A CHAT FROM LONDON : Prostate cancer, Oxfam, phone zombies and London’s latest...

Friday February 23 2018

Fredy Macha is a writer and musician  based in

Fredy Macha is a writer and musician  based in London.Blog,www.fredymachablogspot. 

By Freddy Macha

Last week a group of us males sat in a pub chatting about regular health checkups. Most repeated topic was the current number one man killer – prostate cancer. A recent theme - the best way to avoid fatality is to identify symptoms and dealing with ailment. We kept laughing about one lingering question...

How do you feel when a doctor inserts a gloved finger up your backside to deduce the size of your prostate gland? Apart from a blood test – this tends to be best option to ensure early, correct diagnosis.

And thus we conversed.


“I do it ...once a year.”

Several nods.


“Me, too. I used to feel embarrassed, but I don’t mind, anymore.”

More nods.

“I have become used to it. Safety, brav. Safety.”

A loud laughter, crass, contemptuous, disagreed: “I am a black man. There is no way I would let someone stick a finger up my...”

Silence. Laughter. Silence.

Uncomfortable shuffling.

We looked at the guy. In his mid 50s...an age when signs and indications of prostate problems begin. Frequent urination, painful ejaculation, erectile dysfunction...

Prostate--is alongside lung and breast--considered the top three cancers.

An article by respected BBC presenter, 83 year old Michael Parkinson last Saturday’s Mail, cautioned:

“There is still a taboo about discussing our genitals: no man feels comfortable admitting ... he’s had difficulties down there. That doesn’t apply to women. Thanks to the good sense and courage of many female stars, discussion of all sorts of breast treatment, beginning with a regular self examination for lumps, is open and normal. That has saved countless lives...”

Statistically female deaths from breast cancer have shrunk since 2015- while men’s continue to soar, explode and rise. Every now and then we hear someone famous, left us, due to the prostate menace. In January, we lost South African jazz musician, Hugh Masekela to what? Prostate. That word.

Ongoing campaigns in the UK insist that while we are happy with the slowing down of female fatalities (from breast cancer), something need be done for guys. One of this is awareness and regular examinations.

Item two is also about men....

During the 1970s till mid-1990s, a known football coach is alleged to have sexually abused young boys under his care. These youngsters were entrusted into his filthy paws by parents keen to have sons become future sporting stars. Barry Bennell (pictured) is currently in prison serving several life sentences. At least 43 counts of indecent assault were mentioned in court. Lately.

The surfacing of Bennell’s behaviour exploded after 86 men (majority in their 50s onwards, now), reported to the police. And it is not only Bennell – legal plans against the Premier League and Manchester United club have been reported. Allegedly because complaints against the then charismatic trainer were pulled under the carpet by these organisations...

We are living in intense times. Not a week passes without some major revelation of past evilly committed acts. Both victims and perpetrator are Wazee. Meaning justice eventually, wins. Crime does not pay.

Third item is of a sexual nature too.

The much respected international aid charity, OXFAM, has been beset with a scandal resulting in UK ministries and international companies vowing to cut off funding that helps poor countries. This is a result of revelations that underage women were allegedly used as prostitutes in Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake. 123 incidents of sexual misconduct were investigated. Among those involved are senior and junior stuff including the boss himself, Belgian born, Roland Van Hauwermeiren. This gentleman worked in Liberia, Bangladesh and Chad. It was also revealed that the normal procedure of doing criminal police checks to Oxfam staff was not followed. A whistleblower made several serious allegations that keep on rumbling.

It made me question how NGOs operate in developing countries. How are local vulnerable personnel treated? If a jobless, ill educated young African is looking for employment and faces corruption who will help? Can those in power be trusted?

Last are phone zombies.

On several occasions I have highlighted how the mobile phone generation is so attached to 21st century gadgets. To the older guard there is a mixture of traditional (speaking, shaking hands, etc) and up to date ways (social media and computers), while the younger ones just adore online communication. Phone zombies describes those walking while texting and not being aware of immediate surroundings.

As a warning, police issued clips showing how thieves on mopeds (small motorbikes), blitz and grab phones from unsuspecting victims. Figures issued through BBC indicated 291 offences during October 2016 to November 2017 in highly commercial area of Oxford Circus, only. Usually phone zombies get angry when they bump into someone or other objects. No “sorries” said. The “out of control” attitude is still growing, blossoming and mushrooming.