Mai Tira

wamwonzora

He flung the door open. He was dead drunk. From his breath one could pick that he had been drinking the popular spirit Krango.He could hardly stand. Baba Tira was a married man aged 34, but due to heavy drinking he looked older than his age. He was that kind of a dude who would come home dead drunk and unashamedly would pick a fight with his wife. Baba Tira received every respect that would come from an obedient, subservient, oppressed, vulnerable, powerless and understanding woman. He was a typical traditional and African man – who believed in wife bashing as a sign of macho.

Baba Tira would at times pick a fight over silly issues, that include but are not limited to ‘too much’ or ‘too little’ cooking oil in the relish. At times Mai Tira would be bashed for putting ‘too little’ salt in the relish. All…

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The City We Lost

I remember very well when we used to come from the rural areas,

We could not sleep the previous night

Expectant of our next day by bus

A journey to the City

We were so filled with gusto that we will be going to see the city lights

In the so called sunshine city (Harare)

A City were people do not sleep….

By then – there was no rural electrification to talk about

It was enviable to visit and experience the City Life

The Bright Neon lights of the City

At that time there were no barber shops in rural areas.By the end of the school holiday, an English cut would ‘tell’ – you had been in the City.

All the other kids would come and surround you at break time and ask about your experience in the City.

You would narrate to them with zest about the episodes at the Agricultural show.

How we loved to be in the city?

They told us of bathing with tap water

Water mixed with Soda –

Water that lighten your skin

But now

Garbage is strewn all over

Robbers and thieves are on the loose

Kids now play with sewage effluent

Electricity is now epileptic

I  Hear …

They now fetch water in the wells

They now use firewood to cook

They now get sick of cholera, dysentery, typhoid

They are told the Hwange and Kariba power stations have experienced mechanical faults

They are told be patient gentleman and ladies

Use power cautiously, sparingly and economically

Switch off all lights when you go to bed

They have been taught new romantic treats

Be romantic, make love in the Dark – save Energy!

The Hararians have become even more romantic – even the Die Hard traditionalists

Can now enjoy candle lit dinner

Thanks to the Power Utility for teaching the loved ones, how to have some romantic dinner events

Power supply is now epileptic.

The city has become a dangerous place during the night.

But the garages AND driveways of the rich – are lit the whole night

We hear others in the parastatals are being paid obscene salaries

Yet others are being paid starvation wages

We hear the Commuter Omnibuses are always playing hide-and-seek with the bribe seeking police

We hear traffic jam has increased

It all happens in the City we lost

We hear potholes are now a common feature in the City Roads

We mourn over….

A City we Lost!!!!

‘Africa on the Rise’: Debunking Rhetoric, Fact or Fiction

Oftentimes we hear about the rhetoric especially from the African political elite, that Africa is on the road to economic success. Such a discourse is normally couched in the popular phrase of ‘Africa on the Rise’. Although there are some grains of truth in such a phrase, it needs to be outlined from the onset that, Africa’s economic development and growth is inextricably tied to her politics, peace, security and stability.

Inescapably, Africa for over many centuries now, has been powering the industrialisation process in the so called ‘developed economies’. But experts had indicated on Africa’s rise, Goldman Sachs has even gone on to brand the Africa’s Turn. Surprisingly, on the other hand, Africa seems to be witnessing slow growth rates – that is if she has (not yet remained stagnant) in terms of economic growth and development due to instability and conflict in the post-Cold- war epoch. As can be evidenced across most African economies (though it is difficult to offer a generic conclusion), it remains abundantly clear that, African economies are being hampered by both exogenous and endogenous factors.

History is the best teacher. But for how long will Africa continue to leave in the past, arguing that, Africa’s underdevelopment is as a result of slavery, asymmetrical trade, colonisation, imperialism (Berlin Conference) and slow pace in embracing the modernisation theory as compared to the East Asian Tigers, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong  et al. The question in the offing is, for how long will Africa continue to blame the so called ‘developed economies’ –  and how long will Africa continue falling in love with Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’s thesis? I add, and for how long will Africa continue to read or listen to the Confessions of an Economic Hitmen by John Perkins?

How long will the African political elite evoke the sentiments of history, nationalism and patriotism as a cover up to their thieving? Such questions are also pertinent to ask in the backdrop of reported missing US 20 billion oil trade revenue in Nigeria. Such questions are also very significant in analysing Africa’s trade and growth trajectory in the wake of  man – made coups  in this 21st century as reflected in Mali . With the nascent conflict in South Sudan which has posed a threat to peace, stability and security in Africa’s newest state, many questions  abound.

With the ongoing breakdown of rule of law (that is if it ever existed in Somalia) one wonder whether Africa will ever learn from her mistakes. The Central African Republic (CAR)’s events are all before us to see. Indeed the events substantiates the fact that, state fragility, violent conflict and strife is still within us at least for the next couple of years. Hard times are upon Us!

But, given these and more numerous episodes across the African socio-economic and political landscape – it remains unclear whether Africa is on the rise or on the fall. What Africa is experiencing is what Richard Joseph term, ‘discordant development’.

Corruption, Illegal Financial Flows and Leakages

With the rising corruption in Africa, it is believed that Africa has and continue to lose billions of dollars (illegal financial flows out of Africa) by a very few connected ‘Big Guys’ up there! Such huge sums of money could have been used in domestically funding health care facilities in Africa. Unfortunately, such sums of revenue end up in some safe tax havens in places like the Mauritius Islands. This is indeed a bad vice that continues to eat through the soul, heart and fabric of African economies. To therefore suggest that Africa is on the rise, given the alarming and nauseating level of poverty,corruption,underdevelopment and retarded growth, might be missing the bigger picture! What Africa needs at the moment is Africans who are generous with the truth, Africans who are alive to the reality, Africans who are sensitive to Africa’s suffering and troubles. What Africa does not need at the moment are those Africans who pay lip service to addressing poverty, group distress, unemployment, inequality, violent conflict, underdevelopment, [mis]governance/bad governance, maladministration, graft, embezzlement and exploitation of her God given natural resource wealth. A distinguished Ghanaian economist George B.N Ayittey holds that Africa loses at least $148 billion dollars to corruption alone. So shocking and alarming indeed!

Of Conflict and Missing Transparency

Living with the danger of Tuareg rebels, Boko Haram and Al Shabab attacks (as evidenced  in the recent Westgate mall attack) one will be forgiven for asking if whether Africa is on the rise or its rather hanging on the cliff edge. Judging with the pace at which SINO – AFRICA trade relations are evolving, surely Africa is being milked rather than benefiting (read ‘Chinese resource grab’). In itself, the asymmetrical trade that is being endorsed by the political elites in Africa in cahoots with the Chinese investors is not doing justice to the exploitation of her natural resource wealth as compared to the intended benefits.

Oftentimes we hear of African presidents who sign more than 16 trade/economic co-operation agreements in a space of one solid hour – mostly in the departure lounge within the cosy comfort of their airports. Surely, such a trend if left unchecked will do more harm than good to Africa’s meteoric rise and leap towards sustained economic growth and development. Contrary to expert projections about Africa being tipped to double her economic growth in the next decade – is the sad reality of Africa’s growth plummeting. Rather, what Africa is going to experience is the Dutch disease and natural resource curse coupled with negative development.

Conclusion

From Bamako, Kinshasa, Harare, Soweto, Mombasa, Bangui etc. citizens are living below 1 USD per day, yet and contrarily Africa is reportedly to be witnessing huge growth rates as pronounced through rise in GDPs. But without uplifting the qualitative living standards of the poor through efficient service delivery, affordable health care, provision of education, clean water facilities and so forth, can Africa said to be on the Rise? Many analysts have hinted that Africa is on the rise due to several factors, chiefly among them the dependence of Europe and the Rest to Africa (in the aftermath) of the Global Financial Crisis. Whether this has translated to the rise of Africa’s economic growth rate or has exacerbated the continued plunder and expropriation of her resources seems a subject of debate in another paper. As of now, it’s only a Food for Thought. Africa has to choose whether to embark on a Road to Success or Road to Failure as is the case with some African states like Somalia. From Cape to Cairo, through the valleys of the River Nile,we will see whether  Africa is on the Rise or on the Fall. Do Africa  have a place towards the Agenda 2063.Only time will tell.What is needed of now is great optimism.

Not on a Valentine’s Day

The 14th of February each year brings an aura of love. Many lovebirds celebrate it in different style. Roses, lingerie, champagne, jazz outing, cakes, and romantic dinner for two, you name it. Bryn, also  happened to be an ardent believer in St Valentine. He chose to celebrate the 2014 valentine’s day differently, yet classy. It was 4 pm and everyone was driving home. He had just disembarked from the cross border bus, at the Road port Bus Terminus. How he disliked the bustle and hustle of the drive time.

No one was waiting for him on this fateful day. His wife wasn’t even expecting his arrival. In the previous night’s telephone conversation, Bryan had told Sibo.

‘Babe I am afraid, i will not make it for Valentine’s Day’, he said sounding a bit low.

She had responded

Please daddy, can’t you try to pace up shopping, just for the sake of us being together on Valentine’, please she begged him.

In the end Bryan assured his wife that he will make it up for her.

Bryan had gone to buy some second hand clothes in Maputo for re – sale at his wife’s flea – market in Mupedzanhamo. Since he was on a one month leave – he thought it wise to buy a few stuff so as to compliment his meagre salary as a civil servant. During all their 3 year marriage, he had never been so much involved in his wife’s business ventures. It’s only that he found it worthwhile to use his leave days to contribute in the success of his wife (Sibo’s) business enterprise.

After disembarking from the bus, Bryan chose to spend just three hours seated at the bus terminus. He felt so exhausted and what he deserved was some quiet moments – though it proved not to be so quiet at the bus terminus. He also felt uncomfortable with the traffic jam. At exactly 7 pm he arrived home.

As he opened the door, events came flashing like a bolt of lightning!

What captured his eye were the male shoes that where neatly placed by the door side. Then the squeaky sound, loosening of the bed springs and the feminine scream coming from their bedroom – concluded it all. He could hardly breathe – he felt choked.  The gyrating, sweating and the screams of joy made him feel sick. He had caught the pastor red-handed.  The image of the pastor in nudity (making love) like a bee collecting nectar from a fully blown rose made him develop a huge lump on his throat. To say he was shocked is an understatement – he only managed to freeze and sink to the ground. His legs could not withstand it. They felt heavy and powerless.

Sibo had chosen to celebrate 2014’s Valentine day in the pastor’s arms. To make it worse she had guts, to make love in their matrimonial bed.

As he regained his conscious Bryn remembered about all the newspaper headlines of pastors romping female congregates. He felt like vomiting. At least it should have occurred not on Valentine’s Day …..Thoughts rummaged through his mind.He thought maybe the he was dreaming,he thought maybe the Gods had become Crazy……But the rude reality and disgusting and repugnant smell of the two love cheats made him feel like suffocating. It was so sickening and nauseating. Moral decadence at its best. Erosion of trust that will never be re-gained once lost, all in a Valentine’s day. The irony of life!

Kingdom of Love

We always had shots for each other. What only kept us apart was the mere fact that, we were friends. We both dreaded to break our friendship. We both knew one stupid move about love would collapse our friendship.

It came a day in our lives.

Our eyes pierced straight into each other. Our noses connected automatically. Our lips as if not to be outdone were trembling. I could feel the outpouring instinctive drive to taste the glowing shiny lips. They were captivating and inviting. In me, they aroused the profound need and urge for the lip contact.

Then there was the feeling of the quickening of my pulse rate.I touched her hand gently. Our lips locked into each other. She looked so romantic with the bedroom eyes. Eventually she looked sleepy before she closed those cute eyes – the chemistry seemed to have taken a toll on her. I touched her light skinned thighs – they were like ‘Fanta’ (soda), so appetising and breath-taking! She showered me with passionate kisses. Kisses that leave you asking for more. A kiss that creates lasting thoughts.

Suddenly she shouted, ‘Gift please stop!’ for ‘Christ’s sake we are friends’, she yelled.

Words seemed to have escaped my mind.I only opened my mouth but words could not come out.

‘Mmmmmmmmmmm……’, I stammered.

Men you are like dogs – how could I even look at you’, she charged at me.

Oh! How come I could not even hear the alarm ringing, i had been imagining and dreaming…oh poor me! I realised I was somehow late. It was already 6 in the morning.

All these were fantasies of me and her in a Kingdom where the sun never set.

Mai Tira

He flung the door open. He was dead drunk. From his breath one could pick that he had been drinking the popular spirit Krango.He could hardly stand. Baba Tira was a married man aged 34, but due to heavy drinking he looked older than his age. He was that kind of a dude who would come home dead drunk and unashamedly would pick a fight with his wife. Baba Tira received every respect that would come from an obedient, subservient, oppressed, vulnerable, powerless and understanding woman. He was a typical traditional and African man – who believed in wife bashing as a sign of macho.

Baba Tira would at times pick a fight over silly issues, that include but are not limited to ‘too much’ or ‘too little’ cooking oil in the relish. At times Mai Tira would be bashed for putting ‘too little’ salt in the relish. All this was meant to divert attention from his late coming, his drunkenness, his neglect of the family and his infidelity. Mai Tira short for Tirabhuru felt unloved and neglected – she never enjoyed her marriage life. What kept her going was the consolation that she would stay for the children.

‘Ndingadii nhai asikana ini ndakabereka – ndinogarira vana vangu’ , she would say.

She literally meant, she would stay come hail come thunder, no matter what it takes.

‘What would I do, when I already have children – I will stay put for my kids’

Mai Tira was beaten by baba Tira almost on a daily basis. Even the children, could also be subjected to some lashings occasionally. The kids could only enjoy in their father’s absence. Whenever they heard their dad singing in his drunken stupor – they would run to bed. At times baba Tira would bring prostitutes of different shape and size to their matrimonial bed. He would beat Mai Tira and order her to go and sleep in their children’s room.

However, Mai Tira was a larger than life character in the whole neighbourhood in Mufakose. Despite all this bad treatment she would wake up every morning to sweep the yard. She always made it a point to wear that feigned smile.You could see the deep agony, signs of pain but she would fight hard to pretend to the society as if all was well in the family.

She was a strict believer of the adage ‘Chakafukidza dzimba matenga’ meaning that she would cover up family secrets. She always played a motherly role, the role of a unifier.Mai Tira was just a woman who was emotionally strong despite all the emotional trauma she was subjected to.

Tira could not believe his eyes. He had just woken up; it was on a Saturday morning in August 2013.Tira felt so troubled by his dad’s bashing of his mom during the previous Friday night – to that extent that he had suffered insomnia. As he dashed out of the house, he expected to greet his mom and get the usual motherly hug and the usual pat accompanied with the phrase.

‘All will be well my son’

Little did he knew he would never hear such words again.Mai Tira could not withstand it anymore.

A lifeless body was lying in front of their yard. Besides was a bottle of rat poison.

She had breathed her last!

There are times when emotions overcome and there are times when you think you are dreaming. There are times when you think someone would come and pinch you and you will come to the realisation that all was day dreaming. It was all a roller-coaster of emotions. Why Why Why Why Mother!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4I8ofd3syI

 

Everything Changes……

I vividly remember how I used to traverse on the long road, passing through the valley, crossing rivers and climbing mountains on my way to your village. How we used to meet at our rendezvous. It was those moments. Moments, when you feel you are on top of the moon. Towards sunset, when the sun’s rays were cast upon the Muchena mountains.

You would grab the clay pot on the pretext of going to fetch water. Deep in your heart, you knew you would be going to meet the man of your dreams. We would meet at the village well. It was some moment of bliss. It was love and romance in the village. Kissing in the woods, not even having the slightest fear of being seen by the shepherds or the hunters.

By then you had a budding chest.You looked so beautiful, so innocent, cool and so decent. A true and real African woman in the making. During our conversations, you would prune all the tree leaves – you were very shy to the extend that you would hardly look into my eyes!

But now everything has changed. I am now a nobody in your life. We found love, and we lost it.Maybe you have found someone, someone better than me in many forms…But what keeps me going is the realisation that nothing last forever. Some people come in our lives for a reason, some we meet to part and some stay forever.You failed to stay forever – you just passed by my life. But today as I write I am wiser, everything in life changes.

Feelings come and go. They quickly vanish and evaporate in thin air. Of the things I am most fearful about is our separation. But if we are to separate, then let it be – but I have kept one of the letters you penned to me during those days. Days when mobile phones were not yet so common in our societies . I kept the letter, not because I like to – but I keep memories of how virtually everything has changed so abrupt in our lives…..

The Phone Call

You wait and wait until waiting becomes part of your everyday life. It is like waiting for the second coming of Christ.You wait for a phone call – you will never receive.You only expect it will ring. But the stubborn reality knocks hard on your expectant soul. The phone never rings. Your circle of friends has also become smaller. They used to call you – but they have long abandoned calling you. You stare and gaze at your mobile.You just expect to hear that voice, and the Victorian title that always goes with such formal telephone calls

How are you Sir? We are calling you for an interview’.

But soon you realise you are leaving in Cuckoo land. This is only but the figment of your imagination. It is an undying and craving for that moment. A moment that never comes.You feel disillusioned, betrayed, hopeless and worthless.You see others driving early in the morning – driving to work.You see others clad in tie and suits – clutching briefcases and folders.You also imagine – one day under the sun, ‘It will be Me’.

Upon realising that it will take years to receive the phone call, you end up doing all the menial jobs.You end up going into the so called entrepreneurship. Not out of personal choices but just to keep yourself financially liquid.You end up selling airtime vouchers/credit for others to top up their mobile phones and for them to make phone calls.You stand by the roadside running to motorists with airtime credit.

They never know you are a holder of some prestigious academic qualifications. They view you as one of the school drop-outs or the ordinary level graduate. You are even ashamed of mentioning that you are a University graduate a holder of a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). Kudos to Strive Masiyiwa  for creating such a huge employment for the thousands of youths through airtime selling.

You only wish one day, you will receive a phone call. A call that will change your life for the better.You try to drown yourself into faith and hope, yet time is moving at a breakneck speed.You had ambitions of starting a family – but without the phone call it’s all proving to be a big gamble. A gamble that you will not afford to attempt.You only wish in the best of times, in the fullness of time all shall be well.

It is a painful reality that you have to live with.You hold your mobile (NOKIA 3310) and you realise there is no missed call. But with this thing called hope, you still believe,
God’s time is the perfect time.

Not Guilty

He was wearing a khaki over-sized prison garb. I tried to avoid giving him a second look. The more I tried, the more tears started streaming down the contours of my cheeks. Many thoughts came to my mind, the ill-cooked porridge, typhoid, diarrhoea, the lice infested cells and the danger of being sodomised.

He tried to fake a smile – but I knew deep down he was hurting. Many years were passing by. Each and every passing year had a hardening effect on him – but he never forgot or stopped praying. He even became more prayerful than before. Nhamo was a young man who had mastered well the art of kneeling down.

Nhamo was a very kind-hearted guy who always radiated a contagious smile, he had rare display of kindness and natural and immeasurable love for people. He was one of the few souls around the neighbourhood. He was more concerned with his small business enterprise than in sitting in the street corners and smoking marijuana than most of us. He operated a small shop. Nhamo always made it a routine – to smile to his customers. Some days when I just felt low, I would just make it a point to take a stroll down the street up to his shop. At times I would just buy candy for R5 (five South African rands). His smile would brighten my day. I would go back to my cramped one room feeling rejuvenated.

It was close to 3 days without seeing him behind the counter. The fruit vendors told me they saw him in handcuffs and leg irons being frogmarched into the police van. I sensed trouble. He was framed for a crime he did not commit.Friends and relatives used to frequent the Remand Prison. As time passed by – they started coming once in a week, once in a month and once in a year and eventually they stopped. I always made it a point to see him once every week. Years seemed to have dragged slowly.

On a sombre and heavily overcast one Saturday morning I woke up to the shocking news that Nhamo was no More.
Such is life when the innocent rot and die in prison. Nhamo left a void which is irreplaceable. We were pained, we cried, we grieved but we had to learn to adjust to live with the painful loss. We know no amount of words will ever bring him back.

It is our daily prayer that his soul has found serenity in the silence of death.

Why I find it Difficult to listen and believe politicians

Why I find it HARD and DIFFICULT to believe them

Lying is part of their occupational induction

It is in their DNA system

When they fall sick they fly to developing and developed countries  South Africa is their first port of call.

Some even consider flying to the East Asian countries, Malaysia and Singapore ad infinite

This is the norm rather than the exception with most political leaders across Sub-Saharan Africa.

When you fall sick you die in your poor hut or in a remote rural clinic or in an urban referral hospital with no drugs – thanks to the abundance of pain killers and paracet that never run out of supply.

They give you food hand-outs in the run up to elections. But after elections the reality crystallises and strikes you like a bolt of lightning!They dish out housing stands in the pre – election era – they destroy those houses (they say they are regularising and demolishing ‘illegal structures’. They never stop to amaze me, they ‘illegalise’ what they would have ‘legalised’. Such a tragedy – save us the bureaucracy, internal ‘politics’ of administration and the flowery semantics about legality and illegality within the (regularise– who cares what it means).

They tell you to watch the Dead national Television – yet their mansions conspicuously stand unique with the large-sized DSTV satellite dishes. You watch 100% local content – they watch the global breaking news.They slash and write off residents electricity bills when elections are near – they don’t address the viability challenges facing the power company. Afterwards the citizens are induced to more power cuts. Electricity supply remains epileptic.

Oftentimes we hear them saying ‘our local universities are the best’ – and ironically and painfully you never find their children in such local universities. You only find them in foreign universities, South Africa, of late in countries like Australia and now in the far East. The poor you are on your Own – Steve ‘Bantu’ Biko was right.

They promised 2 265 million jobs  over the next five years – yet statistics from the labour union show that, rather 300 people are losing their jobs weekly. They tell you ZIMASSET is a Godsend policy document – never mind the contents! But the poor are tired of hearing such loud-sounding nothings – they said the same with other previous policy documents (STERP) may quickly come to mind.

They tell you there is a lot of investment – when the reality on the ground points to the fact there is disinvestment. You then tend to wonder the Gods Must be Crazy! They preach against Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) they talk about de-linking with Bretton Woods Institutions arguing that such institutions perpetuate a continued stranglehold on African economies. Thus perpetuating neo-colonialism. The next morning you find them with a begging bowl – literally kneeling down to beg the IMF  and World Bank for bailouts.

You hear them refuting claims that diamond revenue is not flowing into the treasury – the next morning you see them making a somersault (noting that the treasury is receiving very little amounts of diamond revenue). Who to believe now? You hear them saying we hate foreign powers since they will meddle in our internal affairs – thus meddling in our sovereignty. Yet we see the same politicians arguing for the continued use of the currency of other sovereign countries (US dollar and the South African Rand). So who is fooling who? Isn’t this equal to the usurpation of economic sovereignty?.

We read latest reports such as, Troubled Water in HRE.pdf indicating that the urban poor have succumbed to diarrhoea and other water-borne related deaths. Yet the filthy rich politicians have boreholes and they drink bottled water! Most of the African countries (Zimbabwe) sadly rank low in the recently published report on the 2013 Corruption Index Perceptions.

That’s Africa for us. They call it Africa – we call it home. They call them politicians – we call them hypocrites. After all politics have become a career and a source of livelihood.

Chinua Achebe was right when he rightly pointed out such contrast in A Man of the People. Let his soul rest in Eternal Peace. May his dear soul find serenity in the silence of Death?