The Sunday Mail
Milton Kamwendo Hunt for Greatness
TO arrive too soon is to lose the plot altogether and miss the climax of the greatness journey.
Success is moving from failure to achievement without losing your drive. Greatness is maintaining your grit no matter what. True grit keeps moving, regardless of the obstacles and the temptation to either quit or become too excited and careless.
Where you are is not a terminal point but just a step on the journey.
Keep thriving and striving.
Be grateful for everything but never park at anything.
Life is never meant to be a parking lot, amusement park or a museum.
It is bigger, brighter, and has bigger inviting and challenging pursuits.
It is good to start, but sustain the effort and arrive at points where people congratulate and commend you for progress made. The applause of the under-exposed should never extinguish your drive for excellence.
The groans of the cynics should never tempt you to quit. The frowns of the haters should never make you lose steam. In it all, never confuse the acclaim of your village elders with global endorsement.
Do not lose your faith or abandon your fight.
It will not always be easy, just be convinced that it is possible.
What looks impossible now, will not always be insurmountable.
Your mountains of today will soon be molehills, if you keep moving, thinking, working and dreaming.
Be firm and focused like Apostle Paul in the Bible, who, after years of plausible achievement, was able to boldly asset: “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection.
But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us (Philippians 2:12-14, NLT).”
Always take a deliberate step back and reflect.
Maintenance is never a waste of production time. True greatness is the strength and fortitude to take a step back, review, reflect and then leap forward with renewed energy and relentless zeal.
Time spent in review is invested time.
Time invested in reflection will deliver dividends in revival and return on effort. You become a wild vine if you do not take time to prune. Learn from your efforts and the experience of others.
There is too little time available for you to learn everything.
If you cannot learn, you have serious limitations.
Keep presence of mind
African wisdom can be deep and sobering.
Wisdom needs to be dug out and requires your own effort in digging it out. I came across this profound African proverb: “You cannot shave the head of a man who is not there!”
Keep your presence of mind and be there in the game. Fame is not the future and failure is not fatal.
If you fall, you can always bounce back if you keep your presence of mind.
The Bhundu boys were the group to listen to, perhaps one of the finest bands to have emerged out of Zimbabwe.
From humble beginnings, they created an acoustic and vibrant sound.
Where you start is not too important, what is key is that you start.
They started their greatness journey playing in pubs with worn out instruments. Opportunity soon found them in unlikely ways.
In 1986, they arrived in London with great faith and hope.
They could not carry their embossing instruments, so they arrived with no instruments.
When you have the skill, you can always find the instruments. The size of the obstacle can never dwarf the seed of faith or depth of vision you carry.
They were set for greatness once they overcame their initial hurdles.
They travelled all over the UK performing.
They were loved, they had a great time on stage and they became heroes at home and abroad.
They were feted as one of the best groups in Africa.
They had an original but charismatic sound.
They were lauded by masters Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler.
Madonna personally requested that the band support her for a three-night show in Wembley in 1987 that was attended by 240 000 people.
Such was their fame.
The group was signed to Warners (WEA) and they toured North America, Australia and Hong Kong, chauffeured to venues from luxury hotels.
They had finally arrived.
The dirty bars they used to play in seem like a distant history. They bought a large band-house in London. Money was not their problem; it was other things, perhaps.
They knew success but greatness eluded them.
You probably have heard of this amazing band. Their arrangements and lyrics are still as fresh today.
They should still have been around.
Unfortunately, sometimes, “if only” is too late.
Where are they now?
The widow of the former band leader, Ratidzai, is understood to be now living in Mbare.
Last time it was reported that she was engaged as a cleaner at a local bar.
She had to make a living.
What about the band itself?
On March 20, 2005 Robert Chalmers in an article in The Independent (UK) reported that the band members were either dead, having succumbed to AIDS, in jail or broke.
Chalmers reported then that Shakie Kangwena, David Mankaba and Sheperd Munyama had sadly passed away.
Another member, Washington Kavhai, was in jail in the UK, serving seven years for violent assault.
Kenny Chitsvatsva, the drummer, was last heard of driving a minicab in London.
Rise Kagona, their legendary lead guitarist, was working in a Scottish charity shop.
He played here and there as a session musician whenever the opportunity arose.
What about their well known and charismatic band leader called Rodwell Marasha from Chinhoyi?
Well, he took his own life on July 29, 1999 at the age of 37 while confined to a mental health institution,
Such was the sad ending of a successful band that had humble beginnings.
This was the heart-rending and sad story of Zimbabwe’s successful band, The Bhundu Boys, and their leader, Mr Biggie Tembo.
They bloomed like a flower and then immediately withered like a cut-flower.
Becoming successful is reasonably easy, maintaining success is a daunting, but not an impossible challenge.
The band had success within grasp – they smelt it, felt it and never became it. They became famous and they still are; regrettably, they failed to become great.
Keep your presence of mind and never allow success to get into your head, whatever its level.
Sit comfortably in your chair, but never let the chair sit in you.
Move beyond your limitations and never forget why you started moving.
Keep your presence of mind, vision and focus.
Greatness is never a destination but a journey.
Keep on trudging.
Sometimes the steps will be light, walk on. Sometimes your feet will be heavy, walk on.
Sometimes you will be pricked, walk on.
Sometimes you will have no shoes, walk on.
At time you will have hurting shoes, walk on.
Sometimes you will walk alone, walk on.
Whatever happens, keep walking like Johnnie.
- Milton Kamwendo is a leading international transformational and motivational speaker, author and coach. He is a cutting strategy, innovation, team-building and leadership facilitator. He can be reached at: [email protected] and Twitter: @MiltonKamwendo or WhatsApp at: 0772422634