Of Harare WordCamp 2018

Of WordCamp Harare 2018 

WordCamp Harare

In a few days theWordPress local community of Harare brings you the 2018 WordCamp Harare. 23-24 November 2018

wordcamp harae 2018 Zimbabwe

A WordCamp is a conference organized to host WordPress practitioners ranging from the occasional blogger to digital experts and those curious about dipping their toes in the interwebs.

If you are reading this post (which is on a blog powered by WordPress and you have website or blog which runs on WordPress) you should be asking yourself why you aren’t attending a WordCamp near you; look them up.

This will be the third WordCamp to be held in Harare and its growing bigger and better; now it’s a two day event including a contributor’s day and even a junior workshop.

The highlight of WordCamp is presentations from volunteer speakers who are simply ordinary WordPressers such as you, sharing on topics they are passionate about, you can have a look at the speaker line up here and the schedule here

The first WordCamp I attended changed my life and I was inspired to apply to be a speaker at the next one, and this year guess what; I know one or two people who were inspired by my presentation that they too have decided to step up.

On contributor’s day you can actively contribute to the WordPress Community by working on the following activities:

  • Translation of WordPress into Shona
  • Add subtitles to videos from previous WordCamps
  • Gutenberg testing
  • Community planning for 2019

Did I mention The WordCamp Juniors Workshop, so for the 9 and 15 range here’s bootcamp for them to learn to express themselves in blogs and also a foundation they can build on to be expert users of the WordPress platform. Its for free too but the are limited places only 20 available seats and when I last checked there were only 7 left so register quickly click here!!

WordCamp Kids workshop kidcamp Zimbabwe

Have you ever been to a WordCamp do share your thoughts? Will you be there??? Cause I will and yeah I am speaker too and I will be speaking on how A Blog Means Community ^_^

~B

PS Oh yeah and there’s an after party!!!! Be there and get the TShirt ^_^

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Of A Website Being A Conversation

A website is a conversation

A Website is a conversation

Well if Code Is Poetry……Then A Website is A conversation.

I am a story-teller I come from a line of story-tellers  its in my blood we used to sit round a fire and tell stories and now, we gather round our devices in this digital age stories are immortalized on the pages of the internet, I start digital fires.

Screenshot (53)

A Website just like a good story, tells not just a story but it’s a conversation; it captures the mind, it engages your audience and they ask those four words every story-teller loves to here…. And Then what happened next.

So you have a website its perfect everything is on fleek. The design is flawless, the seo is optimized so is the device compatibility….

Screenshot (54)

And then what happens next? What comes after:

Screenshot (56).png

The internet is where websites go to die, buried in the digital grave of the information superhighway… Here is how you keep it alive:

  • Keep it up to date

Screenshot (57)

Have you ever visited a website only to find that content on it is all outdated?  Everything was uploaded and edited probably on the day the site went live and then never again. You scroll along, nothing new to see here, and they just lost a reader or client or potential stream of revenue.

  • Consistent content

Content is king

Schedule a content calendar, so you always know what and when you are posting.

Social media has changed the way websites are treated. Your site must be RELEVANT and  RESONATE with the audience and is also CURRENT.

relevant

*Cant find a word for current or up to date that begins with R

Whats worse than a site that is irrelevant and does not resonate with an audience …. Well I would have say one where you cant find the contact details. Maybe removed because they don’t want emails flooding inbox telling them how out of touch the site is…..

  • Contact Details

contact details

Contact details should be easy to find. If you include an email address, make sure it’s a working email address,  and please respond to your emails, you might want to even keep an eye on your spam folders too.

  • Interaction

Like I said a website is a conversation, and a conversation means you are not just talking to or talking at but you a talking with someone.

A website is a conversation

Make it easy to engage with you. Don’t add sign up procedures that require one to create an account and chant incantations on a full moon night, maybe howl a little, then verify they are human by making a small sacrifice……

A website is a conversation, engage with your audience if you get an email, reply, if you get a comment reply to it. You might want to have links to your social media visible on your website and likewise your social media pages points to your Website.

Interact

I visit a lot of websites, blogs mainly, the ones I keep going back to are the ones where I feel my presence is appreciated and will probably respond to the call to action from them, than have you ever read a post on a website and then left what you felt was a comment that needed a response and the site owners just ignored you… its like a blue tick message on Whatsapp.  And chances of me coming back or subscribing…. low

Here is protip for bloggers who want to build their readership, its ridiculously easy….When a fellow blogger reads and comments, go to their site and read and comment some of theirs. Read other blogs go out there and find them, read to see how other people write or interact with their audience, and read to find out how to not write, if you go to a website and find things about it that you don’t like then you learn to not do that on yours……..

  • Be classy

Make sure that your call to action is not over powering. You click on a website and the first thing that fills the screen is this:

Call to action

A large pop up window covering everything else, telling you to subscribe to the newsletter….. why should I subscribe when I don’t even know what you are about, I don’t want you in my emails I don’t know you like that, the conversation hasn’t even started……

I might probably close the page entirely without proceeding further, I really might and my chances of subscribing if I do proceed are slim…..On my tiny screen its easier to close the site entirely than to try and press the x to close the pop up window.

A Website is a conversation….. what does yours say?

~B

This was part of my presentation at the WordCamp Harare 2017 you can find my presentation slides here: A website is conversation 

Of Coffee, Combis And Other Things

If you were having coffee with me, I would greet you by fist bumping you, it’s not a new secret greeting, its just that well, we have a nasty outbreak going on. Reminds me of what one conductor said that he just might get a wooden cooking stick to collect people’s fares with.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that the president made his first State Of The Nation Address at the official opening of the 9th Parliament.

Sonazw

justices

League of extraordinary justices

I have always wondered though, when they do these things, what is the purpose of inspecting the guard of honour? What’s with the horses, ribbons, the medals and whats up with the swords and the robes?.

dneye_puyaesfxn

dndlrktu0aa0wz2

Can the reason we have problems with democracy be that we are simply playing pretend at things we have no idea how to handle, simply doing what others did, no rhyme no reason no explanations?

If you were having coffee I would ask you if you had a look see at my last post about the public transport system of minivan taxis in Africa and the funny stories that happen there. This one time a fellow commuter said he did not have enough fare for the trip and the conductor said he could pay what he had but he would have to seat paKadoma and face the nation which is the space behind the driver and front seat passengers before the first row passengers (named after Kadoma a town halfway between Harare and Gweru)

pakadoma

When the gentleman was seated or rather perched by the spot, he proceed to buy a packet of Lays potato chips from a vendor. The conductor was not amused, saying if he could afford to buy nice snacks like that, he most certainly could afford to pay the full fare and demanded a full payment and of course that did not stop him from dipping his hands into the passenger’s packet of lays chips saying “who doesn’t want nice things

It might have been a hilarious episode but looks like commuters might need to start negotiating to travel with insufficient fare. Commuter omnibus operators are hiking the standard fare from 50cents to 75cents another indicator of the rising cost of living, or rather the failing economy, as the fuel queues start getting longer and basic foodstuffs slowly disappearing from the food shelves.

dntxi3uxoaiq7iu

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you how the government used the cholera outbreak to remove the vendors who had practically invaded the city streets. As I was walking in the CBD I was actually surprised that city could be this neat, walking on the pavements without danger of accidentally stepping on or knocking over someone’s wares.

harare

However simply forcing vendors of the street is not the solution, as its like the government telling them to Just Die and its no surprise that we now have a situation where vendors are now in running battles with the riot police. Walking in the CBD is now rather unsettling you never know what will begin where, wear sensible shoes, the weather forecast is tear gas with chance of running.

That’s  been my week crazy right, whats going on in your neck of the woods?

Here’s to an awesome week

~B

Day 21 of my blog everyday challenge themed Africa: Stories From Home

Photocredit Guard of Honour @globaltimesnews

Opening SONA OpenParlyZw

 

Of Coffee in a time of Cholera

Of Coffee Outbreaks

If you were having coffee with me I would greet you by bumping your fist instead of shaking your hand. “Big Up” I will say and its not a rasta thing even though I will shake my locks and do a little dance.

fist bump

Big Up

beatonm5

We have a cholera outbreak you see, there’s some hand sanitizer by the door for your convenience.

If you were having coffee with me, I would ask you that, when the label on the sanitizer says kills 99.9% of bacteria what do they mean and shouldn’t we walk around being worried about the 0.1% This hardcore die hard germ that is hard to kill like the main actor in an action movie of old but instead of being the good guy it’s the One  bacteria rule us all, one bacteria to find us, One bacteria to bring them all and in the darkness bind us all…….

hand sanitizer

Now that you have finished disinfecting your hands, try not to worry about the One Bacteria that would survive mordor If you were having coffee with me I would offer you some French toast, its basically toast that went to a French I made it myself its surprisingly easy to make I actually wonder why I don’t have it more often.

bakers inn bread

Too bad the leading supplier of bread, Innscor Africa Bread Company, Bakers Inn has increased their price for the standard loaf by 10% to $1.10. Trying not to be alarmist about it but is this another symptom of our ailing country alongside the shortages of fuel and other things?

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that we have a cholera outbreak which has been declared a state of emergency by the government. A lot of finger pointing is going on, as the responsible authorities toss the blame around each other, as if it’s a hot potato which no one wants to hold.  A cholera outbreak is a symptom of bigger issues; from lack of access to clean municipal water, to a broken sewer system contaminating wells and boreholes. People have been complaining that the government spent a lot of money doing “other things” and now require crowdfunding to help deal with the cholera outbreak showing their gross mismanagement.

dnhghorwsaulf_l.jpg

 

cholera outbreak

Harare City council blames vendors invading the city center to sell their wares at undesignated areas and have started a campaign to clean out vendors from the streets of Harare CBD. But in a country with 90% unemployment this is the only way some people can make a living and simply forcing them off the street is going to be an ugly mess after the city council had seemingly let them overrun the city streets, again another symptom of bigger problems with country.

harare vendors

vendors harare cbd

dnnexs9xoaacrz3

council raid  harare cbdclearing vendors harare cbd

police raid vendors

If you were  having coffee with me I would tell you that the conductor in the public taxi I used today dramatically put on a pair of surgical gloves before handling the taxi fare people were handing him. He made a joke about how you never knew where the money you got came from and he did not want to catch cholera. People were even reluctant to pass the fares of the other passengers as they normally do; those at the back pass to those in front, till it gets to the the conductor. This time he had to stretch out and reach, people individually, I tell you, you cannot make this up.

How has your week been? Whats good whats really really good?

~B

Day 13 of my blog every day challenge Africa: Stories From Home

Photo credit: bakers Inn bread: OfZimba 16 interesting facts about bakers inn

Photo Credit Brezhmalaba

  Zppinfo visetinfo

Of Creative Mornings: A philosophy Of Communitism

“What Africa needs the most, is not food aid, drought relief or funding…… what Africa needs the most is Courage”

-Thembe Khumalo

 

 

A quote from Thembe Khumalo during her presentation at the Creative Mornings Harare Chapter #CMhre titled A philosophy of communitism.

A philosophy of communitism

 

Creative Mornings are monthly sessions held across hubs in cities all over the world, where creatives meet for a breakfast talk and a host shares a brief talk. The theme for the month was community… #cmCOMMUNITY

This is a brief overview of Thembe Khumalo’s presentation A Philosophy Of Communitism.

A philosophy of communitism

Thembe Khumalo is a poet, writer, newspaper columnist and descendant of the Zulu warrior clan and she shared this as preview of her presentation:

If you are wondering just like I did, when I first heard the word communitism, if it even is a word, well it is now…… Local action for a universal mission: communitism

Are you familiar with the story of the Redwood tree forests they grow tall, standing for centuries upon centuries, yet their roots are not overwhelmingly deep….

redwood forest

The secret lies underground, their roots, though they don’t grow deep, they grow wide, their roots intertwine…….

landscaping around tree roots Redwood Tree Roots Intertwined

Young trees grow, their roots sheltered and nourished by the roots of trees of old, all trees connected, through time and space.

And just like this nature teaches us about how our strength lies in each other

People need people.

We understand this lesson and yet, here we all, here we all are and here we all are still knowing what we are…..

#CMcommunity #cmhre

We live in fear, and the things we fear the most, are not soldiers, guns and rioting protestors, what we fear the most are the things that make us vulnerable yet these are the very things that make us magic that humanise us/

We afraid of intimacy because intimacy equals In To Me See

intimacy = Into me see

We sweep under the rug the parts of ourselves that we think do not conform, hiding behind labels and stereotypes, Pastor, Leader, Parent, Youth, Aunt, Uncle…. Imprisoned in safe spaces of silence where we can not speak.

Yet the things that keep us safe are not our safe spaces the bars on our windows, the walls and fences around us, locks, the army and their bullets. The things that keep us safe are one another.

diversity

What we need is the courage to be who we are and to be accepting of who others are. Being courageous is just like exercising a muscle the more you work it out the bigger and stronger it gets…………….

beatonm5

I have untold stories saved in draft folders in long forgotten drives because I am afraid of the little bits of my soul exposed to whoever chances upon my pages but if I never get the courage to tell my own story, who shall tell it for me, and this, this is why I write…..

#CMcommunity

#MyAfricaMyWords

~B

 

Day 2 of the blogging challenge

Photo Credits:

Thembe Khumalo

Cde Tseisi

The FeedZW

Silviakwin

FaithKats

Tony Howel redwood trees

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Of Juice In A Wine Glass

Hello Sunday

If you were hanging out with me we would be having juice in wine glasses, because we are sophisticated, yeah step out of the ordinary

Juice in a wine glass

How has your week been? Good I trust.

Whats been happening in my neck of the woods, lets see the interim president finally announced his new cabinet… it pretty much looks like this:

metal cabinet

The newly appointed minister of finance introduced his budget for 2018 I don’t know much about economic policies or how governments run but seems decent enough budget considering working with what they have the bulk of the money is the wage bill for civil servants, living a runaway budget deficit in the region of close to 2 billion. I guess they are banking on a bail out by someone or that the economy really turns around…..

The irony though, government plans to retire civil servants over the age of 65, yet the average ages of the cabinet ministers is 65-70 years, the minister of youth is 68 and the president is 75 years old….

Sometimes you are the change you wish to see.

Moving along I know its Christmas when an evening walk in Harare’s first street is a burst of Christmas lights and Africa Unity Square is riot of colour wishing you a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year

Christmas Lights Africa Unity square

On Friday in a colourful event dubbed Light Up Harare The Mayor Officially switched on the Sunshine City’s Christmas lights (well they had been on for almost weeks now but now its official)

Light Up Harare Christmas

Let the Christmas festivities commence Season’s Greetings

I hear its snowing across the globe on the other side of the world, stay safe, I am curious about snow, having never seen it before; does it feel like ice in the refrigerator, is it cold (don’t answer that) when it lands on your eyelashes does it tickle? Can you eat it what does it taste like, I do know you should not eat the yellow snow ha!

Gotta love the internet it brings the world to the tip of my fingers…

Speaking of the internet, Tuesday 5 December was the day the internet stopped working well they fixed it eventually but from  11.30 to 1700 major internet service providers  well could not provide the internet……

A tractor ploughing a field in South Africa accidentally cut the main fibre cable which supplies the bulk of Zimbabwe’s telecommunications through Liquid Telecoms including the backup redundancy line and in an unrelated coincidence at about the same time a Harare municipal worker in Kuwadzana also cut the fibre cable which links ADSL provider Telone to Botswana and the world …………

*insert deep in thought emoji*

That’s a whole lot of cable cutting right there, I mean aren’t they buried safely beneath the ground I have seen them dig up our drive way to bury them (read here) Don’t they markers or something to warn people *insert appropriate emoji*

Also they really seriously need to work on their backup lines.

Unless of course as some people suggest, the whole thing was a government exercise to test if they can shutdown the internet, I wouldnt put it past them they have done it before, (or so we suspect) in a move to derail a social media campaign that was mobilising people to carry flags and ShutDown Zimbabwe, they even put up some legislation criminalising the carrying and selling of flags without prior authority. Maybe they shut down the internet to install some cyber monitoring  protocols? Conspiracy conspiracy, too bad even if they did and we asked them they would probably deny it (I would too if I was the government)

An investigation is underway to find out the what really happened the day the internet died stay tuned…….

On the upside since I had no internet on the day and couldn’t figure out what to do with myself I ended up finishing reading a book I started and have been neglecting and I also rewatched the movies Moana and Trolls  yes I love animated flicks I am forever young expect reviews coming soonest….

Dear maintenance crews be more careful with our cables hey

Sincerely

~B

Of Zimbabwe: A Private School Coup

When is a coup not coup? Its when the polite army officials assure you on a TV Press conference on the State Broadcaster

To both our people and the world beyond our borders, we wish to make this abundantly clear this is not a military takeover of government. What the Zimbabwe defence forces is doing is to pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation in our country which if not addressed may result in violent conflict.

15 November 2017 history is being made

Imagine waking up to a 4am press conference by an army spokesman which basically implies they have taken over the State Broadcaster and programming for the rest of the day is reruns of old liberation songs and the press conference on loop. You can read the full speech by military spokesman  Major General SB Moyo here

We live in times of sensational journalism and fake news, rushing to break news without so much as verifying, wanting to be first with the juicy scoop. I have watched some news channels and am not surprised at the number of calls, messages and smses I have received asking me if I am safe..

APC Harare

Depending whom you ask there is a coup is underway or not, soldiers barricading access to some places, airports, boarders, parliament, the president under house arrest, the first lady may or may not have fled the country, several government officials have been detained, the president set to resign and appoint former Vice President as interim president, press conferences are coming…..

Everyone seems to know someone who knows who has it on good authority what exactly is going but everything else is pretty much hush and meanwhile the state broadcaster simply playing revolutionary songs from the war of liberation.

If a coup is going on, then it has been fairly bloodless, thats why on the streets people are calling it a coup that went to private school because so far it has not affected any of the civilians the day has been quiet but pretty much business as usual….

At the back of my head I still worry though, is this a good thing or  bad thing, how desperate are we for change that we would welcome military intervention, if my history lessons are correct, no good ever comes from an army rule but then again this is not a coup so they say, normalcy will return so they say………

How did we get here?

“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”

-Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

These are unprecedented times we are living in and we can only hope that peace, safety and good old common sense prevail

It has been safe for now, praying that it continues so

~B

 Photo credit: Shepard Tozvireva

Of 5 Things About Zimbabwe

Five things i wish you knew about Zimbabwe:

Things I wish you knew about Zimbabwe

  1. It is not a jungle.

Believe it or not I have been asked several times, if I see wild animals when I look outside the window.

If you want to see to see wildlife, you go to the a national park, you wont be disappointed. Once upon a time someone even asked me how I was on the internet….. Zimbabwe is a developing country, yes it has some areas more developed than others but we are not in the dark ages. I cringe when I watch a movie and they reference it as a some place it really not; we don’t live in trees and yes we have internet.

Trees in Africa unity Square Harare

Africa Unity Square trees

  1. Our hearts are warm as the tea brewed from our heart-shaped country

A teapot shaped country south of africa

A teapot shaped country

The economy might be free falling, cash is in short supply and you will wait for a long time at the bank to get the daily minimum, but amidst all the trials our hearts are in the right place on the left side like they should be. We are a nation of kind, tolerant and peace-loving people, with a humorous nature we laugh at the lemons life throws. The capital city of Zimbabwe, Harare is known as the Sunshine City.

harare sunshine city

Sunshine City

 

the Jacaranda trees in bloom Harare

The Jacaranda Trees in bloom

 

  1. We are not our president nor our first lady.

Don’t judge us by the actions of our president, and we are not our president’s keeper too. Please don’t ask me when we are going to vote him out or why we still keep him in power. If you have questions for him,  you can ask him yourself.

  1. We are a nation of educated people

Don’t be fooled by the jobs we are willing to do to put bread on the table, you would be quite shocked to find that the person who hands you a flyer advertising something at the traffic lights is a university  graduate.

amber

At some point our country we might have the highest literacy rate in Africa, last time i checked according to UNESCO we were just shy of making it in to the top ten list.

Also don’t ask me how for a nation of such educated beings we managed to let our country get into a such state……

  1. The Victoria Falls is in Zimbabwe.

Victoria falls mosi oa tunya

Well my Zambian friends might have some say in that….. but hey the Victoria Falls boarders Zimbabwe and Zambia so its both there and here.

The Victoria falls is a breath-taking site, locals call it Mosi oa Tunya , meaning The Smoke that Thunders…..  its the largest body of falling water by volume and something one just has to see fro themselves even attempt to bungee jump or dare the Devil’s Pool.

~B

 

Visit Zimbabwe some time I promise you wont regret it maybe we might even hang out and have a real cup of coffee together……

 

 

photo Credit Victoria Falls

City of Harare photos view from Africa Unity Square courtesy of Tendai