15 August 2012


The earth is estimated to have a surface area of 510,072,000 km2, 29% of which is land. This land is shared by approximately 196 countries.

On the 12th of March 2012 it was estimated that the population of the world had exceeded 7 billion. That is 7,000,000,000+ people or 7, 000 million. Keeping in mind all this, I want to tell you about Alice. In this large and comprehensive world is a mid sized country in the heart of Southern Africa I am proud to call home. In the Eastern part of this country is a province called Eastern Province where a town called Petauke lies. In Petauke, about an hour's drive from the town centre is a little village called 'Ngozi'. In that village which literally is a bush, along the main dusty gravel road lies a grave yard. The grave yard is clearly old as it is has long trees all over it. If you walk from the road into the grave yard at just the right point, a few metres from the road you'll find among several others a grave with a cement cross that marks it on the ground measuring about the average length and width of a grave. A poorly handwritten inscription, 'Alice' is made on the cement cross that was evidently made with a little stick before the cement could dry. No surname, no date of birth or date of death. Nothing. Just 'Alice'. Judging by the very few more informative graves around Alice's, Alice died in the late 70s to early 80s.

Because villages tend to be more akeen to their heritage, if you dug deep enough, you might be able to find out where Alice's descendants or family is and ask them about her but even in a village set up, you may not be able to and in a few more years you will certainly not be able to find any information about who Alice was.

In all likelihood, especially judging from how relatively well Alice was buried, Alice grew up loved and cared for. She probably got married and lived to a ripe old age and had 'other sons and daughters'. And yet a few years down the line nothing is left of her other than a cement cross on her grave with an inscription of her name.

Don't be so quick to pity Alice. That is pretty much going to be your fate also. One day, and it might be sooner than you think, even with all you are and have achieved or amassed, you will be nothing more than a name on a stone in a cemetery somewhere. No one will know anything about you other than what will be inscibed on your tomb stone. You will be lost in the great wave of history just like a drop of water in an ocean.

It is a rather depressing fact. No one wants to have themselves forgotten and unidentifiable a few years or decades after their death. Everyone wants to be remembered. One way of achieving this is doing something remarkable. I am reminded of Achillies the great mythical warrior who was asked to come to battle a giant. A little boy was sent to find him as the challenge was that whoever brought down the giant would win the battle for their people. The little boy delivered the message and saw Achillies get up onto his horse to ride to the battle field where both armies waited for the two men to go head to head. Worried for the average sized Achillies, the boy warned him that his opponent was unbeaten and was perhaps twice Achillies size. "I'd never agree to fight him," the boy told Achillies. "That is why you will never be remembered." Achillies replied.

Unfortunately, not many of us get a chance to leave an outstanding mark in the anals of history, nor would any of us have the ability even if the chance was presented. The only way is to leave an impact that will last and be felt long after we are gone. I believe the little phrase puts it best; "Only one life, t'will soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last."