Zimbabwean music artist Platinum Prince abducted Sunday along Chiremba Road, Harare. He was severely tortured only to be released on Monday. The abductors questioned him about his political song ‘Ndiyo here Mr President?’ – ‘Is that so Mr President?’
The musician recently released a track titled “NDIYO YACHO HERE MR PRESIDENT” which seems critical of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government’s handling of the country’s economy which is now in meltdown.
A source close to the developments said,
The men did not produce any warrant or give reasons for the abduction. The men just blocked the way of the car that the controversial musician was in and assaulted the driver who was trying to understand why they had blocked the road with their car in the process.
According to the source, the men then took the chanter and put him in a car boot and disappeared. He was assaulted and dumped along Chiremba Road early Monday morning.
This is not the first time that the musician has courted the ire of those in power. In 2015, he released another song titled “Ndeipe President” which was also highly critical of (then) President Robert Mugabe. At the time, the self-proclaimed “Ndururani”was warned that he needed to tone it down as his music was growing too political.
When I lived in Kenya many years ago; friends used to tell me: “In Kenya, it is illegal to even ‘imagine’ or dream about President Daniel arap Moi out of power.” I took all this with a pinch of salt; assuming it’s just one of those East African bad jokes.
Thinking about it; in hindsight – it was actually – possibly not true of Kenya at the time. BUT it it is a fact of life for Zimbabwe. You are not allowed to think – do not go to the loo without a government permit.////CRIMSON TAZVINZWA///
About 6 months ago, I looked at myself in the mirror and decided enough was enough. The past 4 years had been successful: my wife and I had watched our two baby daughters blossom into beautiful personalities of their own, and my business ventures were going well. But looking in the mirror, I realised that it had come at the cost of my physical health. I looked terrible, and felt even worse.
The next day I walked into the gym, signed up for 6 months with a Personal Trainer, and started the slow road back to fitness. The first few days were awful, the next week a bit less awful, and after a few weeks, I was actually enjoying it. After a couple of months, I was feeling much healthier, but showed almost zero visible progress when I looked in the mirror. A poor return on my investment, I thought.
A month later – wow! I could see a noticeable difference in myself: how I looked, how my clothes fit, and how I felt physically and mentally. I had more energy at the gym, more energy for my kids, and crucially for an entrepreneur, more energy for work.
Almost all of the benefits of those initial 3 months came in the last 12 weeks. And since then, the results have only got better and better with each month.
It’s not a unique story – anybody who has stuck with an exercise plan will no doubt have experienced something similar – but it’s a great illustration of something that we all should be striving to master and benefit from:
The Compound Effect.
Mention ‘compounding’ to friends and their first thoughts will all likely be the same: money, compound interest, saving etc. If they are savvy enough, they will tell you about the upward curve on a compound interest chart.
What most people don’t understand is that you can apply the concept of compounding, and its effects, to almost anything in life. In fact, I would say it is crucial to your success in life and happiness as a person. Almost everyone is already applying the compound effect to some area of their life, whether they are conscious of it or not. Whether it is painting, running, writing, running a business, studying, investing, or anything at all – we get increasingly better the more we work at it.
The problem is that the thing the compound effect relies upon also happens to be our own worst enemy: habits.
Long-term habits are so hard to build because they take time. It takes on average 66 days to form a new habit. That’s over 2 months of daily dedication to something, and as I mentioned in my own example, they are usually the days where there are no tangible results. Think of all the failed hobbies and exercise regimes, the business ideas that never saw the light of day – all great ideas, sometimes even passions, that fall victim to our inability to build habits.
It’s especially true in business. I’m a firm believer that everybody has a business idea in them. Even if they won’t say it out loud, every employee has had dreams of how they could take their skills and turn it into a business. Entrepreneurs can have dozens of ideas a year. The issue is that it takes so long for the compound effect to show results, people give up early – or even worse, never start.
This is compounded by what we see from the outside looking in on successful businesses. Often, they’ll spring up out of nowhere into public consciousness, success appearing to happen over a short period of time.
You can bet your house that this isn’t the case – somebody, somewhere, dreamt up that business idea, and started taking small steps in order to make it happen. Maybe it was 10 minutes a day, maybe it was their Saturdays, or even their whole weekend, dedicated to something that had very minimal immediate returns, as well as the real possibility of failure. The eventual success was a product of the compound effect – the consistent effort and mastery that eventually explodes into results.
At the centre of the Venn diagram made up of the compound effect and habits is: consistency. Consistency really is the key to all long-term results, and the more consistent you can be, the more your results will compound. Ask anybody near retirement who has paid consistently into their pension – it doesn’t take huge payments to create a large retirement fund. Any successful bloggers will tell you that their first couple of years were filled with aimless writing and low traffic while they figured out how to monetize their writing. Warren Buffet famously has generated over 99% of his wealth since the age of 52. Buffet is an astute investor, but he’s also benefited from the compound effect of learning, spending 80% of his time reading and studying, quoted as saying:
“That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest.”
It’s easy to connect the dots: master the art of consistency, and you’ll reap the rewards of the compound effect by the bucketload over time.
The difficult part is getting past the 66-day mark and forming a habit. The good news is that the best way to begin is to approach every part of your life with the compound effect in mind. Here’s some tips to get you started:
Track your behaviour. Use whatever tool you need, iCal, pen and paper, Google Sheets, an online tracker. Whatever you use, track your time, your spending, your productivity.
Find gaps and make yourself accountable for filling them with actions you want to become habits.
Once you are tracking your behaviour, measure it. You cannot improve on something until you can measure it.
Get up an hour earlier than you are used to. The silent hours before the rest of your household is awake is the best time to begin building new habits – no noise, no distractions, just time to dedicate to your future. Trust me, before long you will be skipping TV, going to bed 3 hours earlier and getting up 3 hours earlier than you ever did!
Exercise daily. This is not just about physical health – this is about putting routine and consistency into your day, and also affording yourself the time and space necessary away from the daily grind.
Read for at least 30 minutes each day. Set time in your diary and do not let anything get in the way. You can read anything, but think about what you are trying to see a compound effect in down the road, and study hard. 30 minutes will feel difficult for the first few weeks; after that it will feel like a warm up.
Ask yourself every day: have I learned something that will benefit me in the future?
Be conscious of small choices you make. Most often, these are the ones that we sleep-walk through, but can have big compounding consequences down the road.
Reward yourself for daily improvements, but not too hard – acknowledge that today you took another step towards the benefits of the compound effect, and commit to doing the same tomorrow.
To set up this simulation, we used kick-off mode but didn’t select a team to control; we then selected the teams and watched the match play out by itself, to give us a unique prediction.
The AI difficulty was set to world class, with the line-up updated with the latest injuries and suspensions.
Manchester United set up in a 4-3-3 formation, with the line-up as follows: De Gea; Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; Matic, Herrera, Pogba; Martial, Rashford, Lingard.
Barcelona also set up in a 4-3-3 formation, with their line-up as follows; Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Arthur; Coutinho, Suarez, Messi.
As you would expect, Barcelona dominated possession in the opening stages, calmly stroking the ball around, trying to find gaps in the United back line.
But despite the away side dominating with the ball, United looked relatively solid and were restricting the Catalan side to long range efforts, in what was becoming a strong defensive display.
In fact, the only chance of the entire first 45 minutes fell to Ivan Rakitic, but his effort from the edge of the area was easy enough to David De Gea to deal with.
United burst out of the traps in the second-half, as they looked to shock Ernesto Valverde’s side and catch them off guard – and they got the chance they had been looking for.
Jesse Lingard won the ball in midfield and drive forward into space and then sent a lovely through ball down the side of Clement Lenglet, looking for the run of Marcus Rashford, who was bearing down on goal.
However, the Frenchman got back at Rashford and the English forward screwed the ball wide under pressure, spurning a golden opportunity.
United would live to regret that moments later.
Lionel Messi found space on the edge of the area and sent a pass through the middle, trying to find Luis Suarez in the area. Luke Shaw read the pass well but his touch was too heavy and Suarez pounced on the loose ball, firing past De Gea to make it 1-0.
That goal seemed to kick United in to gear, pushing forward to find an equaliser and they could have had one in the 75th minute.
Rashford returned Lingard’s favour from earlier, playing him through on goal on Lenglet’s side, but when one-on-one with Ter Stegen, he skewed his effort wide for another chance wasted.
Salif Keita, Mali’s most famous musical son, is going home. “I’m returning to the land,” he says. “I was a farmer’s son. I am a farmer’s son. Now, I will go back to the country and cultivate.” Cultivate what? I ask, not for the first time. Keita does not answer, not for the first time. He closes his eyes and falls silent. When he does speak, it is bursts of a few words and short, stilted answers.
I am in a modest hotel suite in the north of Paris with one of the greatest musical talents the African continent has ever produced. Keita, known as the “golden voice of Africa”, has enjoyed a career spanning more than half a century. Now nearly 70 years old, he is known not just for his extraordinarily powerful and passionate voice, but for the genetic condition he has called albinism that has made him, he says, “white of skin and black of blood”. He has sung for Nelson Mandela, and in aid of Ethiopia. He continues to sing to highlight the desperate plight of those with albinism across Africa, giving his time and talent to raise funds.
Keita is eating breakfast, a plate of fried chicken and onions, chunks of crispy baguette and milky tea. His answers are brief and so softly-spoken it’s a struggle to catch the occasional word in between the food and the clatter of cutlery. More than once, he stops eating, looks pained, and rubs both his hands vigorously over his face.
He is in Paris to promote his 14th album Un Autre Blanc (Another White), the title a reference to his struggles as a singer-songwriter with albinism. Keita says it is definitely his last. “I will do some concerts and perhaps some tours. Nothing major and not another album.” He shakes his head. “Too much work. I am going to rest.”
Going “back to the country” means returning to the village of Djoliba, 23 miles south of the Malian capital Bamako, which takes its name from the local Mandingue language for the river Niger on whose banks it sits. Keita grew up here, during the last years of French colonial rule – Mali became independent in 1960 – as one of 10 children in a family directly descended from the warrior king Sundiata Keita, the 13th-century founder of the Mali empire. They were but dirt poor.
The musician has said his father was shocked but not entirely surprised when he was born with albinism, a condition caused by the absence of melanin pigmentation in the skin. There had been others with the condition on his mother’s side of the family. “It is a problem in places where cousins marry, a problem of culture,” he explains.
As a child, Keita’s family kept him out of the fields, where working under the fierce sun was out of the question, but they were unable to protect him once he started school. “There were 500 students and I was the only white. Of course, I realised I was different and they didn’t let me forget it. I was bullied. Physically. It was not easy. I learned quickly how to defend myself.”
He adds: “I was a good student. My dream was to be a teacher, but in those days you had to ask the government to find you a post. After I finished my studies, the doctor [at the training school] told me I couldn’t be a teacher because I would scare the children. They also said it was because of my eyes … but I had special glasses and could see perfectly well.
“I didn’t want to be a musician. I am from a family of nobles. In Mali, nobles don’t make music – that’s for the griots,” he continues, referring to West African troubadour storytellers. “But I had no choice. I could be a musician or I could be a delinquent, a criminal, a thief, a bandit.”
I am curious as to why these were the only options. “I am an albino. What else could I do? There was nothing else. My family didn’t want me to be a musician. They tried to stop me. So I left,” he says.
Keita went to Bamako, and began singing in cafes and restaurants. He taught himself to play guitar, first joining the Rail Band, entertaining guests in the hotel restaurant at the railway station, then the Ambassadors, who were based at a hotel with an international clientele.
“I decided to learn the guitar and do some music. It was just something to do while waiting to find another job. I didn’t think I would be a professional musician but in the end I never had another career. It was a surprise to be so successful.” Success also brought reconciliation with his family. “Later, when they saw that I was famous, they accepted it more.”
I had no choice. I could be a musician or I could be a delinquent, a criminal, a thief, a banditSalif Keita
In the 1980s, Keita moved to Paris where he released his first album Soro, and in 1988 he was invited to join the anti-apartheid Nelson Mandela 70th birthday tribute at Wembley stadium, an event relayed to 67 countries with an audience of 600 million. London does not appear to have made a huge impression on the singer, then or since. “It’s always raining.”
As he travelled, he picked up different musical influences including Cuban salsa and European bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, taking “bits and pieces here and there” and creating the afro-pop sound he is credited with founding. “But I never wanted to go far from my traditions. There is a melody, a heart, to Malian music that’s almost oriental,” he says.
He becomes more animated when asked whether he will use his retirement to become more involved in politics. Mali, one of the world’s poorest nations, has been in turmoil since Tuareg rebels and loosely allied Islamists took over its north in 2012 and sparked the overthrow of the president. French forces intervened to push them back the following year but Islamists have since regained a foothold in the north and centre, exploiting ethnic rivalries to recruit new members.
“It’s hard to be a good person when you are corrupt, and our politicians are always corrupt,” Keita says. “Mali is the most corrupt country in the world after Cameroon.
“Democracy is not a good thing for Africa. We were all happy to see democracy come to Africa, but it destroyed the human sensibility. To have a democracy, people have to understand democracy, and how can people understand when 85% of the people in the country cannot read or write? They need a benevolent dictator like China has; someone who loves his country and acts for his country.”
Close to his heart is an ongoing campaign to raise awareness of albinism and help sufferers. Across the continent, folklore and superstitions mean sufferers are shunned or worse, beaten, killed and dismembered for their body parts credited with magical powers.
Last November, Keita organised a benefit concert to raise awareness of the problem after a five-year-old girl with albinism, Ramata Diarra, was ritually killed and beheaded in the town of Fama, 80 miles west of Bamako. “Never again,” he said at the event. “I have the strong hope that people will understand that we are born in the same way and we have the same rights as everyone else.”
He now oversees two foundations – Salif Keita Mali and the Salif Keita Global Foundation, based in the US – to continue this campaign. As well as combating prejudice, it offers practical help for sufferers, distributing suncreams to lessen the risk of skin cancers, and spectacles.
“We have to speak out. People with albinism are killed because of old beliefs that say their limbs have powers. This kind of belief is not finished in Africa,” Keita says. “It is true that people who are different are badly treated all around the world. It is different for me now – people hardly notice I am an albino. If you are famous, you pass unnoticed. But this work is a duty, a duty to give something back. If I am popular, I must serve others and this is how I do it. What I am saying is that the colour of your skin is not a handicap … and it’s not very important either.”
It is the most he has said in one go in the last hour, but now our time is up. Keita has a busy schedule of interviews before he returns to Africa with his “wife”. I am about to ask when he nods to two black guitar cases propped against the wall.
“My guitar is my wife. A good wife. If I leave her there she is still there and still the same when I come back to her. We will always be together … but now I’m going back for a rest.”