OHNE DICH KEIN MICH

Es lebe die Vielfalt
Hymne der Natur
Ohne jung kein alt
Jedem Inhalt vielerlei Gestalt
Jenseits der Zensur

Die Menschen, die wir nicht begreifen
Verhelfen uns am Schnellsten zum Weiterreifen
Durch Reibung, Herausfordern und Schleifen

Alles, was Du nicht bist
Freue Dich, daß jemand anders es ist
Das schöne Leben hat sich aufgeteilt
Über unzählige Miriaden in aller Welt.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

HUMAN HEART

Santa and Satan are spelled with the same letters.
I just noticed it, please don’t crucify me.
Just know there’s a thin line between the two.
Sometimes when you think you’re looking out through a window, you’re actually looking at a mirror.

Saw this picture and liked it.
Something is buried in your heart and it could be anything. It’s probably everything.
Some pains will stay forever – well, probably not forever. Until you change and forgive and let go. Or until you die, I mean really die. Even when you forget, still you feel the pain and don’t know why. And then you remember – but you still don’t know why you took that first wrong step into the future.

But when you look at the serpent well, sometimes it seems as if it’s rising up to strike or writhing in treachery and deception. And sometimes it feels as if it’s begging for help and crying for forgiveness and looking for redemption. But some unsuspecting fool will pass by and think they’re looking at a heart. But you know better. You know you’re looking at a warning.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

img_3577

FIGHT NIGHT

FIGHT NIGHT

It takes courage to step into the ring and fight an opponent. If you doubt me, try it.

Well I grew up doing Karate and Taekwondo. But I last competed when I was 17 or 18. I stopped training for more than 20 years. A few years ago, I realized that I missed it badly – training and sparring. I decided to start keeping fit again. There was no Taekwondo club near me, so I joined a boxing and Thai-Boxing/Kick-boxing Club near my house (Challange Club Sachsenhausen).

When it came to Thai- or Kick-boxing I could hold my own a little. But I was woeful at Boxing and got regularly and properly beaten during training and sparring. But I liked the exercise of it and the fun of it, and it helped me gradually regain a little of my condition and stamina and get somewhat back into shape. I also gradually got a little better at Boxing, although really Taekwondo is still my natural fighting art.

Anyway, 6 weeks ago, Udo the manager of Challenge Club asked me if I would be interested in fighting (Boxing) at the next Fight Night. I was like, “Hello. I’m 44. My fighting days are long over. Besides that, I’ve never been in a Boxing fight before.” But then I thought about it and said “Why Not? Might be fun.” and I agreed, and I henceforth upped my training schedule.

And then, just when I thought I was in some sort of shape, in the week of the fight, disaster struck. I came down with the flu. 3 days! It knocked me down until the day right before the fight. I couldn’t work, couldn’t train, nothing! Had to go see the doctor. My goodness. I almost called off the fight, but I told myself to wait until the morning of the fight and see how I felt.

When I woke up that morning, I felt weak but a bit better – it’s incredible how much muscle mass and stamina you can lose from just 3 days of illness. But I decided, “My man, you grew up fighting. Just go into the ring and fight, full stop. No excuses.” I know the jitters before a fight. I know the nervousness. I know everything. They are my friends. When I feel them, I know I am in good company. So, really, I was good. No shaking.

But I knew nothing about my opponent, not his name or age or size or if he fought right- or left-handed. I just heard he weighed 100kg (I weigh 95kg), so that was OK. Well, I got to the venue (Challenge Club Offenbach), our stats were on the wall in the dressing room. I saw he was 22 years old. I was like, Okay now. Half my age and probably twice as strong and fit. No yawah. When you enter trouble, enter it with open eyes, strongly and without fear.

So I warmed up in the dressing room with my coach Manuel “Manu” Moreno, an ex-professional and the best Coach in the world. You hear his voice in the video throughout the fight, calming talking me through. And my friend and former junior world champion in Muay-Thai Ibra Senghor came into the dressing room and gave me some tips (PS – you can catch both of them in the video of my song Music Makes Me High which I did I think 2 years ago now https://youtu.be/hFjzvqCb-Po ). My pal Marlin was also in the crowd, rooting from ringside, and that meant a lot to me.

(Btw: Coach Manu, 60 years and still going strong, also fought an exhibition-style Oldies Fight later that night and showed the crowd that he’s still got the moves and the boxing intelligence).

Anyways, next issue: I was told the fight would be without head gear. Got into the ring and saw the big young man wearing head gear. Hm. That’s a disadvantage to me, because he can take my punches and keep on fighting as if nothing happened (which indeed happened) – he would just re-arrange his head gear and keep on boxing; but if he hammers my head I’m sure gonna feel it. Ibra was like, “Well, you have to hit the front of his face, and his nose, ‘cause he won’t feel anything else.” And he kept on shouting it throughout the fight.

It was a nice feeling, though, to be in the ring again in a proper fight (not sparring or training etc – because a real fight is SOMETHING ELSE, believe me). I felt all of my 44 years 😂. I have to think twice before I try this again. Boxing is a young man’s sport.

But I did come through. After the fight, I felt a great respect for my opponent because I know what it takes to decide to fight. And he did it and fought bravely. It takes courage to step into a ring and fight an opponent – any kind of ring in any field of Endeavour in life. If you doubt me, try it. 😉
One thing is for sure, though. I’ll never let myself fall out of shape again.

– Che

MEETING ORLANDO JULIUS

64E38EFA-BF1D-4D9C-9C72-0A79BB9DF893

Back in 2008 when I used to work partly in Nigeria, partly in Ghana and partly in Equatorial Guinea, the late great Sir Maliki Showman – the wonderful man who taught me how to play the saxophone (that’s a tale I’ll tell another day) – told me that if I ever had the chance , I should pay a visit to and say Hello to the pioneer of Afrobeat music and one of the greatest living Nigerian saxophonists of all time, Orlando Julius, who had at that time temporarily moved from Nigeria to the Ghanaian countryside, to a quiet village on the outskirts of Accra.

So one weekend in Accra, I chartered a Taxi and drove over, where I met the maestro himself, Orlando Julius Ekemode, and his incredibly gracious and beautiful wife and dancer, Latoya Aduke Ekemode. I have seldom experienced greater hospitality than they showered to me on that day. They took me as their son, we ate together, drank together and the great man regaled me with funny and touching and inspiring tales from the good old days of Nigerian music long before I was born – just like his friend Maliki Showman always used to do too.

Finally Orlando brought out his tenor sax and asked me to unpack mine which I had brought along. And after I showed him how far Sir Maliki had already brought me as at that time, Orlando Julius proceeded to lovingly show me new tricks on the Tenor sax and to expand my knowledge of the instrument and of African and Jazz music, like a father would. These are precious memories I‘ll never forget.

And last night, in Frankfurt, more than a decade later, and many years after the death of my friend and teacher Maliki Showman, it was such a joy for me to see Orlando Julius and his wife Latoya and his whole band again on stage, slamming out one great old hit after another. At 74 he is still going strong and the tunes are still as irresistible as ever.

To crown it all, they saw me in the crowd and they remembered. Latoya told the crowd how I had come to visit them in Ghana years ago. And then Orlando asked me to dance with them on stage. New precious memories. Great great people.

Highlife, Afrobeat, Funk, Jazz – they all originate from okdschool African Music… and Orlando Julius remains among the greatest of all time.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

NEO-AFRICANISM

Nigeria has not yet had a Nigerian President. South Africa has had many Presidents, but only Nelson Mandela was a South African President. The others, before and after him, white and black, have all been just sectional leaders. Africa has had very very few AFRICAN leaders-of-state, Pan-African heads of government. Selfless father-figures and servants who are a father to all and a mother to all, regardless of ethnic or religious affiliation.

Why? Because it is not easy. It is not easy to place loyalty to high ideals above loyalty to tribe, religion, family and every thing else. When people come campaigning for votes and popularity, and they claim they will be „President of everybody“, „there will be no sacred cows“, they will be „everybody‘s friend and nobody‘s friend“, „everybody will be equal under the law“, they will rise above „tribalism and religious chauvinism“, they will not favour „their side above any other side“, etc etc etc…

Look at them carefully or just wait for it. In time, they have almost always turned out to be just a Big Fraud.
Why? Because it is not easy. Deep in their heart, everyone loves their ethnic nationality, their religion, their spiritual philosophy, their origin. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. It is normal and healthy. The question is: WHO loves the Truth and Justice MORE than he or she loves ANY OTHER THING? That is the Point. Who, above loving his tribe or faith, loves the progress of the Whole more than any other thing.

Not everybody is born to be a leader at the highest levels. Many are good enough to be administrators or guides or governors at lower- and mid-levels of groupings. But at the highest levels, only those human beings should qualify who have made the transition from healthy love of self to healthy love for all.

It is not easy. It requires honest and painful soul-searching. It requires self-unmasking experiencing. It requires self-conquest. It requires, not self-abnegation (for you cannot deny who you are, and anyone who denies who he or she is, is a liar or is still in the process of finding himself). It requires Ennoblement and Maturity. It requires elevation into Selfless Love.

These are the new kinds of leaders we need in Africa now and in the future. These are the people we should look for and encourage, instead of discouraging them. These are the people we should begin to awaken within our own souls. These are the Neo-Africans.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

DISTANCE

I have a longing for intimacy
Not satisfied by sex
A craving for voyeurism
Not quenched by porn
A yearning for universal entanglement
Not gratified by orgies
And a need for intense borderlessness
Not staked by perversity
What is it?

I have an itch for mystification
Not calmed by lying
A desire for friction
Not stilled by confrontation
A propensity for destruction
Not quelled by murder
And a burning for escape
Not silenced by suicide
What is it?

It’s like I am separated from myself
And watch myself through a window
And everything that I do
Is actually being done by my shadow
While I wait for something real
Really really real.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

DILEMMA

Egal wo man anfängt
Egal wie
Egal wo man seine Träume aufhängt
Schmerzen sie
Denn alles Unerfüllte jagt uns für immer,
Unausweichbar, ein geistiges Dilemma.

Politik und Wirtschaft
Arbeit und Wissenschaft
Liebe und Freundschaft
Schwäche und Feindseligkeit –
Wir suchen und suchen, aber nach was?
Der Gral ruft ewig ohne Unterlaß
Selbst die Kunst stillt es nimmer
Stets stört es uns, das geistige Dilemma.

Träger einer Dauersehnsucht
Nachts brennt sie heller –
Nur nachts kann Cinderella
Das finden, was sie sucht –
Ohne Sträuben, gib Dich hin
Fließe mit, egal wohin
Das ist Deines Lebens Sinn
Denn Du steckst schon drin.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

DIE GRENZE

An der Grenze wurde ich selten kontrolliert
Doch von den Augen und durch das Verhalten vieler
Werde ich täglich kontrolliert..

An der Grenze wurde ich nie zurück gewiesen
Doch durch die Blicke, die Worte und das Verhalten vieler
Werde ich täglich zurück gewiesen..

Aus dem Land wurde ich nie ausgeschlossen
Doch in dem System werden mir die Grenzen gesetzt.

Die Außengrenzen sind mitunter Schauplatz innenpolitischer Machtkämpfe –
Die wahre Grenze verläuft innerlich und unsichtbar –
Korrigierung: sie verläuft sichtbar.

Viele, die sich längst integriert haben
Oder sogar bereits integriert geboren wurden
Stehen noch an der Grenze und werden nicht hinein gelassen
Denn das Herz ist die einzig wahre Grenze.

Deutsch, das habe ich innerlich erlebt und begriffen, ist eine Art. Je nach freiem Willen artet es sich jedoch unterschiedlich aus. Daraus bilden sich zwei Gruppen: Die eine spürt den Deutschen in mir; die andere wird – so bald sie kann – auf allen Ebenen mich ausgrenzen.

Dennoch bleibe ich deutsch – auch wenn ich Afrikaner, Nigerianer, Igbo, im Ausland geboren bin, und unter anderem engagiert für die Entwicklung, den Frieden und die Verbesserung jenes angeblich so fremden Erdteils arbeite. Denn deutsch sein ist was anderes – ist anders sein. Ist eigen sein. Ist deutsch sein eben. Entweder bist Du es oder Du bist es nicht. Aber deutsch sein ohne Mensch sein – das geht nicht. Das geht nicht mehr. Auch das ist deutsch sein – danach strebten die Gründer unseres Geistes. Für dessen Aufrechterhaltung und Weiterentwicklung tragen wir alle Verantwortung.

Mich kann niemand ausgrenzen; ich bin einer unter uns und ruhe in mir – und werde daran zugrunde gehen, ich weiß. Denn ich schwarz. Und das obwohl ich deutsch. Komisch.

Aber es macht nichts, denn in unzähligen Herzen bin ich für immer Zuhause. Ich, Mensch.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

FLÜCHTIGE EMPFINDUNGEN

Früh am morgen
Während sich nächtliche Besucher
Wie Fangnetz vom Traum
Auf dem Heimweg machen
Der Baum reckt sich, schüttelt
Den Kopf, atmet ein und aus den Wind
Wer bist Du, Bewegung tausend Gedanken
Rollend schweigsam ins Licht
Das mir aufdämmern möchte?

Es ist ein Fehler, den ich
Oft wiederhole. Ich drehte mich
Um, um nach zu sehen
Und verlor den Faden.
Kluge Köpfe werden mir nun
Den ganzen Tag über Ersatzgedanken
Großzügig und ungebeten liefern
Aber weise Menschen werden mit mir schweigen
Und den Schatz in unserem Geist aufbewahren.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.