Life Lessons from the Olympics

By Gloria Mwaniga

Looking up the origin of the Olympics a while back, it amazed me to find out that the earliest recorded Olympic competition, which occurred in 776 B.C. was won by a cook named Coroebus.
A cook? I wondered to myself.

As I went ahead looking at the Olympics history, I found a number of life lessons that we should keep in mind even as we traverse this life journey.

1. It’s never written in stone.

In the past, only freeborn men and boys could take part in the Olympic Games. Women were forbidden, on penalty of death, even to see the Games.
In 396 B.C however, a woman from Rhodes successfully defied the death penalty. When her husband died, she continued the training of their son, a boxer. She attended the games disguised as a man and was not recognized until she shouted with joy over her son’s victory. Her life was spared because of the special circumstances and the fact that her father and brothers had been Olympians.
In life, no matter what the rules are, always keep it mind that it is not written in stone. Give yourself credit by believing your creativity is good enough to produce something new.

2.The greatest of all

The greatest athlete of the ancient Games was Milo of Croton, a wrestler who lived in the 500’s B.C. He won the wrestling crown six times, and he was said to be so powerful that he could carry a full-grown bull on his shoulders.
Next time you doubt your strength as a human, just think. If a human could carry a grown up live bull on his shoulders, what can’t we humans, in our most persistent state, do?

3.Looking for inspiration

The ancient Olympic Games also honored, and inspired, artists.
The poet Pindar wrote many odes in praise of the Games’ winners. The Olympic buildings were prime examples of the beauty of Greek architecture, and the remains of Zeus’ great statue bear the signature of the famous Athenian sculptor and architect Phidias. Like the athletic champions, artistic champions were awarded olive wreaths and great acclaim.
Thought you as an ‘artist’ and have nothing to do with ‘outdoor sporty stuff? Think again. Inspiration can be triggered anywhere at any time. Just be keep enough to identify it.

4.Lean back to enjoy life.

Sparta was famous for the strict military training of its citizens. But it would wait until the games were over before sending fighters into battle. Other cities followed this example and hence they enjoyed peaceful periods of fun and friendship. Athletic competitions became so important to the Greeks that the Olympic festivals were a peaceful influence on the warlike city-states.
Even as we work hard and fight to keep up with the current Times and busy schedules, we should always know when to take a rest and just lean back to enjoy life.

5.Life’s not always a competition.

The most important thing in the Olympic games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.

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Book Review: Men of The South by Zukiswa Wanner

By Gloria Mwaniga

TITLE: Men of the South.

AUTHOR: Zukiswa Wanner

PUBLISHER: Kwela Books, South Africa.

The African dream, just like the American dream, is a slippery, mirage-sort-of-affair even in this time and age. From underemployment and joblessness to homosexuality and immigration in search of better opportunities, the modern African man is faced with enough challenges. That is without adding the educated post-Beijing modern woman’s high expectation levied on him.

To bring out these modern day issues in a light and funny way that is relatable requires a writing style which is unique to only but a few African writers and after reading this book;you can judge for yourself if Zukiswa Warner is one of them.

Zukiswa (the queen of black chic lit), takes us into the private worlds of three men of the south and an educated woman.

First, we meet Mfundo,a struggling jazz musician in love with an uptown educated working gal. The girl, admits that she fell in love with the man’s potential but she is now taunting him to get a real job

Then there is Mzilikazi. A successful 100% gay NGO executive desperately trying to hide his sexual orientation from own children.

We also meet Tinaye, a Zimbabwean immigrant who is an Oxford graduate and would do anything to get South Africa Citizenship. His plans turn upside down when he falls from grace as the love of his life,finds out about his past with a certain lady called Grace.

Will Mfundo ever make it as a big-time musician or should he give up the dream and get a real job like Sli keeps telling him? What about Mzilikazi’s children,Can they live with having a gay dad?
And will Tinaye’s south African citizendship dream ever come to be?

You will definitely get the answers in this urbane, fast paced page turner by one of the most promising modern African writers.

The book tackles real-life challenges faced not only by Men of the South, but by the modern African man in a humorous, witty and hilarious style.

The 215 page turner is easy to follow and has a captivating plot written from the male point of view.

Zukiswa Warner was born in Zambia to a South African father and a Zimbabwean mother.She studied journalism at Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu.

Her debut novel, The Madams, published in November 2006, dealt with racial role reversals in post-apartheid South Africa.

Her second book,Behind Every Successful Man is a witty tale of a mother turned entrepreneur – to the horror of her BEE tycoon husband.

Men of the South is her third novel and was shortlisted for the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Award.