Just finished penning something for you baba Jayden. We never discussed about this, that I would do your tribute or an obituary. It was never meant to happen. But you decided. Our conversations were about your players, their progress, their misdemeanours.
You were no longer a football source but a friend, a brother and an advisor. I would call you baba, and the first thing you would ask, ko kamudhara karipi mazuvano hakasi kubatika (where is that dude, he is scarce), referring to my colleague, boss, and friend Petros Kausiyo and he would say munhu iyeye arikutovhara ane mhosva (that guy is up to something and he is guilty as charged). He is devastated, Edzai.
He introduced me to you back then when I joined the Sports Desk, then our relationship blossomed. I both had your Zim and SA numbers, ko baba munongobuda musina kutaura, ndikuda kutumira Caroline Rokufa mari yedstv (how come you go out without saying anything, I wanted to send dstv money for Caroline).
We had become a family.
You would confide in me about your players, but sister izvi hazvisi zvekunyora ka unongozivawo vakomana webhora (that stuff is not for football matters, you know these football guys).
I still remember that evening at Pabani when we were dancing to a live performance by Sipho Makhabane during Thulani’s wedding with Mai Jayden teasing Merit Thoko Munzwembiri and me that you guys are inseparable.
I watched the lil boys grow vachikunetsa kustadium, but Edzai today you chose to leave Jayden and his sibling.
I don’t know how Peter Ndlovu and Khama Billiat are feeling right now
Do you want to know how heartbroken Rooney is, you gave me his new contact when he joined CAPS United early this year and today i used that same number, he could only say Sister ma one.
As for Peter Ndlovu and Khama I don’t wish to imagine how they are feeling right now. “I was in Joburg, Khama was buying a car etc, so was assisting him”, you would update me. You loved those boys wished them the best.
I spoke to Mai Khama Billiat this evening, I knew she regarded you highly and trusted you with her boy, she was crying Edzai, hanzi manager wemwana hapachina (the manager for the boy is no more).
Ko Klaus Pagels in Germany ndomutii? Maybe he was expecting you to bring another junior soccer team namudhara Matongorere.
Remember that day at E-sport Joina City branch, you were donating kits to then Mighty Warriors skipper Onai Chingawo and Marjoury Nyaumwe when they were going for trials with bundesliga clubs and Klaus was very grateful, you said Grace nhasi ita Mai Jayden interview ko hanti nhasi ndezvenyu madzimai and she is the manager of this shop.
You were full of humour too, iwe ukugona kuchengeta mwana kumba uko here, ko ndaona profile picture yako ndiye mukuwasha wedu, ko zvaari gentleman nhai uzouya naye ndimbomuona. I can go on and on Edzai.
Zorora hako murugare.
Former Zimbabwe midfielder, businessman and football administrator Edzai Kasinauyo passed away on Friday.
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I was presently surprised with the speed with which OK and Bon Marche stores have moved in embracing new technologies in the cutthroat retail industry.
I must honestly confess, I did not expect the stores which belong to the OK Zimbabwe Group to lead in this front in the presence of the ‘big brother’ Pick n Pay which has over the short space of time differentiated itself through creating an experience ecosystem around the customer.
As I stood in the rather meandering queue waiting for my turn to be served, I realized the queue was moving in an ‘unusually’ fast pace. Upon arrival at the selling point, I wanted to pay through mobile money service, Ecocash.
When I requested for the till operator to assist me with the traditionally long process of paying, then it was shock therapy time!
He asked for my mobile number, punched it in and the next thing, my Ecocash account is requesting for the validation of my pin code and in less than a minute, I m happily served and off to attend to other pressing issues in my motherland Zimbabwe.
The following week, I walked into Pick n Pay highly expectant. I realise that the ‘giant’ retailer was still to computerize its mobile payment systems.
Held up in the line at ‘Queue‘ n Pay
This is of cause an irritation as I got held up in a long queue while trying to use the very same system, which took less than a minute in the OK Zimbabwe/Bon Marchere tails. Talk of the market leader failing to match the market expectations.
When I brought the issue to the employees at the Pick n Pay , I was appalled by the fact that they viewed the matter as peripheral to the shopping experience.
This is the challenge of a brand culture that does not support agility, which in this case is the market differentiator.
In the cutthroat industries like retail, where the margins are very small and depended on volumes for profitability, agility in retaining customers’ loyalty becomes the key ingredient for the brands as they compete for the elusive customer base.
However, it is easy for the market leader to be complacent and take customer loyalty for granted.
I will be quick to advise brand Pick n Pay that OK Zimbabwe has a very strong brand ‘humus’ – the lasting memories of the brand experience.
It is in the latter’s strong brand culture on agility that has seen it through the most vexing socio-political and economic episodes in Zimbabwe.
Sitting on its laurels
It is my humble view that a retail market leader, which has differentiated itself on its ability to create an ecosystem of exceptional customer experience, cannot sit around on its laurels in the face of a biting liquidity crunch and fail to computerize its mobile money services.
My view of the brand Pick n Pay has been drastically altered after these failures to move with speed in responding to the environmental changes.
It is from this comparison that I wish to note that a rock-solid brand culture is the critical ingredient to implement agile marketing strategies.
I make this proposition given the fact that agile marketing strategies are critical not because the world is changing but due to the fact that we are often fixed in the way we think.
An unchanged culture founded on creating a lasting customer experience is the solid foundation that an agile marketing strategy needs to maintain focus and consistency.
In this regard, agile requires movement and flexibility.
Unless the brand culture is well nourished, you will find yourself in constant debate about the priorities, which hinters swift movement when it matters most.
I will put my head on the block and bet that the issue of upgrading the billing systems to be compatible with mobile money platforms was debated internally at Pick n Pay, but to this end, its still talk and not execution.
I will put my head on the block and bet that the issue of upgrading the billing systems to be compatible with mobile money platforms was debated internally at Pick n Pay, but to this end, its still talk and not execution!
I must therefore impress upon the brand Pick n Pay and other brands for that matter that the cornerstone of agile brands is having a strong, clear brand culture that is focused on the corporate vision, which in return enables the team with diverse skills base to be innovative, responsive and creative in the quest for building an experience of a life time for the customers and various stakeholders.
Giant stuck in a time warp
I emphasise the need for clarity of vision because a strong brand culture entails everyone in the organisation has a common understanding of the purpose of the brand existence and working towards the defined goals.
This is critical because decisions have to be made with speed. Surely if this was clearly defined, Pick n Pay will not be stuck in such a time warp.
When agile marketing strategies are implemented, they have the following lasting benefits:
Fast decision-making, gearing the brand to respond to market changes ahead of competition
Fast response to changes within and without the organization
Enhances engagement across teams, instead of working in silos
Creates collaborations among teams based on information sharing and efficiency
Ability to experiment with the marketplace as the respective brands lead stimulates change
Till then, lets hook up every Wednesday on Capitalk FM 100.4 on the programme 1830 – 1900hrs, The Brand Pulse for high-voltage brand management strategies.
Tabani Moyo is a Chartered Marketer, Brand Strategist and Communications asset based in Harare. He can be contacted at email@example.com
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Wallen Mapondera’s Tsananguro/Clarifications is a coalescence of art and matter. Unlike the demands of Hamlet’s Gertrude who asks Polonius that she wishes ‘more matter’ and ‘less art’ Zimbabwean Mapondera’s practice is the happy merger of both.
It offers an almost forlorn ebullience of narrative, allegory, protest, political engagement, media and form. His two, seemingly distinct, practices of painting and sculptural collage provide insights into both form and socio-political expression.
What perhaps makes Mapondera one of the most interesting artists to come out of the burgeoning group of Zimbabwean art practitioners (that include the likes of Dan Halter, Gerald Machona, Kudzanai Chiurai, Portia Zvavahera, Richard Mudariki and Misheck Masamvu) is his varied influences and practices.
The most obvious influence, to those who are familiar with the painting coming out of Zimbabwe, would be Misheck Masamvu and his Village Unhu art studio based in Harare where Mapondera currently resides.
Certainly, some of his figuration and application of paint in works such as Orders, with its languid ‘naïve’ line and its evisceration of areas of the canvass, are influenced by this school of painting.
Range of media influences
However, Mapondera’s work is distinctive from this group not only because of the themes he explores and his palate, but also because his practice involves a much larger range of media and influences.
As Mapondera has said, his sculptural collages were partly prompted by the work of the Australian born Nigerian artist Nnena Okore.
But their obsessive craft also reminds one of more organic and visceral versions of his fellow Zimbabwean Dan Halter, whose own practice derives its form from Zimbabwean traditional craft.
The use of form and colour, however, in works such as Beautiful Scarification, Or Is It? and Kumba Kwababa Vangu (My Father’s House) evoke the colours and grid like patterns of abstract painters such as Paul Klee and Ernest Mancoba.
The key, however, to understanding the link between Mapondera’s two seemingly disparate practices is that the torn and slashed edges of the cardboard prefigure the disturbing eviscerated themes of his figurative paintings.
What is more as one can see in paintings such as Circus Boys, Love or Something Like That, Change Room I & II and Just a Dream that the grid patterns and boxes of his cardboard works are the lattice on which the animal and human figures are suspended.
Of course the grid has been the foundation of all painting since the introduction of the theory of perspective during the Renaissance. But as the painter Peter Doig once pointed out, paintings have never been fixed or still within this structure.
The role of Picasso
Much like Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 and the work of the Cubists both Mapondera’s practices convey movement. And certainly one cannot consider his current body of work without considering the role Picasso, Cubism and Dada have played in it and the overarching conceit that paintings represent not only space but (current) time.
Within this idea of the conveyance of current time is of course Mapondera’s exploration of Africa’s relationship with its animals both real and spiritual. Much like J.M. Coetzee in Disgrace he has foregrounded the cruelty that they are afforded. But also like Coetzee there is a degree of non-realist allegorising at play.
As Mapondera says of his work: ‘[it] portrays anthropomorphic imagery as a metaphor for power relations in Zimbabwean society in the context of an increasingly unstable socio-political environment.’ The expression of these troubles can be seen in the allegories and mythologising contained in works such as Bed of Prophesy and Tsvera I.
Mapondera’s work is the similar merger of art and protest that one encounters in artists like Feni, Siopis, Kentridge and Alexander. His exploration of narrative and allegorical engagement belies the current trends of the one-dimensional expression of identity politics that so pervades South African contemporary art.
It is this ‘aboutness’ in his works, this engagement with the socio-political life that seems to stem from lived experience, that in Tsananguro/Clarifications captures the gestalt of the current socio-political atmosphere of southern Africa.
That atmosphere where animal, human and political forms are torn, twisted and at times hacked out of shape. Tsananguro/Clarifications is the depiction in current time of the daily tragedies that are the quotidian experience of the clear majority of the peoples of our region.
As Mapondera says of his work: ‘[it] portrays anthropomorphic imagery as a metaphor for power relations in Zimbabwean society in the context of an increasingly unstable socio-political environment.’ The expression of these troubles can be seen in the allegories and mythologising contained in works such as Bed of Prophesy and Tsvera I.
Mapondera’s first solo exhibition Tsananguro | Clarifications, opened in May and runs till 1st of July. Address: First Floor, The Palms, 145 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, Cape Town. See: http://gunsandrain.com/artists/
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Former Zimbabwe deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara returned to public life in style this week after the release of: In Search of the Elusive Zimbabwean Dream, Volume 1.
The 334-page memoir: An Autobiography of Thought Leadership, is the first in a three-book series that explores his thoughts and philosophic disposition over a hectic 35 years of professional life, the highlight of which he was one of the three principals in the power-sharing agreement that was facilitated by SADC after the 2008 elections.
Mutambara left active politics and public life after he did not participate the Zimbabwe general elections of 2013.
Three respected political analysts on all matters Zimbabwe, political analyst Dr Ibbo Mandaza, journalist Brezhnev Malaba and politics lecturer Miles Tendi have read the book, and reviewed it for different publications this week ahead of the public book launch in Harare on June 14.
The book is already available on Amazon (kindle version and paperback).
zimbabwedigitalnews.com publishes today the three reviews.
1. Miles Tendi: Pushing against Zimbabwe’s Growing Anti-intellectualism
Arthur Mutambara is probably best known as Zimbabwe’s former Deputy Prime Minister from 2009 to 2013. In those 4 years Mutambara, Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe were the principal leaders in a power-sharing government brokered by ex-South African president Thabo Mbeki, on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), following a disputed election. Mutambara left active politics for a career in the private sector when the power-sharing government’s tenure ended in 2013.
He has used his retreat from the hurly-burly of active politics to quietly write up a trilogy of works, broadly entitled: In Search of the Elusive Zimbabwean Dream: An Autobiography of Thought Leadership.
The first in this trilogy of works, which is the main focus of this review, is The Formative Years and the Big Wide World (1983-2002). The Path to Power (2003-2008) and The Deputy Prime Minister and Beyond (2009- ) are due to be released in the coming months, completing the trilogy.
The goal of The Formative Years is to set out the ideas and historical processes that shaped the young Mutambara’s political thinking and conduct from high school to his university years in Zimbabwe, England and the United States of America.
Mutambara’s later political convictions and actions, discussed in The Path to Power and The Deputy Prime Minister are therefore best understood against the backdrop of his early ideas expressed in The Formative Years. The Formative Years is a compendium of Mutambara’s unadulterated written public statements, speeches and essays from 1983 to 2002.
Thus, the book offers us an appreciation of Mutambara’s early ideas and creative expression in their unmodified form and in the context of the prevailing philosophies of those years. This is a bold move.
Mutambara deserves credit for being brave and honest enough to publish unmodified his early ideas because some of them are not complimentary about his political outlook at the time.
Take for instance Mutambara’s initial uncritical support for Mugabe’s undemocratic one-party state ambition. The absence of a central place for gender politics in Mutambara’s The Formative Years will also rankle its feminist readers. The Formative Years engages a range of themes. It opens with the young Mutambara’s starry-eyed perceptions of the ways of guerrilla fighters in Zimbabwe’s 1970s liberation war.
Later we read his critical turn against the one-party state ideal and escalating government corruption, amid late 1980s radical student politics, which Mutambara led at the University of Zimbabwe. While his initial stance on the one-party state changed, Mutambara’s adherence to Socialism remained unbroken in his undergraduate years, underlining his durable commitment to an ideal of social and economic justice.
Mutambara’s views on national politics
Mutambara’s views on national politics are complemented with his standpoints on the more immediate concerns of a late 1980s university student in Zimbabwe. The sanctity of academic freedom, opposition to corruption within the Zimbabwe Students Union and the betterment of university students’ declining living conditions on campus, amongst other direct concerns, were important sites of struggle for the youthful Mutambara.
His statements on these matters showcase the radical beliefs, flamboyant rhetoric and the resultant militant actions that characterised the student politics Mutambara participated in. For example, at a graduation ceremony in June 1990, Mutambara, then the President of the Students’ Union, declared in hostile manner to president Mugabe: ‘we [the students’ movement] do not want a one-party state in Zimbabwe!’ A visibly irritated Mugabe replied: ‘if you take such extreme views we will be dismissive of your views’.
A heated verbal confrontation between both leaders ensued, in full view of dignitaries attending the graduation ceremony. The final section of The Formative Years is a collection of Mutambara’s political views during his studies abroad, which began in the University of Oxford in 1991. Just as Mutambara was an elected leader in Zimbabwean student politics, he was voted to two student leadership posts during his years as a graduate student in Oxford.
His time in England was followed by research and teaching stints at NASA and MIT in America, where he took part in various speaking tours at historically black colleges, all the while remaining engaged with the emerging political, social and economic crisis in his Zimbabwean homeland.
Mutambara’s time studying and working in the West brought about some changes in his political beliefs. He was confronted by hard empirical realities, particularly ‘the triumph’ of liberal democracy and capitalism over communism. However, Mutambara did not fully embrace ‘the triumph’ of Western capitalism, preferring to remain anchored in a Leftist critique of the injustices of the new world order and belief in a renewed Pan Africanism.
Another hard reality Mutambara faced was UK student bodies’ lack of direct impact on national politics, which was not necessarily the case in Zimbabwe. Yet the strong accountability and transparency mechanisms and effective organisation of UK student groups provided instructive lessons for the young Mutambara.
On the whole, this book is about one man’s journey of political viewpoints. A journey in which the idea of justice constantly shadows the author’s steps. The Formative Years will also be of significance to those with an interest in the politics of students’ groups.
There is an increasing hollowing out of Zimbabwe’s national political discourse. The political speeches of Zimbabwe’s national leaders are often imbued with entitlement, threats, self-righteousness, sycophancy and ignorance, not rational compelling argument.
Media coverage of Zimbabwean politics is hardly edifying to boot. Reasoned political ideas appear to matter less these days, making Mutambara’s In Search of the Elusive Zimbabwean Dream: An Autobiography of Thought Leadership a refreshing contribution simply because it takes ideas seriously. Zimbabwe needs to take ideas seriously again.
*Miles Tendi teaches Politics in the University of Oxford.
Prof Mutambara meets then Fifa boss Sepp Blatter
2: Brezhnev Malaba: Chasing the elusive Zimbabwe dream
Arthur Guseni Oliver Mutambara, a world-renowned robotics professor and one of the most intriguing figures in Zimbabwean public life, has rarely written about the private dimensions of his life – until now.
In this 249-page memoir, In Search of the Elusive Zimbabwean Dream: An Autobiography of Thought Leadership, the first of a three-book series that explores his thoughts and philosophical disposition over a period of 35 years, he delivers a fascinating, provocative and rigorously engrossing tour de force.
Volume one is sub-titled The Formative Years and the Big Wide World (1983-2002).
But what exactly is “the Zimbabwean dream”? Before we even venture there, we must also ask: what does it mean to be Zimbabwean?
This is a nation which held immense promise at independence in 1980. The Zimbabwe dollar was stronger than the US dollar. The country boasted sub-Saharan Africa’s most industrialised economy after South Africa.
Today, 37 years later, there is no national currency. The UN says the rate of formal unemployment has reached a staggering 95% and 72% of the population lives in “extreme poverty”. What “dream” can the world possibly expect from a country led by a 93-year-old president who is eyeing re-election next year?
Surely, dreaming is for tomorrow’s people, not yesterday’s men.
To locate the Zimbabwean dream, we must trace its roots. Mutambara, who turned 50 on May 25, proffers a compelling argument. In his eyes, the Zimbabwean dream can only be realised, first, through a shared national vision and, second, through the creation of what he terms “brand Zimbabwe”.
Mutambara is at his eloquent best
“For example, we could aspire to make Zimbabwe a globally competitive economy, a prosperous nation with a high quality of life for our people by 2040. Ostensibly, we can then conceive three supporting pillars for this vision. The first pillar should be about the economy, while the second focuses on society, and the third pillar deals with our politics,” he writes.
Mutambara is at his eloquent best when he elucidates the meaning of “a shared Zimbabwean dream”. He does not prescribe a formulaic dream but proposes the collective thought process that could lead to the expression of “a quintessentially Zimbabwean Dream”.
Here his narrative – flowing crisply in present continuous tense – teases and tantalises. Can Zimbabweans dare to dream, in spite of all their well-documented woes? Unfortunately, in this part of the autobiography there is not much meat for readers to really sink their teeth into. But wait a minute, could this be the rocket scientist’s way of rousing our curiosity ahead of the publication of the next two books in the trilogy?
As I read this book, the meaning of “thought leadership” permeated my musings. When Joel Kuntzman, editor-in-chief of Booz, Allen & Hamilton magazine, coined the term in 1994, he emphasised the importance of having ideas “that merit attention”. Mutambara defines the term as “intellectual influence through innovative and pioneering thinking”.
As a journalist, I have found the concept of “thought leadership” captivating. A related term is “public intellectual”. The legendary rabble-rouser Christopher Hitchens, who shares Oxonian leanings with Mutambara, once famously remarked that the duty of the intellectual is essentially twofold: first, to argue for complexity and to insist that phenomena in the world of ideas should not be sloganised or reduced to easily repeated formulae and, second, the intellectual must show that some things are simple and ought not to be obfuscated.
Cauldron of Zimbabwe’s notoriously unforgiving national politics
In an intellectually robust and bare-knuckled manner that has come to typify his persona, Mutambara traces the thread of values that has defined his journey from high school top-achiever, leading scientist, business consultant and his eventful plunge into the cauldron of Zimbabwe’s notoriously unforgiving national politics. There are startlingly vivid accounts of Mutambara’s stand against President Robert Mugabe’s fevered machinations to impose a one-party state in the late 1980s. Amid economic meltdown at the time, students at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), led by Mutambara among other organisers, displayed amazing bravery and struck a chord with the toiling masses.
Like most Zimbabweans of his generation, Mutambara was an ardent supporter of the national liberation project. In those days, he even described Mugabe as “our upright and incorruptible revolutionary”. But when the revolution went off the rails as corrupt and autocratic leaders subverted the people’s struggle, he committed himself to mobilising against them.
One of the most vexing puzzles in Zimbabwe in the aftermath of the power-sharing Government of National Unity from 2009 to 2013, has been: Where is Arthur Mutambara these days? The autobiography will answer the question. After the 2013 general election, he withdrew from political life. The former deputy prime minister is currently president of the African News Agency, a technology-driven multimedia news platform.
Among the formative experiences in Mutambara’s life was the anti-corruption demonstration of September 1988 by UZ students. He was secretary-general and authored a statement denouncing Mugabe’s government.
In October 1988, Mugabe denounced the protesting students, dismissing them as foolish renegades, and abruptly terminated the state-funded grants and loans of 14 of the 15 students’ union leaders. But they could not touch Mutambara – his university education was being financed by an Anglo American Corporation scholarship. Despite expending his energies on what he describes as “revolutionary confrontation”, he did not neglect his studies and continued winning the university’s coveted book prizes.
There was no viable political opposition in Zimbabwe in the immediate aftermath of the 1987 Unity Accord which saw veteran nationalist Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo’s party Zapu captured and subsumed by Mugabe’s Zanu. With no opposition in what was now a de facto one-party state, the daring actions of students went a long way in galvanising the citizenry. The government hit back viciously, deploying police and soldiers on campus. Badly injured, Mutambara was held in detention without trial for six weeks.
Aged 28, he had a BSc, MSc and PhD under his belt
Mutambara attained a BSc(honours) in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the UZ. He applied for a Rhodes Scholarship and a Fulbright Scholarship. Incredibly, he was offered both. He opted for the Rhodes Scholarship which took him to Oxford University in Britain where he was awarded a Master of Science in Computer Engineering and subsequently a PhD in Robotics and Mechatronics.
It was during his days at Merton College that Mutambara joined the Oxford Union debate chamber and rubbed shoulders with celebrated intellectual dissidents.
The graduate programmes and examinations at Oxford are exacting and demanding, even for the most intelligent of students. Mutambara completed the Master’s degree in one year and the doctorate in just over two years. Donning formal attire and an academic gown, he orally defended his thesis, in a record 45 minutes, stunning his supervisors. It takes some candidates six years to attain a PhD and others have either dropped out or committed suicide in utter frustration.
In his usual brash manner, Mutambara basks in the glory of his achievements at Oxford. Aged 28, he had a BSc, MSc and PhD under his belt. He said: “This African has just cracked the doctorate in two years and two months, and passed without any changes! The traditional Oxford establishment, while pleased with my achievements, looks a bit perturbed. I guess the African has outperformed the master, in his own territory. What an example of effective counter penetration!”
The man is oozing with confidence. At first glance, there are segments of his autobiography which suggest vainglorious boasting. It only takes a nuanced understanding of his personality from the formative days of Hartzell High School to the “City of Dreaming Spires”, to fully comprehend where he is coming from and where he is going.
Besides, although Mutambara has his flaws like every human being, he has plenty to be proud of: a sharp intellect, a fluency in debate, an easy wit, a fiercely independent worldview, and the willingness to denunciate dogma.
Oxford is not the end of his journey. In 1995 he sets out for the US, “the belly of the beast”, where he works as a research scientist at Nasa, professor at the prestigious MIT and management consultant at McKinsey & Company.
In 2002, he returned to Africa, convinced he was now equipped with the necessary strategies and paradigms to make a difference. No doubt, the new book will spark debate and fuel speculation in Zimbabwe. Is Mutambara preparing to run for president? Time will tell.
In 2002, he returned to Africa, convinced he was now equipped with the necessary strategies and paradigms to make a difference
3: Ibbo Mandaza: Mutambara’s search for ‘elusive’ Zimbabwe dream
Arthur Mutambara’s In Search of the Elusive Zimbabwean Dream is a most welcome addition to the Sapes Books’ stable of illustratious autobiographies/biographies: Elijah Mudenda (Zambia: A Generation of Struggle, 1999); Joshua Nkomo (The Story of My Life, 2001) and Edgar Tekere (A Lifetime of Struggle, 2006); and, forthcoming, in addition to Arthur Mutambara’s three volumes, a biography of another liberation stalwart, Moton Malianga: Zimbabwe’s Unsung Liberation Hero (August 2017) by Fred Zindi.
Mutambara’s work represents a very unusual, but engaging autobiography, reflecting as it does enormous diligence and painstaking detail, in the form of three volumes which precede the autobiography proper in the not-too-distant future.
So, this Volume 1 covers The Formative Years and the Big Wide World (1983-2002). In his own words, in the Preface: “This series is a collection of three volumes of grounded reflections that I expressed over time, as I endeavored to move, lead and inspire people. These reflections were informed by research, observation and experiences.
“The trilogy records my initiatives that sought to turn strategic thinking into reality through the speed of execution. The work is ostensibly documentation of my participation in, and contributions to, thought leadership-intellectual influence through innovative and pioneering thinking (his emphasis).”
This Volume, in turn, consists of three sections: “A Naive, but Vigorous Young Mind; No to the One-Party State! Yes to Socialism” and Out into the Big Wide World. Each of the sections is introduced through a preface which explains the “context, circumstances and issues”, and thereby affording a useful guide to the reader, as the autobiography unfolds.
The young and “naive” student at Hartzell High School, immersed in the “uncritical and romantic view of Zimbabwe’s National liberation Struggle”, but also a brilliant and outstanding young man, a genius no doubt: eight distinctions (A grades) in the Cambridge Ordinary Level Examinations in 1984; again, in 1986, top student in all five advanced level subjects of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Further Mathematics and General Paper; and so, from the very onset, we have in Mutambara one of the best intellects of Zimbabwe and beyond.
But young Arthur is already developing a commendable social consciousness, with an avid appetite for political and international affairs, a leader in the making.
Not surprising he is not only — and predictably — an outstanding student at the University of Zimbabwe (1987-1991) where he studied for a B.Sc degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, but also a student leader of note.
Besides, these were the heady days in Zimbabwean politics.
The glamour of independence had waned, and likewise its fruits were depleting fast. As such, student unrest is often a symptom of the times and the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) was no exception under the leadership of the likes of Mutambara, who served as secretary-general of the students unto in 1988 and as its President in 1989.
This volume sets the stage for the subsequent two volumes
These were the student days that heralded the emergence of opposition politics in Zimbabwe, along with the kind of thought leaders like Mutambara himself, Tendai Biti, Lovemore Madhuku, Munyaradzi Gwisai, Thoko Matshe and Brian Kagoro; to name, but a few of a generation that ought to have been at the helm of leadership in Zimbabwe.
Interestingly, the volume contains photographs that, inter alia, speak to the authors’ academic achievements at the UZ, while flaunting many of such of his contemporaries in those days.
This includes a photograph of the author with the Chancellor at the UZ graduation on July 12, 1991, “after an attempt to refuse to kneel down” as Mugabe was capping him. Likewise section three is well embellished with photographs that tell the story of the man, his times and his associates.
Section three is an account of Mutambara’s student life at Oxford University under the illustrious Rhodes Scholarship and later as a professional in the United States —Out into the Big Wide World (1991-2002), as he titles it.
In fact, Mutambara was awarded both the Rhodes and Fulbright Scholarships, but turned down the later to pursue the former. These are scholarships awarded for distinguished academic excellence and outstanding leadership.
At Merton College at the University of Oxford, Mutambara enrolled for the M.Sc. in Computer Engineering in 1991; and in the following year (1992) he registered for the PhD. in Robotics and Mechatronics. From 1995 to 2002, Arthur Mutambara is in the USA engaged as a research scientist at NASA, Professor at MIT and Management Consultant at McKinsey and Company, “among other interesting assignments”.
Throughout Mutambara remained the political animal, as much in student politics at Oxford University, as in his interactions with African American politics in the USA; and in his own words, “In all intellectual and activist type involvement, I never lost sight of the Zimbabwean agenda”.
And so it is that this volume sets the stage for the subsequent two volumes, which will no doubt tell us more about Mutambara’s “search” for the Elusive Zimbabwean Dream.
Mutambara is the former Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. Mutambara, former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe were the three principals who created and led the Government of National Unity. He is currently the president of the African News Agency, a technology-driven multi-media news platform.
Mutambara has written two electrical engineering books, and is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers and the Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences.
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Occasionally I get an email or a phone call from someone who has had his or her contract abruptly terminated or amended by the employer on the basis that their work permit is about to expire or has expired. In some instances when an employer discovers that the work permit or permanent residence status presented is for some or other reason fraudulent , terminates employment of the individual immediately. Those whose employment is not terminated find themselves in situations where they are not remunerated because they do not have a valid visa. This is often a common occurrence with government departments. So what is the legal position of a foreign national who is employed without a valid visa? Is the employment contract invalid? Can a contract be varied on the basis of the immigration status of the employee?
The immigration Act in:
Section 38(1) provides that no person shall employ (a) an illegal foreigner,( b) a foreigner whose status does not authorise him or her to be employed; (c) a foreigner on terms, conditions, or in a capacity different from those contemplated in such foreigner`s status
Section 49(3) Anyone who knowingly employs an illegal foreigner or a foreigner in violation of this Act shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment not exceeding one year, provided that on such persons second conviction of such an offence shall be punishable by imprisonment not exceeding two years or a fine, and the third or subsequent convictions of such offences by imprisonment not exceeding 3 years without the option of a fine.
Right to fair labour practices and this includes foreigners both legal and illegal
The above sections are often used to justify summarily terminating the employment of a foreigner whose status comes under dispute or changing the terms of the contract to less favourable terms and some instances the withholding of a salary for work done. Under different circumstances all the above would be considered unfair labour practices that would justify referring the employer to the CCMA.
Section 23 of the Constitution guarantees that EVERYONE has a right to fair labour practices and this includes foreigners both legal and illegal . It therefore seems that there is conflict between the Immigration Act and The Constitution. The immigration Act on the one hand appears to empower employers to dismiss anyone on the basis of their status or lack thereof and yet the Constitution guarantees that everyone has a right to fair labour practices and the protections from unfair dismissals etc.
This issue was the subject of the Labour Court in Discovery Health Limited v CCMA and Others JR2877/06. In this case Mr Lanzetta an Argentinean National was employed by Discovery Health whilst his work permit was endorsed with a condition to work for another employer. The permit then subsequently expired as a result of a delay by Discovery to issue Lanzatte with the requisite paperwork to apply for his permit. He was then immediately dismissed by Discovery on the basis that he no longer had a valid work permit. Naturally Lanzatte referred the dispute to CCMA who ruled in his favour however Discovery sought to challenge this in the Labour Court.
Labour Relations Act
In their arguments the lawyers for Discovery health argued that the CCMA had no jurisdiction over the matter because only an employee as defined by the Labour Relations Act may claim protection from the Act. It was submitted that an “employee” was party to a valid contract of employment and since the contract concluded with an illegal foreigner was tainted with illegality then the contract was void ab intio. As a consequence thereof he was never an employee and thus could not claim the right not to be unfairly dismissed and the CCMA also had no jurisdiction over the matter.
The court in its assessment of the case pointed out section 38(1) and 49(3) referred only to the employer and not the employee. The judge highlighted that it is apparent neither section directly or indirectly declare that a contract concluded without the necessary permit is void nor does a person commit an offence by accepting work from or preforming work for another without a valid work permit.
In interpreting these provisions the court reminded the parties that if a statute is capable of interpretation in a manner that does not limit fundamental rights , then that interpretation should be preferred. The court relied on the Constitutional Courts Judgment in Numsa // Others and Bader Bop Pty Ltd.
The right to fair labour practices is a fundamental right and there is no clear indication from the Immigration Act or any other statute that it was intended to limit that right. The court reasoned that if section 38(1) were to render a contract of employment concluded by a foreign national who does not have a valid work permit void ,” it would not be difficult to imagine the inequitable consequences that might flow from a provision to that effect . An unscrupulous employer, prepared to risk criminal sanction , might employ a foreigner and at the end of the payment period ,simply refuse to pay the remuneration due, on the basis of the invalidity of the contract. In these circumstances , the employee would be deprived of a remedy in contract and in terms of labour legislation…”.
The court thus concluded that by criminalising only the conduct of an employer who employs a foreign national without a valid permit and by failing to proscribe explicitly a contract of employment concluded in these circumstances ,the legislature did not intend to render the underlying contract invalid. This in the courts view was meant to be sufficient deterrent to employing foreigners without valid permits.
Parliament has since enacted the Employment Services Act. This is an important piece of legislation that among other objectives seeks to facilitate the employment of foreign nationals in manner that is consistent with the objects of the Immigration Act. The Act provides in section 8(4) An employee who is employed without a valid work permit is entitled to enforce any claim that the employee may have in terms of any statute or employment relationship against his or her employer or any person who is liable in terms of the law.
It is clear from section 8 and the Discovery Health Case that being an illegal foreigner does not mean that one does not have other rights in law.
So what does this mean for the employee and employer?
For starters the relationship between employer and employees and its validity thereof is not dependent on the status of the employee. Neither is a contract the basis of the relationship, the absences of one does not render the relationship invalid. Employers may not terminate or vary contracts or withhold salary payments for the sole reason that the employee`s permit has expired or has been found to be invalid. The Employer must afford the employee every opportunity to rectify his or her status and assist the employee with the immigration process. Abdicating responsibility in this case may very well be considered an unfair labour practice in the form of constructive dismissal. Employers must create an environment that allows a foreigner to come forward and be assisted in these circumstances and not fear that in revealing their immigration challenges they will face dismissal. Employers must make a good faith effort to ascertain the true status of an employee before concluding a contract with him
Employees on the other hand must ensure that they have the requisite authorisation to take up employment and where they do not immediately take steps to rectify their status. Should one find themselves being dismissed or have their contract changed or salary withheld on the basis of their status only, then such conduct can be refereed to the CCMA.
For assistance with your immigration matter you can contact us at our our offices and speak to one of our specialists.
Nkomo is lead immigration specialist at Strategies Migration Services SA. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cell: +2774 337 0269. tel : +2711 064 4875.
This article appeared on the website: www.immigrationspecialists.co.za
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THE silver stars came at her with blinding speed. Zara dodged the first two with ease, the third she deflected with her sword. But the fourth star’s sharp edges caught her cheek and opened a deep cut. Her attempt to avoid it wasn’t quick enough.
“You’re not paying attention,” Hiro Tanaka growled a low warning. More stars chased Zara across the training room. This time she evaded all the deadly projectiles. “A light heart lives longer. In battle, the slightest moment of inattention could cost you your life.”
Zara wiped blood from her face. “Wearing the marks of my carelessness should serve as a good reminder, oh fearless master,” she said, bowing irreverently. Blood dribbled from the burning wound onto her sleeve.
Hiro’s eyes flashed with dark fire, “Staying alive is not something to joke about.” He pierced her with a searching look. His frown deepened. “You seem troubled.”
Zara held his gaze for a moment before her gaze shifted away. Hiro saw too much. “You’re right I’m a little preoccupied tonight.” Why deny it.
“Problems at the dig?” his gaze flicked to her cheek, then back to her elusive gaze.
“The dig is going fine,” she walked past him and placed her twin swords on the weapons table. “I must be more tired than I thought.”
“Hmm,” his skeptical tone told her plainly that he didn’t believe a single word. “Then perhaps this is the perfect time to train mind over body.”
“What do you have in mind?” she said, turning around.
A few minutes later she really wished she hadn’t asked. For each time Zara bested Hiro he send her tumbling to the floor five times more. There was no time to think when one sparred with Hiro. He gave no quater and she expected none. The physical exertion cleared her mind at least for the time being.
“Very good,” Hiro said, slowly rising to his feet her swords in his hands. Zara had managed to disarm him but he captured her sword hands and flipped her over his head. She flew through the air and landed on her feet several feet on the marble floor.
“I lost my swords—again” A quick smile flashed across her lips. “I’m never going to beat you.”
Killed by the Guardians
“You’re good enough to defeat me. Stop trying to copy my style and start capitalizing on your own strengths. The battle doesn’t go to the strong but to the wise.”
“Alright let’s have a go again,”
Zara and Hiro had been sparring with each other for two centuries. She’d never met anyone more talented in the martial arts. Training with him had improved her fighting skills greatly. Because of Hiro she came and went freely without fear of being killed by the guardians.
At the turn of the eighteenth century, Lilith moved her court from the Carpathian mountains deep into the icy tundra of northern Russia.
The guardians were killing them off by the hundreds. With their numbers severely decimated it became necessary for them to set up somewhere remote and not easily accessible to the outside world, somewhere far from humans and hunters alike. Hidden from the guardians they had grown strong again.
The first time she saw Hiro he was practicing kung-fu on the ice caps outside the castle. She’d fallen in love with the grace of his movements. She’d watched him for weeks until one night he’d suddenly disappeared only to reappear behind her.
“Are you a spectator or are you a warrior?” he’d asked her.
He’d offered her a wooden pole and her training had begun. Why he’d chosen to train her when he’d turned away many others she didn’t know.
But she was grateful nonetheless. In a world where strength was vital for one’s survival Hiro’s mentorship was invaluable. To this day Zara’s training remained a well-kept secret. And Hiro became her closest friend and confidante.
“Practice seems to have improved your mood.”
“Having my butt thoroughly kicked seems to have that effect on me,” she joked.
“I shall endeavor to provide as much kicking as you require then.” Swipe and dodge. “Especially when it helps you focus.”
“I’m paying attention now,” she said parrying his thrust. The last half of Zara’s training went much better. Hiro didn’t give her a chance to let her mind wander. Unfortunately, she couldn’t stay in the secret underground arena forever.
This is the second in a five part series of the book Blood Prince by Grace Ashley. Born Maureen Dangarembizi in Zimbabwe, Ashley has lived a storied life. From her earliest days in school, she knew she wanted to write for a living, but that dream didn’t come to fruition until recently. After penning columns for zimbabwedigitalnews.com, she earned her first accolades as a professional writer. Nominated in 2015 for a Zim Achievers Award, Ashely went on to publish two full-length novels, a novella, a children’s book, and to pursue her interest in screenwriting and film making. When not writing, she dreams up new stories to share with the world, or can be found deeply engrossed in one of the many books in her to-be-read pile.
I’m here this week fellas, full of fun as always. Ever since the Donna Kays Weekend E-Diary premièred in 2016, there has not yet been a single lady featured in any of our interviews. How ironic right? You may be asking yourself how come a column written by a woman who believes in women empowerment doesn’t write and publish stuff about her own kind.
Well here’s my answer guys and ladies. I have been researching and gathering information on prominent women in this competitive platform which is dominated by men. I sure did find a lot of my species-kind, doing far much greater than their male counterparts.
However, I have come to learn something that had never come across my mind… the fact that women are calm, careful and calculative.
We are certainly not an impulsive species. All of the ladies I visited for a story asked me to hold for a while because they wanted to check out this newspaper zimbabwedigitalnews.com first, so that I don’t publish stuff that they will look at tomorrow, and think it was so embarrassing. They want their stories to be worth telling, and their memories to be worth a revisit.
This week for this column I managed to find a charming lady that has met the world already, and is sure about how good her work is.
The first ever lady I will be featuring for zimbabwedigitalnews.com right now is, Hanani Nqo, a multi-award winning businesswoman with multiple nominations, including the recent female entrepreneur 2017 for the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards.
Among the accolades and trophies she has won are the Ziwa (Zimbabwe International Woman Awards), she also has multiple pitching awards and was a Global Focused woman award nominee in 2016.
“It truly is such an honour to be able to turn my hobby into my business and be recognised for it in the form of awards,” she told yours truly this week. *blush*
So who is Hanani Nqo?
So who is Hanani? “Most people refer to me as Hanani Nqo. It is quite difficult to answer because I have very diverse qualities. I am an academic as well as a creative soul.”
Hanani Nqobile Dube is a Zimbabwean born nutritional scientist turned HR professional, graphic designer, skincare formulator, business mentor and entrepreneur.
With Fro Sister she has managed to put all her passions in one. She enjoys chemistry of food and creating skincare and haircare products which are plant based, as well as the business side of running a business.
At FroSister, natural hair and skincare are their passion, and managing beautiful hair is what they do best, naturally. At present, they boast a line of natural hair butters, shampoo and conditioner, hair growth oils to grow your edges or hair line back as well as hair food specially created for natural dry lifeless looking hair.
They stay away from harsh chemicals and its high time people got the best. These products enhance your natural beauty using natural ingredients.
Thinning hair, dull and lifeless hair, dry hair, dry scalp, breaking edges… Fro Sister will solve all these issues using natural products that are free of toxic chemicals.
For more on their product you could follow the FroSisterblog and visiting their website www.frosister.com.
The Story of FroSister, and natural hair products
When I asked how she came up with the name FroSister, Hanani narrated – with a smile – this fascinating story.
“When I was growing up I had thick long natural hair which was always in plats. One day when I decided to take the plats down, people were so amazed at my long afro hair and my brother started calling me fro. That’s where the name Fro Sister came from. I am Fro Sister.”
When she moved to the UK, Hanani said she found it very difficult to take care of her hair as the weather seemed to dry it and it was prone to breakage. After doing some research she found natural ingredients that she could use on her hair.
When she introduced the products to the market, the response was amazing. She has been working on her formulas for a while now and after perfecting them, she then decided to share them with the world. (You, my beloved readers) *blush again*
If you’re here in Africa, don’t worry yourself too much, for this amazing brand is expanding to our continent. Having seen success in the UK and Europe, FroSister have decided to introduce their products to Africa. After all their main clientele is you guys – Africans.
The FroSister company has had so many enquiries from South Africa such that a launch in SA was inevitable. They say they are working with retailers and salon chains to introduce FroSister to SA with a bang.The glamorous launch of this African product, by an African for Africans is in August 2017 in Johannesburg.
Stay tuned to zimbabwedigitalnews.com for this upcoming event, fellas. The Donna Kays Weekend E-Diary have the the full lowdown, only on this platform.
Donna Kays Weekend E-Diary events to watch this week
AFM in SA Royal Family Assembly presents:
DEMOLISHING STRONG HOLDS, Youth Conference
Speakers: Pastor R Matora
Host: Evangelist J Gwenyaya
Artists: Minister Chakanyuka, Welly G, Psalmist Paul
7800 Ottery Youth Centre, plantation Road, wynberg, Capetown
2-4 June 2017
Verse Mark 9vs 29
JIMMY JIMMALO presents:
OLD SCHOOL NIGHTS: Hip Hop & RnB
Featuring DJ Bashmouth and DJ Dave.
Every Friday, 9pm
CONNECXION MEDIA COMPANY Presents: GAME CHANGERS
FEATURING: Nyota, Crazy J, Sol-A
LIVE PERFORMANCES: Kimmy C, Nevi, Valerie Omari, Tom Ray, Promo, Red88, DJ Omega ad dancer: Lesesdi
VENUE: The Bank
The night of 9 December 2017
ADMISSION: R100 & R200 at the door
Catch me Donna Kays right here @ zimbabwedigitalnews.com for the best in entertainment news in Zimbabwe, South Africa, and for all Zimbabweans in the diaspora or send an email to email@example.com. Till next time: Ciao.
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Heavyweights, businesspeople, prominent people, and ordinary people in the Zimbabweans in Cape Town community gathered in Goodwood this week to witness the launch of arguably the first Zimbabwean-inspired vodka – Ruffkurt Vodka.
The highprofile event – and the vodka – which are causing a stir on social media in Zimbabwe, South Africa , the UK and all over the world, confirmed to all and sundry that brand Zimbabwe is alive and well in the diaspora, and unafraid to take on new challenges.
Businessman Tafadzwa Mbofana, who is the brainchild behind Ruffkurt Vodka told zimbabwedigitalnews.com that the top-drawer vodka is a French-imported tipple that is being produced in South Africa, for the African market, in a partnership agreement.
“Ruffkurt Africa Holdings is a Zimbabwean company that is based in Cape Town. Although this, the Ruffkurt Vodka has a French style, it is also true to the distillery’s commitment to use only African grains to give the spirits provenance, or a distinct local flavour. The local soil, climate, farming and processing all contribute to the character of the vodka,” Mbofana said.
Mbofana was featured as one of the innovative Zimbabweans in the popular zimbabwedigitalnews.com Wave Makers series. See picture below.
And true to that form, Mbofana is now making waves with the Ruffkurt label.
The liquor is packed in a 750ml classy glass bottle that is unique and amazing to the eye. It is tripple distilled , with a tangy African taste that makes it a good ingredient for cocktails, Mbofana said.
Ruffkurt Africa, of which Mbofana is chairman, was co-founded by him with his childhood friend Evas Chisale who is chief executive officer.
The company started as a vinyl printing, embroidery and clothing centred company, but later ventured into music and entertainment as a way to strengthen the marketing of its products.
Today the company runs a record label that has got five artists, who among them Zimbabwean Bouytace.
Tafadzwa Biggz Mbofana
In 2015 the company ventured into photography and videography that fall under the Entertainment department led by Progress Ian Chisara. In the same year the clothing department introduced Ruffkurt Cologne for both genders called, Him and Her.
Brian Chidzomba is the chief administration officer. Late last year the Ruffkurt management brainstormed the idea of getting into the beverages sector and today the company are the proud manafacturers of Ruffkurt Energy Drink, Ruffkurt Still Water and – Ruffkurt Vodka – which has been wholeheartedly accepted by Cape Town based Zimbabweans.
“We aim to grow as a uniquely Zimbabwean entity in business and to be able to take our products internationally, as well as establish our own group of Companies like Coca Cola, Virgin and Raulph Lauren here in Africa,” Mbofana said.
Apart from Mbofana, Chisale, Chidzomba and Chisara, the rest of the Ruffkurt team includes Simbarashe Hundu, Linah Makuyana, Millicent Mpofu and Brandon Mbofana.
Ruffkurt Africa Holdings will host few more pre-launch parties in South Africa so to build momentum for the big launch that will be done in Zimbabwe later this year. Other countries on the launch list include the UK, Namibia and Mozambique.
Commenting on the event, businessman Julius Shamu said: “Congratulations Tafadzwa Biggz Mbofana on the succesful launch of your own brand, Ruffkurt Vodka. I have admired how you have become mature, focused and more business savy. More blessings on your business. Well done and keep it up. The sky is not even the limit.”
Others who attended the launch included Biancah Dhliwayo, Charles Mandaza, Mandaza Rufaro, James Ruzani Maxwell, Newton Ruzani, Bright Chimutashu, Linar Makuyana, MissBev Dhlix, Corey Nyamutenha, Unclerussell BabaTodd, Prince Sithole Hkd, Sekerani Lessah, Clive Chitsitsi, Alex Munava, Brian Chidzomba, Tatu Anotida, Tyron Magwagwa, Sharon Makamura, Bright Chiyamuro, Morgan Stich and Ras Reggie and others.
Tafadzwa Mbofana was featured as one of the innovative Zimbabweans in the popular zimbabwedigitalnews.com Wave Makers series. And true to that form Mbofana is now making waves with the Ruffkurt label and Ruffkurt Vodka.
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Zimbabwe is due to go for general elections on, or before 31 July 2018. At the time of publishing, that is just about 14 months to go. Our zimbabwedigitalnews.com2018 election countdown has already started. We are bringing you our popular 2018 election countdown coverage, in which the views of all the candidates, the electorate, Zimbabweans, Africans and anyone with a view about these elections, will have the opportunity to have a say.
Long-term incumbent President Robert Mugabe has already announced that he would run for another term in 2018, and was adopted as the ZANU-PF candidate despite the fact that he will be 94 at the time of the elections. Should he win, he will not be able to seek another term. Should a victorious Mugabe resign or die during his final term, a successor can be appointed without an election.
This week we run the following article, by MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, in which he is saying that the 2018 election is no longer about Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe, Welshman Ncube, Amai Mujuru, Simba Makoni or any other political leader for that matter. The 2018 election is about us as a people, as Zimbabweans, and it has now become a national obligation for all of us to turn out in our large numbers and use the opportunity of 2018 to poise the country for positive change.
This is what Tsvangirai said:
By Morgan Richard Tsvangirai
It might have taken long in coming but the past few months have seen the much-awaited resurgence of the democratic movement in Zimbabwe. For a long time, this is what the people of Zimbabwe have been clamouring for; in the hope that such a convergence would provide the much-needed fillip for change in a country now tottering on the brink of becoming a failed State. The pace might not be breath-taking, but slowly, the convergence of the country’s democratic forces is becoming a reality. It is pertinent to state from the outset that as a party, we have played our part in this congregation of the democratic forces.
Indeed, contrary to the misinformed refrain by our detractors, we have shown that it has never bandied ourselves the big boys of the democratic movement. In the past few months, we have shown that we truly believe that everyone has a part to play in the democratization of our country, notwithstanding the stubborn fact that that of all the democratic forces, we have the biggest representation both in Parliament and in local government where we control major cities, towns and rural district councils.
However, we have not allowed these unstinting facts to stand in the way of the urgent need for all the democratic forces in the country to coalesce and mount a formidable challenge in the next election. We were the first through the resolutions of our 4th national Congress in October 2014 to come up with two important resolutions. The first was urging all people to come under one big tent; the second was to publicly call for the coalition of like-minded groups in order to liquidate the palpable mis-governance and cluelessness that has overwhelmed the seat of government.
Since then, we have been up and running up until our national council gave legs to the Congress resolutions by adopting principles and a framework to guide the process of alliance building. After all, working with others runs in our blood. The formation of the MDC was in itself a product of the alliance of the labour movement, the constitutional movement and the student movement. Hence, our commitment in 2014 to working with others was simply a restatement of our totem!
Consultation with ordinary Zimbabweans
Following the adoption of the principles guiding the alliance-building process by the national council, I then began a nation-wide consultation with ordinary Zimbabweans including traditional chiefs, headmen, village heads, civic groups, housewives, vendors, students and women’s groups in all the provinces. It was important to de-elitize the alliance-building discourse by devolving it to the people; to the villages, the farming communities and the town halls so as to tap into the wisdom of the ordinary people.
As the one mandated by my party to lead the process of alliance building, I can say with confidence that I found the consultations very enriching as I received further direction from the ordinary people, who expressed their wish to see the broader democratic movement working together. From Hwange, Binga, Plumtree, Beitbridge, Gokwe to Bikita, Chimanimani, Mudzi, Mount Darwin and Nyamakate, they were all very emphatic on the need for a huge national coalition for change. I know because I personally engaged the people. And I heard them.
As a party, we have been engaging others in the broader democratic movement, far much more than those with whom we have signed MOUs in line with the directive from the people. We have been very clear from the outset that the alliance we seek goes beyond just political parties to include networks such as the church, war veterans, students, vendors, traditional leaders and women’s groups whose sonorous instructions are still ringing in my mind.
Indeed, we want to build a huge coalition for change that goes beyond party slogans; a coalition rooted in the people in their various social stations where they continue to slug it out under very difficult circumstances.
As we prepare for the voter registration exercise, we must encourage each other to register and determine our own future. This election is no longer about Morgan Tsvangirai, Robert Mugabe, Welshman Ncube, Amai Mujuru, SimbaMakoni or any other political leader for that matter. This election is about us as a people and it has now become a national obligation for all of us to turn out in our large numbers and use the opportunity of 2018 to poise the country for positive change.
The task ahead
Once we have built this alliance—and we are well on course—we must agree on a credible policy agenda as a key signpost to the positive change we seek. We must not only have a pre-election pact about seats and other relatively petty matters but we must agree on the fundamentals of the policy agenda that we will embark on after the next election.
Given the comatose state of our industry, our dilapidated infrastructure and the country’s despicable and tenuous predicament, it has become imperative that we embark on a transformation and not a recovery agenda. Recovery is an understatement of what we need to do. We simply need to start afresh. Indeed, our predicament is now well beyond any patchwork. It is now about the massive transformation of all facets of our economy. It behoves upon the nation to appreciate that the new administration faces a really daunting task.
Yet it is a task that must be done.
All alliance partners need convergence on that transformative policy agenda that must yield a people’s manifesto with details on the key tenets for transformation, not recovery. As I have already stated, given our parlous state, we simply need to start on a new slate. Even in our once-thriving industrial sector that has since collapsed, the technology has simply advanced way beyond the archaic, idle and obsolete machinery that we still have in the country.
I say this because we cannot commit the same grievous mistake made by our colleagues when they came into office in 1980. They thought the attainment of independence was the destination when in fact 1980 actually marked the beginning of a critical phase of the struggle. They came in without a cogent plan but we have to be very clear about what we will do well ahead of the next election.
Our colleagues failed to realize that political independence, while it was important, was insufficient. It is always the stretch beyond liberation and political independence where the real work lies. The magnitude of the mammoth work beyond a people’s liberation must not be lost in the excitement of the fall of the strongman! In our case, it is not just about consigning Mugabe and Zanu PF to the dustbins of history. The real work begins the morning after and we have to be very clear from the outset what we will to do. And because time is not on our side, we need to agree on that transformative agenda now so that after the next election, it is all about implementing an agreed programme of action.
Indeed, discussions around this issue are taking shape, tapping into the knowledge of sharp policy minds in the country and on the continent as well as the experience of other countries that have at some point hit rock bottom, as we have done.
Fellow Zimbabweans, I wish to restate that we are on course,even though the pace might appear slow. The broader democratic movement has awakened and is slowly coming together. In my case, I have met with the church, political leaders from across the spectrum, the army, war veterans, civil servants and leaders of various social networks and civic groups who all converge on the need for a positive trajectory for this country that we love.
We are very much aware, of course, that the stakes are high and that the regime will invest scarce national resources into nothing else but power retention. We must be ready for them, armed with no other weapon except our sheer unity and a collective resolve for change. All we need is a formidable unity that spans from the top to the very grassroots of our nation.
And we are getting there? The huge task ahead is to ensure that the people freely express themselves in a credible election.
To that end, we have shattered our petty differences in the democratic movement. We have found each other and we are now working together under one huge banner of the Zimbabwe National Electoral Reform Agenda (ZINERA). The aim is to ensure that the people’s free expression truly holds and that the country undergoes a peaceful transition where no one must feel their life is endangered. The change we seek will be good for every Zimbabwean, even for those who have tenaciously fought and frowned upon any prospect for change over the years. I wish to restate that we mean no harm to anyone and none of us should feel endangered by the change we seek.
For some us, the debate around the next election should never be about positions but about conditions! Who holds what position in the new administration is a petty debate being foisted on the nation by small minds, opportunists and detractors of our people; the true sell outs of the people’s struggle. The next election has always been about Zimbabwe and its urgent quest to move forward, without tainting that clear discourse with a needless debate about positions and personalities.
We in the broader democratic movement are all agreed on one thing; that we cannot let this one chance slip or else future generations will not forgive us for letting them down. The democratic movement is on the resurgence and indeed, a new Zimbabwe beckons on the horizon./ends
Stay tuned to this exciting section of the zimbabwedigitalnews.com super election coverage, on your favourite multi-media news and views from Zimbabwe and the diaspora. Here you will encounter regular news, interviews, columns, pictures and polls of the the 2018 General elections. Be informed.
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One Friday night a few years ago at Nikki’s Oasis, one of Newtown’s popular night spots in Joburg where musicians, film makers, journalists, artists, you name them would gather for a night cap or for an unassuming conversation, when an argument ensued about the then music called bubble gum, and the musicians who plied its trade.
A few names were bandied about, as to the whereabouts of some of the household names. Amongst those names were those of Ali Kat, Mparanyana etcetera. A name that stood out for me was that of Sox ‘Leja pere’. Daniel Pakhoe.
Someone in the discussion said to my dismay that because Sox ‘Leja pere’ sang mostly in his Sesotho language and loved the Basotho people as he was a Mosotho himself had long gone back to Lesotho because he had lost out in the music industry and had gone poor. Some went to the extent of saying that Sox had died of a terrible car accident.
Some were saying he was destitute in Bloemfontein.
My protests were left unheard because of the plain truth that even professionals of their caliber would just grumble on without certainty or investigation at the least. I had it in good authority actually that Bra Sox, as he is affectionately known, was living in the East Rand township of Tembisa where he has a house of his own, and was alive and well.
Actually he was living in the township where he had started his music career more than three decades ago with the Hot Soul Singers, a group of the 1980s.
A few years later I’d gone on a mission to meet him at his home in Maokeng, Tembisa to prove once and for all that Daniel Molelle ‘Sox’ Phakoe was a living South African music legend who was then committed to the craft and still had an opinion on the issues of the country’s music industry.
Music of the 1990s
Sadly, Bra Sox is very clear at the fact that he would not go back to the music scene.
When I got outside his house, the now 54-year-old Bra Sox had been clothed in a Bloemfontein Celtic soccer jersey, sitting with his friends in a kombi by the gate; clearly he had been waiting for me. I knew him as a man with an unpredictable temper and a short fuse, but was affable and likeable.
So I apologised first for the photographer being late. With a smirk, he replied “Aggh don’t worry Sadike, you have stood me up before, I know you journalists, you not the first one!”
I wanted to find out first that why is it that why this brilliant man with exceptional talent, and I say exceptional because he had penned songs made up of 20 albums (most of them hits) in less than a decade was sitting at home and not in the studio inspiring us with his talent since his last album more than 2 decades ago?
Amongst many reasons Bra Sox was quick to acknowledge that times had changed, and he constantly refers to himself and his music as ‘my generation’.
“When the 90’s began, the music industry changed, kwaito took over, recording companies started taking over the radio waves,” Bra Sox said.
The 1990’s was also when the ban was lifted for international artists to start selling their music legally in the country, and not a lot of people bought South African records anymore. In actual fact it was only Brenda Fassie who competed with international music and kwaito during those days.
Another reason that saw the demise of the sort of music Bra Sox recorded fact the SABC stopped playing videos of the past and opted for new ones.
A slow death
Like he says, “If you watch any of the music shows on SABC, you can hold your breath until you turn blue in the face, you will not find anything. Only Thobela FM plays my music, I heard them play my song two weeks ago,” I thought it was comical so I gave a little chuckle. But Bra Sox would have none of it, he was livid. I could see at this point that he was a man who never shied away from telling it like it is as he continued.
“Watseba (you know) Sadike, this really irritates me, we marched to the SABC with the likes of Mzwakhe Mbuli ad others to no avail”.
“If you speak to a DJ to promote your new album, you’ll die a slow death because will play the old one.” I let him go on to put emphasis on why he would never go back to music. “and Piracy! These recording companies, people in the industry are the ones who commit this piracy to make more money for themselves, I won’t mention names. They know who they are, they do exactly what they say people should not do.”
However when we started talking about the invite he got and had honored to go perform with musicians from ‘his generation’, the likes of Condri Ziqubu, Dan Nkosi, Sidney of the ‘mamas baby’ fame and others at the Music of the 80’s concert at the Pretoria State Theatre last year, his face got fixed in a smile that told a story of man who had one of the times of his life. This is also when he mentioned that he would actually do only live shows from now on.
“I played Lesilo and Leja Pere on that day and people responded.” He explained
He had mentioned before that ‘Leja Pere’ was the most played and mostly known of them all. This song was written to subdue tribalism in the country in the 1980’s.
“When we Basotho spoke Sesotho here in Gauteng, we would get the Zulu people saying that we had come all the way from Lesotho on our horse and when it died on the way, we would eat it. What a load of rubbish!” he exclaimed
“I was trying to teach people that you can’t call another ‘Leja Pere’. But people continue to do so, tribalism will never end.”
He continued to explain that actually tribalism played a role in the naming of his stage name ‘Sox’. “My mother for some reason used to call me Selolo, and when I got to Joburg, the Zulu people could not pronounce the letter ‘L’. So came the name Sox,” with a sneer.
Changed the culture of Zimbabwe
Sadly, Bra Sox seemed more celebrated in other African countries than in South Africa. He has travelled in almost all of the SADC region. He toured Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe just to mention a few. He says that mostly he would be surprised as his songs would be mostly in Sesotho and crowds in other African states like Tanzania where they speak mostly Kiswahili would sing along with him.
“In Zimbabwe the song Leja Pere was like a national anthem. I heard that throughout areas like Matabeleland everyone, young people and old, played and danced to my song non-stop, throughout the night, and on all occasions. It is an honour to have changed the whole culture of a whole nation, though my music,” he said.
One other invite that he graced was that of the Mangaung African Cultural Festival (Macufe) held in his home crowd of Bloemfontein. He was invited in 2009 by the industry’s mogul Phill Hollis who brought the likes of Yvonne Chaka-chaka and Chico Twala in the music field.
Although at that time Bra Sox was not the only one who played a brand of Bubble Gum music that was designed specifically to motivate fans and party goers during the dark days of apartheid and curfews. Other musicians like Steve Kekana, Ali Kat, Condri Ziqubu, Phumi Maduna, Zizi Kongo and also Babsy Mlangeni, who are also lost to us, were in the mix, taking turns to sing about hardships black people were living in the township and rural areas.
It seemed to me that Br Sox would have been somewhat sad and bitterly disappointed at the way things turned out with his music career lasting only a decade and, separated to his wife and living alone. But his love for music still shows in his appearance, its almost transparent of the way he talks about music and other musicians that he adored the craft.
Infact I’ve seen his reaction to some of the old hits they play at a popular hang out joint in Tembisa called ‘Ikhaya lo Music (The home of music), where bra Sox frequents as a regular. It is a reaction of a man in seventh heaven. Bra Sox is alive and well in Tembisa in the East rand and makes his living with a few general jobs that come his way.
Daniel ‘Sox’ Phakoe’s factfile
1959: Born in Maokeng, Kroonstad in the Free State 1972: Broke his hip bone while playing soccer with other boys in the streets. 1978: Moved to Mapetla, Soweto. 1987: Released his first solo album, The Master. 1988: Shot music video of ‘Leja Pere’ that sold over 150 000 platinum. 1988: Was nominated for the OK TV awards for best newcomer and lost out to Mark Alex.
The Mashudu Kenneth Sadike column is the latest offering to connect Zimbabweans in the diaspora with the arts and culture of South Africa, SADC and Africa. Stay tuned to your favourite newspaper for the best in African music and entertainment, only on zimbabwedigitalnews.com
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The sudden flickering of the torches and loose pages flying off the table was the only warning Zara got before Lilith breezed into the library. “There you are!” Lilith exclaimed.
“Here I am indeed,” Zara said before bending over to collect the fallen pages. She’d hidden in the library hoping Lilith would go hunting without her. Several hours had passed without disturbance and she’d started to believe she’d succeeded in her endeavor. She should have known better.
“What in the world are you doing closeted in this dusty room all by yourself?” Lilith asked. She clicked her tongue, her disapproving gaze on Zara’s dusty scrolls. “Everyone else has already left for the town.”
The smile Zara gave Lilith was resigned. There would be no more working tonight. Before Lilith arrived she’d been studying a particularly interesting ancient tablet. She was sure it dated back to the great flood.
“Come my pet,” Lilith called a touch impatiently. “How are you supposed to learn about your new life as an immortal if you’re always locked away amongst these dusty old books?” Lilith stared at Zara who stubbornly continued to huddle in the corner, nose deep in the stone tablet.
Even as a human Zara found history fascinating. Born to a chief priest in the temple of Sekhmet the goddess of destruction and healing, she’d had access to valuable ancient texts. She could get lost in her scrolls for days on end. When she’d been turned vampire her love of books had only amplified. The vampires had the earliest and most valuable world texts gathered over their long lives. Many predated the texts she’d read as a human.
Lilith had a treasure she didn’t even appreciate
The tablet she was studying was special. It wasn’t another piece of human history but instead spoke of the beginning of vampirekind. She’d found it in a small sealed pot amongst other grander vessels. The tablet was small, four hands in width and length. It was wrapped in thick cloths. Inexplicably her heart had leaped when she unwrapped it. Somehow she’d known it wasn’t an ordinary find.
Perhaps she could learn the origins of the vampires if only she could read the worn letters. The little she’d deciphered was very exciting. Like the humans, Zara believed in a beginning. The tablet spoke of an original ancestor, the very first of their kind.
“Couldn’t you leave me behind—just for tonight?” Zara pleaded. “I’ve never come across anything like this. The lettering is difficult to read in some places but I am confident I can decipher it given time.”
“You have all the time in the world,” Lilith said from directly behind her. “The writing is centuries old, it can wait another day whereas you need to feed.”
Zara started in surprise when the tablet was snatched out of her hands. “I swear you’re more of a hermit than an immortal,” Lilith said in experetion, holding the tablet well out of reach. Her eyes narrowed on the text. “I don’t think you’ve heard a single word I’ve said. Let’s see what has you so engrossed.”
Zara saw Lilith’s expression change from nonchalance to shock before she could mask her reaction. She regarded her maker, the oldest vampire in existence and wondered what she was hiding.
“Where did you find this?” The question was casually asked but Zara could sense that her answer was very important to Lilith. “It was in one of the earth pots amongst your treasures,” she replied, her tone mimicking Lilith’s casual tone.
“It’s an interesting tale isn’t it?” “As I said before I’ve never come across anything like it,” she replied. “Lilith, may I ask you something?” “Of course my pet,” she answered distractedly. Zara noticed that her fingers were gripping the stone tablet tightly. “You know I will answer any of your questions.”
“I have always wondered how vampires came to exist.” To the human hunters, they were nothing more than soulless bloodsucking demons from the deepest pit of hell. For the larger part, they were right. Yes, they consumed blood and killed more often than not but she’d also found good in amongst the bad. Surely there was more to being a vampire. She wanted there to be more.
“Do not be deceived by this old fable,” Lilith said, carelessly throwing the tablet onto her work table. If Zara hadn’t seen Lilith’s initial reaction she would have dismissed the tablet as heresy. “There is nothing mysterious about our vampirism. My immortality was a gift from the great god Anubis.”
“Why do you let everyone believe so many things?” “Why?” Lilith laughed derisively, indicating the tablet with the wave of a hand.
“It amuses me no end how creative people can be in their quest to explain our existence. I must admit the story of the blood prince is their most colorful one so far. Believe me, the blood prince is nothing more than a myth. I should know as I am the first of our kind. Before me, there were no others. My immortality, your immortality is a gift from Anubis.”
“Come on there are only a few hours of night left,” Lilith said. “The fable can wait but the thirst can’t.”
Taking her by the hand Lilith hauled Zara out of her chair. She was twenty-five years old, a fully grown woman but by vampire standards, she was a child. It was like being a child all over again.
A few hours before dawn
A few hours before dawn…
Zara didn’t like sneaking around but something about Lilith’s reaction to the tablet had struck her as off. After the hunt, she returned to the library even more determined to decipher the tablet.
“There it is,” she whispered reading by the light of the moon. “The blood prince disappeared into obscurity as if he’d never been. Only the great blood portrait remained proof positive that he had existed. A great painting made with the prince’s own blood.”
“Oh, my God!” Zara expelled a shocked breath. She’d seen such a portrait! It lay under the palace.
She remembered marveling at the extraordinary lifelike detail of the portrait the first time she saw it. Leaving the tablet on the table she made her way to the bowels of the palace barely able to contain her excitement.
Lilith was a collector of beautiful things. She had mountains of gold and silver, sparkling crystals, and precious gems the things that humans valued. Whenever something caught her eye she moved heaven and earth to acquire it. Her hoard included objects of value, artwork, religious artifacts and ancient writings from the Chaldeans, Akkadians, and other prominent human tribes. Lilith’s treasure was awesome to behold but Zara wasn’t interested in the mountains of treasure.
On three sides of the four walled room there were floor-to-ceiling shelves, completely filled with scrolls and tablets, many very old. She’d spent many hours going through their texts but tonight she wasn’t interested in their age-old wisdom.
The object of her desire stood at the back between two pillars where it had always stood. The artist had managed to capture the essence of the man. It was as if the man could step from the painting and come to life. He was tall and towered over her modest five foot three frame. Everything about him spoke of power. It was the eyes, she thought, a weird yellow they seemed to burn out of the stone. Drawing closer she couldn’t tell if it was done in blood.
With the tip of her finger, she traced the lips and was surprised when they came away moist. When she looked at her digit it was crimson with… blood? Driven by curiosity she brought it to her lips. Immediately she felt the subtle vibrations of power along with the sweet copper taste of blood. She gasped out loud, her tongue feeling as if it had been branded by a hot iron. A mouthful of silver may have had a similar effect.
She stumbled back as a great horrific darkness swallowed her. She heard no sound, saw nothing but an endless black void and in its midst, she felt… him and his unquenchable thirst. Zara could feel herself become his focus. Her consciousness was breached and examined with ruthless efficiency. Nothing was hidden from him. Her will inconsequential against his concentrated power. But before she could really feel fear she was back in her own body. When she touched the white stone again it was cold and dry as if she’d imagined the whole incident.
A day later the tablet and the portrait disappeared without a trace.
Next week: Chapter One
This is the first in a five part series of the book Blood Prince by Grace Ashley. Born Maureen Dangarembizi in Zimbabwe, Ashley has lived a storied life. From her earliest days in school, she knew she wanted to write for a living, but that dream didn’t come to fruition until recently. After penning columns for zimbabwedigitalnews.com, she earned her first accolades as a professional writer. Nominated in 2015 for a Zim Achievers Award, Ashely went on to publish two full-length novels, a novella, a children’s book, and to pursue her interest in screenwriting and film making. When not writing, she dreams up new stories to share with the world, or can be found deeply engrossed in one of the many books in her to-be-read pile.
Pretoria – South Africa has always been a peaceful and harmonious home for fellow Africans, President Jacob Zuma said in his Africa Day 2017 speech.”South Africans have always lived in peace and harmony with brothers and sisters from other African countries in many communities,” Zuma told a delegation, which included numerous envoys, at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria.
“South Africa has always been home to nationals from sister countries from Mozambique, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Burundi, Somalia, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Tanzania, Namibia, Malawi, Swaziland, Botswana, Algeria, Uganda, Kenya and others, even at the height of apartheid oppression.”
Zuma urged the fellow Africans drawn and pushed to South Africa, to continue living in peace with locals.
Isolate the criminals
“They [people from fellow African states] have lived in peace and friendship with South Africans and should continue to do so. We urge all communities to isolate criminal elements whose behaviour causes tensions at times amongst our peoples,” said Zuma.
“They [communities] must unite against serious crimes such as human trafficking, child prostitution, forced prostitution and others which have become serious challenges in our country.”
He said individuals who commit such crimes must be reported to the police, regardless of their nationality.
“We also urge employers to stop causing tensions amongst our peoples, through employing illegal immigrants. The South African government continues to work tirelessly to remove all these sources of tension, working with our people,” said Zuma.
Africa Day is celebrated annually on May 25 within the African continent to mark the formation of the Organisation of African Unity on 25 May 1963, and the African Union in 2002 as well as to chart the progress made by the continent since then in advancing democracy, peace, stability and socio-economic development.
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