War With Vendors Aborted

Well I must say I was a little disappointed when I heard that the government had decided to take a step back from their hurried ultimatum that they had given the vendors who are a blight to site in the CBD of the “sunshine city”. I had all sorts of potential headlines that I thought would have been in the papers today, all the theories that would have also been swirling about. Alas the story seems to have died down. The claim is that they are going to give the vendors more time. I am not sure what the vendors need more time for.

Funnily I read in another newspaper that the places that they wanted to send the vendors to don’t even have toilets there. So it seems like it was a rushed job that the government were trying to do. So for the next few weeks we shall continue on with our city pavements being covered with everything from vegetables, clothes down to chicken intestines apparently.

Again I am not being heartless. Sure they need to do something to survive, and the real question is what has forced them to take up this form of employment in the streets, but they gotta go. I would never take someone from outside of Zimbabwe through the capital city… Not for a few years

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Of Vendors and Fending for Yourself

So there has been a bit of a debate about a deadline that is on its way. To give (some of) you a backround, most of the CBD in Harare has been over taken by vendors. You can buy everything from fruit and veg to clothings, belts, screen protectors for phones, modulators for your car, to special herbs for back pain. Literally everything. These things are being sold from the sidewalks to traffic islands. A true sight that one would rather not see.

The country is currently grappling with the issue of the influx of vendors into central business district, which has brought about anarchy within the city of Harare. Concerned citizens are calling for the responsible authorities to immediately restore sanity and relocate these informal traders to Council designated points to ease the flow of human traffic within the confines of the city
The country is currently grappling with the issue of the influx of vendors into central business district, which has brought about anarchy within the city of Harare. Concerned citizens are calling for the responsible authorities to immediately restore sanity and relocate these informal traders to Council designated points to ease the flow of human traffic within the confines of the city

So here is the thing. The government reacted to the situation and have said that all the vendors should move from their illegal positions to the designated selling points. The need to get the hell out of the CBD. I totally agree with that move. It was becoming too much. It is too much. These vendors were selling the same wares that shop owners were selling them but at a fraction of the price and right outside said shops. Of course the vendors can reduce their price because they don’t have rent or rates or employees to pay. Nah this is a one man shop going on outside a shop.

Clothes of various colour and sizes... but you never know if its new
Clothes of various colour and sizes… but you never know if its new

I probably sound a little heartless because a lot of these vendors are eeking out a tiny living from their trips into town to sell their clothes (which we are never sure where they came from…. check your clothes line next time) or their veggies (which I am not sure how they are getting washed and where the water is coming from as there hasn’t been water in Harare since I can remember), but they got to go. There is a public health issue. Simply put, how many public toilets are there in the CBD? Not many. Not only that you have to PAY to use them. These guys aint about that life. So the question becomes where ARE they going? With the lack of water then the second conclusion becomes they aren’t washing their hands either.

Those are the veggies that it is not clear on their safety...
Those are the veggies that it is not clear on their safety…

I have to admit that this is a good move being made by the government to move them, but this is too late. This should not have been let to happen in the first place. There have to be control methods used to police the CBD. There must be bylaws that govern such things like vending. The lawlessness that is apparent in this country is the reason why things get reacted to, rather than anticipated.

With any hope they will be moved to where they should be, and they won’t come back. Of course seeing is believing these days in this country….

Common Misconceptions and Their Realities of Zimbabwe

So I’ve been thinking about some of the misconceptions that people in and outside of Zimbabwe that they have and their realities. This is my own opinion before you try lynch me. So here goes nothing… or something…

MisconceptionEconet is the largest and best network in Zimbabwe

Econet

Reality – They are the largest probably in terms of market penetration. Most people have at least two or three even econet sim cards. I have two. However Econet have a blatant habit of stealing your calling airtime/credit. In fact one of my cousins put money on his phone and they took it without him making any phone calls or browsing the internets. He called customer services and they told him they were processing the refund. That was three months ago. They had stolen a total of USD$1. They also were taking money from people for one of their random side products and telling people that they had to opt out. So you are going to take my money and tell me its my fault for not refusing the product. I should be able to opt in if I am interested, not have to opt out. They also love spamming me. I don’t know about the other people on this rather crappy network. Below is an example of their spamming me… even when I tell them to stop they keep doing it.

4 1 2 3

Check out the date stamps of HOW OFTEN they were messaging me. Like what the actual fuck.

Apart from being spamaholics they don’t offer anything in return for the airtime that people load up. Now Telecel on the other hand is a proper mobile network. They don’t spam me, their network coverage may not be as wide as Ecocrap, but once a month if I load up USD$5 on my phone, I IMMEDIATELY get USD$5 cross network… for free. Furthermore for the rest of the month everytime I load up USD$1, I get USD$1 cross net. So if you wanna continue getting your money stolen from you, go for it. #TellSomeone

Misconception – Zimbabwe has the most corrupt Government in the World

Reality – All governments around the world have corrupt people in them. The level of corruption is relative to the countries. Sometimes it is a little ignored if the basic services that the nation require are being met, then it’s not as bad. There is no such thing as a corruption free government in the world. However the government here in Zimbabwe is very good at showing you the finger while doing it. Not all of the guys in the government are corrupt. There are a few who are actually honest and try and do their job more than anything else. Then you have the Minister of Water and Environment or something like that who is building a 50 room mansion. Really? You have cabinet ministers who decide they need new Discovery 4’s at the cost of around USD$1.6million, but now civil servants bonus’ have been cancelled for the next two years. Their acts of corruption are literally heroic. Nothing happens to them. Unlike normal countries if a member of the government is caught doing something shady, they step down. Here, they simply carry one.

One of the most laughable situations I must say is a few years ago there was a big drive to indigenisation. The government wanted organisation to try and cede 51% to local individuals. A company called Brainworks was set up to try and help organisations restructure to meet this target. The company would take a fee for helping the organisation meet the target, Brainworks was set up by the now Minister of Water and Environment. Fishy….

Misconception – Zimbabweans are happy people

Reality – We are. We are still trying to be. We never used to complain as much as we do now. We are not burying our heads in the sand as much. We aren’t as hopeful either. We still smiling. We are fortunate probably because of our stoicism. Otherwise I think we would have burnt half of Harare down. So I guess we are kinda happy. But happiness is relative. My happiness is different to the street vendors happiness.

Misconception – Zimbabwe is a beautiful country

Reality – It is a beautiful country as long as you stay outta the urban areas INCLUDING our capital city. Rubbish is an eyesore as refuse collection is all but non existent, they are various burst pipes that can be found not spewing out water but spewing forth sewerage. So it is beautiful if you avoid some of the urban areas. Otherwise there are a lot of rocks, trees and mountains… and wildlife

When The FaceToilet Trumpet is being Blown

I don’t normally do this kind of thing, but I decided that it had to be done. I have done my best to hide everyone else’s identities except for mine, coz if you are reading this blog then you have a semi idea who I am on the BookFace.

Anyway this is a conversation that I had on the BookFace. A friend from school had initially commented on the recent removal of the Rhodes Statue from the University of Cape Town. Now to start off with I don’t think taking his statue down is going to make a world of difference. I don’t particularly care as it doesn’t affect me at all. Yeah he was the dude who came and colonized Southern Africa. Cool. Taking his statue down isn’t going to undo what he did and what he achieved and all the black people who died etc. Sure it will help take the memory of of him slowly disappear but this is after the fact.

As I said, not really concerned.

Here is some of the conversation:

At this point my response to the issue of the statue is "Not my country, not my problem"
At this point my response to the issue of the statue is “Not my country, not my problem”
At this point LY has come in with an angle I couldn't understand....
At this point LY has come in with an angle I couldn’t understand….
I decided to clarify what I meant by "Not my country, not my problem."
I decided to clarify what I meant by “Not my country, not my problem.”

My biggest problem with my brief conversation with LY is that she jumped directly into a nice catch up I was having with a school mate. We were talking about mortgages and kids (I have neither at the moment) and all of a sudden it was a bout the xenophobic attacks that are happening in South Africa, to Hitler who is long dead. OK so hang on. The original post was about the Rhodes statue being taken down (which doesn’t make a difference in my life at all. Yeah it’s a bit of history that has been removed, but it doesn’t make a difference to me), how have we gone all the way to xenophobic attacks and Hilter?

You see I hate it when some people decide that they want to blow their trumpet and act like they care about certain things. Stay in your lane please. If you care about how fucked up the world is then do something about it. It’s not that I am a heartless fucker. No I know the world is fucked up. But I do realise that I have to fix one sphere at a time. I can’t be worrying about a statue being taken down in another country when the country I am in has bigger problems than the removal of a statue being news worthy. I felt like telling LY to come and live in this current Zimbabwe for a month and then tell me that she is still worried about a statue being taken down.

Sure BookFace is a great social media tool for people to express how they feel. Got it. Don’t become a trumpet that just blows and blows and blows. Sometimes you gotta listen before you start talking. There are internet trolls out there who will troll the shit outta you. I won’t say I am one, but I don’t sit back and take certain shit lightly.

I have to say LY didn’t respond after my last post. That made me smile hahaha.

Here is another example of her ramblings that were directed to someone else. Happy Monday and have a good week good (and bad) people!!!

As you can see TH deftly stepped aside from LY's initial post
As you can see TH deftly stepped aside from LY’s initial post
And LT continues
And LY continues

The Retirees

So this is a special request that was made by one of my friends to maybe talk about something that we as African seem to be aware of but don’t do much about eventhough as an electorate we should be able to reject the people put in front of us.

Below are the ages of a few leaders around the world:

Obama – 53

Merkel – 60

Cameron – 48

Zuma – 72

Buhari – 72

Buhari is the new dude who took over from Goodluck Jonathan (His name still makes me laugh. Seems like his luck ran out :-p). Anyway why is it the electorate in Africa seems to agree with these candidates who are well into their retirement? It is very odd. How is it possible that there will be any fresh ideas that will be formulated? How can there be any innovation if there are retirees who are running and winning elections?

It is a problem which I mention in one of my other blogs (Titled the problems with black (Zimbabwean) people), about the fear of change and wanting things to be the same. Of course in Africa, the problem is some of these guys who run for president, such as Buhari, are very popular in the electorate. It seems as though people in some African countries would rather trust a retiree than a young man who has not been known and sort out has come out of the woodwork.

I would love if there could be actual studies done before local and national elections to actually see why us Africans vote the way we vote. Of course it wouldn’t be done because that would be a waste of money that could be better used elsewhere (use your imagination).

The reason why I put the ages of the above leaders was just to highlight an acute difference that we should consider. This is the year 2015. We have left 2g and moved to (in some countries) 4g, we have left dial up and moved to fibre optic internet connections (which up until about a year ago were no present in Zimbabwe), we now have prefabricated low cost houses that are built in a very short amount of time and the reliance on bricks and mortar is losing its appeal, there have been advancements in the improvement of solar energy technology with improved batteries and solar panels.

There have been medical and technological advancements that if some of these old leaders heard about they would never believe them to be true. The point I am trying to make is that one of the reasons why Africa stays as being a dark continent (there are some nations that aren’t as dark and there are others that are darker than others. I won’t point fingers but South Africa is kinda bright) is that advancements in the use of the technology that is available to us won’t be realised by someone who won’t use anything other than a Nokia 3310 (because that was their first cellphone. I am not saying that elder people prefer Nokia to anything else, but they have loyalty issues… some of them). We want someone who has tried all of the brands out and landed on a smartphone (preferably Samsung simply because I’m a fan boy).

The fact is we can’t blame anyone but ourselves. Everywhere else in the world when it comes to the electorate they decide who they will accept. We just take whoever is there. As a wise person once said to me, “Even if one of the candidates you could vote for was a goat, some people would vote for it.”

Self explanatory?

Tom and His Inferiority Complex

So let’s just give him a random name. We will call this guy I know Tom. I know a Tom, and this is not the Tom I refer to. This is simply a fake name. If you do know a Tom who has an inferiority complex, let me know if you have come across any cures (apart from avoiding Tom all together). Anyway now that the disclaimer is done, time to dive into the rather annoying world of Tom.

A description found online describes Tom’s inferiority complex as:

“A lack of self-worth, a doubt and uncertainty, and feelings of not measuring up to standards. It is often subconscious, and is thought to drive afflicted individuals to overcompensate, resulting either in spectacular achievement or extreme asocial behaviour. The term was coined to indicate a lack of covert self-esteem. For many it is developed through a combination of genetic personality characteristics and personal experiences”

“Asocial – Avoiding social interactions. Inconsiderate of or hostile to others”

All in all we have all the things that I can tell you annoy the shit outta me about some people who are on this planet. There are some humans who need to be locked up in a soundproof room to try and help avoid ripping off my ears in a bid to be deaf of their noise making.

Now I probably sound rude at the moment but I have to be as honest as I can stomach being. I am not a 30 year old (boy) man. When I was at primary school (age 6-12) I used to have an inferiority complex. We all did as little kids.

“My dad can beat up your dad!”

“My dad picked up a car!”

“My dad picked up a car with one hand while cooking a steak on the braai stand!”

That shit was fun as a kid. Even some way into high school (age 13-18) we still used to have those conversations that used to almost turn into competitions.

“I was at home the whole holiday”

“I was in Beirut for most of the holiday”

“I was hunting lions in the Serengeti with Jeremy Clarkeson”

But we were kids and we wanted to seem relevant and not to be left out. You didn’t want to be the kid who said they were at extra lessons the whole holidays. That was wack.

Here in comes Tom with his inferiority complex. He’s in his mid 30s, has a job that funds his habits quite adequately. However the definition of inferiority complex should have a picture of him next to it as a further illustration.
We all have had different experiences in life. Sometimes when we reminisce we talk about those experiences with our friends. Most people will ask questions or maybe refer to a similar incident. Or listen quietly. Tom feels it’s a competition.

“You got so drunk you feel asleep sitting upright? I got sooooo drunk right, I climbed up a tree, pissed from the top on to a police officer, then backflipped off the apex and did a perfect 720° before landing in the shallow end of a pool. I sprained my ankle and proceeded to carry on drinking.”

We are adults dude. I don’t tell people things to one up them. So what? Tom why you gotta make shit so hard. Oh and then the trying to control conversations. If I’m talking to someone, shaking my arm repeatedly saying my name is not how you get my attention. I’m speaking to someone, so wait till I’m done then I will give you the attention you are baying for.

I used to think that Tom was a friend. After spending more and more time with him I realised that I was dealing with a social hand grenade. These are the worst grenades. These are the ones that blow up with you present and it becomes YOUR responsibility to pick up the body parts and clean up the blood splattered on the walls. Tom’s response?

Either:
a) Fuck em. That’s who I am (which is ok. Some little bit of remorse is nice)
b) I can’t wait till we go back there again; or
c) What? I didn’t do anything wrong…

So in conclusion if anyone knows how to deal with people with inferiority complexes, please advise. I’ve taken to just avoiding Tom all together and keeping conversation to a simple hi, I’m fine, how are you and work?
I did scratch him of my Christmas gift list….

Well Hello There….

Wow it has been a long time since I got a chance to share some of my random stupid thoughts here. I think its actually a bad thing that I stopped coz I still think this was my of self counselling. I blame work. It’s odd that I blame work for interfering with a hobby. Work isn’t supposed to interfere with hobbies. Hobbies are supposed to be managed around time spent at work. But that is the case in my life. Unfortunately I have been put on a rather boring project that seems to be finally coming to an end. I have always said how I love the construction industry because you can never have two identical projects. It is simply impossible because of the unknown conditions that will be encountered on the site and also what may be happening economically globally. I think fate decided to laugh at me and I got sent to a low cost housing project.

My Site
My Site

The thing is with this project, once you have built one block of the little houses, you have basically completed the project. What I mean by that is that it is basically repetition. Doing the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over (700+ times) again. The challenges that are faced on site are the same. The only thing that changes is the day of the week and the manner in which the challenge is expressed (either angry, bored, tired, frustrated or confused).

Low water table
Low water table

I’m enough of waking up at 5am to try get here by 7am. It’s actually done my head in now. I actually want the project to come to an end now. And it almost is. I am afraid of fate though. I could end up being sent into the middle of the bush for an undisclosed time. I am fortunate that I am on a project that’s actually in Harare. I guess there are somethings to be grateful for.

In other news:

Must watch TV:

1. Luther (Starring Idris Alba. British show. Super TV. Shout out to Herb for getting me on it)

2. Downton Abbey (British show [Again]. Super TV [Again]. Shout out to Herb [Again])

3. Misfits (British show [Again]. Super TV [Again]. Not sure who put me on it, but shout out to Chris for checking to see if there was season 4 and 5 floating in the internets)

The other stuff going on in my life I am not ready to share with you guys as it’s too private at the moment. When the time is right all shall be revealed… (I write this like anyone actually reads this).

Till the next episode I guess…

That Zimbabwean Life...