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Month: April 2019

Tropical Cyclone Kenneth death toll rises to 38 in Mozambique, the worst is yet to come





The death toll from Tropical Cyclone Kenneth has climbed to 38, the Mozambican government’s disaster management institute has reported.

Four people have also died in the island nation of Comoros, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The cyclone, the strongest storm to hit the region since records began, made landfall in Mozambique on Thursday.

Kenneth is the second powerful tropical storm to hit southeast Africa in five weeks. Despite its power, Cyclone Kenneth is slow-moving, leading experts to fear it could continue to dump torrential rains on an area still reeling from the devastation wrought by Cyclone Idai.

That storm killed 750 people across southern Africa, forced thousands into camps in March and wreaked an estimated $1 billion worth of damage — about 10% of Mozambique’s GDP.

In the commercial hub and provincial capital of Pemba, residents this week said they hoped the worst was over after a weekend of heavy rains and flooding since Cyclone Kenneth made landfall late last week.

“The rain has stopped, at least for now. There is still water on the ground but the main roads in the city are now passable,” said resident Innocent Mushunje.

Kevin Record, a hotel owner on the hard-hit island of Ibo, said the region was still without power and “waiting for the cavalry to arrive.”

Forecasters said northern Mozambique could see up to 500 millimeters of rain (about 20 inches) over the next five days, which could exacerbate the flooding.

“The soil is saturated with rain and the rivers are already swollen, so the emergency is likely to get worse,” said Michel Le Pechoux, UNICEF’s deputy representative in Mozambique. “We’re doing everything we can to get teams and supplies on the ground to keep people safe.”

Save the Children said in a separate statement that the storm “has caused extensive damage, ripping homes apart and wiping out entire communities,” and is warning that current conditions have made it extremely difficult to deliver aid to those in need.

“We have grave fears for the thousands of families currently taking shelter under the wreckage of their homes. They urgently need food, water and shelter to survive the coming days,” said Nicholas Finney, Save the Children’s response team leader in Mozambique.

Residents stand next to a road partially destroyed by floods after heavy downpours in the Mozambican city of Pemba Sunday.

Residents stand next to a road partially destroyed by floods after heavy downpours in the Mozambican city of Pemba Sunday.

Finney said that the NGO tried to reach some of the hard-hit areas Sunday but were forced to turn back “because rivers had burst their banks and the roads were under water.”

“Flights and helicopters have also been grounded and this means humanitarian access is virtually impossible. We are desperately trying to look for ways to deliver emergency supplies,” said Finney.

The United Nations’ disaster response agency pledged to release $13 million to pay for food, shelter, health, water and sanitation assistance in both Comoros and Mozambique.

“The funds will help in reducing the suffering of the affected people including mitigating the impact on food security caused by the destruction and loss of farmland, livestock and fisheries, in addition to the damage and destruction of homes,” said Mark Lowcock, the UN’s emergency relief coordinator.

Mozambique’s natural disaster management said last week that nearly 3,400 homes were destroyed and more than 18,000 were displaced by Kenneth.


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Plan to compensate white farmers runs into resistance at Zanu-PF

By Farai Shawn Matiashe

Zimbabwe’s latest plan to compensate white commercial farmers who lost land during the fast track Land Reform Program 19 years ago has run into trouble.

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said he had set aside 53 million Zimbabwean RTGs dollars ($18 million) to compensate the farmers, but the full compensation package of $30 billion is yet to be mobilized.

An estimated 4,000 farmers were evicted during a much-criticized Land Reform Program which was implemented in 2000 under president Robert Mugabe, who was removed from office in November 2017 after nearly 40 years in power.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is hoping to resolve the contentious land issue to restore cordial relationships with Western countries which went sour after the land reform program which resulted in sanctions on some top government officials and selected government institutions.

Addressing the gathering at National Sports Stadium for the 39th Independence Day celebrations, from British colonial rule, in Harare on April 18, Mnangagwa said the Land Reform Program was “irreversible but the constitution required paying the farmers who lost land for improvements done on land”.

No deal

But the white farmers are threatening not to cut a deal with the government as they argue there should be a better way of resolving the issue of land itself. One of the issues at stake is some of the white farmers claim they acquired their farm land in fair dealings with local landowners after independence.

“We need to find a way about it,” said Ben Purcel Gilpin, Commercial Farmers Union director. “In Matebeleland, for instance, records show that a significant number of farmers whose properties were acquired by the state actually purchased those farms post- independence and many with certificates of no present interest from the government.”

“Given the reality that the constitutional provisions under which farmers made investments post- independence  have changed after such investments have been effected, it is reasonable for farmers to seek a way that deals with such issues,” said Purcel Gilpin. He said around 1,000 applicants had been received for the interim payment and he was hopeful the actual process for the disbursement of the ZWL53 million set aside by government would be finalized shortly.

But even if the white farmers were satisfied with the arrangements Zimbabwe’s government faces internal backlash from within its own cabinet and the ruling Zanu PF party.

Zimbabwe’s information deputy minister Energy Mutodi said for the white farmers to claim compensation for the land itself was “unacceptable” because, he said, historically the land had been stolen from black Zimbabweans.

Compensation for improvements done on land only

“Whoever gave them those title deeds had robbed the land from our ancestors. It is our land and it shall remain our land, generation after generation,” said Mutodi. “The whole reason why the liberation struggle was fought was to regain ownership of our land that we had been dispossessed of by white settlers.”

Zanu PF Youth League secretary Pupurai Togarepi said the idea of compensation began during the implementation of the Land Reform Program and the ex-commercial white farmers should only be compensated in terms of the constitution which calls for compensation for improvements done on land only and not for the land itself.

Julius Malema, leader of South African opposition party EFF, told journalists in Johannesburg earlier this month that Mnangagwa was a “sellout” who was “reversing the gains of the revolution struggle” and said the ex-commercial white farmers did not deserve any compensation.

This article was published by Quartz


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From Ronald Reagan to Volodymyr Zelensky: Global stars who went into politics


By Viral News Now and AP


PARIS: Ukrainian comic Volodymyr Zelensky, who received Sunday’s presidential election in Ukraine, adopted a number of celebrities – from US actor Ronald Reagan to Liberian footballer George Weah – who nabbed high political jobs of their international locations.

Reagan, a Hollywood actor for greater than 20 years, was the primary cinema star to develop into head of state.

He was elected governor of California in 1966 earlier than beginning the primary of two phrases because the 40th US president in 1981.

Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger later additionally made the leap from cinema to politics.

The bodybuilder and motion hero was Republican governor of California, the richest and most populous US state, from 2003 to 2011.

Within the Philippines, all-action robust man film star Joseph Estrada, who performed in round 100 movies, entered politics in 1969, changing into mayor, senator and vp.

He was elected president in 1998 however pushed out of workplace in 2001 by a well-liked revolt after corruption accusations.

In Guatemala, Jimmy Morales – a former TV comedian with no earlier political expertise who campaigned on anti-corruption guarantees – was elected president in October 2015.

Additionally a cinema producer and TV persona, Morales is known for his 2007 movie “A President in a Sombrero” through which he performs a rustic bumpkin cowboy named Neto who almost will get elected president by chance.

One other fashionable cinema and theatre actor, Salvador del Photo voltaic, grew to become Peru’s tradition minister in 2016, earlier than being named prime minister in March 2019.

Show business and Reality TV

Italian media mogul Silvio Berlusconi, reputed for peppering his tv programmes with almost nude girls, was Italian prime minister on three events between 1994 and 2011.

Regardless of his common brushes with the legislation, the person referred to as “the immortal” for his longevity in politics led the Italian proper for greater than 20 years.

In January 2017 US actual property mogul and actuality TV star Donald Trump, whose shock election shocked the world, entered the White Home with none political, diplomatic or army expertise.

The 45th president of the US hosted the TV present “The Apprentice” between 2004 and 2015.

Music and Song

In Lithuania, musician Vytautas Landsbergis led his nation to independence from the Soviet Union and was in 1990 elected as president.

In Haiti, fashionable carnival singer Michel Martelly – recognized to the nation’s youth as “Candy Micky” – received the April 2011 presidential election with greater than 67 per cent of votes, ruling till 2016.

From sport to politics

Double Olympic gold medal epee winner in 1968 and 1972, Pal Schmitt grew to become the fourth president of democratic Hungary in 2010.

He was pressured to resign two years later after being accused of plagiarism in his doctoral thesis.

George Weah emerged from Liberia’s slums to develop into a famous person footballer within the 1990s and was elected president of the west African nation in December 2017.

The one African participant to have received the Ballon d’Or, he entered politics on the finish of the nation’s 1989-2003 civil warfare, profitable his first political job as a senator in 2014.

In August 2018 former cricket champion Imran Khan, idolised by hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis for having led the nationwide cricket crew to its solely World Cup victory in 1992, grew to become prime minister.

Nicely away from the electoral course of, Ugandan dictator Idi Amin Dada, who seized energy in 1971 in a coup, was a former heavyweight boxing champion.

Others have mixed jobs in literature and politics, like Senegal’s poet and writer Leopold Sedar Senghor, who grew to become the republic’s first president upon independence in 1960, and Vaclav Havel who in 1989 received post-communist Czechoslovakia’s first presidential election.


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The African Democrats: Of media images, scarves and current affairs

This week Zimbabwe Digital News sat down with The African Democrats President Marco Machona and discussed a range of issues, including current affairs and Zimbabwean policits. This is what he said

Analysing President Mnangagwa’s state media relations

This is a wierd because some years ago, I worked for ZBC/ZTV. Then we would thrive and take pride in asking well researched questions, the most provocative questions, upfront and mix with questions in public domain.

Despite world media platforms to learn from, journalists at ZBC, ZTV, Herald, Chronicle have failed not just to learn, adopt and copy best practices, but failed audiences over the years and missed opportunities to relate with public.

These journalists are a disgrace to journalism, public spaces and airtime they represent.

Zim in general cant afford to watch let alone listen to theae state controlled media. We had expected that under President ED, Zim would implement media reforms, hire the best minds in journalism and promote freedom of speech.

But fear still grips journalists who operating in zim. Bootlicking is a means of survival by many of these journalists.

Friendly queations and patronizing ED is a culture that dates back to Mugabe and has never changed. Its te to clean up these state media and replace these corrupted journalists with fresh minds and technology to advance journalism in the country

President’s Public Image

That scarf would have been a symbol of change, success, new diapensation and progress if he had succeeded.

That scarf is now a symbol of ridicle and failure. Judging from daily comments and jokes levelled against ED amd his scarf, its rather too late o change perceptions associated with that scarf.

To make matters worse, scarf doesn’t even capture Zim colours, scarf doesn’t unite or inspire citizens. Its too late for him to change and public mockery wont stop either. Scarf is now a symbol of suffering –


I am not so sure how much Rwanda or President Paul Kagame had to do with this approach. To be honest, it took me by surprise, yes there was pressure, but that’s not new to Zanu-PF, public demands have never moved Zanu-PF.

I think its a great move though, but no amount of money, apology or reburial will bring those people back or closure for the surviving.

The bad image, crimes againat humanity and reputation of Zanu-PF wont change or improve. In fact, after so many years, we doubt the sincerity or a ploy to clean up ED international image. Back o back shooting of protesters by the military, in August 2018 and January, 2019 are proof that Gukurahundi was no mistake but well calculated and executed. Zim needs to join ICC / Hague to make aure all perpetrators are brought to book.

Land Reform

The whole chaotic land reform was never to really address the imbalance or share the land, land was given to Zanu-PF supporters, the re-distribution was skewed, un fair and undemocratic.

Only a fraction of certain people benefited from land reform. TAD position is to redistribute land again, based on needs of all Zimbabweans.


President ED is not clear on compensating white farmers, we have various pending issues and court. The same Zim white farmers are suing SA govt and also hope to receive compensation. But should these white farmers go back to the same land, then its a reverae and undoing what we already suffered for

Zanu PF has never been very clear in title deeds, methods used and demonstration of transparency is missing and lacking – we need a re-do of land reform.

From the start land reform discriminated those who didn’t support it – do wasn’t fair to majority – a re-do of land reform with technology to farm and produce – with a purpose.

Media changes

President ED is clearly better than President Bob on social media – and those who defend him… its part of democracy – he has been allowed a presence on spocial media by his handlers. That has brought some air of communication, but it is all propaganda.

TAD media transformation seeks to use technology to gather data, use technology as a tool to create content and news. Serious education, training amd allow those in diaspora play a role in shaping Zim future media – technical, branding and a total of all reforms.

We need all voices to be heard. When I met a certain media owner, and told him that he was captured – in a workshop, he fumed at me – we had never met but I still think I was right.

We have two camps of media in Zim… Zanu-PF and its own camp and Independent media belongs to MDC. The rest of us are caught inbetween – without mouthpieces – so we go social media and we are expanding and it works.

Zim media is too rigid or impractical to change – they can’t. We need to clean up from reception to the field. Watch this space.

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Robert Sylvester Kelly: Superstar is penniless, and singing the rhythm and blues


By Daily Mail

Former superstar R. Kelly is reportedly broke after $150,000 was seized from multiple bank accounts after his former Chicago landlord filed a lawsuit accusing him of owning back rent.

The R&B singer has hit rock bottom and currently has -$13 in one of his bank accounts, according to court documents obtained by The Blast.

Wintrust Bank, where Kelly holds an account, informed his former landlord that Kelly’s balance with them is in the negatives.

Though that bank account has been drained, Kelly is said to have two other bank accounts with Bank of America.

One of those accounts held $44,595.58 and the other had $110,056.64.

R. Kelly (pictured last month) is reportedly broke after $150,000 was seized from multiple bank accounts after his former Chicago landlord filed a lawsuit accusing him of owing back rent

R. Kelly (pictured last month) is reportedly broke after $150,000 was seized from multiple bank accounts after his former Chicago landlord filed a lawsuit accusing him of owning back rent

The R&B singer has hit rock bottom and currently has -$13 in one of his bank accounts. Wintrust Bank (file image), where Kelly holds an account, informed his former landlord that Kelly’s balance with them is in the negatives.

The R&B singer has hit rock bottom and currently has -$13 in one of his bank accounts. Wintrust Bank (file image), where Kelly holds an account, informed his former landlord that Kelly’s balance with them is in the negatives

However, all of that money was seized by the landlord, who filed a lawsuit accusing Kelly of owing back rent.

Trouble after landlord seized rent money

Kelly has $625 left between the two Bank of America accounts, according to The Blast.

The landlord was awarded $173,000 from the suit and subpoenas were sent to Sony Music, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and multiple banks.

According to The Blast, Kelly is not owed any money by the ASCAP, which collects money for artists.

In addition to the $154, 527.22 they collected from Bank of America, the landlord is asking that the judge to release another $50,000 from Sony.

Kelly, 52, pleaded not guilty in February to charges that he sexually assaulted three teenage girls and a fourth woman.

The charges were brought against him after seven women including his ex-wife, appeared on Lifetime television documentary, Surviving R Kelly, and accused him of emotional and sexual abuse.

He spent a weekend in jail on the sex charges before being released on $100,000 bail on February 25.

In addition to the $154, 527.22 they collected from Bank of America, the landlord is asking that the judge to release another $50,000 from Sony Music.

In addition to the $154, 527.22 they collected from Bank of America, the landlord is asking that the judge to release another $50,000 from Sony Music

But he was arrested again on March 6 for failing to pay child support, just hours after lashing out in a television interview with CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King against charges that he had sexually assaulted the teen girls.

Kelly was taken into custody for owing more than $161,000 in child support to his three children with ex-wife Andrea Kelly.

He was released from jail on March 9 after a child support payment of more than $161,000 was made to Andrea.

Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, could face up to seven years in prison for each of the 10 counts if convicted.

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Bread is a basic commodity, and Zimbabwe must be getting the basics right


By Reuters and The South African


Harare and Johannesburg: The price of bread nearly doubled in Zimbabwe on Tuesday, another burden for citizens already struggling with a weakening currency and rising prices for basic goods.

Bread now costs 3.50 RTGS dollars a loaf, up from 1.80 on Monday, according to prices displayed by most shops visited by reporters in the capital, Harare.

“Bread has now become a luxury. How many people can afford it at this rate?” said Sarah Chisvo, a mother of three who was picking up groceries in a supermarket in central Harare. “The government needs to do something before this gets out of hand.”

Zimbabwe ditched its own currency for the U.S. dollar and other currencies in 2009, after hyperinflation reached 500 billion percent the previous year.

In February, faced with acute shortages of U.S. dollars, Zimbabwe introduced a new currency, called the Real Time Gross Settlement dollar. The RTGS has been losing value ever since, forcing companies to increase prices .

Year-on-year inflation raced to 66.8 percent in March, up from 59.39 the previous month, according to statistics agency Zimstats.

On Tuesday, the RTGS dollar was trading at 3.19 to the dollar on the interbank market and 5 on the black market. That means a loaf of bread costs about 70 U.S. cents a loaf, in a country where the average income is around $4 a day.

Bread is the most consumed staple after maize meal, and the increase follows that of other products like cooking oil, sugar and milk. In January, a fuel price increase led to protests that left several people dead following a military crackdown.

While prices of basic goods continue to spike, salaries have largely remained unchanged, increasing public anger against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

Zimbabwe is suffering from the twin effects of drought and a cyclone that wrecked the eastern parts of the country. That means the country needs to import food using scarce dollars, which will put further pressure on the exchange rate and prices, analysts say.

This is as basic as it gets

Zimbabwe researcher Allen Munoriyarwa voiced the country’s concern over escalating bread shortages.

The past couple of weeks has seen Zimbabwe’s bread price climb by up to 70 percent, after Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe reportedly warned that the country only had a week’s worth of wheat for bread left.
“Bread is basic, especially for people who live in the urban areas. Also bear in mind boarding schools that have thousands of students,” The Citizen quoted Munoriyarwa, who lives in South Africa, as saying.

“Its shortage disrupts these schools. It is embarrassing actually to, in 2019, still be talking of bread shortages.”

Munoriyarwa disagreed with the Zimbabwean government’s suggestion that bread can easily be replaced with other food such a sweet potatoes and porridge.

“They are scarce also, and will not be ready substitutes. Some, actually most, people will have to make do without bread at all,” he said.

“It is no longer affordable, considering that most Zimbabweans are in the informal sector with no reliable incomes.”


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Despite what the sponsors did to him, Tiger Woods proves that golf is played on the green




Tiger Woods, the former 14-time major champion, is now a 15-time one, having won the Masters for the fifth time. Plagued by scandal and a body that seems to deteriorate by the year, Woods has lost most of his major sponsors. However, he still carries branded logos on his shirt, bag and clubs.

After a scandal that triggered his divorce, Woods was dropped by sponsors who paid him tens of millions of dollars. These included consultancy Accenture, AT&T, Buick and Gillette. Nike stayed the course. Its founder and former CEO, Phil Knight, would not leave Woods no matter how bad things got. The decision was never fully explained.

Woods has a golf ball endorsement deal with an unlikely candidate: Bridgestone. The Japanese company is barely known in the U.S. golf world. Almost every other well-known golfer plays Titleist, Taylor Made or Callaway balls. He signed the deal in 2016 and first played it in a tournament that he sponsors once a year in the Bahamas.

Tiger Woods chewed gum in Masters win and there will be acres written over the: Ranking Tiger: Where does 2019 Masters fall amid Tiger Woods’ 15 major championships?

Woods has two more well-known golf equipment deals. The first is the Nike deal that survived his scandals. He first signed with them in 1996 and again in 2013 – for $200 million. Woods’s agent, Mark Steinberg, told ESPN at the time, “We’re comfortable with where we ended up and the career trajectory that Tiger will be on with Nike. I’m thrilled we were able to complete this deal.” He wears the Nike symbol on his shirt.

Woods has a relatively new club deal with Taylor Made, cut in 2017. It has just started to sell the irons it made for Tiger for $1,000. When the clubs were released a few weeks ago, Woods said, “Consumers have never had the opportunity to play irons like mine … until now.” The set is branded the P-7TW Milled Grind irons.

Woods has a sports drink sponsor. Gatorade dominates the market. And he signed a deal with Monster Energy last year. A Tiger Woods version of the energy drink will be introduced this year.

Several other sponsors are barely known to the public. One is the Full Swing golf simulator. With a base price of $25,000, it is hardly for every golfer. Woods is also an investor in the company and helped invent the product.

Upper Deck, best known for baseball cards, is among Woods’s smaller sponsors. Hero MotoCorp, an India-based company, is the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters. It is, however, barely known in the United States.

The firm’s CEO admitted as much. “As Brand Hero keeps expanding its global footprint across continents, our aim is also to take Golf to newer demographics and bring innovations to the game. Tiger will continue to play a valuable role in this exciting journey,” said Dr. Pawan Munjal, Hero MotoCorp’s chair, managing director and chief executive.

Another little-known sponsor is Kowa, a pain relief company based in Japan. Given Woods’s history of injuries, this makes sense.

Finally, the biggest Woods sponsor is himself. Look for the TW logo on his hat.


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Death threats against Zim journalist in controversial Ace Magashule book


By Pieter-Louis Myburgh


The Weekly’s most significant media battle occurred much earlier, however. In 2011, Zimbabwean-born journalist-turned-mediaentrepreneur Basildon Peta launched the now defunct Free State Times. ‘I was the main publisher in Lesotho, but I wanted to expand to South Africa,’ Peta told me during an interview in late 2018. ‘The Free State was the logical starting point to do so.’

He felt that the province’s media offering left ample space for a new publication. Volksblad was doing great work in terms of holding the Magashule administration to account, but it only catered for Afrikaans readers.

After assembling a team of journalists and setting up shop in Bloemfontein, the first edition of the Free State Times hit the streets in April 2011. The publication was unflinchingly independent and critical right from the start. ‘Our very first front-page story ran under the headline “Premier Magashule under fire”,’ Peta recalled.

‘It detailed alleged irregularities involving the premier. In the months thereafter, we published story after story about Ace and his [alleged] corruption.’ The Free State Times tackled a series of government deals with companies and businesspeople who were allegedly close to Magashule, including Ntsele’s contentious website contract. Peta’s paper also investigated and wrote about the Magashule bloc’s dubious political manoeuvring within the ANC’s provincial structures.

‘We had been following the story of how legitimate [ANC] branches were sidelined, how Ace was elected as chairperson through [alleged] cheating, how delegates were [allegedly] paid off,’ Peta told me. ‘We published many reports on the branch-level manipulation that ensured Ace’s continued power.’

Hard Hitting

These hard-hitting reports soon earned the Free State Times a reputation as an uncompromising newspaper dedicated to exposing corruption in the province. This translated into promising circulation figures for a young publication.

‘We sold 15 000 copies of one edition in which we exposed a government contract that had been awarded to a businessman with links to Ace,’ said Peta. ‘The circulation began to increase at a steady rate.’ The pub lication also became a preferred channel for government officials and other individ uals who wanted to tell their stories about problems in the Magashule-led government. ‘On some days, the reception area was full of people who wanted to share information about corruption,’ Peta explained.

Given the Free State Times’s reporting on the website contract, it did not surprise Peta when Ntsele’s The Weekly began to attack his news paper. The Weekly’s ‘Letters to the Editor’ section was routinely used for this purpose. Nale, in his letter, accused the Free State Times of ‘perpetuat[ing] a sinister agenda that projects Magashule as corrupt’.

Another letter claimed that the Free State Times was controlled by ‘Regime Change hand lers’, without providing a shred of evidence.

It was not long before such sentiments gained traction within the ANC’s formal structures. In March 2012, The Weekly reported that ‘ANC Youth League leaders have declared war against Free State Times, accusing the newspaper of waging an anti-ANC agenda’.


The article quoted ANC Youth League Fezile Dabi regional secretary Phindile Motha as saying that her organi sation supported the ANC’s controversial call for the establishment of a media tribunal, and that the Free State Times would be the first publication to appear before it. ‘We should seriously begin to probe as to who is funding this paper and its agenda,’ Motha told The Weekly. ‘In asking we should remember the info scandal of 1979 and we will certainly be guided to find answers.’

The irony of the comments

She seemed unaware of the irony of her comments. The socalled information or Muldergate scandal involved the misappropri ation of apartheid state funds for covert propaganda projects. In the Free State’s case, it was The Weekly that was being propped up with government funding, not the Free State Times.

The hostility was not confined to The Weekly’s pages. According to Peta, Free State Times reporters and staffers were exposed to intimidation and threats when they attended government press briefings and other events. ‘I once received a phone call from someone who told me I should go back to Zimbabwe,’ Peta told me.

‘Before he hung up, he asked me if I remembered what had happened to Noby Ngombane.’ But the biggest threat to the Free State Times’s continued existence was financial in nature. Peta told me Magashule effectively placed ‘an embargo’ on state advertising in his newspaper. It is something that clearly still irks him. ‘If we had received a fraction of The New Age’s government advertising revenue, we would have been fine,’ he said.

‘It is simply unethical for bureaucrats to punish newspapers for criticising government.’

From the outset, Peta was less than optimistic about his gutsy publication’s chances of securing much revenue from Magashule’s government. Given the newspaper’s promising circulation figures, however, he had thought that the Free State Times would secure enough advertising income from the private sector.

Boycotting the newspaper

Things were not that simple. Peta and his colleagues were told that large companies and other businesses operating in the Free State had been pressured into boycotting his newspaper. ‘Potential clients told our advertising team that people from government had asked them not to support us,’ Peta claimed. ‘These companies were afraid of losing out on business with the provincial government, so they complied.’

A former advertising agent at the Free State Times told me the same story. This source gave me the name of a large retailer in Bloemfontein that initially agreed to advertise in the Free State Times but later backed out for alleged ‘political reasons’.

I asked the retailer for comment. It admitted that it had placed one advertisement in the Free State Times before terminating its relationship with the new publication, but maintained that this was for purely commercial reasons. ‘We didn’t get much traction after our once-off advertisement and therefore decided not to make use of it again,’ the retailer maintained.

Peta cited other companies that, according to him, boycotted the Free State Times because of alleged pressure from Magashule’s administration. These included cellphone network giants and other major South African companies.

Regardless of the reasons for these businesses not wanting to advertise in the Free State Times, the dual snub from the private and public sectors soon pushed the newspaper towards the brink of bankruptcy.

The brink of bankruptcy

Peta had started the Free State Times with a cash injection from a foreign investor, and he needed to keep up with the loan repayments. He also had to protect his employees’ jobs.

In the end, he decided to do a deal with the devil, in a manner of speaking. One of his friends knew Ntsele.

This person suggested that instead of closing down the Free State Times, Peta could enter into a partnership with Letlaka.

‘I did what a responsible publisher and businessman needed to do,’ Peta told me. In early 2013, he agreed to sell a controlling stake in his news paper to Ntsele’s Letlaka.

After that, government advertising revenue apparently started to roll in. But this money came at a great cost. ‘When we went into bed with Letlaka, we had to change the newspaper’s editor ial policy,’ Peta explained. ‘We could no longer do stories that could be seen as being anti-Ace. It wasn’t a question of being pro-ANC, we had to be pro-Ace.’ Gone were the days of the Free State Times’s corruption exposés. The newspaper’s reports on Magashule and his administration instead began to look remarkably like The Weekly’s. For instance, in December 2013, the Free State Times ran two stories that depicted Magashule as a good leader (‘Hlasela has done wonders’ and ‘Premier orders jobs for widows’).

However, the marriage between the Free State Times and Letlaka did not last long. In 2014, Ntsele pulled out of the agreement after a series of disputes with Peta over how the business should be run. Peta once again had full control of his newspaper, but it was too late to save it.

‘Ntsele was the conduit for the government advertising revenue,’ Peta said. ‘After he left, we again had no revenue.’ The newspaper that once shone a light on corruption in the province finally closed for good in 2015.


This is an extract from Peiter-Louis Myburg’s new book: Gangster State, Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of capture. The book’s launch was disrupted in Johannesburg this week.





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Zimbabwe set to exhume, rebury Gukurahundi massacre victims



Zimbabwe this week said it will exhume and rebury thousands of victims massacred during the 1980s state crackdown against dissidents, as part of a slew of measures to bring closure to one of the country’s dark moments.

Citing a justice ministry official, the state-owned Herald newspaper said the government will offer medical assistance to survivors as well as issue death and birth certificates for victims of the brutal crackdown that claimed the lives of around 20,000 perceived political dissidents.

The campaign unleashed by an elite North Korean-trained military unit shortly after independence, is known infamously as Gukurahundi, which means “the rain that washes away chaff” in the local Shona language.

Government will “facilitate the exhumation and reburial of Gukurahundi victims,” the paper quoted justice ministry secretary, Virginia Mabhiza, as saying.

“We are also implementing protection mechanisms for those affected by Gukurahundi to be free to discuss their experiences. Some people are still suffering from various pains inflicted on them during the disturbances,” she said.

Rights groups say at least 20,000 people, most of them civilians, were killed by the crack unit deployed in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces between 1983 to 1987 to crush dissidents opposed to the then prime minister Robert Mugabe’s rule.

Mugabe, who was overthrown in 2017 following a brief military takeover, refused to acknowledge wrong-doing, only calling it “a moment of madness.”

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former close ally of Mugabe, was minister of state security at the time of the crackdown which has tainted the country’s rights record.


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Zim Migrants Support Network: Business Unusual for ZimsInSA



Staff Reporter

This week ZiMSN convened a business symposium and business hub to coordinate Zim business people in SA.

The introduction was an overview of the ZiMSN Business Hub what it stands for and what it really represent.

It is an integrated hub that seeks to identify Zimbabwean immigrants who are willing to collaborate, form synergies and kick start business.

It was an economic business seminar. It must be understood that we are all economic refugees in RSA henceforth the need to fight the economic struggle, “together, yes we can” that was the mantra. The business seminar was attended by 20 people in various business fields.

The first presentation was by Mr. Russel Kahari of The Millennium Girl Child and Health Services. Mr. Kahari is one of the partners of the organization and they concentrate on selling women menstrual products in the form of the Menstrual Cup.

The Organization is facing challenges on importing products due to a tax clearance issue. However the challenges were addressed in the seminar.

The second presentation was done by Mr Jefta Munyaka who runs a car dealership, Uber and Taxify business.

Mr. Munyaka was willing to formalize his business, he owns about seven cars and is looking to formalize his business and also obtain financial capital to grow his business.

There were 20 representatives that showcased their existing businesses, chicken farming , driving school, construction, sewing business, property rentals, plumbing , waterless car wash, food outlet

A few were present to kick start their businesses but it was predominantly people already running a business who had various challenges ranging from funding, growth, formalizing the business.

We also saw some notable collaborations which happened during the seminar as some business participants formed partnerships.

The seminar was a success with key results on partnerships and business strategies we learned throughout the seminar.

We would like to thank the facilitator Mr. Shumba head of Projects, the panelist of business experts and representation from the leadership led by honorable Mapingure and the Secretary General Mr. Shelton Chiyangwa.

Host: Mr. E. N Shumba (Head of ZiMSN Dept. of Projects & Business)
Guest Speakers: Mr. Chikahe ; Mr. Mapingure
Secretary General: Mr. Chiyangwa
In Attendance
Zimbabwean business people
Board Of Trustees
The Board Of Trustees, was represented by Mr. Chikahe and Mr. Chidzambwa
Portia Chingoma – National Coordinator (ZiMSN)
Mr. Dumisani Mpofu – IT expert
Mr. Makwarimba – IT department (ZiMSN)

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Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nnenna The Film: How it all began




Bullied by the glamour girls in her class, frustrated with her mother’s inability to discuss sex, 14 year old Nnenna explores the intimacies of love and sexuality with her best friend’s brother.

African women collaborate to tell an African story in this moving Nigerian high school drama.

Neither Mum nor the biology will answer Nnenna’s questions about sex, menstruation and all the new things 14 year old Nnenna experiences in her body and emotions.

Older sister Adaora tries to help, but, she’s busy bunking out of the house for the social life Mum forbids. The “belles” in Nnenna’s class mock Nnenna for her boyish frame and late start to her periods.

But it’s Nnenna that Kunle, the most attractive boy in the school falls for. Ify, one of the belles, goes after Kunle, pushing Nnenna to prove to Kunle that she is as sexy and attractive as the belles are. When Mum finds out about the relationship, Nnenna escapes Mum’s violent punishments to find solace in Kunle’s arms. The two young people do not foresee the consequences coming their way.

How Nnenna began

I’m passionate about bringing great African stories to the screen. When I read the novel TRAPPED IN OBLIVION, I was hooked. The Mother who can’t discuss sex and relationships is everywhere on our planet, not just in Africa. Ifeoma Ezeobi, the novelist’s, take on this theme, is all too familiar to millions of African women.

Ifeoma was as eager to see her book adapted to the screen as I was to adapt it. I reached out to my networks to find young Nigerian women to write the script, co-produce and direct the movie. Today, here we are, ready to go with this amazing collaboration.

Turning not being included into being included

I needed a production company that would make sure that I could raise support for the film. Determined to turn not being included into being included, I started the African Women Filmmakers’ Hub to bring African women filmmakers together to make the films millions of people in the world are waiting to see.

Meet the Team

Tsitsi Dangarembga, Executive producer, creative producer, story editor

Tsitsi Dangarembga is an award winning Zimbabweans filmmaker and novelist. She has credits on most of Zimbabwe’s feature film classics, including directing and co-writing on EVERYONE’S CHILD, and story-writing on NERIA. Her award winning short musical KARE KARE ZVAKO (MOTHER’S DAY, 2005) was screened in the short film competition at the Sundance Film Festival.

Zimbabwean novelist and filmmaker, Tsitsi Dangarembga set to grace SA Africa month

She divides her time between her Harare home and guest appearances at film, arts and academic institutions globally. See more about Tsitsi and the African Women Filmmakers’ Hub in this reportage

Ifesinachi Okoli-Okpagu, screenwriter, co-producer

BBC and British Council trained, Ifesinachi graduated from the University of Benin, Nigeria, with a B.A. degree in Fine & Applied Arts. She has an MSc. Degree in Marketing Communication from the Pan-Atlantic University, where she graduated top of her class.

Ifesinachi began her screenwriting and production career with the Pan-African television talk show, Moments with Mo (formerly produced by Inspire Africa, now known as Ebonylife TV). Since then, she has worked with several producers locally and internationally on a variety of projects. She is the author of ‘The Domestication of Munachi’, a novel published by one of Nigeria’s notable publishing houses with award winning titles,

Ifeoma Chukuwogu, director

Ifeoma is a Nigerian writer and director. She studied communications at the University of Texas at Austin and Film and Media Production at the New York Film Academy, Los Angeles, CA. Her award winning films have been screened at festivals including the Pan African Film Festival, Los Angeles where it won the Special Jury Recognition Award, the Cannes Film Festival Short film Corner in Cannes, France and the Rapid Lion Film Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her goal as a filmmaker is to tell human stories in an authentic and relatable manner, and to create film and television content that showcases characters that are often underrepresented or stereotyped in mainstream media.

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Why Google decided to honour jazz legend Hugh Masekela with a doodle


By Google and CNN


This week on Google’s home page on most home pages was a special Google logo, a Doodle, for the South African trumpeter – Hugh Masekela.

He (is) was known as the father of South African jazz.

He was born on April 4, 1939 in Witbank and passed at the age of 78 on January 23, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

He had a top hit in the US named “Grazing in the Grass” and wrote anti-apartheid songs such as “Soweto Blues” and “Bring Him Back Home”.

The Doodle shows the legend playing the trumpet in a very colorful way.

Here is what Google wrote:

Today’s Doodle celebrates the world-renowned South African trumpeter, singer, bandleader, composer, and human rights advocate Hugh Masekela. Born 80 years ago today in the coal-mining town of Witbank, South Africa, Masakela got his first horn at age 14. He went on to play with a wildly popular group known as the Jazz Epistles, the first all-black jazz band to record an album in South African history. However, within the year, its members were forced out of the country by the apartheid government.

The jazz legend and anti-apartheid hero Hugh Masekela on what would have been his 80th birthday.

Known as the father of South African jazz, the trumpet master channeled the struggle against apartheid into soulful compositions that championed the experiences of ordinary South Africans.
In 1960, at the age of 21, Masekela left South Africa to begin what would be 30 years in exile from the land of his birth. On arrival in New York he enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music.

He immersed himself in the New York jazz scene, watching jazz greats such as Miles Davis and John Coltrane.

The Grammy-nominated artist toured with Paul Simon and was a major player on the jazz and world music scene for decades.

Masekela’s 1986 “Bring Him Back Home” song, written for Nelson Mandela, became an anthem of the 1980s anti-apartheid movement.

His career spanned five decades, during which time he released over 40 albums and worked with a range of artists including Nigeria’s Fela Kuti, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and his former wife, the late Miriam Makeba.
In 1990 Masekela returned home to South Africa, following the release of Mandela from prison.


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Billion dollar advice: Ten lessons from the richest South African – Johann Rupert


By Wpuser

South Africa, one of the strongest economies in the African continent prides itself in having very wealthy individuals. Out of the many, one name that stands out is that of Johann Peter Rupert. He is an extremely wealthy businessman who owns different businesses. Mr. Rupert is ranked as the richest man in South Africa, and the third richest in Africa.

The 64-year-old inherited the family tobacco business (Rembrandt Tobacco) and incorporated other lines of businesses over time.

As at September 2013, Forbes estimated the value of his business empire to be about $7.7 billion. For those who aspire to be as wealthy and prosperous as Mr. Rupert, you might want to try to follow his footsteps to get there. The following are 10 lessons we can learn from Johann Rupert that might help you.

1. Leaders Are Born

Johann Rupert is regarded as a born leader. His leadership skills come out naturally and this is how he has managed to grow his business empire. He first started out by working for Chase Manhattan on Wall Street. In 1979, he established Rand Merchant Bank, South Africa. Later on, he took over the family business and managed to transform it into a business empire. After the death of his younger sibling, Antonij, he took over the wine business (Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons) and made it quite successful.

2. Businessmen Should Be Fearless

On many occasions, he has been described as a fearless or bullish businessman. Johann Rupert is never afraid of taking risks in businesses. His fearless nature and ambition to grow have led him to establish different kinds of businesses. He has interest in luxury goods, mining, winemaking, energy, telecoms industry and more. Richemont is ranked the second largest vendor of luxury brands such as Cartier, Montblanc, etc. It has about 60 stores in different parts of the world, for instance, Vegas, Shanghai and Paris.

3. Philanthropists Earn More

Looking at Mr. Rupert, it is evident that success and philanthropy go hand-in-hand. He makes large contributions to institutions of higher learning, charities, foundations, social organisations, research institutions and many others. The contributions are used to help underprivileged children, tackle other social issues, and also facilitate research. He founded Small Business Development Corporation, SA to assist people in growing their small businesses. He also supports the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, World Wide Fund for Nature, and many others.

4. Global Move is the Best Way to Go

The South African businessman is described as a global mover. His businesses are located in different parts of the world. Compagnie Financiere Richemont is based in Switzerland and has regional offices in different countries. His efforts have also been appreciated and rewarded not only in his home country, South Africa but all over the globe. He has been honoured in countries such as Switzerland, Germany and many others. He received the French Legion d’Honneur for his global presence.

5. Be a Conservationist

It is important to preserve nature! This is a lesson that can be learned from Johann Rupert. Just like his father, Anton Rupert, Johann plays a leading role in conserving nature. He makes contributions and has started funds that will improve the environment. The businessman has helped protect forests and wildlife. For instance, he has preserved over 25,000 hectares of land in the Graaff region of South Africa. He is also the chairman of Southern African Nature Foundation and Peace Parks Foundation.

6. Be Focused with a No-Nonsense Approach

The South African tycoon is known for being quite focused. He always plays a leading role in any investment or decision-making. Despite his fame and popularity, he doesn’t like being in the limelight. In fact, due to his solitary and withdrawn nature, he was once referred to as a recluse by The Barron as well as Financial Times. In 2005, the Wallpaper publication asserted that “Afrikaans” was an ugly language. This angered him so much that he stopped the firm from advertising his brands.

7. Diversification Is the Key to Good Success

Although he took over a tobacco business, Mr. Rupert’s interests spanned into other fields. The luxury goods sector is the most dominant of all his businesses. However, his strong presence is equally felt in other industries which include mining, banking and finance, wine and spirits, food, industrial gases, building sector and many others. Looking at how he has diversified his business, it is evident that demographics play an important role. Hedging against risk also plays a major role in the success of his business empire.

8. Make Good Use of the Niche Market

Although he has many investments locally as well as globally, Johann Rupert focuses on high-end luxury goods. Besides forming partnerships and collaborations with other successful companies, his company only invests in successful companies, and mainly targets luxury items. This can be seen from the luxury goods which include watches, jewellery, clothing, and writing instruments. The selling outlets are located in high-end fashion cities such as New York, Hong Kong, Paris, London, and Geneva among others.

9. Make Decisions Based on Future Projections

Going by the kind of investment decisions he makes, it is clear that they are based on future expectations rather than present occurrences. His companies look at investment opportunities that are already successful and show a good growth pattern. In addition, he does not make investment decisions based on speculations or demographics. In 2006, he earned the title “Rupert the Bear” for predicting a slump in the economy. In 1992, he was referred to as a leader of the future by the World Economic Forum.

10. Remember to be a Sports Lover

Besides being a successful businessman, Rupert is also a sportsman as well as a sports lover. In 1990, the former cricketer and golfer founded the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. The organisation supports about 65 projects in the world. He is also a co-founder of Sports Science Institute that focuses on developing sports talent. He developed Leopard Creek Golf Club in Mpumalanga, South Africa. The world-class golf course is ranked among the top courses in the world. He is the current chairman of South African Golf Development Board as well as South African PGA Tour. Sports will help you live longer.

Johann Rupert is, without doubt, a very rich man. Furthermore, he is also rich in heart, having sponsored many goodwill causes. He sits on the boards of many organisations and associations and also makes contributions to the society. Currently, he is the Chairman of Richemont, a luxury goods company based in Switzerland and also Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Compagnie Financiere Richemont.



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One year on: South Africa’s ‘mother of the nation’ who was never first lady


By Mashupye Herbert Maserumule


Winnie Madikizela-Mandela – doyen of South Africa’s liberation struggle and the matriarch who was dubbed ‘the mother of the nation’ – took the apartheid system head-on, at the huge personal cost. Her life typified the courage to stand up against injustice. It inspired hope during moments of adversity and hardship.

She personified tenacity to a just cause in the face of a political system that demeaned those she represented as sub-humans.

Hers was a struggle for humanity, often times waged in an inhuman way. Her legacy is that of antinomies. Profound because it was complex. It outstripped the simple narratives of villainy and righteousness.

She was, after all, only human and therefore fallible. Her demeanour was that of a feisty Iron Lady with Thatcherite streaks, but immersed in the tradition of revolutionary pursuit.

She did not bask in the glory of her revered husband Nelson Mandela. She was never simply his wife. Instead she carved out her own political identity in the African National Congress. The outcome was that she was loved and loathed.

She kept the flame of the struggle inside the country burning while many in the leadership of the liberation movements were consigned to Robben Island or exiled. But her endorsement of violence to fight the brutality of the apartheid system did not go down well with the ANC leadership.

The apartheid state failed in its many attempts to break her. This included arrests, detentions, solitary confinements and banishment to a small town in the Free State called Brandfort.

Indiscretions and accountability

Etched in everyone’s memory is the historic picture of her – clenched-fist salute symbolising black power – walking alongside her husband Nelson Mandela who had just been released from prison after 27 years. It was a power couple whose travails personified a country at the brink of redemption, the moment marking the beginning of a new dawn.

As Mandela’s wife many thought that she would become South Africa’s First Lady – a title that had been appropriated to her for a long time in the mass democratic movement. Unfortunately, fate had its own way. Madikizela-Mandela was the mother of the nation who never became the first lady.

And residues of her indiscretions began to demand accountability. She had run-ins with the law. An indelible blemish in her biography is certainly her implication in the death of the 14-year-old child activist Stompie Seipei, who was a member of the Mandela Football Club, which she had established to disguise her political mobilisation of young people in the township.

Jerry Richardson, the coach of the club who was later exposed as having spied for the apartheid government, apportioned some blame on her. Richardson was sentenced to life imprisonment for the abduction and murder of Seipei. He died in prison.

Madikizela-Mandela denied culpability in Seipei’s death and accused Richardson of lying. She was nevertheless convicted of abduction and assault. A six year prison sentence was commuted to a fine on appeal.

She later shouldered some responsibility for Seipei’s death in a grudging admission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that things went horribly wrong.

Rehabilitation and reparations

This followed a desperate attempt by the TRC’s chairperson Desmond Tutu to extract a confession – and remorse – from her. She apologised to the Seipei family, but maintained her innocence.

The TRC’s finding against her was that she was “politically and morally accountable for the gross violations of human rights committed” by members of the Club.

The TRC was established to promote unity and reconciliation, bore witness to, recorded, and in some instances granted amnesty to the perpetrators of human rights violations either in defence of, or fighting against, apartheid. It offered rehabilitation and reparations to the victims of violence.

Some people were uneasy about the TRC process as it related to Madikizela-Mandela. Did the ANC abandon her? The ANC took collective responsibility for the human rights violations during the struggle against apartheid.

But Madikizela-Mandela was left to take personal responsibility for the atrocities related to the activities of the Mandela United Football Club.

Her troubles didn’t end there. She was charged with fraud and theft in relation to a bank loan. She was convicted and given a five-year jail sentence. But she appealed and the sentence was set aside.

Her biographer Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrop, in the book Winnie Mandela: a Life, writes:

In the worldwind of events following Mandela’s release from prison and the start of negotiations designed to ensure a peaceful transition rather than a bloodbath in South Africa…no one bothered to find out what Winnie needed and wanted, how her life had changed or what her aspirations might be…From the moment she was implicated in the serious crimes involving the football club, it was though her entire past had been erased from the public mind.

Unanswered questions

There are many questions that relate to the role of this colossal in the liberation struggle – and post-apartheid South Africa – that historians should critically examine. They go beyond simple biographical narratives.

For example, how would events have unfolded if she hadn’t taken the action she did? What lay behind her penchant for military inspired and violent approaches to the liberation struggle? Was it because she found the ANC too moderate relative to the violence the apartheid system was unleashing? Or was it because of the torture she endured at the hands of the apartheid regime?

And why did she continue to show preference for radical approaches to policy choices even in the post-apartheid South Africa, when her party was in charge?

In expressing her displeasure at what happened to her after Mandela’s release, it was as though, having fought bitterly against apartheid, she was fighting a struggle within a struggle.

Mashupye Herbert Maserumule is Professor of Public Affairs, Tshwane University of Technology. This article was published in The Conversation.


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