sniper, sniper

The last few weeks have certainly been interesting, and very unusual, times in Zimbabwe. Many things have happened that I never thought would happen in Zimbabwe. For example, one of the students at the school where I teach apparently got high on LSD, grabbed his dad’s 2.2 rifle and set himself up at an intersection to take pot shots at passing cars last weekend. You know, as one does on a quiet Saturday evening in Harare when you have no other plans.

What could perhaps have been a forgivable (although highly stupid) stunt turned into a very serious situation after he shot a passenger in a passing car… who, in the small world that Harare is, is a former student of the same school. To cut a long story short, the guy who was shot will be okay and the “sniper” and his accomplice spent the next 5 days behind bars awaiting their bail hearing. I’m pretty sure those must have been the most terrifying 5 days of their lives.

None of that story is very funny. However, you would think it was comedy central the way some of the students in my statistics class talk about it. As lightly as they may appear to be dealing with the reality of their school mate becoming a “sniper”, they’ve all been affected by it… and have certainly received a bit of a wake-up call concerning the possible consequences of some of their own behaviour. Walking down the corridors, there’s been a persistent murmur of “sniper, sniper” amongst the students all week.

In my statistics class earlier this week, one (rather earnest) student put up his hand to ask a question. We’d been working on conditional probability and most of the students were struggling with it… naturally, I thought he was going to ask a conditional probability-related question. Instead, he asks about how bail works, which just set off a myriad of legal questions from everyone in the class, all wondering what the “sniper” may get charged with, whether he’ll be tried as a juvenile, what his punishment may be, whether he’ll have to serve time in the notorious Chikurubi Prison, etc, etc.

After having answered their deluge of questions for about 20 minutes, I tried to get them to calm down and focus on their statistics again, “Ok gentlemen, enough legal questions for now. Only probability questions are allowed for the rest of the lesson.” “Ok ma’am,” they responded, disappointed, and the class quietened down. For about 30 seconds.

Then another student put up his hand to ask a question. “Yes?” I asked. He replied, “Ma’am, what’s the probability that he’ll have to serve time in jail?” And the mob of questions began all over again… this time with each question preceded by “Ma’am, what’s the probability that…” All I could do was shake my head and laugh at their ingenuity.

This same class of students continuously crack me up. Last week, one student asked if he could do the working for his correct answer on the board for the rest of the class to see. I said that was fine, and he went to the board and started writing. While he was writing, one of the other students grabbed his school shorts and pulled them down to his ankles. Eish, the way I was soooo relieved that at least his boxers stayed up! That could have been a thoroughly awkward situation!

In retaliation against the student who had pulled down the other student’s shorts, someone drew a big penis on his maths exercise book cover. “Ma’am, I don’t want to use this exercise book anymore! Someone drew a penis on it!” cried the student, feigning disgust. “Well, that’s rather rich coming from you, considering you just pulled down your friend’s shorts,” I responded, “Just be quiet, open your exercise book and do your work”. “Um, ok ma’am,” he said, while he coloured in the penis with a coloured marker, having realised that doing that was probably more fun than statistics.

Despite my time teaching at this almost all boys’ school, there are some things that I’m still unable to understand. One is teenage boys’ obsession with drawing penises. Everywhere. All the time. Seriously. Their favourite thing is to draw them on the seat of chairs, so when someone sits down on the chair, he has to lower his bum onto the penis, while the rest of the class laughs at him. So ridiculous. They’ve even drawn penises all over the elephant and giraffe bones in the biology lab.

The other thing is teenage boys’ obsession with their friends’ mothers. Given the opportunity to mess around in Paint or Powerpoint, or even just to draw on paper, they will, literally 99% of the time, write or draw something about a friend’s mother. And it’s not even as though they’re always rude or disrespectful… sometimes it’s very polite, talking about “Mai Naidoo” or “Amai Tanatswa”, etc.

And, well, other times they aren’t so polite… the koala picture that comes standard in Windows’ sample pictures has been modified on almost every single computer at that school. If it hasn’t had, for example, “Mai Musango” written on it, it’s had a moustache and/or beard and/or devils’ horns and/or red eyes drawn onto it. It’s like an unspoken memo was sent around to wreck that stupid koala picture… yet each boy proudly thinks that he’s the first one to vandalise it.

In unrelated news, the police roadblock at the end of my road has notched up a level of sophistication. I was driving home the other day and saw a high-tech kombi parked near the roadblock, with a policeman pointing a big scanner at cars approaching the roadblock. Panic automatically set in, as generally happens at roadblocks in Zimbabwe, but especially so when you have a scanner pointing at you and you have no idea what it’s searching for.

As I slowed down, forced to a near-stop by a big, luminous yellow, plastic speed hump erected at the roadblock, the scanner focused its attention on my car and the siren went off. My mind was racing – did I get a speeding ticket that I didn’t know about? Is there a problem with the new vehicle license? What on earth was going on?

“Aaaah, pull over,” instructed the policeman standing near the fake speed hump. I slowly moved to pull over on the dirt on the side of the road, and as I did so, I saw that the guy operating the scanner was wearing a “ZBC Radio Licensing” bib. It suddenly dawned on me… all this fuss was being made of ZBC car radio licenses! Yes, you are supposed to have a license for your car radio in Zimbabwe… which obviously I don’t have because it costs $30 for the license and an additional $20 fine for not having one. And it’s not even as though I listen to ZBC radio (except to hear about the odd “whooping” win in the sports news… which, I figured, is supposed to be “whopping”, but is just so much funnier when choped).

I already have a stack of about 7 radio license tickets that I’ve accumulated for not having a car radio license. I make up names and addresses, so they appear to not all belong to me… but they do. It’s the only way that I can fully deny any knowledge of having received even a single one. After having found a car radio license inspector waiting for me at my car after doing grocery shopping the other day, confronting me about my lack of a radio license, I tried to claim that my car radio doesn’t work. I turned the radio on to prove my point, making sure he could clearly hear the crackling static. He told me to tune it to 89.7 and listened carefully whilst I stuffed around, wasting time in the hope that he would lose interest. He didn’t. So eventually I put it onto 89.7 and, yes, as you can imagine, music started blasting loudly and clearly. No static at all. The radio worked perfectly and I looked like a moron. I had no option but to give the inspector another fake name and take another ticket, feigning that I didn’t have enough money on me to pay the spot fine.

So now, parked on the side of the road near the scanner with its incessant siren, and with the license inspectors closing in on me once more, I quickly ejected the face of the radio while making a concerted effort to not look like I was doing anything dodgy. I dropped the radio face down the side of the seat, out of sight. The siren stopped immediately and confusion passed over the face of the inspector who had just appeared at my open window.

“Why did it stop?” he asked. “Um, I don’t know,” I replied, giving him a suitably puzzled look and a slight shrug of my shoulders. He glanced into the car, saw no radio there, and reluctantly said “Aaaah, it’s ok, you can go.” He continued to watch me in his confused suspicion as I pulled away, oblivious to the fact that I was laughing so hard that I could barely drive. I survived to be ticketed another day. Only in Zimbabwe!


Mr Ugly 2.0 (Harare)

Life in Zimbabwe is ticking on by as per normal… I drove past a house today where the bricks on the driveway have been painted purple. Yes, purple. As in a purple driveway. And I’ve had to swerve to avoid hitting a goat, 2 chickens and a vervet monkey whilst driving in suburbia in the last week alone. The goat was being chased by a large group of suited men who looked like they were supposed to be at a funeral. I couldn’t help thinking that having to chase the event’s meat down the road was probably rather awkward at a funeral… I mean, it’s hilarious, but are you allowed to laugh though?

News-wise, things are much of the same nonsense too. All motor vehicles in Zimbabwe need to be re-licensed (despite the fact that valid licenses were already in place…??!). Anyhoo, everyone had to do it in the space of a couple of weeks, which was a nightmare, so the government announced that it would extend the re-licensing deadline to 30 June to give everyone time to get it done. 6 days later, they were like “oh, just kidding” and cancelled the extension, sending the cops out everywhere to bust people who hadn’t managed to re-licenseAvoiding cops in the last few weeks must be a little what driving through a battle field must be like, with people blatantly doing U-turns when they see cops ahead. Even though the cops can see them U-turning, they have no police cars to chase them down, so they’re forced to watch people avoiding them. It’s ridiculous. And then the government backtracked and reinstated the extension. And then they backtracked on that again. And now no one really knows what’s happening… so we run from the cops just to be safe. Only in Zimbabwe.

Slightly further afield, on the outskirts of Harare, Margaret Masango of Kuwadzana has been charged with defamation after spreading rumours that her neighbour, Lizzie Kamombe, was breastfeeding 26 cats and conducting witchcraft lessons. Margaret also said that Lizzie’s daughter, Theresa, was a goblin and that Lizzie used her when going to South Africa. Seriously. Needless to say, Lizzie was a little upset when she heard that the neighbourhood was talking about her breastfeeding 26 cats… so she pressed defamation charges.

Scanning through the Herald website today, I came across many useful articles on things like the “Effects of overheating laptops” and the benefits of full-cream milk in “In defence of fresh milk” (which, although it’s written in typical Herald-journalist style, was actually written by Dr Timothy Stamps… which I found simultaneously confusing and scary.)

Leading news is that the Mr Ugly competition is back, this time upping its game and moving to the capital. The Herald tells us all about it, encouraging ugly men to take this opportunity to shine. (I’ve left the piece intact to do it proper justice.)

“In the village, in the land of milk, honey and dust or Guruve, no sun sets without its own histories. Even ugliness becomes a brand with its own stories for night talk. Here, the grey haired say, a person who stammers would eventually say “father”. It might be delayed, but the word will eventually come out. So it is never too late! The village soothsayer, the ageless autochthon of knowledge and wisdom says the world is a shallow place and there is no denying it. We are all so busy fawning over handsome guys and beautiful women that sometimes we forget about the ugly.”

(Apart from the fact that autochthon (yes, weirdly, it’s actually a real word) means ‘an aboriginal inhabitant’ (which I only know because I googled it), I can’t really shed much light on what the introduction is really about. And why he speaks about himself in third person is really anyone’s guess…)

“Harare, the city of a forever madding crowd, last week came up with yet another anecdote, about its ugliest man and indeed, our newspapers – for long bereft of good exciting human interest copy – ran full throttle.

“The organisers were looking for a man, very, very ugly and with some face that conjures fear in children and make them scamper for cover or hide behind pillows.

“This villager is told the organisers of Mr Ugly were looking for a truculent wonder – very unattractive or unpleasant to look at, offensive to the sense of beauty and displeasing in appearance and indeed they found him.” (‘Truculent’ means aggressive, brutal or hostile… again, I had to google it. Thoroughly awkward thing to call someone.)

“The man – William Masvinu –a beastly figure, gifted with a furrowed forehead, a pugnacious face and a big nose that straddles both cheeks and squats on the face like a bullfrog, dotted dead pimples, chickenpox potholes and rough, wire-brush hair emerged the proud winner”. (Like wtf tho? How can you actually describe someone like that??!! It’s just so wrong on so many levels!)

And it’s also not true… William really doesn’t warrant that description. And if the photographer hadn’t been such a hater with his angle, his picture would have been at least a little more flattering…

The article continues: “Masvinu has become a celebrity overnight after being crowned Mr Ugly, Harare. He even beat another man who shed tears!” (Men crying over losing the Mr Ugly title… awkward)

But, as the writer reminds us, “If God created man in his image, he must both be handsome and ugly, so it helps.” (Err, helps what exactly?)

“This villager understands that Masvinu is a bitter man, for it is quite some unfortunate oeuvre to be ugly and sad, and to be famous without fortune. The combination is disastrous.” (Oeuvre? I googled that one too… it means ‘the works of a writer, painter or the like, taken a whole… or any one of them.’ And no, it doesn’t make sense to me in this context either.)

“But the full import of this instalment is that Mr Ugly who hails from some village in Gutu, Masvingo and is now ordinarily resident in poverty-stricken Epworth must know that in the village, a tethered goat never grazes beyond the radius of the sisal rope that leashes it. It is this tolerance for states of life close to zero that keeps the goat going and hoping for the better.” (huh?)

“This innocent rhetoric from this domain of socio-moral idiosyncrasy at once appears much less innocent when one grasps which tendency is here draping the mantle of sublime words about life.” (yes… you start wondering where the story is now going…)

“Mr Ugly must be helped to make money from his condition in the same manner our beauty queens have been helped to make money. Our beauty queens are driving top-of-the-range cars and living large.” (his condition?)

“But Mr Ugly doubles up as a street porter and tout at Mbare Msika, carrying luggage on his head in a typical tale of two worlds. Just look at Vanessa Sibanda. It is squarely comparing those smooth cheeks, the cultured smiles, the pencil slim and sleek bodies of the queens to the muscular, rugged and contoured face, the beastly looks, the blood shot eyes, dry thick lips and the stray looks of Mr Ugly.” (Firstly, the “stray looks” of Mr Ugly? So not ok! Secondly, Vanessa Sibanda is the reigning Miss Zimbabwe Tourism apparently… had to google that too.)

“Mr Ugly should build a brand around his condition and this villager thinks that he can be a tourist attraction. In fact he is already one.” (but, like, a tourist attraction tho? This writer is seriously running amok.)

“The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, famed for its rebranding process can rebrand Mr Ugly and turn him into a security officer or doorman. Blazio Kasawala, the ZTA boss control manager could actually find a real worker. They can even find him something to do for, his condition is God given.

“Mr Ugly could also do with lucrative endorsements by fashion designers, blue chip companies as well as advertising agencies. Who said clothes don’t fit the ugly and besides there are too many ugly business executives who are saved by their pockets.”

Mr Ugly himself agrees, saying, “I am expecting to benefit a lot from being Mr Ugly and I hope that this will go a long way in improving my lifestyle. I won US$100 plus a voucher to spend a night with my wife at a hotel in Harare, but this is not enough.”

“In the village, even the ugliest of all men does marry and the wife could be the most outstanding village beauty. The face is nothing to show for life than the heart and the depth of character.

“What makes Mr Ugly, Harare’s story quite a mouthful is that he dropped out of school in Grade Three after the death of his parents. That means he is an epitome of poverty and even though he likes his looks – which are a plus to him – poverty has stalked him day and night.

He laments, “I am happy with my looks and I think it is a gift from God. I’m proud of my looks and I was created in God’s image. But maybe because I an ugly, wherever I go looking for a job they say hapana basa.”

“But this villager has other ideas. How about making him a strong brand ambassador advertising pesticides, killing those insects? How about heavy construction equipment and machinery like front-end loaders? Being uneducated, unemployed, poor, orphaned and ugly is a buffet meal for trouble. It’s a free cocktail.

Finally, “Whoever sees mucus in the nose of the king is the one who cleans it. This villager meant to clean this one.”

I mean… really?  I’m not entirely sure how that conclusion about the king’s mucus even followed from the story. All in all, I’m actually just weak.


the peacock lady

A few weeks back, I was driving with my sister and we drove past a lady handing out fliers at an intersection. She was a petite, well-dressed coloured lady with long pig-tails hanging down to about her knees… actually, they looked more like two long, thin dreads than pig-tails. She should probably do something about that. Anyway, the robots were green for us, so we didn’t stop to see what was on her fliers, especially after my sister urged, “Don’t stop, don’t stop, it’s the peacock lady!”

“The peacock lady?” I asked as we drove off, watching her grow smaller and smaller in my side mirror.

“Yes, the peacock lady. You know the peacock lady right?” my sister asked.

“Er, no, I don’t know the peacock lady. Why should I know the peacock lady?”

“Come on! You’re joking right? How can you not know the peacock lady?”

“I’ve never heard of the peacock lady ok? And why is she called the peacock lady anyway?”

“Because she takes this peacock around with her wherever she goes. She’s seriously crazy.”

“Well, I didn’t see any peacock with her. I think you’re making this up”. (My sister is a scrupulously honest person who (mildly) overreacts when she’s accused of making stuff up. Which is exactly why I accuse her of making stuff up. Yes, yes, it’s quite mean, but it’s also quite entertaining.)

“No, I promise! She ususally has a peacock with her!” she protested adamantly. “Last time I saw her, she gave me a flier with a recipe for chocolate brownies on”.

“Like for brownies or brownies?”

She laughed and then said, “I can’t remember.”

“You mean she just walked up to you and gave you a recipe for chocolate brownies? I think you’re making this up.”

“Whatever Sarah! She has a peacock and she gave me a recipe for chocolate brownies! I’m not making it up! The first time I saw her riding her bicycle with her peacock, I was driving and almost crashed. Do you know how ridiculous someone looks riding a bicycle with a peacock on it?! It was just sitting there on her handlebars! At first, I thought it was stuffed and just tied or glued onto the handlebars, which is weird enough, but then it shuffled around a bit and I realised it was alive! I swear, I almost veered right off the road!”

As you can imagine, I was literally killing myself laughing by that stage.

Since then, I’ve seen her riding her bicycle around Harare several times, her pig-tails flicking at her bicycle wheels as she rode. But no peacock.

Then, this last weekend, I came across her at the same intersection again. She was clutching a fruitcake in her left hand (no jokes) as she gave out fliers. “I make reeeally good pancakes. I can make them for you one day. Also, this fruitcake is only $5. Very good too.” She flashed me a gold smile.

“Not today thanks” I replied. Tempting, but no.

“Then take one of my fliers.”

“Ok” I said, and took one.

This is what the flier said:

En Course En route…

Have you got the coming of Jesus

in you Yet

Start sexual therapy now & come off

the habit of me in we. ($30.00 per hr)

Get your Satan gown ordered now

& start your knowing with you! ($500.00)

Massages & probus card reading working the treat

for you to come on too! ($50.00 per hr)

Call Marilyn 0775 887270

for you requested vestment!

Too awesome! Talk about offering a very wide range of services. And what, pray tell, is a Satan gown?

I got home and showed my mum the flier. “Did you get this from the peacock lady?” she asked.

“How do know I got it from the peacock lady?”

“Because the peacock lady is the only one I know trying to spread the word of sexual Jesus.” Sexual Jesus?! Sooo finished!

Clearly I was rather delayed in finding out about the peacock lady. She seems to be somewhat of an institution here. I’m yet to see her peacock, but if you’re looking for fruitcake (or sexual therapy), give her a call. Or try the intersection outside Borrowdale School.


beautiful Zimbabwe

Happy 32nd birthday beautiful Zimbabwe! April 18th has always been the most special and celebrated of days in Zimbabwe, and for good reason too – a day to remember and honour those who fought and sacrificed so much for the independence of Zimbabwe (which is something which is easily said, but is something that I still struggle to grasp the gravity of) – and a day to just celebrate Zimbabwe and being Zimbabwean. A friend of mine summed up today so well – “I love you Zimbabwe, today I celebrate you, the land that taught me to work hard, the meaning of family, that I am worth something regardless of my colour and what others say I am…” Zimbabwe has undeniably made us all the people that we are today, an identity that we should rightfully be proud of.

Having been lucky enough to have visited some of Zimbabwe’s most untouched places recently, today I also celebrate the sheer beauty of this nation. There are few things in this world that make me as happy or at peace as being in the bush, so the last few weeks have been really awesome.

Easter weekend was spent at a friend’s hunting camp in Chirisa, which is a couple of hours drive beyond Gokwe (which is itself in the middle of nowhere). It was amazing to see what he has created within such an untouched, remote location. The days were spent relaxing in great company, eating copious amounts of delicious food, checking out the wildlife ambling past and having sundowners whilst trying to absorb the beauty of the most amazing landscapes.

 

I then went on to do a 4 day, 3 night canoeing safari down the Zambezi River with my sister. We’d driven up to Kariba the day before and spent the night at a lodge on the banks of Lake Kariba – it was pretty basic, but very comfortable. They had a big pool and plenty of cold beers, which was all that is really needed in Kariba. And they did a great fish and chips dinner… which was literally a fish and chips… as in whole and unfilleted. Too awesome.

We were collected by the safari company the next morning, met up with our fellow travelers (a New Zealander family and a quirky, elderly British artist) and, after signing an indemnity form indemnifying the canoeing company against any death or serious injury that may take place whilst on our trip, we were off.

The New Zealanders had never been to Africa before and had come over for the wedding of their cousin to “an Afrikaans” in Cape Town before deciding to do this canoe safari, which had been recommended to them by Zimbabwean friends who now live in New Zealand. They were the outdoorsy type luckily, having spent many summers “tramping” around New Zealand… which must be pretty amazing if the scenery in The Lord of the Rings is anything to go by.

The British lady artist was doing the Zimbabwe leg of a tour of many African countries, creating unique art pieces in each country she visited: she’d canoed the Congo River, drawing a Constantina-style visual journal as she went, moulded pots in Mali, sculpted in Mozambique and sewn a quilt with various pieces of material she collected whilst travelling through Ghana. Zimbabwe was the country she was most hesitant about visiting, due mostly to it being the country she felt the most connection to – she was born here 50 years ago and this was her first visit back since she left the country at the age of 17. It was great to chat to her about her impressions of Zimbabwe compared to what she remembered of the country all those years ago. She’d attended Queen Elizabeth High School in then-Salisbury and had visited it shortly after arriving in Harare. She was astounded by how little the school had changed over the decades and how well-mannered its students are, and was humbled by the warm welcome she received from the school’s teachers and students. She was so proud of what Zimbabwe is today, which deeply touched me.

After a rather long and bumpy ride, we reached Chirundu and loaded up the canoes with our luggage, tents, sleeping bags, equipment and food for the trip. Then the canoeing started. Within about half an hour I was thoroughly over paddling through the choppy afternoon waters and, with no way of turning back, I began to dread the remaining 3 days of the trip. But as our guides started telling us about every tree, bird, butterfly and animal that we passed (full Latin names included… so impressive!), the wind died down and slowly I forgot that I was paddling and eventually it became second nature.

Over the 4 days we canoed a 70km stretch of the Zambezi from Chirundu to Mana Pools, setting up camp on islands for the nights (sleeping on islands being somewhat safer than sleeping on the main land – mainly because its harder for lions to get to you… no jokes). Waking up to this every morning was amazing:

I came far closer to many animals than I’ve ever been in my life, which was incredibly special but also pretty scary sometimes.

Beyond a doubt, it was the hippos that frightened me the most – avoiding them whilst caught in fast-flowing currents carrying you straight towards them literally made my heart skip a beat more than once. Some of the areas are so densely populated with hippos that they’ve been named Hippo City, Adrenaline Channel, etc. Those places were terrifying. Although there wasn’t a moment that I actually thought I was going to die, there were many moments when I was intensely afraid.

Just for the record – no one got hurt on the trip, we all just acquired a huge amount of respect for wild animals! If you ever have a chance to canoe the Zambezi, I highly recommend it (but, like the canoeing company, I cannot be held liable for any death and/or serious injury that may take place!) It is a spectacular way to explore Zimbabwe.

Once again, mokorokoto Zimbabwe! I hope and pray for a little more giraffing and a little less crocodiling in Zimbabwe in the coming years – onwards and upwards!


runyoka and donkeys

It’s been a while since I last scoured Zimbabwe’s tabloids for general hilarity. This has been partly due to lack of time (I now have a job where I can’t stuff around for the vast majority of my day and get away with it), but also because I’m now living in Zimbabwe and am continuously surrounded by ridiculous news, so much so that my gauge of absurdness has begun to slide.

Being able to buy these papers in print makes me feel that I have an obligation to do so… but at the same time, I feel as though actually spending money to read these stories would equate to passing a point of no return re: the degeneration of my moral principles. This is particularly so with Zimbabwe’s newest (and most ridiculous) tabloid, H-Metro. Words don’t adequately capture the confusion (and other presently undetermined emotions) that I feel when I see H-Metro’s headlines taped to boards on street corners. ‘Wife serves husband son’s head for dinner’ was one of the first I saw upon my return. Seriously.

Good stories in Zimbabwe essentially come down to those involving sex gone wrong and/or witchcraft of some sort. Plenty of clichés should then be applied to the story in a slightly inaccurate way and/or drastic words used when regular ones would have sufficed. Correct spelling and grammar is optional. It’s really that simple.

For example, there was the Tsholotsho man, Petros Ncube, who “has no time for sleeping and having intercourse with girls but prefers donkeys. Ncube, just 18, religiously slips into bestiality six times a week with donkeys. A court heard that, on March 10, Ncube went to a bushy area and ambushed three donkeys.

“He grabbed one and quenched his sexual appetite. However, he was spotted by a fellow villager in the act leading to his arrest. In court, Ncube did not waster time and simple pleaded guilty saying that he does it six times per week. He said the kicked off his act with his own donkeys but moved on to those of other villagers.”

Ncube was ordered by Magistrate Toindepi Zhou to “undergo” 105 hours of community service. As far as I knew, you “performed” community service, but would “undergo” therapy… but, who knows, perhaps a combination of the two was intended.

Then there was the Nkulumane 5 man who called a commercial sex worker to his hotel room and, upon opening the door for her, realised that it was his daughter. I’m sure there are few moments in your life that could be more awkward than that. Needless to say, the daughter of it bolted, the father collapsed on the floor and family awkwardness ensued. He said he then hired a therapist to counsel her (and, no doubt, himself).

And if you can combine sex gone wrong and witchcraft, and throw in a mob that chants outside a police station, you have a real winner of a story. One of my recent favourites has been about a cheating couple who were “caught mysteriously stuck to each other at Matapi Flats in Mbari” in a suspected case of ‘runyoka’, “the famed so-called Central Locking System.”

Apparently, runyoka “is a traditional way where juju is used to lock mainly women so that they do not cheat with other men. If they do, they get stuck together and often only the woman’s husband can help them separate”. Or coming out into public could possibly separate them. Others suggest that “the man has to urinate so as to get released from the Central Locking curse”. WTF right? I literally can’t work out which “cure” would be more awkward.

It was thought that the locked couple were taken to the Matapi Police Station and, as the rumour spread through the nearby market, a crowd of at least 2000 people gathered outside the police station, demanding to see the locked couple (as one does in such situations). Goods traders at the nearby market had their unattended goods stolen while they were busy mobbing, but seeing the locked couple was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up.

The police denied that such a case had been brought to them, but the crowd didn’t believe them, resulting in the police having to bring in reinforcements to control the swelling, “salivating” crowd and tear gas canisters were emptied to quell their curiosity. The crowd was heard shouting, “If you do not bring them out we will not leave this place because they have been brought to your police station”… which to me sounds like a really long chant to catch on in an enormous crowd, but maybe they were doing it 3-word chunks, who knows.

What the publication made clear, however, is that “if ever there was a SEX WORLD Cup and sex interest, Zimbabwe would no doubt be the equivalent of Brazil in football judging from the drooling mouths and enthusiastic sex talk!”

I’m sure Anywhere, 20, who is married to a kombi driver, Bright, 24, would agree that Zimbabweans are obsessed with scandal. Anywhere gave birth to the couple’s first child at Ruwa Maternity Clinic… and the baby came out undeniably Chinese…

Neighbours initially thought that a Chinese family had moved into the area and that Anywhere was minding the child… then they thought that perhaps Anywhere and Bright had stolen the child… and it was only after Anywhere had adamantly denied that neither of those scenarios had taken place did they begin to suspect that Anywhere had had an affair with a Chinese man… which, of course, she had.

Anywhere said that there had been “a party at work before he took me to a Casino where he gave me a sweet drink which I suspected was mixed with alcohol before we had sex all night long.” We’re then told that “the Chinese” (note: not the Chinese man… just “the Chinese”) fled to Zambia mere hours after the birth of the child when it became, um, clear who the father was.

The story has a nice ending though – Bright has stayed with Anywhere despite her one-night stand and (totally relevant to the story), “Bright is now a truck driver after leaving his job as a bus driver.”

Lastly, we have an article written by Adoration Bizure for H-Metro. Here it is in its unedited entirety: “IT NEVER RAINS but pours for the 30-year-old man who claims to be sodomised by ‘invisible’ man at night. Frank Chifamba of House No. 4070 Zororo Highfield yesterday made yet another startling relation as he claims to be undergoing monthly periods.

“The other thing is that I am having another strange experience, I lose blood through my anus every month. At times, this goes for a week. I have no doubt that what I am experiencing is exactly the same with what women feel during the menstrual circle,” said Frank.

He added, “Well these things are happening to me spiritually I don’t suspect that anyone is physically abusing me. I just thought I have to clarify that point because I was now having bad blood with male colleagues whom I stay with saying that I was suspecting them of sodomising me.”

Earlier on, Frank had disclosed that he had been waking with semen splashed on his bums suggesting that he was being sodomised at night.”


Searching and seizing with a difference

For the last 5 months or so, I’ve been working on a matter involving executing a search and seizure warrant at this dude’s house. Court orders allowing these search and seizures are hard to secure because of the violation of rights it involves, so you need to get your court papers just right… which takes alot of work. But this particular dude is a total douche, so we didn’t mind putting in the work if it meant achieving a little justice for our clients. When studying these orders at law school, I kinda had an idea in my mind of what executing one would be like… needless to say, that picture didn’t even vaguely resemble what it ended up looking like in practice when things went down yesterday.

Come 7.30am we were at the sheriff’s office getting ready to head off to the dude’s farm about 45 minutes outside Joburg. I’d grabbed a R5 cappacino from KFC on the way because, well, KFC has drive throughs and it seemed a) convenient and b) like a good idea at the time. Just for the record, they taste like ass. The fact that they cost only R5 should have been sufficient warning for me. Don’t judge, we all have our weak moments. Not a great start to the day.

These orders are also obtained and organised in secret, so not even the sheriff knew where we were going until that morning. The sheriff took one look at the dude’s name and sighed a *shoot me in the face* sigh before saying, “You guys do realise he breeds lions right?”. Being in a very Afrikaans area, this was all said in Afrikaans, but I understood “leeus”. Yes, we knew about the leeus. But we were hoping that he kept them in enclosures, so we went ahead anyways. En route, some SAPS officers we’d arranged to accompany us joined in the convoy just in case things got out of hand.

Within minutes of arriving at the dude’s house, he’d threatened to kill everyone. Repeatedly. With truly flamboyant language. For some of us it would involve drowning, for others slitting our throats, and for others he didn’t really specify how he would kill us. He also told us that we would be eaten if we set foot on his property. At that stage, one of the SAPS officers asked me what the dude meant, “Eaten? By what?” “Uhmm,” I said, “Probably by lions. He has a bunch of them on his property”. The expression on the SAPS officer’s face went from “you’re kidding me, right?” to “oh shit, you’re being for real”. It was so surreal I wanted to laugh just looking at his face… but laughing didn’t really seem very appropriate at the time.

If the SAPS hadn’t believed me, however, the notice on the gate may or may not have informed them… depending obviously on whether or not they paid close attention to detail.

Legal jargon… blah, blah, blah… and then “Free Ranging Lions” added almost as an afterthought, which most people probably don’t even read after having got bored with the standard legal jargon. Too awkward. I mean, you would have thought that the fact there were free ranging lions chilling nearby would warrant a little more importance on his warning sign… but apparently not.

To cut a very long story short, we eventually got onto his property with his consent and spent many hours in a 110 year old mill on the river (that doubled as his office) going through all the financial statements of his companies for the last 5 years. We did this whilst 2 white lion cubs ran around, nipping at our ankles, and whilst the dude intermittently threatened our lives and/or our physical safety, before making us coffee… and then continuing with the threats. Weird. It was very uncomfortable to say the least, not even taking into account the hot day and the total lack of airconditioning in the 110 year old building.

While everything we wanted was being packed into the sheriff’s truck, the dude asked me if I wanted to go into the cheetah cage to play with the cheetah. Please note they were fully grown cheetah. Two of them. “Uhmm, no, I’m fine right here thanks”. I mean seriously, he’d gone from threatening us to suggesting an excursion into the cheetah cage? And I was supposed to trust him? No thanks, I choose life. He also had another 18 lion, 6 leopard and 3 tigers kept in enclosures bordering his garden, some no more than 5 metres away from his house.

By the time we left though he was pulling out his mack moves on me with his “Hey gorgeous, so have you had a fun day?” with the nudge-nudge-wink-wink combination going on. Seriously? At that stage, being macked on by a psychopath was the only thing that could have made the day weirder. Well, that was until he did the “Heil Hitler” salute to my Jewish boss and our Jewish computer expert as we left… at which stage I was totally finished.

To be honest, I’ve kinda been put off ever being involved in a search and seizure situation ever again.

Not quite as bizarre as yesterday, today I went to Cranks in Rosebank for the first time. Its a thai restaurant and has festive big banana trees in pots giving shade to the outside tables. The plates are colourful and bright, clashing wonderfully with the fruit-patterned table cloths. After lunch I went inside to settle my bill and stumbled across the weirdest decor I’ve ever seen in a restaurant. At first I only noticed the life-size female nude sculpture covered by little squares of mirror. After I got over being distracted by bright and shiny things, I saw the numerous posters of kens and barbies having sex in a whole bunch of awkward positions… and as I laughed and looked up, I saw naked kens and barbies handing from the ceiling, piled into each other in sexually explicit positions. Words can’t really describe it, you need to check it out for yourself. The food is amazing too.


driving around

So it appears that Zimbabwe is all abuzz with the arrest of 3 sisters on charges of aggravated indecent assault and rape (of men… yes). Oh, and they allegedly also harvested semen from their victims. Sophie, one of the sisters, apparently “lists one of her favourite activities as ‘driving around’ and Zimbabwean authorities believe this could be the key to solving a crime that seems to defy logic”.

Stories of women rapists have been doing the rounds in Zimbabwe for the last 2 years or so, with men claiming that they were attacked and raped by women who had offered them a lift. Some of the stories were rather bizarre – in one case a man said that the women threatened him with a snake before raping him. A snake? Not even a gun? Seriously? They also reported that the women rapists brought a mattress with them… which is kinda considerate, you know?

Anyway, now cops are convinced they have the right women in custody. I mean, Sophie listed “driving around” as one of her favourite activities after all, so she must be guilty of raping men. Obviously. It doesn’t state where or when she said that she enjoyed driving around, and I’m yet to come across a police docket that has a “hobbies and interests” section for suspects to complete, so I’m a little sceptical about this admission, but you never know.

The Standard stated that “the trio are reported to have been arrested after they tried to retrieve 31 condoms following an accident in which Sophie’s boyfriend, Thulani, is alleged to have run over and killed a pedestrian”. Huh? Talk about further confusing people with random tangents instead of enlightening them. Apart from, you know, killing a pedestrian, I can’t really see what was so illegal about their behaviour, even if they were trying to retrieve 31 used condoms from the car. But Zimbabwean cops can be random like that, so I’m not hugely surprised.

Once arrested, it was reported that they had to be moved from Gweru to Harare “as the Midlands capital literally ground to a standstill as hundreds of people rushed to the police station in the hope of catching a glimpse of the accused”. Knowing how Zimbabweans love this kind of drama, this is definitely possible (although also highly cringeful).

So what’s the women’s defence? Well, they claim they are “hardworking prostitutes and were too busy to get rid of the condoms”. Now it all makes sense… even the mattress.

However, the rumour mill is still at it with some people claiming that the sisters are involved in the lucrative semen trade. I didn’t know such a trade existed, but then again maybe I just roll in the wrong circles. It’s reported that semen fetches high prices in Dubai. I can’t help wondering why Dubai can’t just source their own semen locally, but whatever. Watch Ruparanganda, a professor of sociology at the University of Zimbabwe, in explaining the semen trade, said that “people believe that sperm can make someone’s luck improve”, including in business matters. As a result, he suspects that “unscrupulous businessmen were behind the sex attacks”.

Others are sceptical of the semen trade explanation, instead asserting that semen is good as both a facial cream and a hair fertiliser. How would they know though? Hmmm… maybe they should stop hurling such judgment at the sisters if it’s something they’ve tried themselves. Just saying.

Anyways, speaking of using sperm as a facial cream, I was watching Jackass the other day and one of the pranks they pulled was to put horse semen into the one guy’s suncream when he wasn’t around.  The dude used that semen suncream for a good 3 months before the others told him what they’d done, at which stage he admitted he’d thought the consistency and smell of the suncream was a little weird, but thought that maybe it had just gone funny from being in his hot car for so long. Bless.

His skin looked pretty good though, which is probably why he took the prank better than I would have. I would have just wanted to vomit. Just like I wanted to vomit when I was told that there were human body parts found at Busy Corner, my favourite eatery in Tembisa, and that apparently human remains were being put in the food.

There’s been no confirmation of the story yet and no one knows who actually saw the body parts, so it may not be true. Most people reckon that the rumours were started by haters and competitors trying to destroy Busy Corner. Problem is: who’s going to take the risk on the off-chance that the story is true? It’s just too awkward for words really.

If I go back there, I’ll probably just stick to lamb chops, it’s easy enough to identify them… and people don’t have chops, so it’s safer you know? I’m pretty sure that my Busy Corner boerewors days are over though. Never trust boerewors.


How the Dalai Lama became the Dalai Lama

Amidst the outcry from the South African public, and indeed countless people worldwide, over the South African government failing to provide the Dalai Lama with a visa so that he could attend Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s 80th birthday, I decided to find out a little more about who the Dalai Lama is and how he came to be the bane of the Chinese (and South African) government’s existence.

The purpose of the Dalai Lama’s visit to South Africa was personal – he was invited to celebrate the birthday of fellow Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Archbishop Tutu, but it became the third time that the Dalai Lama was barred entry to South Africa. The last time he was stopped from attending a Nobel Peace Prize Laureates gathering.The matter is far bigger (and more worrying) than a simple visa application denial (or lack of processing his visa application in the most recent case), rather it has exposed South Africa’s total subservience to China. It’s shown that South Africa, with its lauded Constitution preaching Ubuntu, would rather deny a world-renowned spiritual and political leader entry to the country than upset China. Basically, South Africa jumps when China tells it to jump, which is sad and humiliating for the citizens of proud and sovereign South Africa.

But I’m not going to dwell on the awkward mess that the South African government has found itself in, instead I’m going to tell you a bit about the Dalai Lama, which I hope you will find interesting. He’s an amazing man with a fascinating story.

The current Dalai Lama is the 14th Dalai Lama, with him and each of his predecessors believed to be reincarnations of the preceding Dalai Lamas, the first of which was born in 1391. When a Dalai Lama passes away, a search party is sent throughout Tibet to find his reincarnation who, once discovered, becomes the new Dalai Lama. Auspicious signs, predictions and visions are said to guide the search party to the new Dalai Lama, much like the Three Wise Men were guided by the star to Jesus’ place of birth. The 13th Dalai Lama, Thupten Gyatso, died in 1933 at the age of 58, leaving Tibet in need of a new Dalai Lama.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was born on 6 July 1935 to a poor family in the small village of Takster in the province of Amdo. He was named Lhamo Thondup, meaning “wish-fulfilling goodness,” the youngest of five brothers and two sisters. Takster was a small and poor village that stood on a hill overlooking a broad valley. Lhamo’s parents were small-scale farmers, growing mostly barley, buckwheat and potatoes.

Lhamo’s eldest sister, who was 18 at the time of his birth, acted as the midwife during his delivery. His birth, by all accounts, was nothing out of the ordinary, although (in hindsight) it was rather auspicious that his father made an unexplained recovery from a critical illness at the same time as Lhamo entered the world.

Lhamo’s early childhood memories are probably shared by most children growing up in rural Tibet. His family kept chickens for their eggs and he recalls how he liked sitting in the hens’ nests making clucking noises. Even from a young age, however, he showed traits that made his parents realise he would go far in life. He insisted on always sitting at the head of the table despite his youth, and would pack things into a bag as though he was about to embark on a long journey. When fighting broke out amongst children, he would run and join the weaker side without hesitation. Clearly siding with the underdog is in his blood.

Lhamo was barely 3 years old when the Tibetan government decided to send out a search party to find the new reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. A number of auspicious signs guided the search party to where they believed they would find the new Dalai Lama. Firstly, while the 13th Dalai Lama’s body lay in state, his head was discovered to have turned from facing south to facing northeast. Secondly, a senior lama had a vision whilst looking into the waters of Lhamo Lhatso, the sacred lake in southern Tibet. He saw the Tibetan letters Ah, Ka and Ma float into view. These were followed by the image of a three-storied monastery with a turquoise and gold roof and a path running from it to a hill. Finally he saw a small house with strangely shaped guttering.

So the search party set off in the direction where the 13th Dalai Lama appeared to be looking, heading to Amdo (the Ah reference), the northeastern province of Tibet. The search party reached Kumbum (which they believed the Ka referred to), and found a monastery resembling that the senior lama had seen in his vision. Then they started searching for the house with the peculiar guttering, which they found on the hill, overlooking the valley. The search party approached the house and asked to stay for the night, not disclosing who they were or what the purpose of their travels was.

The youngest child in the house, Lhamo, immediately recognised the leader of the party, Kewtsang Rinpoche, and called out “Sera lama, Sera lama”. Lhamo had never seen Rinpoche before, yet seemed to know that he was a lama from Sera, which was indeed Rinpoche’s monastery. Rinpoche spent much of the evening observing and playing with Lhamo. The search party left the next day, only to return a few days later with a number of things that had belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama, together with a number of things that had not. In every case, Lhamo correctly identified the things belonging to the 13th Dalai Lama saying “It’s mine, it’s mine”. The search party was then convinced that they had found the new incarnation.

Shortly afterwards, while still 3 years old, Lhamo became the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, and his name was changed to Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso. During his early years, whilst still undergoing his spiritual training as a lama, Chinese aggression towards Tibet increased significantly. Eventually China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) invaded Tibet and, at the age of 15, the 14th Dalai Lama became the political leader of the Tibetan people.

For the next 9 years, the Dalai Lama tried to prevent a full-scale military take-over of Tibet by China, to no avail. Eventually he was forced to flee to Dharamsala in India, where he has lived in exile ever since. Dharamsala is the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, from where the Dalai Lama and Tibetan government officials work for the liberation of their people from Chinese rule. The Dalai Lama recently stepped down as the political head of the Tibetan people, but remains their spiritual leader.

(Most of the information above was taken from the Dalai Lama’s official website at http://www.dalailama.com)


Of goblins and glowing cats

Over the past few weeks I’ve seen a number of things that have made me wonder about the human race… like me, all you can do is slowly shake your head with that unique combination of awe, confusion and judgment going through your mind.

Like when you see the new holder of the Guinness World Records longest nails:

And she looks like Medusa, but with the snakes coming out of her hands. She says that her long nails don’t interfere in her life very much, which makes me think that either she’s a liar or she can’t remember what life was like before she had those nails… coz you can’t tell me you can function properly with that jazz going on. Gross.

And the new holder of the world’s widest mouth record:

He’s from Angola and he scares me.

And if its not already too much that people are weird or do weird things to themselves, they also do weird things to animals. Recent research into preventing FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus), which is the cat form of HIV, has involved scientists injecting monkey genes into a cat’s DNA. They wanted to see how the DNA replicated, so they marked the monkey genes with luminous jellyfish cells so they could tell which cells had the monkey genes in and which didn’t. So if you look at the cat’s cells under a microscope, they glow, and, well, if you look at the cat, it looks like this:

Like WTF tho?? They made two glowing cats and then made them have a litter of kittens. The kittens were not only all glow in the dark, but also resistant to FIV… like superhero mutant cats or something. My brother said when he has kids, he wants them to be glow in the dark. Then he asked me if I can get him a dwarf for Christmas. Then I got a bit uncomfortable.

The other day, I saw this google ad on my sidebar:

At first I was just confused what a “mirrow” was, and then I was puzzled as to how sangomas have managed to so effectively make use of google ad words. After checking out a couple of such sites, I realised that they have obviously all hired the same web developer, who has literally just cut and paste the same excerpts onto each sangoma’s site. I can’t help thinking that you have to be some kind of brave or stupid to double cross sangomas like that.

Anyway, not only have some sangomas kept up with new technology, but they’ve kept up with offering solutions for new problems facing society, such as the “call-me” spell which places “a very strong yearning in the recipient to call you, see you or contact you by any means available or possible” and the terror protection spells which “will make sure you NEVER will be close to a terror act”. So thoughtful in this day and age.

Some of their other services also made me chuckle, like the cherish spell which “invades the recipient with an irresistible urge to cherish you, cling to you, and to hold you in high regard” or the penis enlargement cream which you should “order now before you get an embarrassment from your woman”. Apparently the cream works even “if you are the laziest person alive”. And the divorce spell which should only “be used in extreme cases for example if your husband has disturbed you a lot and you are tired of his tortures”. Sounds like rather an understatement to me, but whatever.

Being a sangoma sounds like it’s a rather demanding profession. Apparently, well according to Kwayedza anyway, varoyi (witches) in Zimbabwe are using dismembered male penises as whistles. Don’t ask me how that works or why they can’t just buy themselves whistles instead. And an inyanga in Lalapanzi was seriously burnt by a suspected goblin which he was allegedly trying to get rid of in a home cleansing ceremony. I seriously couldn’t be involved in that profession.

Anyway, weird stuff aside, it’s been a year since 3 of my family members were in a crazy helicopter crash:

They all survived by the grace of God and are doing well one year on. I’m very grateful for that.


Heroes Day

Today is Heroes Day in Zimbabwe. I’ve always found it kind of interesting, being basically like Independence Day but with more reverence paid to those who through much struggle and sacrifice made independent Zimbabwe a reality. And although I admit that it’s a little shrine-like to bury all of a country’s heroes together at Heroes Acre, it does extend honour to those who’ve done much for Zimbabwe and I think it’s a pretty cool idea. Whether all those buried at Heroes Acre deserve such honour, however, is a different story for another time and another place.

After Independence Day, Heroes Day is President Mugabe’s other big opportunity to speak about pressing issues such as evil sanctions, blah, blah, colonial oppressors, blah, blah, and how Zimbabwe will never be a colony again. I don’t mean to undermine the importance of these issues, it’s just that he has used basically the same speech for the last 5 years so it’s become a little tedious.

You can practically predict what he’ll talk about next: invariably it starts off covering the sterling sacrifices of Zimbabwe’s leaders of years gone by, it then moves on to their courageous struggle against and overthrow of the oppressive Smith regime, then he speaks for a while about the injustice of the Smith regime itself and the racism of white minority rule. All of this is expected and understandable, with it being Heroes Day and all.

But then, after about 45 minutes, he’ll take a bit of a tangent, moving on to the wickedness of the West and their continued threat and interference, before speaking about the evilness of the targeted sanctions against certain Zimbabwe government officials and how, basically, the sanctions are solely to blame for Zimbabwe’s devastated economy. Not surprisingly, when the crippled economy is being spoken of, the fact that the Zimbabwean economy was agriculture-based and couldn’t survive the seizure of the vast majority of the country’s commercial farms isn’t mentioned.

But let’s not get distracted by that as, finally, and by far most importantly, he reminds us all that the West wants nothing more than to recolonize Zimbabwe and that Zimbabwe must vigorously resist this happening. My favourite line from this part of his speeches is “Blair can keep his England and I will keep my Zimbabwe!” Obviously that line had to be slightly reworked once Blair was no longer relevant, but the sentiment remains largely intact.

Apart from Mugabe’s Heroes Day vitriol, the other frustratingly predictable thing about this time of year is the ZANU propaganda and focus on who has liberation credentials and who doesn’t, readily evident in the pieces of most pro-government columnists. As annoying as they sometimes are, they are also highly entertaining for their flowery and hilarious use of the English language. I came across one that made me chuckle… as well as, you know, get a little scared and uncomfortable.

“BACK in the village, yonder in the land of milk, honey and dust, or Guruve if you like, where morals are ideal and respect is sacrosanct, there are times when diplomacy is hurled out through the window. This is the time when a spade is called a spade and when it becomes clear and clearer that no amount of cosmetics can beautify a frog. During that time no one is prepared to hug a hyena to make peace.”

Wow, what an opening paragraph. For those who are not familiar with Guruve, I wonder what kind of picture is painted of the place in their minds. I suspect that it doesn’t much resemble the real Guruve, or the real Zimbabwe for that matter, but anyways. I’m also rather confused… and very concerned… about when people are actually prepared to hug hyenas… and whether they actually do it. But maybe that’s just me.

The writer then goes into Zimbabwe’s liberation war, stating that it was a painful one, full of blood and sacrifice. Indeed, “it was a journey for the lion-hearted, never for the chicken-hearted.” He urges us to celebrate “the lives of our gallant heroes – departed and living – who traversed a long and arduous journey that began with the Umvukela of 1893”, and he goes on to outline the decade-long Second Chimurenga that finally brought Zimbabwe its freedom, and the continuing Third Chimurenga.

The heroes that we have to thank for this progress span from “Mbuya Nehanda to Sikhajaya Muntanga and the living cadres.” I’ve never heard of Sikhajaya Muntanga, and neither has Google, but the writer has been known to quote his father in his column, so he/she may be a relative. I would have thought that there were many others that he could have chosen to illustrate those who made a lifelong commitment “to the majority”, not least Herbert Chitepo and Josiah Tongogara, but, no, he chose the very obscure. But that doesn’t really matter as he mentions this only to make the main point of his piece: “one should wonder, could Zimbabwe have been free today if there were people of the calibre of some of our so-called leaders?

“Of course this villager is talking about those who ran back home to their mothers, when they heard the sound of the gun, whom we now have in some measure including at the top echelons of our inclusive Government.” After years of such attacks, it’s easy to recognise that it’s PM Morgan Tsvangirai and other MDC leaders that are being insulted here, on the grounds that their liberation credentials are not as strong as some in ZANU.

Apparently, in his last column, whilst berating the MDC, “this villager highlighted how some legislators were spending time calling for the legalisation of prostitution. Some female legislator even called prostitutes “pleasure engineers”! What cheek! This could have been pretty laughable were it not so tragic. Surely in Nhamoyebonde Village, such sentiments would send the chicken laughing, throughout the village. All they think about is their loins and what to do in between the sheets. The village soothsayer, that ageless fountain of wisdom, says: “Check their records. Find out how they got to where they are and tell me!” Sex maniacs!” Yes, he’s referring to himself as being an ageless fountain of wisdom. Too much!

“They are the same people who tell us they are fighting for democracy in Zimbabwe. But, which democracy? You guessed right, the democracy as dictated from Washington and London. Now the latter have now become democracy champions when only a few years ago they needed the lessons of the gun to admit to the legitimacy of black majority rule.

“We even hear the MDC now have their heroes, too. Real heroes like Mbuya Nehanda, Joshua Nkomo, Josiah Tongogara, JZ, Leopold Takawira, among many others should be turning in their graves, with anger and disbelief. The living among them should be wallowing in the curse that their efforts and exertions wrought. But it does not end there. We now hear that the MDC formations now seek to undo the security forces of Zimbabwe to weed out generals who have remained vigilant against the imperial enemy, since the days of Second Chimurenga. My foot!

“Yes, the soft ones ran back home to their mothers after an attempt to join the struggle and in their softness lies the folly that has catapulted them into the trenches of the enemy. President Robert Mugabe is the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. For all we know, he is about the biggest hardliner against imperialism in the world today. So does it mean torpedoing him as well, via deposing his generals? Where on earth would any leader accept that? Certainly not here! Nyikayaramba, hazviite, Zimbabwe ndeyeropa! President Mugabe should not, and this villager is sure he will not accept this foolishness. He has already stated so, and the generals themselves knowing the supreme command have said hands off as well.

“This is not about being unreasonable. The force, under the command of President Mugabe, has done remarkably well in defending the country – so much that Britain feared to attack us. The force has participated at various United Nations missions keeping the peace even in Europe itself. It can only be political mischief that calls for the so-called reform of the force. In fact, it is security sector “deform” that these mischievous guys are looking for. A deformed force surely will do the bidding of the enemy and fail to defend the motherland. A deformed force will find it amenable to salute enemy flags.

“”One day, just one day. You will see how the generals are all important to his country. Just one day,” says the soothsayer.”

A piece like this, and attitudes like that of this soothsayer and, um, ageless fountain of wisdom, makes it clear how difficult it is to achieve any real political reform in Zimbabwe, and why insufficient credence is given to the MDC within the government of national unity. I’m not sure if or how this will ever change, or how Zimbabwe will come to look to the future rather than the past in resolving its problems. In the meantime, roll on another Heroes Day and anti-MDC and anti-West tirade and, I guess, at least we can rest assured that Zimbabwe will never be a colony again.

For all the charade that Heroes Day has become, let us not forget that Zimbabwe has had many worthy heroes whose great sacrifices to bring us freedom should be remembered and celebrated. Happy Heroes Day Zimbabwe.