Sunday, October 22, 2006


Friday night I went to hear one of my favourite writers, Nobel Winner Prof Wole Soyinka, arguably the best author to come out of Africa. He read from his latest book “You Must Set Forth at Dawn”.

Now, I have something to say about that. Not many people are multi-talented and much as Soyinka is an excellent writer, I did not enjoy his reading. His voice was flat; he missed certain words or phrases and had to go back several times.

It could have been his eyesight or lighting because he said so at some point anyway. Also, being the main attraction can become a disadvantage if you follow such immaculate under cards as the lovely Iranian Azar Nafisi (she of the internationally acclaimed bestseller, “Reading Lolita in Tehran”.

Be that as it may, I was really elated to be in the same room with my literary hero, Soyinka. I remember reading some of his earlier books when I was in school and wondering what he really looked like in person.

Then I saw his image on television a lot when he was being persecuted by the then dictator of Nigeria, Sani Abacha. So, it was fulfilling when I finally laid my eyes on that wispy white afro.



Zimbabwean journalism saw the return of two old generals this past week. My former boss and mentor at the real, but now defunct Zimbabwe Inter-Africa News Agency (Ziana), Henry Muradzikwa was called back by the government to head the perennially unstable Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (now known as the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings).

His old colleague at Zimbabwe Newspapers Group, former Daily News Editor-In-Chief, Geoffrey Nyarota started his own Internet newspaper also this past week.

I do not know how long Muradzikwa will last at ZBC, given that none of his predecessors have lasted long enough to mean anything at an organization that is really run from Munhumutapa House.

However, one thing I know is that Muradzikwa is not a pushover. He gives as much as he gets and I believed him when he said: “It will not be business as usual” at Pockets Hill.

Nyarota is known for kicking political backsides and now that his new venture,, is web-based (thus no bombs on his press and no Mahoso and his gang lurking around), I personally expect some serious kicking.

Good luck to you gentlemen. You led the way for us before; let’s see if you still have it. We will be watching.


Sunday, October 15, 2006


Last week I joined AfricaFiles, a network of people committed to Africa through its promotion of human rights, economic justice, African perspectives and alternative analyses.

AfricaFiles was launched in 2002. My volunteer job with the group is to post current reports on Zimbabwe, particularly those highlighting human rights concerns.

So, why don’t you visit to read all about Africa? It is such a very informative ride, let’s enjoy it together.



Recent events in the South African media may surprise many, not me. I knew a high profile gag on members of the press in a country considered a bastion of democracy in a continent fraught with dictatorships and tyranny was just but a matter of time.

For those slow to catch up with news from south of the Sahara, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has blacklisted a number of South African and Zimbabwean media personalities who had developed a habit of criticizing President Mbeki and his Zimbabwean mentor, President Robert Mugabe.

Among the blacklisted are independent political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi; the author of a book on Mbeki, William Gumede; and Business Day staff members Vukani Mde and Karima Brown. Others are Zimbabwe’s own media magnate Trevor Ncube and Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube.

These commentators have been criticizing the Mugabe regime and of late, they have been snipping at Mbeki’s conciliatory policies towards Harare.

This is a very serious matter. South Africa is a respected country in the whole world and so is Mbeki’s administration. It is, therefore, such a let down to hear that the government-controlled SABC is being muzzled like that. What a shame.

Thank God, the judiciary in South Africa still works. This morning Johannesburg High Court Judge Zukiswa Tshiqi dismissed with costs the SABC's application to have the Mail & Guardian Online remove a report on the blacklisting of the analysts and commentators by the broadcaster.

"I don't believe that it is okay to suppress information or to hide information written in the report," the judge told the court.

When I got this latest development, I almost jumped up with joy, but then, I checked myself quickly. In Zimbabwe it started like that. The government muzzling the press and the judiciary intervening until the muzzle was placed on the men with the Victorian wigs. I have a feeling SA is going down the same road.

But, like I said, it is not surprising. This is Africa after all and here is how it works in African politics. “Respect Thy Elders” is a term taken so seriously and then perverted to give a picture of holiness to those elders. There is also, Ziva kwawakabva “remember where you came from”.

So, following this norm, Mugabe must have called Mbeki and say: “Hey Thabo, what is this I hear that you allow some loud mouths to trash me in your backyard?”

Mbeki: “Well Mdala, I am sorry but there is not much I can do. There is what is called democracy and freedom of speech here. I am kinda helpless.”

Mugabe: “Is that the renaissance nonsense you have been preaching? I can tolerate trashing from Madiba because he is my elder. Where is your ubuntu? I am your elder and need I remind you of your time in exile here. How many fires did I extinguish when they were about to consume your corrupt ANC backside?”

Mbeki: “I am on it Mdala.” And within no time, orders are flying all over SABC to ban so and so, from saying anything anti-Mugabe.

It is not the first time this has happened in southern Africa. In Mozambique they do not say anything bad about Mugabe, lest Chissano and his successors will be reminded who propped them when rebel leader Alfonso Dhlakama was on the verge of taking Maputo.

In Tanzania, respected fellow journalist and former president, Benjamin Mkapa has it on record that he will not be seen criticizing Mugabe and following the “Respect Thy Elder” rule, neither will his successor Kikwete and their media.

Other countries are just in awe of Mugabe they would not dare say anything other than sing his praises and we wonder why Mugabe is not leaving his throne?


Tuesday, October 10, 2006


If anybody ever doubted reports of police brutality in Zimbabwe, here is visual and audio proof, courtesy of my homeboy Lance Guma and his colleagues at SWRadioAfrica.

I do not want to take credit for the sterling work done by Guma and others, but I am sure they won't mind me spreading this further. I do not know how they got the footage and smuggled it out of Zimbabwe. Frankly, in the interest of protecting the innocent, I don't want to know.

Before you click on the link (scroll down to the article: ZCTU demo video of beatings and interviews) to watch President Robert Mugabe's boys inaction, here is some background.

Leaders of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and its allied worker and civic organizations, organized a peaceful demonstration, on August 13, to highlight the suffering of people under the corrupt economic regime of the Zanu PF government.

Well, go ahead and take a 15-minute break from whatever you are doing and see what our police department does well.


If the links fail to open please let me know. __._,_.___

Monday, October 09, 2006


Yes, one Evelyn Brown of the Global African Congress (GAC), some obscure Pan-African organization based in Canada, is said to have wept for her beloved Zimbabwe.

The story, as told by the Zanu PF government-controlled newspaper, The Herald, last week, is that, Ms Brown was part of a team that traveled to Zimbabwe to see for itself the reported human rights violations by the government of Zimbabwe.

Suspiciously though, the group was hosted by the same government whose persecution of the innocent it had come to investigate. The government officials took the group supposedly to see houses being built by the government under the so-called Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle.

The said operation is government’s feeble attempt to provide proper housing to more than 700 000 people it rendered homeless last year when it embarked on Operation Murambatsvina/Clear Filth, euphemism for ridding the urban centres of most of the opposition’s supporters.

So, we are told, Ms Brown openly wept after realizing that what she sees and reads in the western Press is totally different from what obtains on the ground."I am glad to be home. I am glad to be seeing all these good things," she said, according to The Herald.

Frankly, I want to believe that the reporter got it wrong. Ms Brown must have been crying that she had seen for herself how the western press actually down played the atrocious living conditions of the Zimbabweans, not the other way round.

I mean, the evidence was clearly there for her to see. She and her group were taken around by the enemy of the people who made efforts to show the group what it has done, which is nothing.

In Herald speak; Acting director of works for Harare City, James Chiyangwa said council organized people into cooperatives and sold them land on which to build. The cooperatives would build infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer reticulation. But because of economic problems, the city had decided people could service land on their own. In ordinary language; The group was shown bare land, which was intended to be sold to the displaced people (who have no jobs and no money) and then the people were supposed to develop that land on their own. Talk about giving a dead body a shovel to dig its own grave.

At this moment, Ms Brown, having realized that the people would remain poor and homeless for a long time if not forever, she broke down and cried.

The antics of Ms Brown and her group remind me of another group from Harlem called the 12th of December Movement. Those of my generation might remember Cde Chimurenga and sister Violet, the only two members of the group as far as I was concerned. A rather shifty two-some if you ask me. They always came to attend Zanu PF conferences and give solidarity speeches, on whose behalf I never got to know.

With thanks to my sister Eunice Mafundikwa.