Letter to Afro

“MY ONE! MY LOVE! MY PRECIOUS!” GOLUM, True Lord of the Ring.

Darling Bvudzi, (Hair)

I had to write this letter to you. After witnessing the trials and tribulations you go through and selfishly, the joy you bring me, I have come to the realisation that you, my love , are a tour de force.

I am in awe of your resilience, ever present even when that one incident intends on repeating itself. You are busy living, exposed, free and unshackled from the prisons of synthetic hair. Your glory glistening for the world to see, you are brutalised by that random, cruel comment, when a brother offers to put you back in the confines of processed plastic, because you are ‘not looking presentable’. You swish in the wind, wounded that your beauty, your soul, is being degraded by the ignorance of a man incapable of seeing beyond face value. You are not sorry that you do not subscribe to society’s idea of what beauty is.

You pick yourself up, and refuse to perpetuate the stigma that the price tag of the fibre a woman puts on her head determines who and what she is.

Sister, I have seen you happy and full when seasons were brighter; thin with edges receeding when life got just a little harder. You tell a story without saying a word. Now that, is power!

Do you not get annoyed when they ask you what is wrong when you are unbound?Somehow, I do not think so. You are not trapped in the system of organised beauty. You are complete. Adorned in your oils, natural as childbirth, you are a silent inspiration to those who can see. Monogamous in your spirit, faithful to only one, I am in wonder at your determination to be seen as what you are. Beautiful.

You might not look like the others. You are not stretched into submission. You are not trapped for weeks, giving some THING the crowning glory that is meant to be yours. You are free. And yet most of your sisters do not see the beauty of your choice. They prefer to be trapped, comfortable in the precedents set by those who profess to know how they should look.
Continue to run wild. The struggle is real, but your strength is a comb that will straighten your brothers and sisters. They will one day, be qas you are: REAL!

After strangling metaphors to death, I have but one more thing to add on. I am you. You are me. I AM my hair.

The Best of 2016

What a year! In a world fraught with a lot of pain, there are a few incidents that occurred and some humans that brought some sunshine into our lives this year.

It was very hard compiling this list because being a cynic, its hard to see the good in the world. Every little thing happening around me is met with skepticism and major side eye. But after two weeks, I managed to rummage through this messy universe and came up with a dollop of goodness.

From the end child marriage campaign to Caster Semenya’s historic victory at the Olympics, lets dive into the 5 most beautiful events that triggered glee in most people.

5. #This Flag

For those who follow Zimbabwe news, #ThisFlag has been the most polarising topic of the year. After a pastor, Evans Mawarire, decided he would share his frustrations online rather than behind closed doors, which is what ALL Zimbos do, he coined a hashtag that rattled many feathers in the government and pushed the public to action. Despite the pastor tucking tail and running away after realising patriotism comes at a price, the people woke. And stayed woke. The movement still lives, and we are yet to see where it will take us. The revolution continues.

4. End Child Marriages Campaign

This campaign was launched in 2014 at the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia. Worried that a large number of girls were being traded off to marriage because of poverty and in some cases, religion, AU leaders decided to start a campaign to conscietise the public about the destructive nature of child marriages. Zimbabwe launched its campaign in 2015 but it gained traction this year. The UNFPA states that the consequences of marrying girls off so young have been severe, with many forced into sex, pregnancy and childbirth without regard for consent or physical and psychological readiness. The campaign bore fruit, with the Zimbabwe Constitutional Court ruling that the age of consent has been moved up to 18 from 16. Now all that is left is practicalise this ruling, which might prove to be hard.

3. Castor Semenya

Athlete Castor had been a topic of conversation in sport for many years now. Ever since she burst into the scene at the 2008 Olympics, this bad-ass woman has broken boundaries and stereotypes. She has faced many obstacles because of the way she looks and talks. Humans have a track record of being cruel when they come across events they do not understand. Castor defies femininity. She does not have an hourglass figure women are expected to have. Her voice is not that of a typical woman and she is not a hapless damsel in distress. After she was cruelly ordered to undergo tests to determine her sex, it was discovered she has small amount of testosterone in her system, but not enough to sign her off as male.

After all the adversity she has faced over the years, and a dismal performance at the 2012 Olympics where she came in third, I literally wept when I saw this woman throw those haters the bird and claim her good medal. No longer willing to let the hate speech bring her down, this woman came in and made us all question what femininity is all about. Even when the two European competitors who came in fourth and fifth refused to hug her and her fellow African comrades who came in second and third, then proceeded to throw in racist comments afterward, she still stood on her podium and was medaled Queen of the 800m. To those nasty Europeans, I would advice them to train harder and stop whining. White priviledge doesn’t get medals in sports. Skill does.

2. Expose of corrupt government officials

Finally, the Anti Corruption Commission is doing its job! After years of twiddling their thumbs and not doing anything, the ACC finally grew a pair and decided to officially confirm what every Zimbabwean knows: we are governed by a number of corrupt individuals. Ministers and heads of important parastatals like Jonathan Moyo and ZIMRA head Gershom Pasi have been reported to have acted corruptly in one way or another. We are waiting for the courts to prosecute(why we not have a public protector?) and that’s bound to never happen, but its good to see that God complex has been shattered for those higher ups. It would be good is their tried before they find a way to circumvent the law and get away with their crimes.

1. Internet Bills and Laws

Policing the internet is a very sensitive topic. Governments worldwide are finding it hard to legislate cyber crimes as most of the public sees this as infringing on human rights. As much as the right to privacy is the very cornerstone to democratic freedom, there is a need to enforce the law. Zimbabwe has recently enacted some internet laws such as the Criminal Codification and Reform Act and the Computers and Cyber-crimes Bill, meant to be the main laws that will be looking out for the people. Sentences will be handed out to cyber trolls who bully, spread all kinds of pornography including child and revenge porn. Although most people see these acts as a way of muzzling them, there is a necessity to govern the internet.

Well, that’s it for 2016. Let us pray that next year will be kinder to all of us. And give thanks we made it this fair.

See you in 2017!!!

The ‘worst’ of 2016

THROW THESE OFF THE TRAIN!

Wow! What. A. Year! This has been a very prolific one, I have to say! From fake money to hopes of a revolution, then watching the most powerful nation in the world set a time bomb under its dark and divided skirt by voting a communist into power, this has bar none, been a very tumultuous year. So much deplorable events have occurred. Boko Haram continues to wreck havoc in West Africa. The El Nino phenomenon rages on. Black lives continue to be snuffed out by police in America. Allepo has literally turned into hell. Walter Magaya.

I can not possibly list everything, but I compiled a list of 5 of the most sizemic events, people, phrases and hashtags that have touched many negatively and left us feeling despondent.

5. Donald Trump.

So, once is a while, mankind makes stupid decisions which it later regrets. The climate is failing thanks to the industrial era and we are cleaning up that mess. Nazi Germany. And now Donald Trump.

As much as most Zimbos like to think that America and its policies do not affect us in any way, this is not true. We are living in a global village, and unfortunately the decisions made by the most powerful man in the world will affect everyone . Having been elected into power by an America we thought was left in the 60s, this egotistical, racist, sexist with a temperament of an infant has the power to put this world in grave danger. Think about it. How is this man going to react when North Korea flexes its muscles and ‘tests’ a hydrogen bomb? He has no diplomatic bone in his over tanned flesh. From reality tv star to president, you have to wonder if democracy isn’t overrated. The man is ORANGE, for the love of red and blue! If I could doom him away.

4. Chihuta

Hayas! This has to be the most over used, irrelevant and irritating word spoken in any context, right next to pakaipa! The quail bird shrieked its way into our lives early this year and its noisy presence was felt in many spaces (thank you social media). It was the butt of many an awful joke, the centre of advertisements for a number of big companies, the subject of a considerable number of memes. It was an awful time to have a conversation with anyone keeping up with the slang trend. Why was a small bird trying to pass off as a chicken trying so hard to be relevant? But just as fast as it came, it disappeared. Although I’m sorry a large number of people where left with egg on their faces after their ventures in the quail egg business cracked, I am so happy this bird Arthur Mtambara-d out of our lives. Like its predecessor, its ingratiation into our existence has been useless and annoying.

3. Bond Note.

Insert smiley poop emojis here.

With a horrible liquidity crunch plaguing our nation, the ‘bright and educated’ economic minds at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe came together and decided to ‘ease” the flight of our reserve currency, the US dollar, by printing its own money meant to work with the US dollar, apparently with the same value. They asked the Germans to print it, they said ‘Nien Nien’!’ The country protested. Many are/were confused. How can the ‘brightest’ in the economic field bring back an abomination that once brought a nation to its knees barely ten years before? Paranoia hit the street and people simply stopped banking. Eventually, the geniuses then forced this paper down our throats, and well, nothing changed. Queues are still as long as the dry weather spell. The money has apparently dissolved into the market and has made no impact at all, which really is 0K by me. I’m afraid they will use this as an excuse to print more of it though. All I have to say to the second most ineffectual Governor since Gono is that this trial and error method of running the country is a bedrock for disaster. We are not a computer app you are experimenting with and no amount of text messages and horrible songs will ease the paranoia and open rejection of the bond note. I suggest you go back to the drawing board, quit taking advice from Gideon( I’m assuming you are because, really!) and come up with an intelligent and practical way to make this problem disappear.

2. #This Flag.

So who thought Itai Dzamara was a matyr for a minute there? A saviour of the people, brought to us at a time when we were tired of a regime and hoping for change? A man to stand up to a government that has disappointed the masses. One man brave enough to attack the very essence of power and hell, even die trying? Even make him president?
# Thisflag is by far the most powerful movement born of this country in what has seemed like a while. After “chinja maitiro’(MDC) was effectively burnt with its ashes struggling to form new parties, #Thisflag was the one resolute movement we needed to fight and recover the lost hope and define what patriotism is. We tweeted and facebooked this hashtag and proved that social media is a powerful weapon without the devastation of guns and machetes. We put a face to that hashtag. We worshiped that face until it settled in the US and the revolution was sadly delayed. This goes to show that we should not put hope in man, especially an accidental activist.

1. The missing $15 billion

On President Mugabe’s 92nd birthday, while giving his ceremonious birthday speech, he somberly announced that the country had been ‘robbed’ of $15 billion worth of diamond revenue. He went on to state that all seven diamond companies that had been given licences to dig for the mineral had only remitted $2 billion, with $15 billion ‘missing’. The diamonds were either looted or smuggled out of the country, no doubt with some top officials playing a primary role in the thievery. The country is currently going through a major cash crisis, with most of the working public spending its time in bank queues. This money would have no doubt helped revive companies that have been shut down, which in turn would have meant more money circulating within the country, not outside. The head of government moaned about being ‘robbed of our wealth’, yet him and his people had allowed the Chinese to dig, and no doubt they should be held accountable. Again we the people, are dealt with a situation in which we are required not to have an opinion.

That’s it for this years’ list. Next week, I will publish the years’ best list, if I can find five good things to write about.

Jaded

A film of darkness surrounds Him

He is beset with fear

Confusion gnaws at His conscience

His nerves are gravel, He knows no pause

Rage, food for His soul

Sadness, fuel for His spirit

Delirious in this misery

Blazing dark eyes search tirelessly for redemption

The view from below burns from within

What is this that attacks His Being?

Who is this that enjoys His gloom?

The laugh of Mediocrity is loud

Behind Him, Pain prods and shoves,

Ahead of Him-is that Light, so dim and far?

Beside Him is Doubt

To His right is Hope.

Rooted

Barren, listless

Spreading branches…

The Muhacha Chronicles

“SAHARA IS A DESERT. NOTHING GROWS IN IT EXCEPT OUR LOVE.” Some poor boy trying to win over my heart at 15.

Being in a relationship these days is HARD WORK! Maintaining one is even harder!

I like to think of myself as an old dog, set in my ways with an aversion to being taught new tricks.

Adapt or die, they say. Sink or swim, they preach. But nothing could have ever prepared me for the cold, dark, virtual world of dating in the 21st Century.

You see, I am a bit rusty when it comes to relationships. I like my solitude and have little patience for games and dishonesty. I hate drama and after being a victim and witness to a couple of hectic men full of nonsequities, I decided, for self preservation and peace of mind, to extract myself from what I called, at the time, a mindless frivolity, and enjoy life alone.

The last I dated was when texting was all the rage. Even then, I found that mode of communication particularly distressing because of the number of letters you had to fit into one text (twitter really isn’t that original, in retrospect), and you had to use shorthand. If I had known that shorthand was the genesis of the butchering of the English language, I would not have taken part in texting at all!

Curiosity pushed me find out how the current crop of millennials date in a world where all you need to know about a persons relationship status is to stalk their Facebook page. Back in the day, you had to jump through hoops to get intel, everything was strategic. I used to write long meaningless letters with poems inspired by Elizabeth Barret Browning all to impress boys with my writing prowess. I would spray the letters with cheap perfume (No,YOUR Old Spice!). But what do these kids know about the labour of love-slobbering on a stamp and writing the back of the envelope SWALK ( Sealed With A Loving Kiss)? Yes. ’90s teens actually invented social acronyms, FYI!

I tell you, we had it easy. All we had to worry about was whether the post office would take three or five days to deliver that love letter and where to hide its response from our nosy mothers. Kids these days have bigger issues comrades.

With the emergence of social media and the reliance on technology and the internet as a basis for a relationship, matters of the heart have really turned out to be quite complex and pretty baffling. I never would have thought the ‘Last Seen’ on your Whatsapp status can be the reason for a relationship to end.

You post an unflattering picture on twitter, or have 5 followers, you get ditched.

You post an Instagram picture standing suspiciously close to a guy friend, you get ditched.

Your whereabouts are monitored and you can not lie about location(sometimes you just want to be alone).

Online dating is now quite normal, not creepy.

Revenge Porn.

Gone are days of mystery. When a rendezvous with a boy was a guilty pleasure. We would see an adult approaching and immediately cross the road and walk in opposite directions, only to reconvene under the Muhacha tree once the adult was out of sight! Gone are the love song books filled with dubious lyrics.

I yearn for the days when seeing your prospectives’ face would make your heart skip a bit, not a poorly worded message. When you would know who a person was by actually TALKING to them, not ‘apping’.

I feel sorry for whatever damaged goods I date next because I will send those love letters via post, assuming the post man exists and they still make postage stamps, and spray the letters with perfume (No, My DKNY!), then SWALK them just because.

Because Lord help me, this new dating path was not made for this ’90s kid!

ALUTA CONTINUA!-VICTORIA ASERTA?

“If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall in the ditch.” Jesus Christ

Zimbabweans are living in a trying time, no doubt. We are a sieve and a lot of our shortcomings are seeping through the cracks, exposing our inabilities and inadequacies. We are suddenly aware who we are, and the picture is unbecoming.

As we near the half mark of the year, 2016 has been very revealing. Curious cash shortages, political despondeny, the lack of quality leadership, corruption, a worrisome education system, poor health care, drought, an amoral social construct, the bearer cheque comeback, to name a few. The list is endless.

All these problems have revealed a blatant lack of patriotism among the people to nation and a huge lie has been exposed- that we are one of the most educated people in the world. Ha!

With education comes positive results. We churn out graduates from universities, colleges and polytechnics every year in their thousands. And yet we make the most ludicrous policies!

When reserve bank governor ‘Dr’ John Mangugya announced the bearer cheque comeback, I was baffled. Its a ridiculous idea and even the most ignorant person can see this will not end well for the nation. I assume the governor works with advisors. Did anyone actually take pause and think ‘This one dumb idea!’ Did anyone actually not think, ‘Wait, Zambia was in the same financial quagmire, why can we not emulate their economic comeback. Just copy. It has been tried and tested and it has worked.’ Instead of bringing back the one thing that made the country the laughing stock of the world.

We have ZimAsset that has petered into thin air.

We have a National pledge that makes no sense. We already have an anthem, why the repetition?

We have self serving laws that have existed since the Rhodesian era, and no one is opposing them(AIPPA/POSA/OSA).

We have parliamentarians who are enjoying buying cars and building grand mansions instead of helping those who voted them into their cushy lifestyles.

Speaking good English is not a prerequisite to making good policies. We will speak it with all the twangs and accents imaginable, but if we do not have have clever, plausible ideas to get us out of the muck, we are a nation of peacocks, admirable with no substance.

A Chinese businessman once said the reason why black people will always be looked upon with disdain is because they enjoy trod-ding on one another. A Chinese man with the ability to uplift his struggling brother will do so. A black man will rather stomp you further into the ground, feeding into his hero complex-‘look at me, I made it. Now worship me!’

This is evident in our society now.

We have greedy members in parliament with self serving ambitions and do not see beyond the dollar sign.

We have a corrupt justice system, where no one is held accountable for anything. So many officials are being exposed for stealing millions of dollars in companies and institutions yet not one has been prosecuted.

Patriotism is relative. People are patriotic to a party. People are patriotic to themselves. Few patriotic to the nation.

We have been exposed as a passionless people. We have, for the longest time, called ourselves resilient. We have admired our tough, thick skin and our aversion to confrontation . We suffer through and wait for the law of averages to catch up.

Resilience is a prelude to victimization. What lioness will not attack a gazelle when it is prancing near its liar? It sees its idiocy and weakness and feeds on it.

We have called ourselves victims for far too long. We complain and moan about the problems we have. We have been subdued into submission, our backs evident as we flee.

How long are we to live with this victim mentality? We cry ‘Why God why? When God when?!’

I admire the LGBT community in America. They did not sit back and allow themselves to be persecuted. They did not beg for acceptance. They did not weep in public when they were abhorred by the people. They got up and said ‘This is who we are, take it or get out of our faces!”

The point is, they acted.

I am not inciting people to violence. I am saying, why are we content to struggle and talk about our problems behind closed doors instead of actually getting up and coming up with solutions to help our struggling leadership?

We need an abolitionist mentality. Abolitionists in old America where African American men and women who fought for the eradication of slavery and equal rights for all races. We need to have that passion for our country. We need to stop selling ourselves to whoever just to annoy the West. We need to stop this selfishism, and adopt patriotism. From the head to the roots.

Most of us are not in love with our country. We have little to be proud of. I mean, even the Victoria Falls is shifting towards Zambia, tectonic shifts are taking it away from us!

At some point memes,gifs and jokes about our struggles will not be enough. (All those quail jokes where hilarious though!).

Are we an overrated people? Did we oversell ourselves and believe a lie which has come back to haunt us? When are we going to put our education to practice and show the world we can walk the walk and talk the talk? When shall we scream ‘VICTORIA ASERTA’ (Victory is certain)

May wisdom reign and be our potion.

Bond Not!

What a week!

What an explosive start to the month of May!

This is the week the Bond Note announced itself uninvited and became famous before anyone has laid eyes on it.

According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the ‘money’ will be introduced in roughly two months. The notes are still in the ‘design stage’, and with the talk of quails circulating on social media, many are speculating one of the $2, $5, $10 or $20 bills will bear the image of the now infamous bird.

So, Governor John Magudya announced the Central Bank will be printing and releasing $200 million worth of bond notes to help alleviate the cash crisis.

As expected, we went into a serious panic. Our central bank is not the most reliable or trustworthy of institutions. Those who run it are known to be self serving and have dolled out solutions that have had adverse effects on our economy. Ask Gideon Gono what he was thinking, its his name inked on a five trillion dollar bearer cheque.

So here comes the bond note equivalency. Another solution that will no doubt be an advantage to the elite.

I am not an economist, I will not claim to even begin to understand what this will do to the basic structure of our economy. All I have is a fear of going back to a time no one wants to go back to.

Many people are asking what other solution we can put across to hold on to the dollar which we are taking out of the country. How do we keep it in? Stringent measures have been put towards import expectations. I wonder where those measures were when members of parliament were buying each other vehicles in South Africa instead of resuscitating Willowvale Motors.

Now they say a maximum withdrawal of $1000, 1000 Euros and R20 000 for every individual each day. In truth, this is no skin off my nose, I live on way less in a month, but where were these measures when a certain important woman who has lived with the aid of concierge for over a year, was robbed of goods worth a million rand in South Africa.

Apparently, three billion to seven billion dollars is circulating within the informal sector. People are not banking their hard earned cash. No one has confidence in the banks. They forgot to mention that $15 billion from a now defunct diamond mine is also circulating in China.

Some people are saying the notes will work the same way the bond coin did. We shunned them at first, but eventually accepted them and prefer them over the rand. However, there is something ominous about paper money being introduced. That paranoia. Are we taking giant steps back to 2008 and just sugarcoating a problem instead of coming up with a solution that will not make the masses suffer in the process?

I am confident that one good thing will come out of this. Motorists will be happily offloading their bond notes when a spot fine is demanded. I can not think of anything else.

We shall see.