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….

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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.

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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 Problem(s) With Black People (Especially Zimbabweans)

Gosh for the longest time I have avoided going into this but I feel as though the time has come for me to really get some shit off my chest. There are a few people who might read this and get annoyed and frankly good. There are some real truths that we need to admit that are greatly slowing down our progress and keeping us as niggas and not becoming black people.

1. Lack of helping each other: Now this is something that might be special to black Zimbabweans. What is wrong with helping your fellow brother? We have this really weird mentality that it’s better to see another nigga fail that helping him achieve what he is setting out to. Instead of growing a business by letting someone with skills that are lacking in your business, we would rather try and go at it alone. Whats the point? It makes NO sense. Instead of pooling our information resources and growing something, most feel that nigga tendency of just taking it like its their own.

2. NOT LISTENING: Oh this one really gets me. Again quite special to black Zimbabweans. We don’t listen. We hear and our brains immediately translate it into something else that we want to hear and then it takes off from there. We also by not listening do like to give people a chance to express our opinion. You must have the same opinion as everyone else. This comes down to the beer you drink, where you drink it, how you drink it, how you hold it. If you don’t do it my way you don’t know what you are talking about or what you are doing. How the hell are we supposed to progress if this is how we think? Like come on! Opinions are like assholes. We all have one. We are entitled to those opinions. If I don’t like Nandos, it’s coz I don’t like Nandos. Not coz I am a lost soul who got dropped as a baby. Come on!

3. Accepting change: Now this one also refers to the older black Zimbabweans that we have hanging around still. I was at the local sports club having a few drinks and there were three elders (older members. Near or around retirement age) having their usual vodka and coke. I wasn’t taking much interest in their conversation till I heard one of them pointing at me and saying “These vapfana (youngsters) should be the ones running this club now…” before he could finish another elder who was there immediately refused and said no (see point no.2). He tried to explain how I wouldn’t be equipped to do the job as if I had agreed already. The other elder tried to explain that yes due process would need to be done inorder for it to be transitional blah blah blah. But the elder who first rebuked such an idea was still very much against it.
I don’t mind much. If the club dies with them, well what can I do. Times are changing though. They aint getting any younger and can’t be the decision makers for ever now can they? Man it’s 2015 in the rest of the world but here in Zimbabwe it’s just hit the millennium. Time has moved on…. like a lot! But we still acting like it aint.

4. Stealing Ideas: You know this is a classic one. You can’t trust a nigga as far as you can throw them. And most of them have dense bones so it makes it very hard to throw a nigga far at all. Now here in lies the problems. I have always thought that if I have an idea, if I tell someone that idea they might see a gap I missed, they might fill a gap I missed, or they might help me take that idea from inception to conception. Nah Zimbabwean niggas will take that idea and try run it themselves. There is nothing wrong with that idea. They would sooner run the idea into the ground and fail with it that dream of the possibility of you doing it and it taking off. Like seriously? What the actual fuck? Yeah niggas are hungry, struggling and all. But that shit aint right man.

5. Pulling other niggas down: It feels like black Zimbabweans are in a barrel of shit. The only way we can make it to the safety of the top of the barrel where the rarefied sweet fresh air is, is by pulling other niggas down and climbing over them. Instead of trying to help each other it would be better to leave a brother lurching… on his own.. smelling of shit.

You see I always use this example to explain what the problem with black Zimbabweans is. If I have a pie and I own 100% of it I am happy. But I won’t share that 100% of the pie with someone else, even if it means that my, say 40% is worth more than my previous 100%. Why? We want it all.

Aint no progress that’s gonna happen if some niggas don’t wake up! Those are my random thoughts for today. Peace

P.S. There are probably another 15 reasons, but due to time constraints, I was unable to do all of the reasons in this sitting… There maybe another sitting with a few more problems

The day the police got a hiding

The Standards "apt" description
The Standards “apt” description

On Friday, some riot police, journalists and photographers were subjected to a beating of unparalled comparison. In one of the high density surburbs of Harare, an apostolic sect of a church was confronted by the Archbishop of that church, police and media, with the intention of closing down that sect. It had been accused of horrid abuses on women and children, and the parishioners were also told that things like newspapers, cellphones and TVs were evil and should not be used.

Some of the victims
Some of the victims

There are a few issues about this incident that I would like to touch upon. To begin with, it is sad that these women and children when being abused in the manner that they were. Apparently the sect had sanctioned that if you wife isn’t a virgin when you marry her, the man can take the younger sister (if there is one) as a second wife if she herself is pregnant.

The warzone
The warzone
Shocking behavior...
Shocking behavior…

Also the sect didn’t feel that women and children should have a right to get an education. These are things that are abhorrent and to be honest I do not agree with one bit. It is very backward. Yes Zimbabwe may be a rather backward country, but this is just too much. The last accusation laid against the sect I will not mention as it is something that just upset me when I heard about it. If enough people ask me about it i may mention it in the comments.

Sometimes its better to run for the hills
Sometimes its better to run for the hills

Anyway what started off as a routine procedure of shutting down a heinous situation that women and children when being put through turned into a fight that the riot police were not expecting. These “men of God” gave some of the police the hiding of their life. It is apparent that the sect was waiting with their breath held for the arrival of the police. It seems that they were prepped on the imminent arrival and were possibly convinced that they had to fight for their right to worship.

Of course after showing the police a little bit of How’s your father, the sect ran to ground, and have since managed to disappear of the face of Harare, with their family members none the wiser as to where exactly these men have gone. A hunt has begun, but ultimately this is a battle that no one can win.

"Men of God"....
“Men of God”….

This incident has made me think about one thing in particular and I remember saying it the day it happened. I wasn’t aware that the incident was actually going down, but we were talking about a topic loosely related to what happened. I said to some of my work colleagues that “the moment a person becomes bigger that the religion his parishioners are following, that becomes a problem.” I in fact was talking about another self styled prophet we have in this country who has been known to sell face towels to his followers and tell them that if they go and wipe a car they like they will eventually own that car.

I am not saying that I am necessarily smarter than some of these people, or not as desperate as them. It does make me worry that there are some people who can be easily manipulated into believing whatever the person at the front wants you to believe.

Ultimately the police were not going to win any fight against a religion. There are somethings that lose fights. Religion isn’t one

Be who you are. Not who you want people to think you are

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I remember when I was much younger you would get social acceptance from what you had. Be it the latest shoes, watch or enough money to go and eat and drink at certain places. Sometimes I would find myself subconsciously thinking “I wish I had that…”. To be honest, there was an element of jealousy to it when I was a teenager (I miss those days. Being old sucks [said the 29 year old]). At that time I didn’t realise the fact that everyone is at different stages. There really is no fascination about what someone has. So what to be honest.

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There are some traits that I hate in the human race. The one I hate the most is blatant arrogance. I am not going to talk about why I hate it as this is not the subject matter. The other trait that I hate is one that I was reminded about a few days by someone who I used to consider to be my friend. That is the show off. At my humble young age of 29, telling people in a bar very loudly about what I have and what I have achieved is something that is not done. Who am I trying to impress? Gone are the days that rattling on about what countries you had been to or what you did gives you any greater social standing (as far as I am concerned). In fact as far as I am concerned it shows a very one dimensional aspect to a person.

Why do people brag? Why do they embellish stories? Ultimately we are a silly species. Sometimes we do things because it makes us feel better that we are above other people. It a bit late in life for that now. We all have various things that we have done or are doing that have gotten us to where we are. My bank balance doesn’t make me who I am. I would like to hope that all the experiences I have had in life with my family and friends make me who I am.

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The thing is about the show off, he or she is generally not that bright. They may be smart, but they are not bright. The problem is they spend so much time trying to make people say “Wow!!! he’s amazing/hard worker/big spender/achiever”, that they end up tripping over their own feet in the hope of trying to make themselves sound to be amazing/hard worker/big spender/achiever. They will probably never be able to stop themselves because as they go on with these exaggerated and sometimes untrue stories, they probably start to believe their own delusions of grandeur.

Now before you shout at me for being so hard on “the show off”, there are two kinds. There is the one who generally has access to buying and doing amazing things, and talks about those things. That show off is a little more bearable. Ultimately all I can say is “keep doing what you are doing.”. The other kind of show off is the one who says things that don’t make logical and mathematical sense. Now this is the show off that I can’t stand. This particular person who I am referring to is the second kind.

In my expert medical opinion (I have been practicing and qualified for all of 0 years), this is a trait that is as a result of the inability to actually fit in to social situations. Now I think it is something that is very acceptable as a teenager. I see teenager walking around in groups and I always sit there and scratch my head wondering what they talk to each about. Hell, I can’t remember what we  used to talk about when I was a teenager.

As an adult, it is a little more than “I just bought a car worth more than $30,000. It’s outside. I did it all by myself with my hard work. Can you imagine? It was paid for one time, from my produce. My produce. That’s how successful I am at the moment.”. My response in my head is “So what? What is the point of sharing? Why are you sharing? Because I haven’t bought a car like that now, does that mean that I am a failure?”. I stopped and realized that it wasn’t me with the problem. I was fine actually. I am healthy, I am happy. Why would he be making it a point to obnoxiously share his success?

Ultimately you can’t spend your life trying to impress other people by telling stories that don’t have 100% truth. You are better off shutting up and sitting down. Life is not a sprint, neither is it a race. It is, a very long journey. Some will get to the end of their race sooner than other. However we will all know when you get to the end of your race.

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It’s absurd to divide people into good and bad. They are either charming or tedious – Oscar Wilde

 

School after School

So as some of you know or don’t know, I have decided to further my education and have gone back to studying. It’s a totally different experience going as a mature student, with other mature students. My experience as an undergrad was probably one of the most bizarre ones. Being in a new city (London), the whole concept of university was just foreign to me. I was so used to the high school mentality that I had all my friends nearby, some lived in my neighborhood, and a few I had to drive to see. Also this was in Harare, which to be honest is a growth point. The fact that you can drive from one side of the city to another in under 30min and 40km says it all.

All of a sudden I was thrust into the concrete jungle FULL of people from EVERYWHERE and to be honest it was quite daunting. I would show you my student picture, but it is a shocker. For a reason that I will share another time, the day before enrollment I slept in a car in the car park for where we had just moved to in London…. it was a cold ass night.

I was a very reclusive person for the first and half of the second semester at university. In fact I didn’t have any friends on my course. I used to eat my lunch on my own, hardly spoke to people, barely went to the uni bar. I actually used to play with one of my friends who I went to high school with whose university just happened to be right behind mine. I eventually made friends with a few people on my course in the last few weeks of the second semester of my first year who are now quite dear to me. The main reason for this is that my degree forced me to do a presentation with them. We were forced to work together and then eventually socialise.

Errr yes I am
Errr yes I am

 It’s not like I’m socially awkward (as far as I am concerned) or that I can’t make friends. I think at that time I didn’t really know how to make new friends and that’s why I didn’t make much of an effort and was happy just in my own little bubble.

So you can imagine that when I started my diploma there were many of the same feelings of anxiety. I walked into the class and I was convinced that I would have to deal with the same old strained conversations about things, trying to find familiarity where it clearly wasn’t and eventually getting so frustrated you decide to just give up and sit in a corner, earphones in place and ignore the rest of the class…

My immediate thoughts when I got into class
My immediate thoughts when I got into class

 

But then something amazing happened. As I was in a room of adults, everyone behaved like adults. We all greeted each other, asked each other where they worked, what they did, didn’t have superficial conversations about what they did on the weekend (mainly coz we spend our weekend in class so we don’t have much of a weekend), some people grumbled about the HR managers, their procurement managers and generally normal things.

Such a relief
Such a relief

Ultimately I am there to get an education and not to make friends. If I do become friends with anyone then that will be an added bonus. The one thing I learnt is that school is something that you can do at any age. As you get older, your priorities change. It is going to be an interesting experience over the next year. If I find the time, I will keep you updated as the goings on.

Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught – Oscar Wilde