Metaphysics · Metascience · Pulamadibokgo

The Philosophy of Adversity

The Philosophy of Adversity
By Mocholoko Dr. Zulumathabo Zulu © 2022

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The Preamble

In this article, we philosophise about adversity. The question is: What is adversity? The Urban Dictionary (September et al, 2007) defines adversity as a state of affliction or hardship or calamitous event that prevents success or development. This is the best heterodox definition I have come across (see reference section).

This calamitous event of adversity is the focus of this article from an African philosophy point of view. As a people who have been subjected to extreme forms of adversity like (1) land dispossession; (2) genocides; (3) extraction of natural resources; (4) marginalisation and (5) miseducation about reality, we are supposed to be World class scholars and practitioners of metaphysical science of adversity.

By the way, we must also include Tsheresene (psychological science) of sexist/racist behaviour patterns and the daily aggressions that the indigenous peoples of the World are subjected to and yet are muzzled and blackmailed into silence about these things.

The fish is undefined by the salty environment. Picture Credit: NOAA, United Nations University.

This is like being deprived of oxygen. How can you breath without your rightful access to oxygen? As if that is not bad enough, people are also subjected to internecine conflicts like the internecine conflict between Russia and Ukrain. This tells us that adversity is also about divide and conquer. Adversity is thus divisive. Russians and Ukrainians use the same MiGs and Sukhois against each other. The Suzerains have been successful in dividing the Russian clan so that it fights against itself.

At least, I have broadened the scope of adversity. My aim in this article is not political but philosophical. I want you to understand the philosophy of adversity. This raises the question: What is philosophy? Why philosophy of adversity? Why should we care?

Our philosophy comes from the word Nahanosene, a Sesotho word for philosophy. How does Nahanosene conceptualise about philosophy?

We break down Nahanosene as follows:

{Na – Spirit; Naha – Ground/Land; No – Metaphysical state of the Spirit; Sene – dexterity of wisdom}. You can learn more about this kind of philosophy in the The Sacred Knowledge of the Desert: African Philosophical Transcendence} (see reference section).

Essentially, Nahanosene (philosophy) in this article and aforementioned book is about a dexterous wisdom with a predicate upon Na/Nya (the spirit of reality and essence).

In this way, the philosophy of adversity is about the spirit of reality and essence. This is not your common abstract philosophy. This is about the reality of the experience. Without further ado, we present The Philosophy of Adversity.

The Philosophy of Adversity

By Mocholoko Dr. Zulumathabo Zulu © 2022

despite steeped in adversity,

batch of trials evokes anxiety.
Despite victorious experience gained
the tribulations reappear,
like a fresh challenge from the rear.
To make me feel like a beginner
Yet to philosophise about adversity

to tackle a hard curveball,
despite errors by the wall.
Fluent solver skills like devoid
To see through despite the dark void
despite faith that diminishes,
we rise from the ashes.
Like the philosophical Phoenix that rises

Contextual Commentary

A brave spirit possesses three skills of the moral code to enhance survivability in the terrestrial space namely (1) perseverence during injury; (2) cogent reasoning during uncertainty and (3) optimisation during adversity like an eternal optimist.

Perseverence During Injury

A protagonist; audacious and graceful mind is needed to expend serious effort to persevere during injury like the great Phiri Ya Manka (Hyena) who fought back with a tenacious effort against the killing machines of the mighty lions on the treacherous grounds of the African grassland in spite of her grivious injuries teaching us to resist and to shrug off those who seek to subjugate us. There are no excuses to justify retreat from the emancipation struggle to regain our sacrosanct and sovereign independence. We must exhibit resilience in the face of formidable adversity.

This kind of stubborn resistance is the most powerful force like the seismic wave of the shifting tectonic plates. A stubborn resister is good when he is right like the unbought and the unsold architect of destiny that vibrates as he was intended to vibrate in accordance with the ancestral vibration of those who have gone before us.

Cogent Reasoning During Uncertainty

The inductive; analytical and interpretive skills are the tools of the mind of the protagonist to enhance cogent reasoning during uncertainty to cast out doubts; to overcome indecision and to set aside ambivalence. Indecision is a thief of time and the longer you hang around it the more you lose ground to those who seek to subjugate you. It is through the cogency of thought processing that we can enhance our survival experience in spite of the perturbations of the terrestrial space.

Optimisation During Adversity

In accordance with the book The Sacred Knowledge of the Desert: African Philosophical Transcendence, we must not allow the adverse conditions to define us. The book defines transcendence as “undefined”. The implications of this heterodox lexical definition is that you must remain “undefined” regardless of the extent of adversity. You must be like a buoyant fish that remains unsalted in spite of being steeped in the harsh salty water. You must be cognitively aware of the volatile memory that may betray you during adversity.

The Volatile Memory

In ball play, you are allowed to keep the scorecard and to accumulate the rehearsal gains while playing; dribbling and tackling the ball to the ground. This means the experience of play is cummulative and translates into a set of honed skills that you can later use and transfer to other situations. You can go on to be a recognised star and even win awards.

In adversity, you are not allowed to keep the scorecard to accumulate the rehearsal gains. This means when you tackle the hard ball of adversity to the ground and gain lengthy experience as a result of the tactical advances you make against adversity, there is no scorecard to store the gains made. The gains get erased when you disconnect from the situation of adversity. Next time the hard ball of adversity gets thrown at you, you feel like a beginner as confirmed by the anxiety that sets in like you have never tackled the ball to the ground before. Thus, adversity comes from the rear like a fresh challenge to unbalance you.

Notwistanding, this is a fact of life and we must make peace with it and be graceful about it. The life must go on while recharging our spiritual batteries. Even the great Seagull that boasts a powerful vertical lift with educated wings is always graceful during his initial takeoff.

He boasts an incredible finesse but is not allowed to enjoy a seamless flight on account of the gusty winds that ruffle his feathers. In spite of the asymmetrical configuration between the heavens and the terrestrial ball, the amphibious Seagull embraces life full of zest and unmindful of the turbulance that intercepts his flight.

We conclude with The Prayer of the Intercept (Zulu, 2022), as follows:

The Prayer of the Intercept
By Mocholoko Dr. Zulumathabo Zulumathabo © 2022

Like a bird with broken wings
I pray for the cosmic rings
To thwart the intercept
That resulted in broken wings
To heal my broken wings
To strengthen my wings
To sharpen my beak
That I may rise with vertical lift
like the effortless Seagull that rises
unimpeded by the terrestrial intercept

La Lucha En Espanol

Sin embargo, la lucha debe continuar! No rendirse! Nunca jamas porque el destino es nuestro! Nosotros debemos derrotar las cadenas vestigiales de la esclavitud y CEC (colonialismo eurocristiano)! La melanina debe sobrevivir en la jungla, para ser el arquitecto del destino no comprado y no vendido como estaba destinado a ser por los antepasados africanos.

The Struggle in English

Notwithstanding, the struggle must continue! No surrender! Never never because the destiny is ours! We must defeat the vestigial chains of slavery and ECC (Euro-Christian Colonialism)! The Melanin must survive in the jungle, as the unbought and unsold architect of destiny as it was meant to be by the African ancestors who have gone before us. Haba bokwe Baholo! Thokoza Makhosi! High Veneration to the Ancestors!

Listen To SAFM Radio Podcast


September et al (2007). Adversity. Urban Dictionary. (accessed April 10, 2022).

The Prayer of the Intercept. (accessed April 10, 2022).

Zulu, Z. (2014). The Sacred Knowledge of the Desert: African Philosophical Transcendence: Madisebo University College Press.
Amazon: (accessed April 10, 2022). Zulu, Z. (2022).

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