Of Clamped

You park your car; pay for your parking space for the next hour and then; this happens, what do you do?

harare parking

Coming back to my vehicular transportation and and and finding its been clamped.

A clamped tyre

A distinctively yellow hideous excuse of a handcuff hugging one of the wheels tightly, like a crazy lover who won’t let you go; forever…..

“What’s this?” I ask the Parking Marshall, kicking at the offending yellowness with the toe-end of my shoe.

It’s been clamped Sir” replies the Marshall; fiddling around with their mobile parking receipt machine.

Parking Marshall

Slowly I count to ten and exhale.

I can see that it’s been clamped” I speak with a calmness that belies the fury by which I punctuate each word with a kick to the clamped tyre.
Why has it been clamped? I paid my dollar for the hour and I still have time on clock too

You have an outstanding unpaid parking bill of $2” replies the Parking Marshall.

May I know when I incurred this parking bill and why you did not inform me of this earlier when I paid for parking? Why did you wait until I had gone to clamp my car, like a thief in the night except its daylight robbery.” I speak gesturing at the midday sun.

Unfortunately Sir, my system doesn’t show unpaid___”

I interrupt before the marshall can finish that ridiculous sentence;
Then pray tell, how did you divine that I had a parking bill

My supervisor from Control called to notify me of the outstanding amount and advised I clamp your vehicle. The system there has access to that information. I can call Control and you can speak to them if you wish” the parking attendant tries to explain.

No!” I quickly respond tersely. After a few second of silence I proceed to raise my points of concerns.

…….And how would I know that the person I am speaking to is from your parking company and not someone you are in cahoots with to swindle me of an easy buck. I am not refusing to pay, I simply want to know first of all when these supposed parking violations occurred and secondly I want to see it on something official. I will simply not just take you or your supervisor’s word alone.

The Parking Marshall then makes a phone call and speaks briefly, I do not catch the conversation but she attempts to hand me phone mouthing the word “my Supervisor“. I refuse I flat out, shaking my head of locks, like a ghost from Macbeth.

I don’t want to talk to that person if that’s your Supervisor, tell them what I told you.

The Marshall converses on the phone and must have come to some sort of understanding with the person on the other end.

My supervisor says he can send you an email statement,” the Marshall relays.

I hand over my business card with an email address at the back and the Parking Marshall passes on the information.

If it’s OK with you I will wait in the car” I say as I unlock the car and sit inside.

It’s a good thing I can check emails from my phone; so I wait and wait, I wait forever boredom begins to set in. I start the car, for fun. The Marshall looks at me in alarm, as if I might be crazy enough to drive off.

Fortunately before I can test the theory of how crazy I can get, the phone beeps an alert, new email notification. Opening the email I scroll through the itemised bill I scroll and scroll till I find the two entries.

parking

October 2017 according to their records the vehicle parked and did not pay; how can anyone verify something from 8 months ago; who was even driving? What if they just randomly pick dates from long ago and claim unpaid parking fees; I mean the car has a steady history of paid parking;  why did they not pick up on the amount due earlier if they have a computerised system but of course arguing with the Parking Marshall is pointless because The System does not negotiate, especially once your car is clamped, The System wants money.

I pay the $2 and the car gets unshackled…. It’s a good thing I have no other appointments or I would have been two hours late………

Where are the City Fathers and what kinda of Mickey Mouse operation is the prepaid parking company running?????

~B

 

 

 

 

 

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Of Coffee With Lerato: Wandering Through Africa

 

Of coffee with Lerato: Wandering Through Africa On Faith

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that I am honoured to have a well-travelled guest with quite the wanderlust; Lerato Mogoatlhe here with us.

Lerato M

~B: Hi Lerato we can call you Lerato right or you have an alias you best known as?

L: I’m so happy about our coffee. There is nothing I love more than conversations with like-minded people, you know, we who are passionate to the point of being obsessed with Africa. My friend Astou Fall nicknamed me Vagabond…and @MadamAfrika, which is my name on Twitter and Instagram. I love them both but MadamAfrika has our continent in there so call me Madam Afrika, please.

~B: Alrighty then. Hello Madam Afrika; first thing’s first because in my world, there’s only two kinds of people: Tea or Coffee?

L: Coffee, buna, kahawa. Sorry tea – I’m not a morning person and you are not known to up an upper!!!

Lipton tea bag

Walk to the grocery store instead of taking a car

~B: How many countries have you been to and where did you have your most memorable cuppa?

L: 21. This question is a trick. You are trying to pick a favourite child among many. None the less, Sudan, Khartoum. I stayed in Al Amarat while there. A short walk from my hotel was an old woman who with a simple coffee stall on the street. Very basic: a small table, a couple of kettles to boil her water, drinking glasses and jars with coffee, ginger, sugar  and cardamom. I’d sit quietly with her and we would communicate with our smiles. It was such a tender and loving way to start my mornings.

Al Amarat

Al Amarat

Coffee spot

Coffee Spot in Al Amarat

~B: I am in awe though, did you just wake up one day and decide “Right; I want to travel!” and upped and left just like. *finger snap*

L: Have you met me? I do not do snaps. It looks like it but trust me, my obsessive mind would never. let me. The moment is always a snap of the finger but the destiny was signed a long time ago. I was around 8 when we were taught about ancient Egypt at school. I still remember the awe, staring at a poster of the Sphinx. I still catch some of the teacher’s words: the great Pyramid, Seven wonders of the ancient world.

This made me realise that the world is far bigger than anything I can imagine, and that history goes waaaaay back to a time that I will only ever know through words and whatever is leftover from its time. I also told myself that I’m going to see the pyramids. I read Things Fall Apart at 13 going to 14 and my mind went to work again: these markets, the traditional wrestling, cowrie shells, palm wine…I wanted to see and taste them and that means going where they are. Around this age I also read a book that introduced me to Jollof rice – and drumroll, there goes my mind. I was blown away to discover that there are other ways to enjoy rice other than plain and boiled. In between there is more African literature and music and it all made me curious.

The backdrop of it is being raised on a steady diet of Black Pride and at some stage my uncle’s Pan Africanism. We are extremists, my uncle and I, so every idea and aspiration was measured against Africa, down to the littlest details and the conclusion I made by the time I hit my early twenties; that the world is great, but Africa is affirming. Listen, I wanted to learn French for the longest time and when I told my uncle he called me out. ”Only an inferiority complex makes you shed yourself” he said, and there is nothing lost than an African who buys into the propaganda of our inferiority…why learn French when I could not speak IsiXhosa, he argued. 

So my life has always Africa first, middle and last.

Then I worked as a journalist and became increasingly unhappy with Africa being written as doom and gloom. I am a doer, so I left to rewrite the narrative.  Africa is my destiny and fits into every component of my life and interests, if you get want I mean. Every time I question and explore my identity, the answer is always Africa.

Jebel Barkal

Now to get to leaving. I went to Accra on a media trip in 2006 for four days, that introduced me to blackness as I will never experience it in South Africa for as long as apartheid is not fully dismantled: pride, glory, power…man…do you know what it feels like to see yourself as a servant all your life when you do not consider yourself one?  So even being in a supermarket in Accra and seeing that everyone from owner and manager to the packer was black was affirming. I made the decision to quit my life in SA while in Accra. I kept it quiet (silence is golden) until November 2007 when I start telling friends that I’m leaving in 2008. The only thing “snap” was going with the 23rd of June. I may not know the moment when it will happen, but the destiny has been sealed.

~B: What was your plan did you have a travelling companions besides of course FAITH.

L: By myself. I roll solo. It is faster. It has focus. I consider myself quiet the Philosoblah, and have always believed that how we come into this life tells you have everything you need to know – even people who share a womb come out of it and into life alone. Company is great but some things can only be done alone. The biggest dream of my life had to be MY moment, not our moment. Gosh. I even broke up with a fling after the mention joining me in Accra – ALL THAT MIGHTY WEST AFRICAN ASS AND YOU WANT ME TO CARRY FOOD FOR THE ROAD. *Claps once*

~B: Where is the weirdest place you spent the night?

L: On a dune in the Sahara. You know how they say the desert is either very hot or very cold. Understatement. After a wild night of lots of vodka (also known as the devil’s juice) I became convinced that I am going to die from the cold so I stayed up to keep an eye on my soul so I could tell it not leave my body – true damn story. I ended up hanging out on a dune….so that I may catch my soul when the cold tricks it into leaving my body.

~B: Lerato has a book coming out in September. Tell us about your book (was it part of the plan too or it kinda just happened along the way)

vagabond by lerato Mogoathle

Vagabond Wandering through Africa on Faith

L: Vagabond was always going to happen. The difference now, I guess is that I am whiling the economic dynamics of being a full time writer than trying to balance it with a full time job that comes with nice cash and managing people.

~B: Briefly; tell us, which was the high point in your travels; what was the one thing you thought if I live through this I will never do; anything this crazy again?

L: High point: meeting and befriending Habib Koite. His album Afriki is how I pray and worship. This journey brought me to my knees many times.  I kept running out of money that wasn’t coming into my account fast enough even though I was earning. The way SA media treats freelancers is DISGUSTING AND DEHUMANIZING. So I wanted to give up and take a break.

 I went back to my place in Abidjan and started packing. I was listening to Afriki, to a song called Nteri, and in this moment I felt Allah saying to me that this bullshite will never end, but He has my back and indeed, for I never lacked even when I didn’t have money to move between Ghana and Ivory Coast, I still made it and it happened without a fuss. I literally showed up at Werewere Liking’s doorstep at Village Kiyi to say I need a place to stay and don’t have money. You know what her son Ben said,? Pity I arrived a day after a troupe they were hosting had left.  I did what needed to be done, the answer was start over. I decide to start over in Mali because Habib, my greatest artists of all time, was headlining the festival of the desert.

I meet him in the Sahara – how fantastical is Africa though? Only here do you get to say things like “we met in the Sahara”.

Mt Sinai

Mt Sinai

Starting over changed my life: I learnt French, I assimilated, I joined a family of vagabonds who had drifted to house number 227, Para Djikoroni in  Bamako. I lost my morbid obesity, among other things. I don’t have anything that I would not do.

LIONS

Hanging out with Lions; Victoria Falls

If it doesn’t kill you it makes a killer story. Crazy: I put a knife on a taxi driver’s neck and threatened to kill him if he didn’t stop driving like he had a death wish. This was in Eastern Ethiopia.

Harar

Feeding Hyenas Mouth to Mouth in Harar; Eastern Ethiopia

 

L:  I thought I had time all along but the reality of thinking I could have a 9 – 5 and still write sunk in. Now I am an author first, journalist and editorial expert second. This is the only way I can possibly write more books, which I want to. I burn a herb called imphepho. It’s an important part of our spirituality in South Africa . Our being black and ancestral. It calms me. I want to be a diva. Nadine Gordimer used to tell people do not bother her with meaningless social calls. It sounds bitchy but it is true, certainly for me, I work best under a rock, with zero distractions so all my energy and thoughts are focused on the task at hand.

~B: If you could pick any Fictional Characters from TV or literary creations to travel with you whom would you pick and why?

L: Tin Tin has been everywhere. He is a trust fund baby and they are very generous with mom and dad’s money. I want to travel with him and let me assure you, I would consider burning through his bank account the least I can do to get back at King Leopold. I take my justice wherever I can create it 🙂

~B: I don’t know how anyone can travel without music, I can’t live without it; what was the soundtrack of your sojourn.

L:  The sound track is the Best of Lucky Dube. This continent loves that man. He was a hero. He showed up amid wars and chaos. He was one with the people. It was such a revelation for me to hear people tell me about how his music saved them or keeps them together still.

~B: Are you done travelling or………

L: Never. When I have been to every country in Africa; I will start over because nothing stays the same anyway.

~B: Would you do it again?

L:  A million times. The five years of living on the road are the most important years of my life.

~B: Any people you would like to give a special mention to for their support in getting your book done and your nomadic life; wave at them like you are doing for TV

L: ***twerk, twerk, twerk, TWERK BOO!!!*** Let’s enjoy the most magnificent continent on earth, our Africa – the one that gives wings to our dreams.

Lerato Madam Afrika

~B: Thank you Lerato; it was a pleasure having you tell us some profound parting words.

L: Never believe news headline and the narrative of doom and gloom. That’s just a business decision because if it bleeds, it leads, as they say in journalism school. Take time to dig into Africa – books, music, food, culture, tech, art…everything, and you will truly see just how magnificent Africa is.

madam afrika

Bio: South African author  and journalist who considers herself a Pan African first and makes life choices from that precious and powerful space.

Insta and Twitter: @MadamAfrika

Facebook: Lerato Amandla Mogoatlhe

Of the unFairness of some things

Ever stepped on a piece of dirt and you walk with a limp like the princess who couldn’t sleep on fifty mattresses because there was a pea underneath, well like that but instead it’s something beneath your shoes and maybe you try dragging your shoe as you walk to remove it. (Do you remember an old sprite advert where some trendsetter steps on gum and tries to scrape it off as he walks and people thought it was a new style of walking and copied him.)
Anyway there you are trying to remove the offending dirt and you may even consider shaking your fist and swearing at the heavens why they go let this happen to you.

fist-at-heaven

Then you see someone walking with no shoes and suddenly you realise somethings just aren’t fair.

Fairness

Life isn’t fair when you are wondering where your next meal will come from and your elected leaders are showing off shiny new campaign vehicles telling you how they have your vote.

ZanuPf Campaign vehicles

Life isn’t fair as you walk the streets on trash collection days and see what the gated community folk throw away and you wonder what they do for a living in a country with 90% unemployment. You see someone go through the trash and collecting what they can and you wish you were half as crazy and twice as brave……

litter

Life isn’t fair when you pass a mother quietly asking that you buy something, on the pavement of a busy sidewalk. Small children beside her. You wish you had something to give except kind thoughts.

selling ware

Life isn’t fair when you feel like you are the lost generation born free and sacrificed by the revolution which overstayed its moment in the sun, shrivelled and yet still unyielding not letting anyone else have their moment in the sun

Life isn’t fair when the only qualifications you need to get ahead in life is to inherit the war credentials of your parents, doors open as if by magic when you use your father’s war liberation pseudonym as a password.

Zanla

Life isn’t fair when you have a nation full of graduates who can’t get jobs forever waiting to put their degrees to use.

Graduates playing soccer

Life isn’t fair when everyone’s a dealer of sorts, running a side hustle to survive, and the only lesson little minds are learning, is to be dealers and only look out for number one.

Life

Life isn’t fair when political parties already in power alongside their state captured media hold us at ransom spending money to campaign for votes promising to deliver all sorts of good things, instead of just doing them and letting their track record speak for them.

Life isn’t fair when I just don’t get how campaigning for elections works because only those who haven’t been elected should campaign; since they haven’t had the opportunity and resources to show case what they can do; whilst those already in power well they are in power…….

Life isn’t fair when someone won’t be bothered to register to vote because well history has led us to believe one’s vote is no more important than making an X on a piece of paper and flushing it down the toilet.

Life isn’t fair when it feels like my civic right to vote is simply to pick one who tells the best sounding lies so that they can loot the country next.

Life isn’t fair when so many lies go unchallenged, that truth not only loses it’s edge but honesty becomes a commodity, bought, sold and sometimes stolen.

Life is unfair when I don’t remember how to dream when I can’t imagine life with bullet trains and spaghetti roads, how can I when I don’t remember what it feels to go into a bank and not only will my money be there but having birthed interest too

Life isn’t fair when I can hardly get myself to have hope and imagine a new world…… To dream of tomorrow.

Life isn’t fair, who said it had to be; it could be worse but I am here, now happening.

Life isn’t fair but I play my part let it not be said of me that I simply watched as others decided for me……….

~B

Photo Credit The standard

Of Black Panther: A review of sorts

I finally watched Black Panther I get what all the noise was about

Yey

This isn’t exactly a review as such:

Wakanda could be Africa’s story had Africa not been colonised and allowed to flourish …agreed.

However if Wakanda existed the way it’s depicted in the movie then it would have been an inward-oriented country; that would have probably let the rest of Africa be colonized. I find it hard to imagine an empire which would not adhere to the uBuntu philosophy (uBuntu is Nguni-Bantu word for Humanity) I am because We Are

ubuntu

If Wakanda where truly an African country (Chadwick Boseman, who plays Black Panther is said to have told The New York Times that Wakanda is a fictional version of “the Mutapa empire of 15th-century Zimbabwe.”) Wakanda would have dealt with world outside its borders with more humanity, humanity towards others.

mutapa empire

The Mutapa Empire which spanned a significant portion of southern Africa might not have had vibranium but they had gold and vast amounts of it too which they traded freely, far and wide if not a bit too free and far which is how mining claims became colonial instruments one treaty at a time……..

Founders of the Mutapa Empire are descendants of those who built the Great Zimbabwe in the 11th century

great zimbabwe20180528170332
Great Zimbabwe from where the name Zimbabwe are the largest and most puzzling architecture South of the Sahara competing only with the Pyramids of Egypt.

“Among the gold mines of the inland plains between the Limpopo and Zambezi rivers there is a fortress built of stones of marvelous size, and there appears to be no mortar joining them…. …. This edifice is almostsurrounded by hills, upon which are others resembling it in the fashioning of stone and the absenceof mortar, and one of them is atower ”

1531 Vicente Pegado, a Portuguese army captain

The architecture is so mind boggling that it’s not surprising history would not allow us to have achieved this by ourselves and would rather write about the Portuguese, Phoenicians or biblical characters yet it is a birthright from our ancestors how far would we have gone had we been left to flourish?

Back to Wakanda

So vibranium, all I know about it, is that it’s what Captain America’s shield is made from and the Black Panther’s suit and claws and that it absorbs kinetic energy but how does this explain how Wakanda managed to get so technologically advanced to be many years ahead of the rest of the world unless if the heart shaped herb not only grants you superhuman strength, speed and instincts but makes you smarter………

I kind of sympathized with Killmonger and thought they deserved having him come back and shake the cobwebs out of the cocooned lifestyle they built around themselves and even rooted for him a little bit.

What I loved most is how the women of Wakanda where their own people first, strong, proud and stood up for themselves; from Princess Shuri who would not let tradition limit hair, to the regal Nakia

A-great-queen

and lets not forget their most elite fighting force the Dora Milaje an all woman ensemble led by the formidable General Okoye

When what’s his name says “would you kill me my love’ and Okoye replies “for Wakanda without a question

black panther scene

But I did feel their “civil war” escalated on flimsy grounds and I think I might have disliked W’kabi more than the “villain” killmonger for taking so long to get to back his senses.

Can we also talk about the language of Wakanda though; what was that? I can’t be the only one made to cringe by them murdering the Xhosa language like that; what was with adding west/central African inflections to their speech and not just picking a west African language, maybe if the cast had been peppered with a more local talents then they might have spoken more naturally. I noticed a few faces from local TV soapies such as fondly known as Mamokhete from Rhythm city, Connie Chiume played the role of the Mining tribe elder

conie-chiume

Overally well what can I say the numbers speak for themselves it’s a record breaking blockbuster

Wakanda Forever

~B

What are your thoughts on The Black Panther?

Of Coffee and iflix

If you were having coffee with me, we would be having coffee and iflix.

iflix

 

What’s iflix you ask? Well I am glad you asked, it’s a video on demand (VOD) service that let’s you stream TV shows, movies and sport from the internet. It’s like Netflix a competitor but tailored more for emerging markets being available in 25 countries across Asia, Middle East, and Africa including Egypt, Sudan, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghan and Zimbabwe.

Kwesé TV partnered with iflix to bring on the go entertainment via the Kwesé iflix app and if you are an Econet user you have gotten messages advertising this service and you might even have gotten curious or totally ignored them…

If you were having coffee I would tell you that people, most people love free things, no better way to get them hooked on to something than by giving them a free trial. When the message popped into my inbox telling me I had 1gig worth of data to use on iflix I figured hey let’s give it a try.

Free data

 

But first I asked my Twitter timeline if anyone had used the Kwesé iflix because Twitter is like Google Search for me, if it’s not tweeted it’s not real 😂

A few people recommended it:

and the iflixzw twitter team responded to my tweet told me to try it, why not I thought.

The iflix app is available on Playstore for Android bit.ly/1CkgoSC and Apple Store iOS-apple.co/1J00QA5/
The playstore version is 19.75mb which is a fairly reasonable size that one can download.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that setting up this app is a breeze giving you various sign up options; Google|Facebook email /phone

iflix app

 

I picked the sign up using phone option and an SMS code was sent to my phone for verification and just like that I was in.

Movie of the day

 

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you it was a seamless process to set-up but some users experienced challenges during sign-up

which According to the iflix could be fixed by clearing cache memory then trying again, also the app is region specific so it won’t work if you use a VPN.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that the app is packed with various goodies for your viewing pleasure TV shows, movies, sport and live streams.

The programs come with summaries and some movies even have trailers how cool is that

It even streams our local TV station ZBC too.

but of course there’s a little catch, the more interesting titles are marked VIP and to access these you need to pay a subscription.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell I am sure you could find something to watch to pass the time in the free section but if you scroll through what they have to offer long enough you’ll get tempted to subscribe since the packages won’t break your wallet.

iflix charges

 

The app has a nifty download function, so you could download what you want also with the option to pick high medium or low quality download (let’s say when you have Wi-Fi) and then play later,

though the download is only available to view for a couple of days.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that the app requires a healthy internet connection for seamless streaming otherwise it keeps loading and you would think it’s broken.

I wish it had a data counter so I could keep track of how much data I actually used because it’s easy to get carried away especially if you are on mobile data and on that data conservation tip I did not see any function that let’s one choose the quality one wants to stream in, that way you could pick a low quality resolution stream which uses less data.

If you were having coffee with me I would definitely give this app a thumbs up though I did feel the content is somewhat shortchanged compared to what’s available on competing streaming services such as Netflix however you can pay subscriptions using EcoCash a mobile money transfer service which is a huge plus because the hustle of subscribing to services which require MasterCard or visa card payments in these here emerging markets is real.

I wish they would also engage more of the local content creators and populate the platform with homegrown entertainment and local soapies, this app is a novelty in these here regions and a potential game changer that could shake the broadcasting industry from the traditional giants who have been enjoying monopoly.

~B

PS have you tried it how was your experience?

Do you use any video on demand internet streaming services?

what I really need now is competitive internet priced such that I can enjoy such a service without worrying about the cost of my data because that is the hidden cost

Of Free Fair and Credible Elections

voting
Free Fair and Credible Elections
This is a phrase that has been, and will be repeated especially now that the President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa has finally announced the date of the 2018 harmonised elections. On the 30th of July 2018 Zimbabwe will decide, and for the first time since our independence 18 April 1980, Robert Mugabe will not be at the helm of the ruling party but of course the same party ZANU PF will be contesting/defending its claim under the interim incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

What does it mean: Free, fair and Credible elections?
First of all, most people seem not to be aware that the elections are not an event but a process of varied elements throughout the electoral cycle and in the case of Zimbabwe this cycle is 5 years.

electoral cycle

Electoral Cycle

Free
Free is defined as unrestricted, without coercion; having freedom to vote for preferred candidate without fear
absence voter intimidation/ political violence

Fair
Fair is defined as balanced or without favour or prejudice; having equal right to register; contest or vote for preferred candidate
when everyone is given a chance to vote/ register, without discrimination; provisions for those who might experience difficulties in voting, equal coverage of contesting candidates on state media

Credible
Credible is a word which means something that can be trusted and believed; credible elections are defined as being transparent and accountable
sufficient Civic education on voter registration and voting, monitoring, inspection of voters roll, Election Observers
Its unfortunate the role Observers is misunderstood and a lot of expectations is heaped up on them when their role is mainly to observe comprehensively through established methodologies, to document; the good, highlight shortcomings and offer recommendations they are not legislative bodies.

This is not the full scope of what consists free fair and credible elections its simply a tentative attempt to familiarise myself with this phrase used and abused.  One won’t need to have a degree or anything sophisticated to see that at a glance one could easily pick out red flags that could affect the degree to which the elections are free, fair and credible……

There has been issues with civic education, especially after implementing a new biometric voter registration, citizens where unfamiliar with; reports have cropped up of challenges with checking voters role, the coverage on state media is skewed in favour of the ruling party leaving the majority of contenders to rely on social media and external broadcasting houses, there’s been violence, both intra-party and inter-party….. should we even talk about how an election date is finally announced today with 2 months to go just barely within the minimum range set by constitution,

Clearly these elections wont quite be free fair or credible but they might be far much better than the previous ones where posting an article like this on my blog would have been to invite scrutiny…..

All I hope for is whatever happens at the very least let it all resolve peacefully………..

zim decides
~B

PhotoCredit: Electoral Cycle Chat: ResearchGate

Of My Office The Road

There is a Shona proverb “chitsva chiri murutsoka” which translates to; “to experience something new, travel” So when the opportunity to accompany someone on a roadtrip presented itself; I said why not. I travelled. The last long journey I had was between Harare and Masvingo and I have travelled that route many times, going to my roots so at any point I know, where I will be and how far left to go……. Now for some reason the responsible Authority on roads doesn’t seem to see it necessary to fix/replace distance markers/signposts at fixed intervals. It’s unnerving to travel blind, when you don’t how far you have gone or how far you have to go. You will only know you have arrived when the signpost welcomes you. At least you can figure out how far you have gone based on your speed and if your vehicle has a working odometer. The return trip won’t be such a blind run. Also there was a time when all bridges on the highway had a sign post with the river name on it,

Lundi river

now most bridges don’t have labels and everytime I cross one I would be wondering what river or river tributery that was or if I should look it up on GPS, if it even appears on Google Maps. It’s hard to believe police officers used to mount roadblocks at what felt like every few kilometers and they would act as if every vehicle was somehow in violation of some traffic act and they just needed to find it. You could get fined a ticket for not having a spare wheel or fire extinguisher or even if they decide your ca’s too dirty.

Zrp traffic police

We once got fined $20 because the little light which illuminates the rear number plate had blown and nearly got car impounded On this current trip we traveled a total of 700+ kilometers and not once did a police road block stop us, if there’s been any benefit the new dispensation has brought, it’s stopping police officers from abusing their stations. Gosh and the number of haulage trucks on the road, make driving a nightmare. I am guessing it’s because our railway network got itself derailed and I don’t know if we still have an operational train service but the haulage business seems to be booming. Well good for them but bad for us, the roads getting worn out, potholed and badly patched you’ll spend a small fortune fixing your vehicle’s suspension system.

Overtaking truck

Overtaking those trucks requires some video game skills especially if there’s more than one in front of you, they like travelling in packs you see. If I was president or someone in a position of power I’d decree that haulage trucks be at least 500m apart so there’s space to overtake nicely. I wish they would hurry up and complete road dualisation of major highways since these projects have been going on for so many years But the progress only of a few clicks every year at this rate probably my grandchild will witness these new roads.

When you are on the road avoid fluids but if you must then bananas are your friends you won’t need to make frequent bathroom breaks. When the road is your office

Inyanga where you so high you can reach up on the tips of your toes and touch the sky kumakomoyo

And then the are the tollgates, I have always wondered what happens to the money collected here.

Because of the cash crisis these tollgates will delay your travel time as it takes longer for people to make swipe payments from their bank cards and sometimes the system can go offline for no reason at all and there’s nothing to do but wait and ask yourself why you didn’t pick up a hitchhiker or two maybe they might have paid cash………..

And people who throw trash out the window of moving vehicles in particular and litter bugs in general who hurt you and why do you wanna hurt the earth in return what did it do to you? Maybe I have an Obsessive Complex Disorder which I think should be spelt CDO with all the words in perfect alphabetical order 😂 I keep my litter until I find a bin if I don’t find one I’ll take my litter home with because home definitely has a bin and a formula on how to dispose of trash except for teabags you can read my teabag dilemma here.

I always chuckle when I see those farewell upon leaving an area, you know the kind, those that tell you are leaving this territory, thank you please call again.

And I think how do I call you there’s no phone number on the sign post 😂 😂 😂 and I laugh and laugh and can’t understand how you don’t see this as funny

Thank you for visiting this blog please call again

~B

PS what’s a roadtrip without music if you are going to take me anywhere tell me there will be music and I won’t care even if we are in handbasket on a one way trip to somewhere where one ought to abandon all hope not sing along to Vanessa Carlton’s thousand miles

Making my way downtown

Walking fast

Faces pass

And I’m home-bound

Of suspending disbelief

How come?

Emoji asking

How come people look at me funny when I shout encouragements or warning to the hero on TV.

When I urge the people on TV not to trust the shifty character or to make sure the villain or monster is well and truly dead before turning their backs on them or it; you know shoot or stab or run over them again, for certainity otherwise look behind you!!!!

I mean have watched my fair share of movies that I could practically be an armchair director. I know you are supposed to suspend your disbelief but some obvious plot holes or violations in laws of physics are like the original director thought “hmmmm let me make a list of impossible things and CGI mush them up into the BlockBuster of the year……”

Enough about crazy old me……

How come football/soccer fans watching the game on TV, will be cheering and offering encouragement, even game play advice on tactics, formations and substitutions or pointing out fouls to the ref like the guys in TV land can hear them and and and and no one finds it’s not weird at all………………….

I’ll suspend my disbelief if you, yours 😂

~B

PS To be fair I only make these comments in my head because I hate watching a movie with people who like to give a running commentary on what’s happening as if I can’t see it for myself I am not that guy.

Of coffee and WordPress at 15

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that WordPress turns 15 today initial release date 27 May 2003. How about that!

WordPress 15th anniversary

The Harare WordPress community celebrated it by having a social meet-up and because who needs a reason to have cake and balloons and swag

WordPress 15 ballon

WordPress 15 cake

Here are a few fun facts about WordPress. WordPress started as a blogging platform b2/cafelog and evolved into the open source Content Management System (CMS) we now know. As of April 2018 30.9% of the internet is powered by WordPress.

WordPress statistics

Stats from w3techs.com

WordPress.org allows you to build, design and customize your own self-hosted website without needing you to be Tech-savvy (especially with their famous 5 minute installation) it’s almost as easy as creating a blog even the dashboards are same like similar to the ones on WordPress.com but you would then have to worry more about finding a hosting company and managing your plugins and search engine optimization (SEO)

WordPress.org vs WordPress.com tricky question each has its own merits and limitations but I prefer WordPress.com especially if you upgrade to the premium packages you get almost the same merits as self-hosting such as installing plugins and and Google Analytics, monetizing through GoogleAdsense and WordAdsWordAds

Did you know the founders of WordPress are huge jazz fans and all the main version releases are named after jazz musicians and when you install WordPress a pre-installed  plugin does nothing other than displays lyrics from Louis Armstrong’s Hello Dolly.

hello Dolly

hello dolly text

The default avatar which appears when someone without a profile picture comments on WordPress article is called the Mystery Man.

Mystery Man

Mystery Man

wordpress logo

And the font the font used in W logo WordPress has a name it’s called Mrs Eaves (named after Sarah Eaves, who was the live-in housekeeper for John Baskerville a printer and typeface designer from the 1700s, eventually becoming his wife, after the death of her first husband, Mr. Eaves.)

Did you know the catchphrase for WordPress.org is code is poetry well
I am no coder, code looks like gibberish to me but I appreciate the poetry in art well-crafted, one man’s poetry is another man’s gibberish think Lewis Carrol’s nonsense verse Beware The Jabberwock

beware the jabberwock

“We are much better at writing code than haiku.”

—Matt Mullenweg, founder of Automattic

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you these little nuggets of information I know them now because we had a WordPress quiz and at the time I couldn’t answer a single question but now well I feel like a walking encyclopedia. Did you know the first WordCamp happened in 2006 San Francisco but since then over 507 WordCamps have been held in over 207 cities in 48 different countries around the world (Zimbabwe included)

Check this out Harare will be having it’s 3rd WordCamp this year whoop whoop. If you don’t know what a WordCamp is check out this link WordCamp harare 2017
I was a speaker at the last wordcamp and this year who knows……..

If you were having coffee I would say cheers to WordPress empowering hitherto unheard voices

Happy Anniversary WordPress

~B

photoCredit Hello Darling Plugin wpbeginner.com

Of Beasts Made Of Night: A Review

Beasts Made Of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

Beasts made of midnight

For the fantasy lovers

Beasts made of night is a book set in a strange world where mages can cast sin out from people and the sin takes the shape of a beast:

“Sin made into living, breathing flesh by dark magic”

The Aki or Sin Eaters either devour or die trying, to absolve the sin so royals, nobles, and those who can afford, get to walk around pure and free; while the Aki carry the permanent marker of the sin they devour, as a tattoo of the beast on their skin. Sins are written on their bodies until the pain becomes too much and they go mad or crossover.

“Sin-beasts are shadows, beasts made of night. And an aki is like a ray of sunlight that comes down from the sky and shatters the sin, kills the shadows.

This fantasy novel explores dynamics of society, the difference between those with and those without and how some customs and beliefs, are simply a tool to keep those rich richer and those without, well less without…….

And in between all that drama the book is also a coming of age story, the main characters are simply young people trying to find their way and maybe love or at least somewhere to belong.

And why it wont score a perfect hundred, first of all it’s rather slow paced, (well it could be because of setting up the awesome world building so you get to understand the land of Kos) and then the time-frames sometimes get blurry, time passes and it’s a bit hard to figure out if it’s been a day a week or months after. Then when the pace picks up everything starts rushing to The Ending. The book ends, just when everything finally starts to get really interesting, this book feels like drawn out intro for the real fun which begins in the next book, maybe………

~B

PS the sequel is coming out October 16 2018…………
Crown of Thunder

Crown of Thunder

 

Photo Credit PenguinTeen