Category: Uncategorized

On Donald Trump’s Maiden UN Speech

Emad Hajjaj / Jordan

Image Source: Internet

So Blair, keep your England and let me keep my Zimbabwe!”

It is not Donald Trump who said those words.  It was President Robert Mugabe during a climate summit in 2002. So peeved was Mugabe, and the rest of us who no longer supported him at that time, and the rest of Africa, at the then British Premier Tony Blair. Blair had committed the unforgivable sin of referring to Africa as “a scar on the conscience of the world.” How dare he! Despite my dislike for my president, I remember myself cheering him on as he went bare-knuckle on the grandson of an imperialist who knew what was coming, had cowardly left the summit and was no longer in attendance. I so badly wanted  to see the reaction on his piggy-pink skin. Obviously, he wasn’t going to show that ugly set of teeth. There wasn’t going to be any smiling because our president was going in hard.

So happy was I at Blair’s humiliation that I missed the nuance in Bob’s speech. You see, the problem with Bob is he gets people excited, then say something that serves him. By that time people would be drunk on joy, admiration and excitement that they miss the true meaning. England doesn’t belong to Blair, he’s just one of the citizens there, but when Bob said “. . .my Zimbabwe”, the smile on my face should have frozen. He meant it, literally. He owns everything, even the oxygen that citizens breathe. This post is not about Mugabe. It is about Donald Trump. It is about his first speech at the United Nations. . .

You see Trump is a rogue. A bully.  Most POTUS-es are but then Trump is an unsophisticated one. This is one of the reasons why I envy Americans (yes, the USA is America, just as Africa is a country to citizens of the USA). Citizens of the US have the luxury to elect any fool to that White House because they know for sure that the idiot won’t be a resident there forever. Of course they know that every idiot occupying that house will tinker with the economy to detriment of the poor, bomb other countries and kill innocent civilians, send naïve young marines to be massacred in foreign land and lock up as many men with a beard and believes in Allah as possible at some rented jail. However, they know that he (yes, he, they don’t elect women presidents there) will do that within a limited time. In Africa we do not have that luxury. We have leaders who believe that they were anointed into power by god. We citizens simply have to vote to endorse god’s will. Of course we do endorse god’s will. We are god fearing people and love to worship more than anything else. If one is to teach us a new way of worshiping, we try to out-do whoever taught us. If worshiping were technology, by now we could have designed a cellphone that works on no battery, no sim-card and does not require airtime . . .

I arrived back from work just in time when Trump was starting his speech. Ever since he became POTUS, I was looking forward to this kind of speech. Not that I expected it to be one that will change the world. I knew he was going to stir the pot and I was not disappointed. DT’s maiden UN speech was lit. I just didn’t expect him to refer to North Korean leader Kim as “Rocket man on a suicide mission.” I expected him to after Iran and Venezuela. I had predicted that he would come to the defence of the bully of the Middle-East and it’s prime Minister, an ardent supporter of DT to applaud his every word. Also, I correctly guessed that he won’t mention our country, which will never be a colony again, and its dear leader who was blissfully resting his eyes as trump rumbled on. How would he dare mention our country when his (Trump’s) children came to Zimbabwe to murder our animals for sport?

Like a wedding cake, DT’s speech had many layers. From the reaction, the ‘cake’ tasted differently to the different ‘wedding guests’; some finding it sweet while for some it was bitter. The speech showed all the different sides of Trump; the statesman, the proud American, the business-man and the showman. The speech contained some hard hitting truths; the UN needs reform, it needs to change with the times, the USA is paying through the nose for the useless organisation; some governments whose dictionaries does not contain the words ‘human rights’ sit on the UNHRC. I was serious and funny in some way.  It contained a message for everybody; the UN, Yankees, citizens of the world, Pyongyang, Teheran, Venezuela and even his predecessor and the opposition democrats got a share. Some parts sounded plagiarized though. The delivery was 100% original.

We live in a world where fundamentalism is slowly taking root and the right-wing monster is slowly waking up from deep hibernation. With these kinds of speeches and showmanship politics, DT might be the fuel and his drunk opposite number in NK might be the match-stick that is going to light up the world into one nuclear inferno. That is my prediction. One that I wish and will be glad that I’m wrong.

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The Bob was in Bindura

Bindura Rally

Image source: Internet

Bob was in Bindura. Bindura is that never-developing town +/- 98km North of the dirty and chaotic capital. The little sleepy town used to buzz when farms surrounding it were still productive. Trojan Mine still had nickel and Freda Rebeca mine still produced gold. There is still  some gold in Bindura though, I’m told. Kitsiyatota area is still teeming with illegal miners but kuNjanji was wrestled away from illegal miners by the famous Man of God and he built a university. So the mines close, the universities open – fair deal.

Speaking of universities, the only development taking place in Bindura is that of universities. I can count three; Bindura University, Zimbabwe University and the Man of God’s university bearing his name of course. Bindura University has taken over the whole  town. Each and every building is now owned by BU. The whole area surrounding Bindura; next to Chipindura High, along Trojan road, Mount Darwin road is all Bindura University. If  people are not careful, the whole town will turn into a university. Didn’t they wrestle a farm away from SOS recently? I am not saying it’s wrong if the whole town became a university. My worry is where will the graduates get space to sell, since jobs are hard to come by in our country.

So, the First Secretary of the ruling party was in that little town. I’m told it was abuzz. He was there for his “Youth Interface Rallies”. He wasn’t campaigning. He doesn’t need to. Not only are elections light-ages away but campaigning, especially too early like this will be a sign of weakness to the opposition and the world at large that the ruling party is scared of losing elections. Ruling parties don’t lose elections in Africa. They came to power through the barrel of the gun and you expect them to be removed by the stroke of a pen? You must be kidding. After all we know that all African opposition parties are stooges, puppets of the West, so voting them to power is tantamount to selling off our hard-won independence for less than thirty pieces of silver.

From the video evidence I couldn’t recognize the all familiar Chipadze Stadium. Not that it’s a stadium, I grew up visiting that place. It is an ugly piece of land next to the now defunct Bindura Musika. It is hidden by a durawall and past the durawall are mounds of earth surrounding a rectangular piece of land. From above it looks like a crater of an extinct volcano. Did I say volcano? I am ashamed I used that simile. It looks like an abandoned open cast mine. Now that’s better. But over the weekend it was spilling over with colour, all and sundry were there to see the dear leader and hear words of wisdom. After all he’s usually out of the country so this, his visit, was not an opportunity to be missed.

Like I said, there isn’t much development to talk about in Bindura. Most of the buildings look old and in need of facelifts. The roads are pot-hole ridden and swarmed each side with sellers. The town looks old. So the visit by the president was something to look forward to.  Almost everyone turned up. After all Bindura is the provincial capital of Mash-Central. And Mash-Central is Zanu PF strong-hold. We come second after Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe if I am not mistaken.

The speeches by the speakers did not disappoint. From the videos I got on whatsap and twitter it was fire. The first lady ‘Doctor’ Amai was in her element. With her razor sharp tongue she summoned one Kazembe to the front, rebuked him like a naughty schoolkid before ordering him to sit down. What’s a rally if ‘Doctor’ Amai doesn’t rebuke someone? Like a boy scout to a master, Kazembe obliged, never uttered a single word. These men always surprise me. They are untouchable when dealing with us commoners but powerless when in front of the first citizen’s wife. Ray Kaukonde and the even the wordsmith of note, George “Nathaniel manheru” Charamba almost wet themselves in front of the Ballamine’s Mother. Amai then dismissed reports that there is something called G40 but made it clear she knows that Lacoste exists. The president later, in his drawling, sleep-inducing tone, acknowledged the existence of G40  and singled out Kasukuwere who he accused of being inspired by Obama. This was a Youth Interface Rally where the Bob was making it clear that no youth will lead in his lifetime and ambition is akin to treason.

I loved this rally because it gave some of us a chance to peer into what happens behind the scenes. In trying to justify that anyone in Zanu Pf can get a runny-tummy Chatunga’s mom told us that Mugabe was bed-ridden for two weeks, surviving on drips, suffering from diarrhea. She also told us that he (Mugabe) called for his Minister of Defence, Sidney Sekeramai, instead of his two lieutenants. Of course we understand, Sekeramai is a Soviet trained medical doctor, so let’s say he wanted to analyse the defence system in the dear leader’s body and fix it. The president got better as a result. So we can forgive Sekeramai for being duped by that criminal traditional leader that pure diesel was flowing from some rock in Chinhoyi. These things happen. No matter how high our literacy rate or how educated we are, we remain Africans and we believe in these things.

The president also told the crowds about a man named Majonga. Apparently this Majonga guy was found in a multi-storey flat with someone’s (the Croc) girlfriend. He was told to choose between sitting on a hot-place stove which was on or jump a few stories to the ground. He chose to jump. He’s now a paraplegic. The president never told us why whoever told the poor chap to jump was not brought to book.

After all was said and done the party left. Bindura is still it’s poor self. Youths don’t have jobs. The circus moved to another town.

 

 

I Love Sam Levy Village

 

Sam Levy village because it is far from the madding crowd, to borrow a phrase from renowned author Thomas Hardy.

Everything there works, including the newly installed robot. Of course I call traffic lights robots. That’s what I grew up knowing. Speaking of robots, the ones at The Village are not manned by spike wielding cops. Those notorious cops who spend the whole day monitoring traffic-light violators and issuing out tickets for inane offences like ‘proceeding through late amber’. We all know this is nonsense. It is a revenue collecting gimmick. They have caught me several times. The robot has a habit of changing on me the moment I cross the pedestrian line. I never complain. I pay and go. The only time I had a problem with them was when one tried to give me change for my brand new crisp fifty-dollar note. As change, he wanted to give me an assortment of unsightly dirty dollar bills and a mixture of bond-note coins. I demanded my fifty dollar back and counted the bond-notes and coins till I had the required twenty-dollar fine. He had refused the South African currency I had. So much for a multi-currency economy.

Harare CBD is difficult to navigate, either driving or on foot. The streets are teeming with pedestrians. What used to be pavements are now trading zones. A cacophony of voices advertise various wares: second hand clothes, fruit, airtime, rat poison, Facebook, Whatsapp etc. I remember having an interesting conversation with two guys. Out of curiosity I had approached them and asked how they were ‘selling’ Facebook and Whatsapp for three-dollars. “Haa idzi ndofunga dzabva kuUzumba Maramba Pfungwe idzi.” I heard one of them remark as I walked away. And these Hararians have perfected the art of advertising. They record their voices on a device which they then play over repeatedly through a speaker. It is irritating. Made my head ache but then I understand, they are trying to eke out a living.  At Sam Levy there is none of that. No hawkers will pester you with their wares, giving you those hungry looks that will have you buying out of pity. Everything is quiet and orderly, save for the boys in one popular supermarket who offer to pay for your goods via ‘swipe’ or Ecocash in exchange for US dollar notes.

The supermarkets at Sam Levy are squeaky-clean. I remember complaining that OK First was a bit dirty. The shop assistant who was busy shoving goods onto a shelf looked at me and smiled. It was past midday, he said. In the morning, he went on, it is usually clean. I knew what the look and smile meant: Where are you from and why are you not used to the situation? I was supposed to get used to the dirt, buy what I wanted and leave. I don’t earn that much, so I always try to get value for my money. That includes a clean shopping environment. I no longer shop there. Each time I am Harare I drive to Sam Levy.  The gleaming shelves and floors ease the pain of the prices which I feel are a bit steep. They aren’t, It’s just me who complains too much so don’t mind me.

Parking is a nightmare in Harare CBD. During peak hours it is difficult to find a parking spot. And you pay a dollar per hour for parking. The parking revenue collectors are so efficient and ruthless like the Biblical tax-collectors. The moment you indicate that you are taking a parking spot, they are already in position, machine in hand. They annoy me, but not as much as the police who guard robots. At the Village, I know I can park the whole day and not part with my hard earned dollar. The cars are safe in the parking lot which is patrolled by professional and polite security guards. One of then, while assisting me to reverse of a parking spot, called me “sir”.  It’s not a big deal to be called “sir”. The last time I smiled at being called that was in Bethlehem, by a white waiter. It felt so good I tipped the guy generously.

Everything works at Sam Levi. Sam Levi is how the Harare CBD should be like. No wonder why it is teeming with white people. I wondered why we rarely see them in the CBD. Now I know they are all at Sam Levi. All ages: Young, middle-aged, old, female and male. I saw one old white lady being assisted by a uniformed shop assistant to her car in the car park. I am yet to see the same being done to a darkie.

Sam Levy reminds me of a normal Harare. But then, abnormal is the new normal in Harare.

 

 

 

The Burden of an Unmarried Man

Image result for marriage images

Image credit: Google

 

My childhood friend married at twenty-two. He told me that he had met the love of his life and had felt it in his heart that she was the one. They still together now. Their ten-years-plus union has produced three fruits.

I remember his aunt, who also happened to be a friend of my mother, coming over our homestead to break the good news. The two women discussed the issue at length, a bit too loudly in my opinion, obviously to make sure that I hear about it. My mother obviously lept to my defence, arguing that she wanted her son to further his education before settling down.

As soon as I turned twenty-five, my mother’s responses changed a bit. Each time a neighbour, friend or relative pointed out that I needed a partner she would either keep quiet or openly invite the person to talk to me about it. I would laugh off every single suggestion that I find a soul-mate and start a family. I always had an arsenal of excuses, some of which I have since forgotten now. Most of the time, I simply said I am yet to find the right one. I was lying. I wasn’t looking for one.

A few years ago I turned thirty but still no wife and no family. Conversations with relatives changed completely. Insinuations and persuasive language made way for blackmail, scorn, ridicule and at times insults, all aimed at goring me into marriage:

Have you no shame to be this old and unmarried?

If you don’t have money ask your father to sell cows or did we refuse to contribute?

How do you survive single life at such an ‘advanced age’?

Who will agree to marry you when you are fourty?

How can you be so selfish, don’t you think your parents deserve grand-children?

Your children will look like your grandchildren!

You will still buy pampers at 50!

Uri kuhura!

Of course I laughed all of them off. That was water off a duck’s back. I had developed an elephant-thick skin towards this nagging issue. But sometimes conversations about my not being married have turned bizarre. One such encounter was with a relative who happens to be a charismatic pastor in these new churches mushrooming all over the place. He said that I had a demon. Only demons make handsome, young men like me not to marry. He then quoted some verses about marriage and gave examples of people who found wives in the Bible. He didn’t tell me at what age they married and neither did he tell me about Paul and those other prophets who died single. He ordered me to kneel down and after a lengthy prayer, laying of hands and speaking in tongues he ‘gave me’ three-months in which to marry. It has been three years since.

Let me admit that I almost yielded to the stigma of being unmarried. Almost everyone has a reason or reasons as to why I remain single. One relative was of the expert opinion that I was HIV-positive, and I answered that there are also HIV-positive women out there ready to marry. Another opined that probably my manhood doesn’t function, which I found funny and I had knew no way to prove to him; I know of men with ‘broken backs’ who got married, I would if I was and wanted to. The weirdest suggestion came from one relative from my mother’s side who said he thought I was gay. I told him in South Africa where I work and stay gays are allowed to marry. He didn’t find my response funny.

My head is now clearly bald. A few days ago I discovered about two or three grey hairs in my beard before I stopped counting. I remain single. I do not have a reason as to why. It does not bother me at all. However some, if not most of my relatives are.

The Light behind the Shadow

Tatenda Hanyani

There is a light behind the shadow

It leaves its footprints on the wall

The closer the light the smaller the shadow

If the shadow lies the light knows not

For it differs greatly from a footprint

The shadow does not last for ever

Neither does the footprint last

Yet the shadow always returns with the light

This wind has blown for a short while

Yet it has blown the footprints away

No one will get lost again

Fresh footprints in the mud now

Where they will stay forever

The wind will come and fail

Will you walk with me in the mud

Whilst our shadows tell of who we are

Shadows remain even though they change

They give hope and interpretation

What do I say when I see you

What do you see on my shadow

I wish you could see the footprints

The wind blew them away

I…

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Poem: Shambles

by Moses Tatenda Hanyani

Motions of this world blow to and fro

The dust rises up in unanimity with the stillness that has been broken

All voices notice not the ears that hunger to hear

For the light has not found the spooky darkness

None chooses to go forth and start a proposition

The mighty have fallen and tumbled again

The waters unwearyingly wait for the storm to die away

As the wind rises it does not leave the earth unclothed

We have been bathed by this earth that we despise

Its pillars remain resilient day and night

Peace has reigned outside it 

Yet the disarray within it is at times unbearable

It’s amazing it does not crumble upon its very own

Wonders cannot cease to appear

For we are all part of them always

Will the mighty rise again to the dare?

Where is the unlimited friend that coasts and wanes?

The sun still burns and never tires

May aid appear as a force swifter than the wind itself

The weak have been furnished yet still too wretched

Who will revitalize the sword for them?

Will the mighty wind speak for them?

Time is life and life is time

These shambles that we see will be mend

Shambles are not part of the equation

Shambles are fiascoes

They will not rise up again

The shallow story with a deep meaning

One day Chicken was sitting under the apple tree. A slight breeze whistled, shaking the boughs of the young apple plant.
Plop! One apple fell with a thud!
“Cluck! Cluck! Cluck!” went Chicken, wings flapping, feathers flying, “the sky has fallen! The sky has fallen! Cluck! Cluck! Cluck!”
As chicken ran, she passed by Goat who was busy foraging the tender leaves of a thorn-tree.
“What’s the problem my friend?” asked Goat.
“The sky has fallen! I’m going to the king to report this incident. Cluck! Cluck! Cluuuuuck!”
“Well, don’t leave me behind, let’s go together!” And along the two went, running down the road leaving a tail of dust. Down the hill was Sheep, suckling her twins.
“Hello, you seem to be in a hurry. Where to?”
“To the king, to tell him the sky has fallen!”
Sheep stopped suckling her lambs and joined. After crossing the river they saw Pig who was busy mud-bathing with his entire clan.
“Hi there.”
“Oh? You are mud-bathing? Haven’t you heard?!”
“What?” retorted Pig
“The sky has fallen!” said Sheep.
“So?” questioned Pig.
“We have to report to the chief,” Sheep said.
“Well I want to go too”, and so Pig joined the entourage.
Up the hill the entourage huffed and puffed. About to reach the peak they saw Cow.
“Moooooo! Where are all of you going?”
“Grunt, Grunt!” replied pig, “to the king to tell him that the sky has fallen.”
“Let’s go together then! Let’s hurry!” Cow joined in.
As they went down the other side of the hill Fox saw them.
“Hello!” No one answered, they ran.
“Hey, where are you going?”
“To the King,” said Cow.
“To do what, when you are empty-handed like this?”
“To tell him that the sky has fallen”
“What!” exclaimed Fox.
“To tell him that the sky has fallen. Are you deaf?” said Cow angrily.
“Everyone stop! Stop now!”, said Fox. They stopped
“Cow, did you see the sky fall?”
No, but Pig saw it.”
“Pig, did you see the sky fall?”
“No,” said Pig, “but sheep and his family saw it with their two own eyes”
“Sheep?”, questioned Fox.
“I didn’t, my close relative Goat did.”
Fox questioned further; “Goat, did you really see the sky fall?”
“No but Chicken saw it and told me first.”
At that moment Chicken replied;
“I didn’t see it fall. I was sitting under the apple tree. The wind came. The sky fell. I heard it fall!”
“That’s terrible. That’s serious news!,” said Fox. “We have to tell the King immediately and this road you are using is far. I know of a shorter route that leads through the bushes.”
So the cunning fox led all these credulous and obsequious animals to his den, where together with his clan, had a feast for weeks.
And the King never got his message that the sky fell.