It was a Wednesday around 9pm. The date was 21st March 2012. Exactly two years yesterday. My wife and I had just put our two kids to bed and were relaxing in our bedroom. Her phone rang and we ignored it. A second one came, we ignored it too. But when the third one came, we decided to take a look and see who it was. It was my mother-in-law.
We picked it and there she was on the other end crying uncontrollably. “Your dad is no more, please come”. The shock was instant and we both rebuked her for the nasty joke, but it was never one! The man who we saw in good health and hugged a couple of days back was gone for good. It is to this great man, Nedd Chitekwe Lozani, that I wish to dedicate my article today.
To be very honest, my first attraction to my wife’s family was this man’s life of chasing for quality. I fell in love with Nancy while trying to understand this man. And perhaps the man gave his blessing to have me marry his daughter because he saw the ‘quality potential’ in me. Well, he was a man who believed in quality and not quantity.
He drove one car but top of the range of his time and really took good care of it. He wore few but top quality suits. I only saw one watch on his wrist for all the time I knew him, a Seiko brand. He had one great looking and never fading sofa set for all the years I knew him until he added an extra Supreme set to accommodate his visiting grandchildren.
Among his investments, he had one maize mill but it I never saw it break down for he went for the best engines around. Last time I visited his office at an oil company he was working at, it was so well arranged with few but durable items. When he retired, he never changed his lifestyle; quality came before quantity to him. I copied his style but I wish I told him he was my mentor on quality. If I compromise sometimes, it’s simply because of my background and nothing more.
This is where this whole thing comes to: quality matters more than quantity like my father-in-law taught me. When you buy your clothes, for example, do you look for quality or quantity? Yes, wear what makes you feel comfortable but your image is equally important. The clothes you put on talk volumes about who you are and what you desire to be. Interacting with my father-in-law, I learnt an important underlying principle—go for quality and not quantity.
Why have a wardrobe full of kaunjika clothes when you can have a few value-for-money clothes? Of course, good-looking clothes come at a price but are durable unlike cheap things which don’t last and often lose their color (kusuluka). For the same amount of money, you are better off having two expensive top-market suits than five suits that make you look like a beggar every time you look at yourself in the mirror.
This does not only apply to clothes but even household merchandise such as furniture, electronics, and even going further to the kind of building materials you use when constructing a house. I would rather have a few durable and good looking things than have a whole pile of stuff that just take-up space in my house. Why have three sofa sets in a small house? Why have so many cheap wall hangings around your house? Don’t allow your house to look like a pimp’s—staffed with a lot of katundu. Useless katundu that just takes up space and adds neither ambience nor lasting personal satisfaction. Go for quality and not necessarily quantity.
Papa Nedd Lozani, this is dedicated to you for teaching me to appreciate quality over quantity. Rest in Peace!