Of Nyami Nyami: A Zambezi River God

victoria falls

Bound not only by history and the majestic Victoria Falls; Zimbabwe and Zambia share the Zambezi river as a border between them including the common legend of a River God fabled to patron it, the Nyami Nyami.

nyami nyami

The Nyami Nyami  is a River God said to look something like a cross between a snake and a fish with varying accounts as to its actual size and appearance, I am surprised that no one has added being a shape-shifter to its list of abilities.

clip art nyami nyami

As legend would have it told, the Nyami Nyami lived under a large boulder that jutted out from the Kariwa gorge where the present day Kariba Dam wall was built, and any mortal foolish enough to venture close to there got trapped and dragged under water never to be seen again. This is how Kariba Dam got its name from the word Kariwa/Kariva which means trap. The Dam construction project might also have been explained to the locals as being a “Water Trap” to hold water from the river.

The Tonga people used to live a simple life sheltered from the outside world on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River. In drought times the Nyaminyami would let the people cut off pieces of itself to eat, and no matter how much they cut, would never get finished. The name Nyaminyami could be from the Tonga phrase meaning pieces of meat: nyama yamaninganinga.

Then civilisation invaded in the 1940s. Shattering their simple lifestyle, as they were relocated from areas that would flood upon the building of the Kariba Dam and its Hydroelectric Power Station to supply electricity to Zimbabwe and Zambia. The Tonga folk let themselves be relocated but they held the belief that the Nyaminyami would never let the dam project be completed.

building kariba dam

Almost true to the Tonga’s expectations the Kariba dam project was plagued with unparalleled flooding of the sort that is supposed to be witnessed only once in a thousand years, but yet happened consecutively for three years

Eventually they would turn to the Tonga tribal elders and spirit mediums to intercede on their behalf…..

lake-kariba-dam-pic

The dam was completed in 1958 and started generating hydroelectric power in 1960.

Kariba Dam Opening

Sir Duncan, Queen Elizabeth at the official opening of the Kariba Dam on Tuesday 17th May 1960

its still generating power for Zambia and Zimbabwe today.

kariba electricity

The End?

 No, not quite. See when they completed the dam wall, they separated the Nyami Nyami from his mate. The earth tremors that are frequent in the area are a result of the River God trying to break down the dam wall and reunite with his mate. The Tonga people believe that one  day Nyaminyami will break down the wall and they will return to their ancestral homes on the banks of the Zambezi River.

Update: Someone shared an interesting theory with me that: IF the Nyaminyami is there we might be mistaken about its appearance (well, personally I think it shapeshifts) See, the dam was built by an Italian consortium Impresit and its highly likely they drove their Italian made Alfa Romeo vehicles. Take a look at the logo of the Alfa Romeo vehicle and tell me it does not remind you of some legend?:

alfa romeo logo

What do I think? I think that deep in the murky waters of the Zambezi there is some creature there, something,ancient, uncommon and unknown. I heard an interesting story about how separating the Nyaminyami from its mate was actually a calculated move, they did not want these creatures breeding, dealing with only two is trouble enough……

The Nyami Nyami River God myth or real, what do you think?

 

~B

Day 14 of my blog everyday challenge Africa: Stories from home

Photocredit www.victoriafalls-guide.net

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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

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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 Zim Cholera Outbreak: How To Prevent & Save A Life

A week ago I posted an article titled Of Someone Else’s problem, about how we tend to turn a blind eye to problems until they fester into something affecting everyone, and made a brief mention of the poor service delivery in the sanitation and waste disposal department……. Now here we are its our problem now.

outbreak

The government has declared a cholera outbreak in Harare, Zimbabwe a state of emergency due to the rising number of cholera infections; over 2300 recorded cases and the death of 20 people since the beginning of September. When your house is burning its not the time to find out who started the fire, first thing is to put out the fire. The last time we had a cholera outbreak 4000 people died, 2008 was a really bad year.

because Knowledge may save a life:

What is cholera?

Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine by the bacteria Vibrio cholera.

vibrio

computer generated image of the vibrio cholera bacteria

The cholera bacterium is found in water or food sources that have been contaminated by faecal matter from a person infected with cholera. Cholera is mostly found and spread in places with inadequate water treatment, poor sanitation, and inadequate hygiene.

Cholera can be life-threatening, with death resulting in hours if untreated but it is easily prevented and treated

Symptoms of Cholera

  • profuse watery diarrhoea, described as “rice-water stools,”
  • vomiting
  • rapid heart rate
  • loss of skin elasticity (when you pinch skin it stays bunched up)
  • dry mucous membranes
  • low blood pressure
  • thirst
  • rapid weight loss
  • muscle cramps
  • restlessness or irritability

**Symptoms typically appear in 2-3 days after infection.

symptoms of cholera

The diarrhoea and vomiting cause rapid loss of body fluids leading to dehydration, severe electrolyte imbalance and shock. Untreated, severe dehydration can rapidly lead to shock and death in hours.

Treatment:

Death by Cholera is due to severe dehydration, rehydration will save a life. Once symptoms detected, immediately start taking an Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) while you seek out medical attention. Cholera can be simply and successfully treated by immediate replacement of the fluid and salts lost through diarrhoea. Severe cases may require intravenous fluid replacement.

Antibiotics shorten the course and diminish the severity of the illness, but they are not as important as receiving re-hydration. 80% of cholera cases can be treated simply by rehydrating

How to make your own ORS at home:

home made ors

  1. 1 litre clean water (boiled to be sure)
  2. 6 level teaspoons sugar
  3. Half level spoon salt
  4. Stir till it dissolves

Mild and moderate cases can be effectively treated simply by taking this ORS drink 3l a day

*even simply having sips of safe plain can help with the hydration while you seek medical attention

Infected persons, when treated rapidly, can recover quickly, and there are typically no long term consequences. Persons with cholera do not become carriers of the disease after they recover, but can be reinfected if exposed again.

Prevention

  • Drink water only from trusted sources. bottled, boiled, or  treated water and bottled. When using bottled drinks, make sure that the seal has not been broken.
    • To disinfect your own water: boil or and add 2 drops of household bleach/Chlorine (Jik®) or water purification tablets.
    • Disinfect minicipal tap water
  • Wash your hands often with soap and clean water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner, especially before you eat or prepare food and after using the bathroom.
    • If no soap is available, use ash.

CHOLERA-1.jpg

  • Use bottled, boiled, or treated water to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food and rinse fruit and vegetables
  • Eat foods that are packaged or that are freshly cooked and served hot.
    • Do not eat raw or undercooked meats or raw or undercooked fruits and vegetables unless they are peeled.
  • Dispose of waste in a sanitary manner to prevent contamination of water and food sources.
  • Avoid shaking of hands

*No cholera vaccine is 100% protective and vaccination against cholera is not a substitute for standard prevention and control measures, including precautions for food and water as outlined above.

Prevention of cholera is dependent on access to safe water, adequate sanitation, and basic hygiene needs.

lets prevent cholera

If you have any other tips and helpful knowledge do share in the comments below

 

~B

Day ten of my Blog Every Day Challenge Themed Africa: Stories from Home.

UPDATE:

According to statistics from Ministry of Health and Child Care, cholera deaths since the beginning of the month are now at 25 and 3 766 cases reported.

Of The Harare Agriculture Show: A day at.

harare agriculture show

The Harare Agricultural Show is an annual agricultural business exhibition held at the Exhibition  Park Harare. Why they still call it “Agricultural Show” when it might as well as be the biggest Business exhibition event in the country second only to the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair is something I wonder about to be honest.

The Agricultural Show is another tradition we adopted from our colonial heritage. When the settler farmers launched it back in the 1900s it was a platform to share and exchange ideas on commercial farming; at a time when the indigenous landowners were being displaced from their ancestral homes to communal reserve areas, where they were restricted to subsistence farming, leaving the fertile arable lands to the settler farmers.

After our independence from colonial rule the country underwent a controversial land reform to reclaim the land that was stolen but there is still an uneven distribution of this resource vital, which might explain the mostly unspoken sentiment that maybe what has simply changed is the face of our oppressors. Where one settler farmer used to own large tracts of land, it’s now a senior government official or a decorated army general or war veteran and the rest distributed more along partisan lines and more as a reward for patriotism than capacity to utilize to the land assigned. Small wonder our agriculture production has been at an all-time low, from being Africa’s breadbasket and in charge of SADC’s Food Security, to us needing aid and donor support; though the government now seeks to make corrective measures through various intermediary processes to develop sustainable agriculture, some of which would be great if they could weed out the corruption that everyone turns a blind eye to, seed and resources being misappropriated.

The Zimbabwe Agriculture Society (driving force behind the Harare Agriculture Show) has taken a radical strategy to “reposition itself as the centre of excellence in facilitating national agricultural development that ultimately impacts positively on rural livelihoods.”

To consolidate, broaden and deepen value chains, while highlighting the “push-pull effect” and close, and perhaps inseparable, linkages between sustained agricultural productivity, industry resuscitation and increased capacity utilisation, and the resultant improved economic growth, the theme for 2018 is:

FIELD TO INDUSTRY

 

field to industry Produce Connect Develop

The icon depicts the various activities and ingredients to ensure a good harvest, a link with industry and the main actors, while showing the resultant economic growth, and all this enveloped in the year 2018, emphasising the need for urgency among players to ensure agriculture-led economic growth.

History lesson and current affairs aside this year I decided to attend the Harare Agriculture show… wait that’s a misleading statement. My services “were volunteered” as a chaperone to my nieces and nephews, so they could attend. I almost said I was too busy to do it but I did not have the heart after seeing the excitement written all over their faces when they found out they could go if I was taking them.

They really should just rename the Harare Agriculture Show to The Harare Children’s Carnival Show, they are the ones who enjoy it the most from face painting to amusement park rides and of course how could I forget candy floss.

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Mostly all I remember from the show is mostly waiting in lines.

  • Lines to get into the show. There was a high turn out and of course because of the cash shortages people use plastic money, so it takes longer for each person to get served, and sometimes the system would crash and I kept thinking there should be an easier way to do this like prefund my ticket and simply waltz through the gates like they do at toll gates ? The queue for those paying in cash was super short and moved quite rapidly how I envied them. Cash is king these days
  • Lines to buy tokens for the amusement rides. And of course those with cash got served first and faster.
  • Lines to actually get on the rides. All the really cool rides had lines so long that looking at them just sapped your energy so we ended up picking the less fun rides
  • Lines to buy food. Those selling food and snacks, if they did not make a pile of money then, I don’t know what they were doing.

With all this going on I never got a chance to visit the exhibition stands for any of the businesses though it did look like a great networking opportunity I was terribly sorry to miss but I did see a cow or two and some pigs.

harare agric show

And just when it looked like the fun evening festivities were about to begin which would kick off with the customary fireworks display rivalled only by one you see at  Meikles hotel on New Year’s we had to call it day, it was getting cold and dark and the little ones wanted to go home

Harare show

dancing

are you not entertained?

My verdict would I attend it again? In a heartbeat (especially if I wasn’t on chaperon duty and if I was, I would make sure we went first thing in the morning before the rush)

Maybe next year I might even consider being an exhibitor cause I thinking what kind of national business exhibition attracting foreign exhibitors does not have an easy to find online presence, no common hashtags, so people can easily share moments, such as this one. Free wifi should permeate every corner of the exhibition park  and if you are only finding out or reading about the Harare Agriculture Show today, a week and some change after the event that’s exactly my point, businesses in Africa need to embrace more of the digital world and by extension bloggers and their networks instead of treating it as a hobby sport by people with internet access and too much free time on their hands………..

And that’s why next year my exhibition will be a Bloggers Hub. I wrote it down so it could be real. Now someone help me make my dream a reality step, into my office and let’s chat about it over coffee…..

~B

Day 9 of my blog everyday challenge themed Africa: Stories From Home

 

Of Coffee Blog Anniversary and Blog Everyday Challenge

Of Coffee Blog Anniversary and Blog challenges

If you were having coffee with me I would say hello September and goodbye winter, does this mean we are in summer now? I really don’t know we seem to have only two seasons summer and winter or rather cold dry season hot dry season and hot wet season.

Guess what my blog turned 5!!!

blog anniversary

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that I am celebrating my blog anniversary in exactly the same way I did last year, looks like it’s become a tradition, doing a blog everyday challenge. The theme for this year will be Africa: Stories from home.

And of course because Africa’s secret weapon is community, I am roping in my Afroblogger friends to take part in the challenge too, because the more the merrier, and also a burden shared is burden halved…….

africa unite

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you to expect stories from Africa, about Africa, the little things that never make the mainstream media, the things I want to read about but can never find online. You know the saying “if you want to read something and you cannot find anywhere perhaps you should write it yourself

If you have any topics and curious questions you have always wanted to know about Africa and where I hail from go ahead ask, and I may dedicate a blog post to explain. Not only will it help me find material to write about but one of my reasons for doing this challenge is to share the real story about Africa #MyAfricaMyWords

I am from Zimbabwe a teapot shaped country in southern Africa.

A teapot shaped country south of africa

A teapot shaped country

If you were having coffee with me I would wish you an awesome new month and ask you to wish me luck, I intend to crush this challenge, this will be my third such blog everyday challenge, I think I got this!!!

beatonm5

Whats going on in your neck of the woods?

~B

Of Coffee And The Simple Life

Of coffee with the simple life…..

Coffee outside

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you I had to initially draft this post, the hard way, by candlelight, on a piece of paper I saved from being kindling for a fire, fortunately I had a pen and I did not have to use my blood as ink.

Do you hear that? There’s nothing but silence, well not entirely silence.  just the natural silence of the simple life, broken only by livestock, the chirping of birds and the whispering of the pine trees as breeze blows past sounding almost as if it’s a thousand voices whispering your name……..

pine trees

If you were having coffee with, I would tell you that you don’t realise what a good thing you have going, not until you are back in the city, with its big city lights and the first thing that greets you is an assault on your nostrils, by the noxious fumes of commerce and vehicles speeding dizzily past, no time to say hello or goodbye, not even a friendly wave, only a honk of the horn beep beep move get out of the way……

This is the longest period in my adult life that I have spent in the countryside, at my maternal grandparents’ homestead, I pulled weeds from their graves and felt a connection to roots that hold up the tree that is my existence.

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that, the pace of life here is different, slower even and the list of priorities might as well as be worlds apart from what happens in the urban parts of the country. Life is simple, a little too simple, I wish I had my laptop, and somewhere to charge it and definitely some Wi-Fi. I have been off the internet grid for a week and some change, and a part of m feels like the world is spinning without me.

In fact the rest of the world is spinning along however imperfectly without a care what happens in such simple corners of the country. The elections came and gone just like they do and here political aspirants come and they make grand speeches and fancy promises then depart in a cloud of dust and smoke, leaving nothing but tyre tracks from the their shiny new off-road four wheel trucks, never to be seen again until the next elections. And this time, this might be sooner than expected, if a rerun is declared, because well a petition was filed challenging the election results and now we wait the constitution court’s ruling.

Watching a beautiful sunset as the night falls, it’s a moonless night, and it would be a dark night were it not for the sky full of stars, nights like this we used to gather round a fire and tell  stories.

sunset

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you we gathered around a fire, the same fire I saved this sheet of paper from and we told stories, but they weren’t like stories of old, these were real. Stories like about the homestead next to ours the only home without a fire lit, because only death lives there now, and ghostly flames can be seen by late night travellers; everyone there died from some mysterious malady, everyone that is except the first born son who is said to live lavishly abroad but could not come for any of the funerals because they left country claiming political asylum and so now cant return.

It’s a familiar story, those who remain bear a certain resentment for those who manage to escape the shackles of the simple life, chasing paper and never returning except only to be bury or be buried. The last time I was here was for a funeral and before that another funeral, and this land slowly becoming simply graveyards and half abandoned homesteads populated only during funeral services.

Another story that’s not spoken in polite company, the one about the lady who lives by herself, whose husband left, or died or maybe as some suggest she killed him. She is said to be very gracious with her favours as payment in kind for groceries. If you take a loaf a bread to her house, she will accept it with a coy smile and invite you inside, for tea maybe……

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you my plan was to only spend a night, but the simple life has no room for rushing, every time I say I am ready to leave something comes up, an aunt I must absolutely visit, and of course they will insist you cannot leave before dinner, and by the time dinner is done, its too dark to leave, tomorrow first thing in the morning, but of course that means first thing after breakfast of course breakfast is at lunch………

But finally here we are, I had to insist I would return soon and not wait for another funeral.

Have an awesome week

~B

 

Of Coffee, Democracy, Voting and Elections

Of Coffee, Democracy, Voting and Election Results.

voting

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you it’s been a nail-biting roller-coaster of a week, waiting for the results of the harmonized election results held on Monday the 30th of July to be announced.

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you not be alarmed, I am safe and sound, and have had to answer the “Are you safe question?” to several people via phone calls, messages, emails, and DMs but to be honest the past couple of days have been hair-raising. You might have seen Zimbabwe, headlining the news, when the army clamped down on opposition party protesters in the city capital, demanding immediate release of unadultered election results by the electoral commission claiming the commission was delaying so it could “massage” the figures.

MDC Protest

The protest turned violent as protesters destroyed property; looting shops, setting fire to vehicles belonging to the ruling party and the military resorted with deadly force. Firing live ammunition into crowds leaving scores of people injured and several fatalities.

Military

If you were having coffee with me, this is the part you would ask me if you heard me correct that military personnel in a nation not at war opened fired on its civilian population. It’s hard to reconcile this image with how the military, just seven months earlier, in November had been on the side of the masses, in a historic seemingly bloodless coup resulting in Robert Mugabe resigning without a single bullet being fired in public.

Zim Coup

when The Army sided with the people

The official statement is that the protesters “overwhelmed the police who were spread thin due to them being stationed throughout the country to safeguard the polls and so the army was deployed.” This might be true but not entirely because on the fateful Wednesday I also happened to be in Harare CBD, and no I was not protesting, I was not even aware of the protests, maybe I should have checked my social media first, it might be full of misleading information but it’s one of the most reliable ways to find out if its safe to venture outside your neighbourhood and into the city.

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you, to imagine you were me, in the city’s central business district, not protesting minding your own business when suddenly: chaos and confusion as people run past you screaming and you don’t need anyone to tell you twice, you also run. Assimilating as you go along; the noxious tear gas fumes assaulting your nostrils, the distinctive sound of gun fire, even though you have never heard a gunshot in your life and you sometimes mistake the sounds of a car backfiring to gunshots when you hear an assault rifle being fired you can’t mistake for anything else…….

A lot of finger pointing is underway, from the opposition party leaders for inciting violence to the party supporters heading mindless calls to action; from the army over-reacting to the protestors being ungovernable and the truth, well the truth is an offspring of mistruth, half-truths meeting whispered conspiracies breeding in a silence where no good thing can flourish.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that the final presidential election results were announced after midnight on the 3rd of August with President elect Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ruling party ZANU PF winning 50.8% of the vote and Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance opposition taking 44% of the polls and the remaining 5.2% split amongst the other 20 presidential candidates.

Walking in the streets of the capital city it’s hard to imagine something as monumental as presidential elections happened, no one is rejoicing, and everyone seems to be grieving, not only for the unfortunate souls, not only from the funerals of those who died on the Wednesday, not just faceless civilians, but people who had loved ones,

and also for the death of hope that had been birthed, still born, that this time around, maybe this time, things would be different……..

If you were having coffee with me I would mention these interesting quotes that I heard:

“its not the voting that counts, but the counting of votes…”

The force of will surpasses the force of will

Well if the polls are to be believed, then we live in a divided nation, where 49.2% of the population did not vote for the president elect, where there are more rural than urban voters in a tale of two voter pools, living with what seem to be completely different concerns and ideals and a diasporian population without a right to vote from their adoptive countries; and where a lot of work needs to be done to unite the population allow room to tolerate divergent views

If you were having coffee with me, I would ask you if you think democracy is a façade or that democracy is unAfrican? I heard some analysts on TV say that it’s a system that is counter to Africa’s Principle of Ubuntu I am because We Are, serving no one but interests of our colonial overlords in their quest to maintain control of Africa’s resources and controlling its finances.

diversity

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that I wish I could go to be bed and wake up later, much later, like in maybe five years, because in five years I will be old enough to also be a presidential candidate, if I was president I am sure the world be a better place…… well for me anyway it would be better.

~B

I have just answered a phone call from my mother for the umpteenth who calls every few hours to check if I am still alive and still ok, I should visit her soon and put her fears to rest, she worries so much I start worrying about her too………

Of Waiting For The Election Results

Disclaimer: I am not a political analyst and these are simply my thoughts, Thought is Free

Interrupting my regular blog routine to bring my thoughts on the elections in progress. Usually I do not write on articles of a political nature main reason being Self-Censure. Commenting publically on all things politics has always been high risk event which could result in your untimely departure from life as you know it, sometimes permanently. There has been a serious muzzle on freedom of expression until fairly recently with the ousting of our former president Robert Gabriel Mugabe in the coup that was not a coup, that could have been a coup, you can read my take on it HERE in the Coup That Went To Private School. 

From the time since then, if there’s any change I have noticed its having the basic freedom to say things which have been too afraid to say, you would think its a basic right given freely, you would be wrong, even now, I still keep a wary look on my words making sure I dot my I;s and cross my T;s and step lightly on people’s toes…….

We have just crossed the finish line in the final lap of the race for the polls, historic elections as highly anticipated as the former British colony’s 1980 Independence, and now we wait for the winner to be announced

1980 indepence

Yesterday 30 July was voting day, polls closed at 7pm CAT and now we wait for the electoral commission to announce the Official Results after results have been submitted from various polling stations across the country.

official results

The Electoral Act prevents false/unofficial declaration of the results, makes sense as they try to eliminate fake news but some speculate this is to allow leg room to manipulate the election results as it can take up to five days to get the comprehensive results.

If you were to follow popular sentiment on the street and on social media then this might be the year the ruling party loses, if there’s one thing I have learnt its that popular sentiment does not win elections, the voting numbers do and from previous elections the ruling party has always won, Robert Mugabe may no longer be at its helm (and he declared he would not be voting for it either) but the party he founded is still in power 38 years later…..

What happens now? Now we wait anxiously for ZEC (the electoral commission) to do its thing, although the results for each polling station are displayed outside the polling stations after counting the votes and citizens can take photos and share results from the various centers, but they are unofficial until verified and announced on official channels…..

While I am waiting for the results I can see how this process would take a very long time, the system could easily be sped up by embracing technology, such as the results from polling stations being updated to a secure central server or a database, easily available for transparency and could be done a simple via text …..

Little things like this is why governments need to engage the youth, fresh minds, fresh ideas embracing the power of new tech and not simply finding ways to control or regulate……..

Now we wait…..

Africa Dawn

~B

Of Voting Wisely: The ZimElections 2018

 

zim decides

In a few hours Zimbabwe will be having its historic harmonized presidential elections. Historic because they are elections without Robert Mugabe at the helm, historic at the level of peace and tolerance (not counting the bomb incident) for divergent views considering the history from past elections where citizens where openly intimidated and when talking anything remotely political was practically taboo, if a random speaker asked for your opinion you just shrugged it off non-commitally because having an opinion was hazardous to your well-being.

On my evening commute from the city in a public taxi, after everyone had paid for their fares, the conductor surprised the passengers by donning a graduation cap and declaring that he was University Graduate and yet here he was working as a Sliding Door Operator, opening and closing doors for passengers just like us, who just like him have dreams too, but working as a “hwindi” (the colloquial name for the minibus conductors and touts who try to get passengers to board their taxis; said to be derived from the sound the minivan door makes as it rolls on its railings and slides shut….. hwiiiiiiiii Ndiii) was never his dream, nor a job opportunity he would never pursue willingly.

He chronicled how he left for work at four in the morning and the earliest he got home was half-past ten in the evening; how he wasn’t even sure if his wife was beautiful or not since he only saw her at night. He is a stranger to his children, they cry when he tries to play with them; never play with strangers they were taught well; he leaves home before they wake up and returns long after they have gone to bed.

Even on the few off days he does get, they just stare at each awkwardly and his wife will be away, working. She is a qualified teacher but runs a tiny flea market right next to the cash dealers, the ones who hold thick wads of cash and sell money at a premium,

and sometimes she comes home with groceries and crisp new notes in a country where cash is a scares commodity, he worries that maybe she sells more than just pirated DVDs and secondhand clothes but he never asks, she isn’t really his wife, he cant afford a wedding, she is just someone with whom shares living expenses with and oh yeah they have children together.

At some point he asked the passengers to show by show of hands if they had family who had left for distant lands in the diaspora whom when they said goodbye at the airport  said that they would be gone only for a little while, its been years and now you wonder the only time they are coming home is in a coffin (that is if you can pay for the international body repatriation fees) Everyone raised a hand, me included, the family structure has gaping holes left by those who sought economic asylum in the better world and sometimes as I rub the dust of my passport the only thing that keeps me here is that I can’t a plane ticket to greener pastures and not out of love for country…..

You could tell as he spoke this colourful account of his life that he was somewhat intoxicated, even he admitted that he had imbibed some cheap strong spirit alcohol known as “Musombodhiya” the only kind he can afford to drown his woes but the fact that he was drunk should not diminish the gospel he was preaching all he was saying was “Please Vote Wisely on Monday

Someone asked the conductor whom he meant when we should vote for when he said vote wisely he laughed and replied “Isnt it obvious? The are three schools of voters those for whom the current regime has been good to, puppets of the regime those who cant think for themselves and those who want change, if you are in this taxi and not in a car of your own you need  change in your life…Vote Wisely

Vote Wisely wise ……. Who am I voting for? Ha! Isn’t that obvious, my preferred candidate talks a good talk but even though he talks such a good talk not enough people are listening, and this is all a numbers game, and out of 23 candidates.

I would vote for anyone who is willing to give him a chance in their next government because man mad great points well the the future is about to begin, dare we relive history…..

As I got to my stop and was getting off, the conductor concluded by asking if anyone had seen the eclipse, it was an omen, the end of an era, “ane nzeve anzwa tosangana paVotelet him ears listen: Vote Wisely

~B

 

 

 

 

Of Coffee with Cat

If you were having coffee with me, I would first apologise that I could not get up to greet you properly, its the cat you see, its sitting on my lap and has decided I must never stand again, not until our chapter is complete…………

A cat

Like a thief of time,

the sleeping cat,

that never moved,

watched you, watching it, watching you…………

You can help yourself to the beverage of your choosing as long as its herbal tea or plain water hot or cold but I wouldn’t recommend the ice cold water, its still winter this side of the hemisphere, oh I hope you dont take a lot of sugar and you like it black because its that time of month when everything runs out,…. waiting for a month end windfall and praying we don’t get unexpected visitors, because what would we even feed them except tea and conversation.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that I have recently discovered I am a cat person, who knew? A stray cat recently adopted me as its new co-owner and it’s worming its way into my yard and life; coming and going as it pleases and disappearing over the fence with a feline grace……

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that the cat is an awesome edition to the family as you may or may not know had a recurring problem with rats, you can read about my misadventures with Mista Whiskas and Speedy Gonzales HERE – The Thing in the ceiling. Well thanks to this feline visitor, havent a seen a single uninvited visitor of the rodent genus.

Quick question: are cats carnivorous?????

If you were having coffee with me, I would ask you which kind of person are you are, because the are four kinds of people:

  • cat people
  • dog people
  • non-pet keepers
  • and those who simply don’t know cause never kept either…..
If you were having coffee with me I would ask you if saw/read the Obama lecture at what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday had he been still alive, my last post HERE – Nelson Mandela Lecture is my overview on the presentation. Not taking away from the late Nelson Mandela but sometimes I feel he is being made into a brand much larger than life and commercialized  for self-serving purposes.
Nelson Mandela
If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that we have just about a week till we have Zimbabwe’s historic presidential and parliamentary elections on the 30th of July wish us the best of luck…………
~B
PS at what stage do you have “the talk” with your cat when you tell it, its a pet and not quite human but its a non-human person??????
Have an awesome week 
cheers