Taking Big Shots (and the upside of missing) – By Regan Walsh

This article inspires me a lot (forget that the article title is a bit of a pun with this blog/ website title) and I would like to share as well as cite the website from which i saw the article, here below;

https://reganwalsh.com/taking-big-shots-upside-missing/

 

 

My dad played for Naperville High School’s basketball team. They were in the state finals. He had the opportunity to make a game-winning shot. As a man with deep faith, he made a promise to God: If I make this shot, I’ll become a priest.

Thank the Lord he missed.

What my dad couldn’t have realized at that time is that he was destined to have a much different legacy. He would marry a stunner of a redhead, raise six children with her, leave the stability of a corporate job to start a successful business, and so much more.

The moral? Missing the shot—while devastating at the time—can turn into the best gift of all.

Take, for example, the rejection letter I got from Miami University—the university all five of my older siblings attended. While humiliating, it was a gift I didn’t know I needed. Attending Ohio University allowed me a different college experience than my siblings—one that led to an internship on Capitol Hill, a semester abroad, connections that landed me my first job in Manhattan (which in turn led me to world travel) and, 20 years later, the closest friendships a girl could dream up. The lesson? That rejection letter was life redirecting me to the right path.

Being laid off during the recession of 2008 paved the way for reflecting on what I really wanted to do with my next chapter: work for the greater good. What an honor to have been able to say yes to being the Chief Storyteller at Flying Horse Farms, a camp for children with serious illnesses that hadn’t yet opened. Helping get camp up off the ground is one of my proudest accomplishments. The upside to losing my job? Finding what was, at the time, my calling—which eventually led me to this one.

Some of you may recall when I set a lofty goal and tried out for something called 15 Coaches (you can read the full story here). It was scary posting my dream for everyone to read. I felt in my core that this opportunity was destined for me. So, when I was rejected, the blow was that much worse. Instead of wallowing in my sorrow, though, I bounced forward and reached out to people I wanted to learn from. The effort led me to Denise Restauri, who featured me in Forbes and opened doors for me to become a contributor myself. Best of all, this mentorship has turned into a friendship and one highlight of my 2017. My takeaway? Expect to love the unexpected gifts rejection has in store—they are better than anything you could dream up.

Of course, here’s the rub: To miss shots, you must first take them. Here, then, is to taking big shots this year—wherever they end up.

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HIP HOP AND HUMILITY

                                     HIP HOP AND HUMILITY

                              (Lessons from an unlikely world)

The above subject matter is a contradiction. Hip hop and humility should ideally never be in the same sentence. Contradictions! Anyone who is not a first time reader of my written material would have noticed that I am a sucker for contradictions, a fan and a student at that. In most of my writing you will find contradictions, oxymorons and similar references. I believe this is not unusual as life is never one dimensional .Art experts or context readers would look at the same painting or written text and give varying views of what they had picked from the same material, and so are human beings, contradictions are what makes us exciting and interesting, if we were one dimensional life and our own stories would be boring, stale and incomplete.

There are sayings like; one man’s poison is another man’s cup of tea. In biblical theology one can be born again but the heart of man will remain desperately seeking mischief and wickedness (theologians are welcome to argue this one out). Paul had alluded to this matter when he addressed the issue of the thorn in his flesh, what did God respond to him; My grace is made sufficient at your point of weakness… in another passage there are sayings like when I am weak, then I am strong. The first shall be the last and the last shall be the first. The greatest among you shall be the least and the least shall be the greatest. By these bible passages I am not arguing that the bible is a contraction, what I am stating is that the bible teaches us that life is a contradiction. Passages such as he uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. Should someone argue that we should not pursue knowledge, wisdom and education? No we should pursue them and much more so. However we should have the humility to acknowledge that the more we know the more the new knowledge demonstrates how ignorant we were (and still are).

“Bola ba Teyela panshi noti mumulu”

I digress! Hip Hop and Humility, the title for this write up is a contradiction. It is my perception that hip hop as an act or culture can be stated to be devoid of humility. Hip hop is about fronting, bragging and stunting, all things which are more to do with vice than virtue. Hip hop music is full of contradictions, I will cite hip hop scholar or historian Michael Eric Dyson who wrote that: in hip hop the same woman when she is a mother she is lauded as a queen, but if she was a girlfriend or even Baby Mama she is condemned as a woman of easy virtue (edit to read something explicit).

Hip hop and humility I am still digressing. I have to get to the intended purpose for this write up. Let me get to it.

Life is full of lessons amongst which are the lessons I can draw from hip hop on why as human beings we need to be humble, not as a disposition but as a true measure of an individual’s character. In 1989/90 or so Rakim Allah signed the first million dollar contract and the whole hip hop world went agog. Rappers the chola boys to local drug dealers and night club music promoters were now talking million dollar marks. Rakim for those not familiar with hip hop is the Lionel Messi / Steven Hawkins of hip hop, an original in its truest sense, a pace setter, trajectory shifter and a natural genius in lyrical sense. When he got the unheard of USD 1 Million contract people would have been forgiven to think of it as near impossibility in hip hop, a token situation, that a “wanna be”  rapper would never even bother to dream of. But as we know life is a journey, the bible goes on to say: No eye has seen no ear has heard and no mind has conceived the things that God has prepared for those who love him.

When we go ahead of others in attainment of wealth, education and all manner of achievement and we set what they can call new records in whatever endeavour of life it may be. We have to look at our achievements in a more introspective and contextual manner with a dose of humility. For those who are celebrating another person’s achievement we should not hold back in our adulation, I am referring to the individual who is receiving the adulation and who has done the achievement. Our achievement is not all to do with our own individual genius no matter how talented we are. Malcolm Gladwell has ably argued this out in his seminal book; Outliers. And more over the records we have set as much as they are GLASS ceilings they are subject to be broken. One of my favourite sayings is by the late Robert R Schuller; success is never ending, failure is never final. Failure and hardship tend to develop character in individuals, the old adage goes on to say; necessity is the mother of all invention. Failure is unlike the mark of Cain where he was labelled and labelled for ever. ‘Failure is written in pencil it can be erased’.

To every action there is an equal but opposite reaction, and if it seems dark now; no opportunities, no regard or affirmation of one’s dignity from fellow human beings, then surely the morning will come. Any hard working and resolute individual will get to have their moment in the sun; when everything you will say will be  considered genius, even one’s own fart( forgive me for being crude) will be considered as part of the latest Parisian fragrance that only the sophisticates and bourgie could appreciate (Big buyer effect/the emperor’s new clothes) . That time will come as sure as night follows day.

Back to Rakim Allah, as he, a natural genius was on top of the world, a fellow New Yorker and age met was still in experimentation stage with his raps, he was at that time in the ill-fated 1990’s subgenre/style of what I can equate to mumble rapping. It took a not so traditional path and a bit of time before that rap career blossomed. He has never been so much touted as a natural or as @realdonaldtrump (I like to use his twitter handle for his name) calls stable genius. He was a product of experimentation and lessons drawn from the industry as a whole and particularly other rappers. That rapper has come to be regarded as the GOAT (Greatest of all time) of which I subscribe to, even for me a Tupac fanatic, do agree with this view. On the issue of money Jayz has not only come to be the richest rapper dead or alive (as if dead rappers resurrect to get on the hustle… in any case hip hop fans will get me), for 2017 Forbes reported that Jayz made US$ 90 Million within a year, a far cry from 1990’s rap industry monetary standards (even in real money or inflationary adjusted terms). The first shall be the last and the last shall be the first.

“Duha! Duha! You never thought that hip hop would take it this far…” – Notorious B.I.G

 

Humility is a very cardinal virtue in life (I would like to emphasise that I am not talking about people’s personalities or disposition). In life we can take a lesson from the bible passage in Philippians 2: 5-11 but particularly the beginning verse which says. In our relationships with one another we should be like Christ who being in very nature God did not consider equality with God as something to be grasped but made himself nothing…

If there is any one in your life that, even you have concluded to be going nowhere, render them some grace and register your humanity to them.

“Uusunga umunankwe, teshibikwwa!”

 

Holla at your Boy! – Aluta Continua Victoria Acerta

 

P.S: I seek your indulgence for the informal and colloquial manner in which I have structured this write up, it is a hip hop writing after all. If I have missed to cite sources of any quotations it is not to imply that the sayings are my own.

“Instead of learning from the people who achieve the most, learn from people who achieve the most with the least of natural talent and opportunity. They have to study their craft more carefully and work harder to master it” – Adam Grant

With reference to the above; regards to CR7 in light of his epic debut performance at world cup 2018

“Grand Hustle over Talent!”

Part 2 – Publishing in Zambia – a Cornerstone to our future development and historical relevance

 

                      

 

                                                             Taking Big Shots

(Lux, Eruditio, Gloria)

 

 

                                                                         Part 2

Publishing in Zambia – a Cornerstone to our future development and historical relevance

I must hasten to state that as a blogger, my objective is to bring about discourse on matters that are of interest to me and relevant to our Zambian context, therefore I do not suffer the weighty requirements of professional journalism.

Publishing in Zambia

In the 1995 book Authored by H. Mwacalimba and Christine Kanyengo titled; Zambian Books in Print and ISBN Publisher’s Directory (there have been further editions since then) they have endeavored to highlight the challenges that have beset our publishing industry compared to countries in the region such as Zimbabwe, suffice to say, it is a must have for anyone interested in Zambian published books. In my own reflections I do not know of any Zambian story books (I stand to be corrected) that are read in other countries as part of secondary school literature supplement books/African writer’s series the way we have ‘all’ read Chinua Achebe. Even a little Google search revealed that in Ali Mazrui’s; Africa’s Greatest Books of the 20th Century you will find Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Congo being mentioned under creative and Non Creative books, but no Zambian books have appeared. We have a lot of work to do as far as publishing and developing a culture of reading and writing books (our own books) is concerned.

Tipu Tipu meets Henry Morton Stanley

Not to include my anecdotal experiences in this very important write-up but I must state that one of the most prolific African history writers, in my limited exposure, is Martin Meredith (a bit oxymoronic seeing that I am championing ‘black panther’ writing and reading development, nevertheless…) In the book; Africa a 5,000 year history Martin Meredith cites an encounter between Tipu Tipu and Henry Morton Stanley that is very poignant as far as the importance of books are concerned, he said to Stanley:

You Wazungu are desirous to throw away your lives looking for rivers and lakes and mountains spending your lives for no reason and purpose instead of ivory and other valuables, look at the old man (David Livingstone)! What did he seek year after year until he became so old that he could not travel? He had no money, for he never gave us anything he bought no ivory no slaves yet he travelled further than any of us, and for what?

Well I hope Tipu Tipu got to learnt that, not long after the death of David Livingstone, the publishing of his diaries, books, by Morton Stanley and others, is what mainly contributed to the scramble for Africa were even King Leopold of Congo curved out for himself ‘the most precious piece of real estate’ in all the earth, present day Congo DR.

Of course the above narrative feeds into the typical insults that have been thrown at us as Africans, as far as books are concerned:

“If you have to hide something from an African put it in a book”

I would follow to say that if we have to continue lagging behind as a people (Zambia/Africa) let us keep reading other people’s stories, experiences and overlook our writers and thinkers.

Traditional Publishing

There is a difference between traditional publishing and social media publishing such as the one I am engaged in with this writing, through avenues such as blogger, word press or face book.

It is my argument that for our future development as a country and eternal relevance as a people we must encourage this form of traditional publishing as stated in part 1 of this article (even as we use blogging as a academies for harnessing writing talent) and make deliberate effort by Government of Zambia (Boma iyanganepo) to structure policies that encourage and reward authorship. This also highlights the difference between publishing and printing, I can jot down a bunch of unverified and poorly constructed material and pay a printing press to issue them out, for me that is what I term as printing, and  in our Zambia context I very much want to avoid use of  the word self publishing, as it is my view that this terminology is befitting a seasoned writer who may have gone through some process of review in the traditional context and for monetary or other reason decides to ‘feed’ their already established audience by doing an independent publishing and were all the rights and rewards accrue to them.

 

 

 

 

Intellectual Shilili

Shilili in our Zambian local language Bemba means tranquility or quietness and in this construction intellectual Shilili means the vacuum and lack of authorship by our Zambian educational elites to write books in the field of specialty or share the experiences in their professional lives. This leaves the many fields in our country difficult to be documented and followed for their development be it banking, football, business and other areas of professional authorship.  Is it not a wonder that even when there has been no other African soccer player south of the equator who has won African Footballer of the year award except Kalusha Bwalya’s 1988 performance, there has not been a sports writer or writer period who has sat him down and the few surviving KK 11 members and written a book targeted for the African and even global soccer audience (corrections are welcome). It is my understanding that the fancy letters   PhD   after an individual’s name stand for Doctor of Philosophy meaning a creator of new disciplines or knowledge. Where is the originality of thought from the last dissertation that you wrote for acquiring your PhD Kanabesa (eminent one)… Hmmm? This has left the Zambian publishing scene, public intellectualism to be engaged by un-intellectual individuals. Every chola boy with an accent can put up an intellectual symposium (disappointingly I attended my first ted talk were most of the people were sharing their Day Job experiences, the CSO workshop types, run of the mill corporate trappings braggadocios etc). For someone to befit sharing the story of their life, knowledge or experiences they should talk from originality of thought or should have unique ideas or national impacting experience such as a university lecturer or former bank governor talking on the economy or a high ranking bureaucrat or successful entrepreneur, to mention but a few, in light of that ted talk I attended,  there were quite a few who met the above criteria of what I believe to be the essence of ted talk franchise other than that I would urge anyone to have the decency of respecting the audience they are standing in front of and share only  carefully constructed ideas( of which I am emphasizing that there were a few), to come and share the story of your life and you are not any of the type of the people mentioned above only shows the level of celebrity we have in Zambia.

Black Panther a hullabaloo about nothing

I must hassen to say that the heading above is a bit too strong seeing that I am equally one of the people who had been looking forward to see the first all black superhero movie and I have seen it, a great movie. However my point is that even in the celebration of our own superhero movie, did they have to be owned and written* by Bazungu batu (our white masters) like much of our own history? In any case this is just a random thought by a mere blogger. In light of Black Panther Movie I want to give kudos to two Zambians; Kapasa Musonda and Patrick Shumba Mukutwa* our own super heroes.

The age of Motivational & religious salesmanship

Due to the intellectual vacuum left in our Zambian publishing  space by abama somo (the intellectuals) the space has been encroached by un-intellectually stimulating publications most of them self publishing’s or printings as I have tried to argue above i.e. without any professional reviewer -ships. The culprits have been the religious and motivational sector, some have had genuine and well meaning thoughts to do these works, it’s just that when you imagine the random thoughts that pass in our minds to be genius and rush to print without an independent examination or review, you end up producing information that is run of the mil (…I couldn’t help but use the term for the 2nd and I promise last time). Not to be too harsh, but some are the snake oil or is it anointing oil type of salesman-ship. A seasoned business Man or journalist, a seasoned politician like AB Chikwanda, and such can lecture to us Zambians on the thrills and challenges of Zambian politics or business. A seasoned preacher in the charismatic faith with many years under their belt, can lecture to us on the challenges and trappings of the cloth, so that the ones going in, should not be deluded that charismatic ministry is all about naming it and claiming it. In light of the foregoing; ‘RIP’ to one seasoned evangelist Billy Graham (1918 – 2018) who had given 80 years to the Christian Faith.

 

Post Script

  1. *I am aware that one of the script writers is African American
  2. *In light of Zed twitter trolls that have been on Patrick Shumba (strictly concerning the issue of his minute role in the Wakanda movie) I would like to opine that we should learn to celebrate even the little efforts that our own Zambians have done or are doing buche buche na fulunyemba alafika (translated to mean: slowly slowly even a snail/tortoise/ reaches its destination.)
  3. I would like to point out that this write up has delayed in publishing and was in draft stage for a couple of months hence the untimely reference to issues about Wakanda and Billy Graham( I seek your indulgence) .

 

 

 

 

Publishing In Zambia Part 1 ; The Publishing Process

Taking Big Shots

(Lux, Eruditio,Gloria)

Publishing In Zambia Part 1 –  The Publishing Process

 

Introduction

I had recently been engaged with a publishing house and have come to appreciate the inner workings of book publishing and I thought it fitting to share my observations and two ngwee worth of an opinion, in a series of articles.

Publishing in this context excludes the Authorship of lyrics and other music production, it will be limited to authorship and production of books or manuscripts that are adaptable for film, television or theater.

Even with the understanding that, there is in publishing what is termed as self publishing I will  Endeavor to discuss the importance of publishing in its traditional context i.e. putting out reading material through a full time publishing house and agency. In this modern context I would be inclined to use the word professional publishing; this is implied to mean writing that goes through an independent and professional review akin to scientific research journal peer reviews, but for information that is for general and educational consumption.

The Publication Process (A general sketch)

Ideally a writer draws up a manuscript or agents of a publishing house approach an expert in a certain field to share their knowledge through publishing a book. Once the draft manuscript is ready the author presents this to a publishing house were

–           Full time and consulting experts critically review and confirm or dissuade any assumptions and claims made in the book. The reviewers make an evaluation report and the writer is expected to make corrections and resubmit the manuscript.

–           After which an approval report is made and the book proceeds for editing were language, fact checking, grammar review, proof reading, typesetting and graphic designing as it readies for publication.

–          Before print an original manuscript or book draft is given to the author for them to confirm that what is to be published is in accordance to their desires and construction, the author signs the author-publishing agreement for the book, and it goes to print.

By the time the book would be going to publishing or if the manuscript is discarded altogether the writer would have grown and developed in the process.

Printing Process (ISBN)

Most of us when we buy a book we rush to the introductory, preface  or even the meat of the book and would not care much on checking for the technical information that is mostly on the first page of the book or cover inlet. It is that information that is relevant to the book publishing process and is of concern to the author more than to anyone else.

–          When the draft is ready for printing it is queued in line for publication by registering it in a book publishing register. Most publishers can have different registers signifying different type or categories under which the book will be published.

–          ISBN (International Standard book Number)   this is much like the reg! Number for the book – to cite our Zambian Urban lingua franca. It is the serial and personal identification of the book, no other book in the world possesses such a number.

–          The meaning of the  ISBN codes  e.g. ISBN-9982-05-8245-2

  • 9982- This stands for the publishing code or ID for the country in which the book is being published in this case Zambia, much like our telephone country code +260 here in Zambia.
  • 05- This is the given code to the particular publisher and depending on the type and number of categories that they have applied for e.g. educational and non educational material, fictional or non fictional publishing will most likely have  separate set of codes under one publishing house. This as highlighted above will determine the register the book will queue in.
  • 8245- This is the serial or queue number for the book in the particular register.
  • 2- This is the check number or control number which is closely guarded on how the number is generated much like the coca cola formulae( …well, I of course am exaggerating ), in a publishing house it is mostly the publishing manager and a few selected executive who are preview on how it is formulated.

 

 

 

Author Publishing Agreement

When an author publishes a book with a given publisher it is evidently a partnership effort and copyrights are mostly held between the two partners. The content highlights of the agreement are; rights, third party copyrights, revision, proofs, copyright, competing work, publisher’s responsibility, publisher’s control, author’s copies, payment of royalties, termination, Arbitration and governing law. I will try to shed light on a few of the above contract headlines.

  • Publisher’s responsibilitythe publisher once they sign the agreement with the author are responsible for printing, promotional and advertising expenses, revision expenses etc.
  • Royalties – Normally an author is given a small percentage of the sales of the book say 8% this is dependent on the negotiating power of the author or his agent, that negotiating power is also determined by the profile of the author or ready audience of the material, for example a budding writer will receive a significantly lower earning than a well established writer. On the other hand if a very high profile individual would like to venture into sharing their experience in a book, they would most likely be given a significantly higher percentage on the royalties even when that will be their first book. Agents also play a significant role especially in a very sophisticated publishing market, hiring an agent would guarantee a significantly higher earning on book sales than a writer going it alone in such agreements, even though such agency services come at a fee, hence there would be need for a cost benefit analysis.
  • Licensing Agreement – Though mostly covered under royalties this very significant factor discusses the percentage of the earnings that a writer will get in the event that their material is licensed to a different market e.g. book being translated in French for the Franco-phone countries, adapted to film or television etc in such arrangements the author earns a significantly higher margin than actual book sales. These fees can be in the range of 40% to 50%.
  • Copyrights – These are mostly held by the author and any reprint, licensing, revision of the material in question should be done with the express permission of the author or his/her estate in the event of one’s demise.

Publishing Medium

Publishing material can come in the form of paper publishing (books), Audio dramatization and Electronic Files such as PDF, Kindle and others.

Paper publishing has been the near monopoly, until recently, as far as publishing material is concerned and there is just nothing more memorable, personal and gratifying than to hold your own copy of a book, were you are jotting down points, highlighting punch lines, gems of wisdom and the fact that you can build up a book shelf and eventually a library to demonstrate how much you have read (a lawyer’s Office… any one?).

However paper publishing has its limitations and because of that electronic files and audio publishing has resolved some of these challenges are:

  • Wear and Tear for paper published books; Audio and Electronic files do not suffer from such challenges,
  • Limited Convenience; with paper books you have to be in a certain position for you to consume the material which can be very uncomfortable and attention consuming but with other mediums such as Audio you do not face such limitations.

Speaking for myself I prefer buying both Audio and Paper books so that I can enjoy the best of both worlds, I am not a fun of Electronic text files such as PDF.

Online Library Subscriptions (Amazon’s Audible platform)

this is a very innovative platform in book publishing, think of it like the Netflix of Audio books, I would recommend that you add this to your book budget even though it does not give the ownership feeling that comes with buying your own copy of either paper book or even audio CD  it however can enable you to consume more books than you usually can, it has instant gratification, than the waiting period you have to endure when you learn of a wonderful book and  your local book store does not have it and you have been forced to order the book, it also has features that can recommend  the most selling books, expert and book club recommendations.

 

Conclusion

Book publishing and how well a country manages/values such a sub sector will determine the future and relevance of that country. In part two i will be arguing on the importance of telling our own stories as Zambia and as stated above the importance of Publishing in Zambia.

Taking Big Shots – Blog Introduction

Taking Big Shots

(Lux, Eruditio,Gloria)     

Blog Introduction

 Mumbi Mukasa – ‘Uwaponene kumulu’

In Bemba Folklore and Historiography there is a narrative of how the Bemba royalty (Abena Ng’andu) came about. A long time ago in Shi’ Luba Land ( North eastern Katanga, Central Eastern Congo DR) People had gone out in the bush and met a woman with big ears like an elephant, when they asked her who she was and where she was coming from she answered;
“I am Mumbi Mukasa I come from the sky, I have no people here.”
Whether or not Mumbi Mukasa or Nyambe from the Lozi Heritage had indeed came from the sky, is not the contention here. I am merely borrowing from these two glorious folklores in wanting to highlight the fact that as a Blogger, I am not Mumbi Mukasa, neither am I Nyambe I have where I am coming from. I am an avid reader desiring to grow my writing ability, a learner wanting to share what I have been taught, and a consumer that is finally eager to produce as well.
Having said that I would like to acknowledge Zambia’s very own bloggers, journalists and storytellers whose writings have inspired me and I have consumed over the years. This is to name, but a few:
• Harrison Muyeba Musonda – for storytelling.
• Edem Djokotoe – for newspaper feature, research and creative writing.
• Canicius Banda – for Prose Writing.
• Mbiji Mufalo – for philosophical and introspective reflections.
I am not mentioning these people to imply familiarity, as a matter of fact; I do not know any of the people mentioned above except for Mr. Harrison Musonda. Also regard is given to many Zambians who have authored books, fictional and non- fiction writing; you are my heroes. Writing for me is a gift I cherish and admire the most  of all God’s gifting’s.
Scope (Lux, Eruditio, Gloria –Light, Knowledge, Glory)
This blog will be covering topics that are; a book club or review column, a critique and an apology of the Christian faith, about Sharing Knowledge, contributing to our political/economic discussions, and celebrating Zambia’s beauty and glorious heritage.
Taking Big Shots
I have been writing staff for a long time and have not had the guts to share (even at the urging of my wife, family or other supportive people like Mr. Harrison Musonda) as I always found some grammatical or sentence construction error and always would postpone setting up a blog and share my pidgin* academic opinions, little knowledge acquired, share excitements about discoveries that I have made even when that information is obvious to other people and what not. Hence it is a big leap for me to start this publishing akin to taking a big shot (or penalty abena Zambia) in a high stake game. Also I will be tackling, over time, topics that are not so comfortable and critical be it religion, politics and anything that is relevant to Zambia or Africa… Oh! by the way, Bigshots is a nick name that I joyously accepted and was given to me by my former colleagues (Long Story, Short!)

Regards,
Clarence ‘Big Shots’ Mushota

 

 

*pidgin academician- Is I believe what they called Marcus Garvey, It was stated to mean, an individual philosophizing on matters on which they have not been academically reviewed or published.