy.”

Governments in general do not want social unrest so invariably the pressure is on them to create new jobs to match with the rising number of graduates from tertiary institutions into the labour market.

It is natural that they try to find some solution to this problem of unemployment but at the same time finding the cause and addressing it is eminent in other not to have a repeat for the coming generation and university graduates.

The main cause of unemployment in South Africa is obvious to everybody with tons of forces we can all attest to. But for clarity we will stick to the present causes and at the same time, the history of the country cannot be forgotten especially when it relates to the black African workforce as they were deprived of better and good education to compete with their white compacts due to the apartheid system in place.

In staying abreast with the modern economy and the present trend globally, the South African economy, like many other economies is on the path of a natural development, whereby a structural shift in production towards more skill and capital-intensive industries. The pressure to become technologically more advanced and the effects of increased global competition have further increased the demand for high-skilled workers at the cost of low-skilled workers.

I am of the opinion that in context to Africa, we need to create jobs that are relatively significant to our present needs within the continent and trained our students in that direction so that when they graduate there are available jobs waiting for them to further explore and perfect their skills on.

The unemployment problem in South Africa can be described as structural in nature, given that there appears to be an ongoing, almost intractable, mismatch between the types of workers demanded by firms and those supplied in the labour market. It is, therefore, understandable that the South African unemployment is most prevalent among poorly educated, low-skilled workers, mostly blacks. Within the context of increased demand for skilled workers and reported skills shortages the phenomenon of rising graduate unemployment is worrying.

According to a March 2006 research report compiled for Business Leadership South Africa, funded by Standard Bank, the report shows that: almost 71% of the unemployed (broad definition) have a Grade 11 or lower qualification. Matriculants make up 26% of the unemployed. Tertiary qualified people, including people with post-matric diplomas, technical qualifications and university degrees make up less than 3% of the unemployed. This represents about 200 000 people out of 7.8 million unemployed people in South Africa.”

The report also state that less than one in five of the tertiary unemployed hold degrees. In contrast, 82% of tertiary unemployed persons hold diplomas. The majority of these people are Africans (Blacks) and the unemployment rate among Africans (Blacks) with diplomas is also much higher than that of the other racial groups.

As compared to China which is the world’s second largest economy, and the most populous nation in the world, the work force population is very large and it is difficult for the government to find jobs for the youths that are entering the job market.

In 2004 the estimation was that fifteen million young people will enter the job market and only about eight million jobs were expected to be created in that year. It was assumed that the growth rate will be around 7% at that time. It was obvious that eight million people were going to remain unemployed in spite of impressive growth rate of the economy.

In India such as the IT industry was a major driving force for the faster growth and providing employment opportunities to many. The IT, BPO industry created history of providing lot many jobs for the young generation. There was trickling effect of the growth of these industries. The new middle class was created by these IT and BPO industries. There was an unprecedented demand for the goods and services by this new middle class. This created a fast growing economy and market. All this created lot many more income opportunities. The Indians had a large pool of young people proficient in English language which is also an advantage for business internationally. The Chinese never had any English peaking work force. “This was the major cause of their set back in these industries.” If the Chinese had good English speaking work force their unemployment rate would have gone down dramatically. I feel that the ever increasing population and lack of the English speaking work force are the two major causes of unemployment in china.

India is facing an unemployment problem by the youths due to the recent rise in the population and inefficient labour markets. Labour laws may not be affecting overall growth but are influencing where jobs are created and amplifying the substitution of labour with capital. A majority of the Indian workforce does not have marketable skills. According to a report by Ministry of Labour and Employment, in the urban area, only about 19.6% of male and 11.2% of female workers have marketable skills. In the rural areas, the percentage of workforce with marketable skills was even lower: about 10% for male and 6.3% for female.

About 80% of job-seekers in employment exchange are without any professional skill.  While India boasts of a large young population, only 5% of the Indian labour force in the age group 20-24 have any vocational skills obtained through formal training (as compared to the industrialized countries, where the figure varies between 60% and 80% – in case of Korea, it is 94%).

Many firms have lost skills in the last decade due to emigration, South Africa for instance has been hit hard by this trend while poaching by competitors is widespread due to general shortages of managers and more experienced workers. As a result recruitment continues to focus heavily on attracting skills at a premium. This raises the issue of identifying scarce skills.

There is a perception among employers that current educational subsidies are causing institutions to focus on enrolling large numbers of students and not on the quality of education. Related to the skills deficit is the issue of a lack of soft skills. Many firms felt that graduates lacked soft skills such as communication and general language skills (especially in English), which caused them to be unsuccessful in interviews. Often students are not ready for the workplace emotionally and struggle to adapt to a corporate environment.

This leaves me with the question of why is there so much qualified and educated youth’s unemployment everywhere in South Africa and the continent at large? The floor is yours – let’s discuss proactive solutions.

@dantebello on Twitter

The need for Reforms: Diagnosing the Problems of Education in Africa

Posted in Uncategorized on September 6, 2011 by Dante Bello

Proactively speaking, I strongly believe that there is possibility for a virtuous circle of education and growth in Africa before the turn of the century, and we need to create it. “This means that finance ministers of our States in Africa should be concerned about education, and education ministers about economic growth.”

South Africa for example should emphasized technical and vocational education by giving it prestige that is equal to academic education and qualification.  This involved, among other things, a public relations campaign to encourage and get students to be aware of the possibilities therein. We also need to deliver on the quality of vocational and technical education which the entire system is lacking presently.

The importance of education in the development agenda of a nation especially developing countries cannot be over-emphasised. It should be treated with immense importance and proactive resolve in mind. This necessity, combined with the rapid population growth in Africa, has greatly increased the demand for world class education in the continent. I wonder if our politicians understand that, this as a vital prerequisite if we are going to be able to compete with the 21st century world order and thereon.

The demand for education which increases Africa’s ability to supply education to its citizens seems to be in relative decline. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP 2002) indicates that Africa has the lowest index of educational development in the world. For example, Sub-Saharan Africa has an education index of 0.55, adult literacy rate of 60%, and a combined gross primary and secondary enrolment rate of 42%. The comparable figures for developing world averages are 0.69, 73.7%, and 61%, respectively. Apart from the low rates of education, there is gender inequity with twice as many males that are literate as are women and urban/rural disparity.

The focus of this article is to provoke a serious discussion on educational policy and reforms that are needed in Africa. It is encouraging to see that this revolution is gradually building moment in and around social networking platform like Twitter and Facebook, seeming the catalyst pro-factor to create awareness to all sundries.

Educational systems in African countries provide credentials, not skills, to their graduates. We have a labour market across Africa that rewards credentials rather than skills, the more credential one possesses, the stronger the signal for “success”; hence African students demand more complex but less useful credentials. Qualifications that is irrelevant to the needs of what Africa requires to foster development and growth.

Current education policy in African countries (with a few notable exceptions) may be characterised as “see nothing wrong, do nothing to change the system.”

In effect, it becomes a circus, year in and year out routine and we continue to do the same things and hope for a different result. The evidences of failure abound: low enrolment rates and high dropout rates, unequal access (between males and females and between urban and rural), teacher absenteeism, low and declining performance by international standards. Yet politicians and policy makers make no serious attempts to address these issues. African educational problems are part of larger social problems that include corruption, conflict, and poor governance.

One of the major weaknesses of African education is the irrelevance of the curricula to the needs of Africa. The curricula in African schools are the ones left by the colonial masters, preparing students to help administer colonies. In a world increasingly dominated by science and technology, African educational systems continue to graduate students with little knowledge of basic science and technology, this need urgent assessment and redress to meet the needs of our continent.

At a time when the colonial masters are revamping their curricula to stress science and technology education, African countries are reinforcing the irrelevant curricula that the colonial masters established in the 19th century. While Africa faces critical shortages of skills, African educational systems squander scarce resources to turn out graduates who are not equipped to contribute to the building of the continent.

There is evidence that the quality of African education (from primary to university) is low and falling. While educational quality is multidimensional there are indications that the quality of education in African countries has fallen in recent years. African students have performed below the mean on international assessment tests in mathematics and science, dropout rates continue to increase, and students are not able to perform at the grade level. Learning emphasis is on memorisation to pass common matriculation examinations rather than on the development of analytical and problem-solving skills. Yet, with the exception of matriculation examinations, there are no serious policy attempts to improve educational quality. Several reasons are given for the falling quality but the most often cited is lack of resources, including trained teachers, books, and laboratory equipment.

One reason why African countries are not able to reform their education systems may be lack of political courage to take on entrenched interest groups. University students and teachers unions tend to be well-organised powerful political forces in African countries.

Attempts to reduce the privileges they enjoy are met with fierce resistance that African governments cannot overcome. The reality of the political economy of budgeting is that policy makers will not make expenditure changes that elicit serious political challenges (Gyimah-Brempong 1998).

The second reason may be that education policy makers are beneficiaries of the current system; so they have no incentive to reform it. If education is to be improved, the pressure for improvement will have to come from the population as a whole.

As democracy takes its root in Africa, the general population can bring civil and political pressure to bear on their elected officials and education leaders, technocrats and bureaucrats to make the necessary reforms.

@dantebello on Twitter


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