Of Guest Posts

In the spirit of Blogging Means Community, I am making it official that:

My blog is open for posts from guest authors

How to Guest Post on becoming the muse

Submission Guidelines

Well, you can pretty much submit whatever you want, a poem, a story, a previously published post of yours, anything really, as long as it is not discriminatory and does not get me in trouble with any copyright infringement issues or arrested or killed by cute looking rabid bunnies or ninja clown assassins.

It would be preferable, you email me the body of the article in MS Word doc format with any accompanying images as separate attachments of the same email (if the images are not yours also include the credits) and if the article has been previously published also include the link to where it also appears

N.B. Also include a very very short bio, links to your socials and a profile picture to accompany the (even if your post is to be published as by an annynomous guest for those who have identity reservations)

Why Should You Consider Doing A Guest Posts?

I would like to think I have an awesome community behind my blog and you just might get yourself a new audience different from your normal circles

blog traffic

Guest posts are not only a great way of link building, growing your network and gaining new traffic for your blog outside of your regular circles but also an opportunity to explore content that you may not normally consider posting on yours perhaps due to your blogging niche or if you are a fly on the wall, yet you want to post something but you don’t have a blog yet or you just want to see what having a post on the internet feels like here’s your chance…….

You are welcome

~B

PS you don’t have to be a blogger or have a blog for your guest post to feature here, simply contact or email me and we will make a plan….. Oh and this not a paying gig, not yet but maybe one day.

I think I should even add a disclaimer at the bottom so the cute ninja bunny rabbit assassins don’t come after me, something like:

Disclaimer: Views expressed in Guest Posts are not necessarily views of the site owner…..

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Of Fake News: Stop, Reflect and Verify

In this new digital age of internet, instant messaging and social media, the insidious culture of misinformation and alternate fact has not only taken root but grown into the full fledged scourge of Fake News.

What is Fake News?

Fake news loosely refers to misleading, deceptive or even down right false information, peddled as a propaganda campaign or even a clickbait gimmick to attract visitors to sites, sometimes for “fairly harmless” reasons and pranks, in the pursuit for internet notoriety, publicity and traffic, other times for more sinister deliberate motives.

How can it be curbed?

Its both ridiculously easy and mind-bogglingly difficult, especially as fake news is propagated unknowingly; maybe you have even unwittingly shared fake news to your group or circles, if we all made a conscious effort to

Stop; before you press that forward button

Reflect; on the information

Verify; if its true

….. always share responsibly

Share responsibly

The next thing you share could just cause the death of someone, that’s how serious the consequences of fake news can get or be the spark to an already volatile situation, are you sure its true?

How to spot fake news:
1. Read beyond the article headlines
Some articles carry misleading or sensational titles and images as click-baits, the article content and its title might actually be worlds apart.

2. Check the source
Where did you get this article or information from, does it originate from the official site/source or one which you can trust? Check again, fake news peddlers can copy logos and colours of the reliable sources or even photoshop articles onto screenshots of from verified profiles. If in doubt don’t forward it or at least let whom you are sharing with know its unverified and not just quick to say breaking news

3. Check the author
After considering where you got the article consider who wrote it, are they reliable, or verified, making sure it really is from whom it says its from, similar to the source above

4. Look for supporting facts
Check if any credible sources support it, go ahead break the internet but its not your job to break the news, especially if you have not done the due diligence.

5. Check the dates
Something as simple as checking when an article was published could have change the context completely

6. Check Images
Some people share file footage as current and that’s when Google image reverse search is your friend, it can scout images on the internet for you

7. Determine who the audience is?
No one just writes open-endedly, there is always a target audience and a reason. Check to see if the article is not meant to simply trigger a response or manipulate you in a particular way, it might be meant to be a joke or satire

8. Ask the experts
Have go to people you can ask or verify with, even the traditional media houses issue updates on their social pages

9. Know the different types of content
Knowing if a publication is fact, opinion piece, a paid review, rumours, satire, or even fiction it will help put things into perspective.

10. Acquaint yourself with the fact checking services
The are various fact checking sites on the interweb such as

africacheck.org 

zimfact.org

You think you can spot misleading stories? try this quiz with general and Kenya-specific examples

~B

PS here’s my score I #pledge to #stopReflectVerify before sharing responsibly

You know your way around the internet and social media. You can resist the urge to forward or share a post as received

Photocredits: Stop Reflect and Verify YaliNetwork

Of Coffee, Rogue Elements and Blood Moons

If you were having coffee with me, well we woudnt be having coffee we would be trying out some freshly blended mango juice….

Good thing there’s mango trees in the backyard otherwise I would be unable to offer you much else, have a mango and wash it down with juice

 It’s been a traumatic week, strange how only last Sunday was calm but deceptively more like the calm before a storm; as the country burned the next day, following protests that turned violent and an even deadlier response by security forces that has left a bloody tally of death, destruction and ruthless victmisation.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you about the internet shutdown that resulted from a directive from the government to Internet Service providers ostensibly as security measure to stop protestors who were co-ordinating via social media and the internet but under whose cover, a violent crackdown of suspected protest instigators was carried out.

The way the internet was shutdown you would think they did  not realise it’s is a whole eco-system and switching it off not only disrupts the digital economy but denies people access to affordable communication and stifles freedom of expression or maybe they do and it scares them, to quote Game of thrones

“When you tear out a man's tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you're only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”


“When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”


Tyrion Lannister; Game Of Thrones

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that the way the internet has been switched on and off in the past week is reminiscent of a toddler discovering the power button on the remote control and keeps pressing it, you would they found a new toy.

This shutting down of the internet seems to be the new trend, as governments figure out that if you cant control it, shut it down.

“It is not even the second month of the new year and we have had significant internet shutdowns in four African countries,”


Berhan Taye, who leads the #KeepItOn campaign for global digital rights group Access Now.

I used to think my government would never do that but nope I was wrong, as Zimbabwe joined the list with the DRC, Gabon and Sudan. They read from the same Book Of Tricks it seems from contested elections to violent crackdown of opposition its not unique to one country.

At least for now the internet has been restored after a second black but partially (again) with limitations to social media sites who knows for how long?

Telone advises restoration of internet after shutdown
Zimbabwe
internet restoration after shut down

I can predict its going to be tough for internet dependent enterprises when parliament finalises the Cyber Security Bill to minimize threat that is the internet; who knows maybe they will even throw in stringent licensing and registrations requirements like they tried to do for bloggers in Tanzania and all sorts taxes along the lines of Uganda’s social media tax…

Oh no! Maybe I am giving them ideas right now!!…….

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that during a joint press conference of the police and army a statement was issued that basically blamed what happened in the past week as being perpetrated by army deserters, and wait for it rouge elements who stole army uniforms and were masquerading as security forces but how does it explain them having standard issue military guns or using state vehicles, its all very confusing cause earlier they had blamed labour movements, civic organisations and the opposition and for the second time again #ThisFlag movement charged with trying to subvert a constitutionally elected government…

 Looks like we should brace ourselves for more raids as they try to flush out the rogue elements and probably more internet disruptions, unless an appeal to the constitutional court set for Monday accomplishes anything but I have long since lost faith in the ability of the judiciary to uphold the constitution, waiting for them to surprise and as for people trying to reach out to SADC and the AU, did you know Zimbabwe’s president is the incoming Deputy Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security

Mnangagwa deputy chairman security sadc organ security

If you were having coffee with me, we would be having mango juice I think it tastes great though somewhat pulp

Are you staying up to watch the blood moon tonight ? I would not miss it for the world, the moon and I have an arrangement, wherever you are looking at the moon know I will be looking at the same moon too

~B

Of Genevieve Nnaji’s Lionheart A review

Movie review

Netflix premiered Genevieve Nnaji’s movie Lionheart  as the first Nollywood Original flicks; in a whooping $3,8 million deal that saw Genevieve become the first Nollywood billionare.

Netflix presents Lionheart a film by Geneive NNaji

I have had this movie cued to my watch list since its premiere on the 4th of January and seeing I had extra data to burn, courtesy of the internet shutdown on social media, I decided why not now…….

African Movies particularly from Nigeria (Nollywood) had for a long time set a predictable precedent on the nature and theme of African movies, usually along the lines of witchcraft, dark arts, infidelity and characters in stereotypical roles; the medicine man with the weird eye make-up, the cohort of powerful associates practicing disturbing rituals in communion with even stranger deities for riches and more power, the evil mother-in-law, the back stabbing uncle and the know-it-all gateman……..

To be fair though the movies weren’t all like this but a lot of them followed this formula, when you find a winning formula you normally stick to it. After you watched a couple of them you would be sufficiently creeped out that if you were invited to Nigeria you would be kinda afraid of winding up either as a sacrifice for a ritualistic killing or converted into worshiping some Mami Wata or under water dwelling spirit.

Lionheart is a delightful afternoon breeze on a hot afternoon’s day, it’s a breakthrough movie exploring the subtler themes; family and tradition, patriarchy and gender empowerment and even ethnic relations mixed together in an easy moving plot, set in the corporate world and a conversational script with non-over-the-top comedy yet quite funny. That’s how I will summarise it without giving away spoilers in case you are considering watching it…..

“Lionheart” is an inspiring drama about family values, succession, and most importantly, female empowerment. It highlights the various challenges faced by women, particularly in male-dominated industries.

Genevieve Nnaji

Nkem Oweh (of the Osoufia role fame) is in it this time plays quite a surprisingly grounded character Godswill but none the less still ends up being one of the memorables.

Godswill Nkem Oweh Lionheart
"Keep talking" Nkem Oweh Lionheart

Pete Edochie is cast in his usual boss role, owning it and dropping gems.

I've come to realise that most men invest all their time in matters of transient value, at the expense of what they should cherish, what they should value like love, life, family.
Lionheart movie quote

I’ve come to realise that most men invest all their time in matters of transient value, at the expense of what they should cherish, what they should value like love, life, family.

Lionheart
The biggest legacy... I would leave for posterity... is you
lionheart movie quote

The biggest legacy… I would leave for posterity… is you

Lionheart
You are the pendulum of my life. If you stop swinging, then I am done

Lionheart movie quote

You are the pendulum of my life. If you stop swinging, then I am done

lionheart

Geneviève Nnaji, what can I say without sounding  like I am totally fan boying, because I have been a fan since forever. During an interview with WomenandHollywood.com she had this to say on why she choose to be a filmmaker:

I’ve always had a hunger for visual storytelling. There is so much material out there that is still untold — countless real-life stories from within and outside Africa, and today, we have the chance to tell it ourselves. My hope is that Africans will have adequate representation globally, and be given a seat at the table in big studio productions as we continue to grow and improve from within the continent.


I also believe that my generation of women need to continue to work at paving a path better than the one that exists today for the future generation of women in film

Genevieve Nnaji

I loved the movie however there’s this thing about being writer, director, executive producer and star of your own production, the whole movie becomes about the main character and the other characters wind up sidelined……

There were subplots that felt undeveloped or rushed through, if not sacrificed for the movie to stay in the 1hour 30 minutes viewing time, then in favour of the main story and plot which is what stops it from getting a perfect rating from me, unless its got a sequel.

Oh there’s a cameo appearance from one half of the Peter and Paul duo PSquare; Peter Okoye and the scene opens with him playing a piano intro of their track Omoge Mi one of my faves

Omoge mi Peter Okoye as Arinze in Lionheart

Final Verdict

Watch it, I have watched it three times, found it to be a much needed diversion from the current events, if you have watched or would watch it lemme know, and also do share if you are a fan of Nollywood movies.

~B

PS Turns out I was wrong they saved the gatemen for the cutscene after the credits just before it fades to black

the know it all gateman lionheart endscene

Of The Anatomy Of An Internet Shutdown

Imagine waking up on the morning of the third day of a mass protest to shut down the country thats turned violent; there’s a message from your service Mobile Network Operator telling you that they have been directed to switch off the internet.

internet shutdown

You arent really surprised, because it explains how you failed to reach anyone when you spent the past day trying to contact friends, family and others to see if they safe amidst tales of the heavy handed response by the security forces to the protesters and rumours of horror abductions in the middle of the night…..

Zimbabweans who use Econet mobile network provider woke up to this text message in their inbox:

Further to a warrant issued by the Minister of state in the president's office for national security through the presdent's dept, acting in terms of the interception of communications act, internet services are currently suspended across all networks and internet service providers

No doubt the government is pawning off social media and the internet for being used to incite violence and rally protesters by unscrupulous agents  bent on causing alarm, disorder and  tarnish the country’s image at  time the president is abroad, trying to woo investors to Zimbabwe and decided we needed time out ….. from the internet.

naughty kid

Initially, there had been restriction to access on social media sites, namely Facebook, Twitter and the instant messenger platform Whatsapp but someone must have pointed out the futility of such a move as various VPN methods people were being circulated; informing the public on what to do in the event of an internet block and they decided to go the ultimate route of shutting all internet access in Zimbabwe.

 Instantly taking us back, years back, in technological advancement, back to the dark ages with the only means of communication being phone calls and sending good old fashioned texts like its 2008 and we haven’t been introduced to basic GPRS packet data service.  

Emails weren’t working, online transactions weren’t going through and remember, we live in a cashless economy courtesy of the crippling cash shortages and mobile banking not working because, hello internet……

I feel so blind without the internet, it has come to become an integral part of my existence, I am a digital storyteller after all and the internet is my eyes, ears and at times it’s the cricket on my shoulder on the place where my watchdog should be.

The void that separates us, the internet fills it up, making a bridge imagine, if that bridge just disappears, leaving us in isolated islands of solitude not knowing the welfare of anyone else but yours…..

Our constitution clearly states:

61. Freedom of expression and freedom of media

1. Every person has the right to freedom of expression, which includes—
(a) Freedom to seek, receive and communicate ideas and other information;
(b) Freedom of artistic expression and scientific research and creativity
(c) Academic freedom

>

>
5. Freedom of expression and freedom of the media do not include—
(a) Incitement to violence
(b) Advocacy of hatred or hate speech
(c) Malicious injury to a person’s dignity or
(d) Malicious or unwarranted of a person’s right to privacy

The government’s shutting down of the internet for everyone indiscriminately, walks is lowkey infringes upon the right to freedom of expression.

Image result for shutdown internet

Yes, granted misguided elements might have used it to spread inflammatory messages on the social media spaces but would that warrant a total internet shutdown?

Image result for shutdown internet

If yes, does that mean we should shut down all communications too, if its deemed people are communicating with each other, plotting to protest? How about even declaring everyone walk around with a muzzle and not speaking because some words which come out of people’s mouths would push people to episodes of violence……. where do we draw the line

Image result for gag order

…….and once they realise they can get away with shutting down the internet, all the atrocities and human right violations they can get away with under the cover of an internet blackout;

what will stop them from switching off the internet with impunity in the future?

Switch of the internet in case of dissent

At least internet service has been partially restored with restrictions.

….and if one day you stop by my blog and find no recent updates; please check up on me ♥♥♥♥

~B

59 Freedom to demonstrate and petition
Every person has the right to demonstrate and to present petitions, but these rights must be excised peacefully

Of the fuel hike that fueled protest

When I wrote my last post, Coffee and the domino effect I was merely speculating on how the close to 145% fuel price increase would have a domino effect; resulting in the eventual rise of everything else.

The Domino effect

With the government insisting that the surrogate bond currency is 1:1 with the United States Dollar we could easily have the most expensive fuel in the world.

global fuel prices as at 14 january 2019

The fuel price hike announced on Sunday the 13th, also fueled a wave of unrest, as a planned three day peaceful protest by workers union and civic activists to shutdown the country, calling upon citizens to do mass stayaways, to send a message to the government of their plight in the current economic climate turned violent, with clashes with police and destruction of property, lootings.

The are conflicting reports on the actual numbers but several people have died and scores others injured from the onset of the protests (on Monday 14th of January.)

I wonder if we will have another commission of inquiry again like the one we had after the August 1 killings when people were shot during a protest; this time the blame will be placed on civilians shooting at each other as there is footage of a casually dressed individual with an assault rifle.

Word on the street is that they are members of security forces dressed as civilians for deniability

Meanwhile; the president chartered a Dreamliner 787-8 (which I hear charges a pretty penny by the hour) aircraft on a visit to Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and then attend the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland

Its Day 2 of the #ShutDownZim protest and there is an uneasy unrest, practically deserted CBDs, what happens next……

After looking at reports of people who were posting messages of missing school children who had not made it home in the evening last, it just reminded me on the importance of kids knowing their home addresses and phone numbers of next of kin, maybe move around with a note in their bag with contact details of their guardians and relations.

Do call  up on your friends and family and just check in; as we wait for normalcy to prevail; though I am not even sure what normalcy is anymore.

I have had to read and re-read this post to make sure I am not stepping on any toes, maybe normalcy means simply persevering in silence and trying to not talk about the politics that creeps into every aspect our lives where democracy simply means picking who will loot the country next,

Bad things have a way of happening to those who dare act or speak out ……..

~B

PS I have been failing to upload this post all morning, I don’t know if the government has carried out its threat to shutdown the internet…..

Update: The Internet got shutdown in Zimbabwe; Tuesday 15 January 2019 at approx 10am CAT

Note: images from the protests are not mine nor do I own any rights to them

Of Coffee And The Domino Effect

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you if you knew that a shadow appears something is in the way of light, before you answered quickly yes you knew that; I would stop you and say you think you know but have you really thought about it, a flame casts no shadow……

A flame casts no shadow

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that these are type of conversations we had in a fuel queue, to pass time during the over 3 hour wait in a fuel queue to get petrol.

Fuel queue in zimbabwe
Super chibuku in a fuel queue

I have heard people joke that Zimbabwe might be in the Guinness Book Of Records for having the longest fuel queue, well it might not be a true fact but we have had some pretty crazy fuel queues.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that we stuck it through with a very long fuel queue because word on the streets was that effective midnight (13 January) the fuel price would go up and true to the word the president was on national TV announcing that fuel was going to go up by over 100% from about $1.50;
Petrol now cost $3.31 per litre and diesel $3.11

Even though the president assured the nation that the prices for everything else would remain the same, you wont need to be an economic analyst to predict the domino effect; how the fuel price hike will probably trigger an increase in transport driven services and by extension an increase in the prices for services as everyone simply passes on the cost along their chain and pretty much everything else will go up too; even things that are not affected directly by the fuel price increase will rise courtesy of an entrepreneur trying to cushion themselves from the rising consumer bucket.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that the civil servants sector in the past week refused a proposed 10% pay increase by the government. With the least paid government employee earning about $400 then that would translate to a $40 pay increase which would barely cover anything especially now in light of the 100+% fuel price increase. Its interesting noting how different newspapers phrased the headlines for the civil servant pay increase.

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that now looks like a good time to start looking into ways of alternative transport or even alternative fuels for vehicles, we have a tremendous amount of sunshine this side of the world, yet I have never seen a solar powered vehicle, where are all these genius ideas and concepts…..Maybe I should have a chat with Elon Musk if you know how I can contact him please holla at me.

solar powered car 
green energy

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you I am grateful that once you learn how to ride a bicycle you can never forget because looks like a bicycle might just become my preferred economic mode of transportation

Riding a bicycle

“A bicycle is curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.”


John Howard

What’s going on in your neck of the woods? Here’s to an awesome week ahead

~B

PS would the price of internet access be affected by a rise in the fuel price, it shouldn’t right?…..

Of Coffee And Back to….

If you were having coffee with me, I would ask you if there is a standard number of days into the year, in which it would still be acceptable to wish someone a HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Here is a clip of my dreadful brothers and welcoming you to a 2019.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that on New Year’s Eve we did the thing we do every year and sang the sun up into the New Year.

dread singing the sun up

Because the New Year’s sun wont rise until we sing it up…..

We are seven days into the New Year and it doesn’t feel that new; feels pretty much like the last one but older and starting off like a video game cranked up to the hardest difficulty level.

video game difficulty level

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that January is usually known as an austere month after having overspend during the holiday season resulting in the dreaded January Disease.

January disease

Compound this with a runaway economy were prices can go up by +300% from the last time you checked but strangely enough people’s salaries (for those fortunate enough to be employed) remain the same; corporates seem to be looking out for number one and the government seems to be only good at making promises, threats and compromises.

Earlier in the past week a local beverages firm, Delta Beverages released a communication about changing their pricing to accept only hard currency and not the surrogate bond currency or local electronic transfers as they needed to source forex to pay for imported supplies.

delta beverages

The long arm of the government was prompt to point out “the error” of their ways on how such a move ran counter productve to the multi-currency economy that the country runs and how if they were facing challenges, they should have honoured their social contract first and approached relevant stakeholders first instead of just making public announcements (that unsettle and confuse the citizens)

Delta corporation and RBZ agreement

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that the government seems to have “difficulties” coming to an understanding with the striking doctors but find it curious that it had to take over a month before any sort of progress had been made yet they resolved the Delta Corporation case within 24 hours one wonders about priorities…..

Politicians should use government hospitals

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you growing up one of the things I hated the most were those back to school adverts especially at the beginning of the year reminding you that the holidays are over and its time to learn…….

Image result for back to school chalkboard

Sending kids to school is also quite the hustle with the way the pricing of school uniforms an fees is set up and all the accessories that go with, and it doesn’t help that some schools only accept uniforms from the accredited suppliers (read that as the more expensive ones like its some sort of cartel)

If you are having coffee with me, I would tell you, it also looks like school teachers are also gearing up to start a strike of their own maybe schools wont even open on schedule….

But hey in a country with 10% formal employment everyone is a hustler and entrepreneurs will tell you that while you only see difficulties they are seeing opportunities and raking it in; sometimes I think the whole country  has misplaced priorities, look out for number one seems the order of the day..

Compliments of the New year;

feeling the warmth of the New Year’s sun

behind closed eyelids,

dreaming of brighter days……..

Ras beaton 
dreaming of brighter days

Have an awesome week and year and thanks for dropping by……… and get back to whatever it is you do during the year when not holidaying!!!

~B

PS RESOLUTIONS FOR WHAT ????????