Zimbabwe’s young people are using dance to fight HIV/AIDS | #WorldAidsDay

 

By Munya Bloggo 

On 1 December the world shows support for people living and affected by HIV/AIDS by hosting various events in different communities. World Aids Day commemorations started in 1988, four years after the first case of the virus was discovered. Since then over 35 million people have died from AIDS making it one of the most devastating pandemics on in the planet.

In Zimbabwe Jibilika Dance Academy led by Plot Mhako is using the power of dance to continue the fight against HIV/AIDS and reminding young people that despite the efforts that have been made over the last 30 years, there is still a long way to go in the fight.

The event by Jibilika attracted  personalities from different sectors including Radio DJ’s, Musicians, Comedians and actors. Zim Hip Hop artist Tytan Skhokho said “We are stronger than anything on this earth when we put our minds to it. No limitation is greater than your will to live. Like any challenge we face, HIV is merely a limitation, not the end of life. Stay strong!”

Watch the video as Zimbabwean personalities joined in to spread the message and help create an Aids free generation.

 

I’m Not My Hair

 

by Elspeth Chimedza 

‘Don’t touch my hair

When it’s the feelings I wear

Don’t touch my soul

When it’s the rhythm I know

Don’t touch my crown

They say the vision I’ve found

Don’t touch what’s there

When it’s the feelings I wear’- Don’t Touch my Hair, Solange Knowles

For the first time in my life I feel free…

Three years ago I wrote about ‘good hair’ à la Chris Rock’s  documentary and India Arie’s song ‘I’m not My Hair’ stating that I was amongst the many women of colour who would go to lengths to disguise their Afrocentric hair due to societal perceptions and to an extent mental oppression. In 2016, nobody, not even myself would have imagined that I would be caught spotting Bantu knots or writing a whole article on Natural Hair 101’ so as to educate, as well as encourage the natural hair movement. Yes, I am now a natural hair sister, wearing my hair in its natural form, kinks and all.

Initially, it was forced upon me by the universe (economic challenges), but thanks to my cousin who has long, natural tresses, I slowly warmed up to the idea of my own hair. You see previously, if I wasn’t financially capable of getting my hair done, I would opt for a wig because as I have admitted before, I will never be caught dead with my natural hair in public (my hair was only for my hairdressers eyes); but I grew tired of the wig and just ditched it altogether. I then worked with cornrows and twist but later started researching more about taking care of my natural hair. 

Fortunately in media there have been some female celebrities who have rocked their natural hair such as Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Solange Knowles and even closer to home, Ammara Brown, who I have hair envy because her afros are amazing. Actually in an interview that I had with Ammara, I asked ‘If you were to have anybody else’s hair, whose would it be?’ and she responded, “To be honest I love the hair that I have. Even my son buried his face in it the other day and said,” I love your hair” and he just turned 2.” I must admit that’s very admirable, actually it takes a very confident woman of colour to not only take pride in her natural hair as well as love it.

Since the last time that I wrote about black hair, there has been a shift around the world as many people of colour especially women in the diaspora are going back to basics, leaving relaxers a.k.a perms, weaves, wigs and opting to get the big chop or transition to a more natural look. However this has not come without resistance as there have been cases of women of colour not being hired, or being fired for having natural hair including dreadlocks, or in the recent incidence in South Africa where a school girl was taken out of school because she wore her hair in an afro. Historically black hair has often offended white people because they never understood the intricacies more so, the beauty of African hair. Remember earlier this year when Beyoncé performed at the Super bowl half-time and her dancers all had afros and wore black berets? Well, along with the lyrical content of her award winning hit ‘Formation’, the performance was viewed as a form of rebellion. You see, for those who might not be in the know, back in the 1960s with the rise of the civil rights movement, the afro symbolised rebellion, black pride and empowerment and with it came the re-emergence of the wide toothed African comb which is dubbed ‘afro comb’. The afro acted as a reminder of pre-slavery and pre-colonial days where Africans of all social statuses and gender had long hair which was styled differently as a form of communication as people could tell an individual’s age, marital status, ethnic identity, religion, wealth and social rank. According to historians, due to diseases and the fact that slave masters didn’t know what to do with black people’s hair, they shaved it off of which to the people of colour that was a form of humiliation.

Followers of the Rastafarian movement actually rebelled by not cutting their hair but instead twisting it into dreadlocks and to date dreadlocks have become a distinct black hairstyle although not necessarily due to being Rastafarian but more of an urban thing. In my country, Zimbabwe, dreadlocks are quite popular with individuals who play traditional instruments such as the mbira, nyunga nyunga and hosho but also young people who are fans of the reggae and dancehall genre. East and West African women are often seen with rather interesting and complicated hairstyles that include braids, natural hair plaiting and thread plaiting and don really long natural hair without the aid of weave extensions. I recall when I was young and living in West Africa, my mother and I always had beautiful West African hair designs and I remember always feeling pretty because I went to a predominantly white school so I felt that I stood out (although the thought of my skin colour never came to mind), I just thought that I had the coolest styled hair, C’est tout!

So what has the new Lady E with her new hair been up to? Remember that I mentioned that scenario where ‘there are two very attractive ‘sistas’, well dressed, but one has the Indian Remy and the other, au naturel African hair. Who is the one, who is going to get the male attention?’ Well, yes, the ladies with the front laces do get attention, but my dms and phone have been blowing up from a lot of guys who always compliment me for being so confident with my natural hair, (on the side I am thinking, maybe y’all are cheapskates and prefer not buying those Brazilian and Peruvian hair pieces and that’s why my natural hair is so appealing but not necessarily attractive). Still, my confidence does not come from drawing attention from the male species; in fact I am confident with my natural hair because it reflects me. I am a young African woman who is mixed in ethnicities, well-travelled, loves to write, is passionate about music and nature and has dreams so big that it’s frightening. For the first time in long time, I am in love…with myself and even more my hair. Although I would rather choose not to be defined by my mane, I have taken pride that through the knowledge obtained on how to take care of my hair and style it, I feel that ‘black girl magic’ that trends as a hashtag on social media. My hair shape shifts, it’s crazy!

So does this mean that I will never wear a wig or weave my hair? No. I now have wider options because to be honest, natural hair is the real high maintenance because it is very fragile so I have changed the notion, black hair is ‘good hair’, maybe we should also commercialize the hair that we cut and sell it as ‘Zezuru hair’ or ‘Kush Hair’ and reverse the status quo, (just thinking). 

Whether you are black or white or Asian, we all have to come to a place where we embrace diverse beauty standards as well as teach one another about the beauty of our differences. This is 2016, we are a different generation, and nobody should be dismissed, discriminated or dominated because of how they wear their hair. Afro, dreadlocks, Bantu knots, cornrows are not a form of rebellion, if not in an era where everybody should be allowed to be themselves, black hair is yet another move towards encouraging self-love and self-acceptance and on the commercial side, it’s likely to be a very profitable industry once tapped into, so everyone wins. (Only in my head do I live in a colourless, ethnically tolerant and peaceful world).

And since the first article was inspired by my daughter, well she confidently spots a bold head (because the school doesn’t allow hair), but she always says, “Mummy I want to have hair like yours when I grow up!” Now there, right there, I believe that I have instilled a value of a confident young lady who looks beyond what the world sees yet still can find her identity in it.

‘I am not my hair

I am not my skin

I am a soul that lives within’-India Arie

P.S. Always write your own love story!

Ciao!

Lady E

.

Featured image courtesy of Reunion Black Family

2016 is a Zimbabwean nightmare… kusvika tati eke!

 

By Chamu Norwa

In 2016, our government continued milking parastatals and state resources dry and our President admitted that under his leadership over 15 billion in revenue was lost. Undenge admitted to tender fraud of US$5 million. Jonathan Moyo revealed that there is a minister who owns over 365 mines. The Auditor General released damning evidence of gross mismanagement of public funds implicating Supa Mandiwanzira and many others.

Surely, there would be a clamp down on corruption. Definitely, the government was going to clean up its act.

ZACC had us excited that maybe, just maybe, the government would act. But the Commission ended up looking like a farce with the Minister of Twitter, Jonathan Moyo walking scot free after misappropriating funds.

But no, our government in 2016 decided to go after the ordinary person in the street.

It was as if our government decided to punish us “kusvika tati eke”

You don’t believe me? Look at what they did to us this year!

Import ban

Having accepted that the government will not deliver the 2 million jobs as promised (except maybe to Simba Chikoore), the ordinary Zimbabwean had to resort to cross boarder trading to survive.

But our government wouldn’t have any of that. President Mugabe signed Statutory Instrument 64 to restrict imports. It is supposed to promote local industries, Minister Bimha claimed, the very industries that had been siphoned dry from gross mismanagement by the political elite.

Flag ban

Evan Mawarire inspired a wave of hope. The flag became not only ZANU PF regalia but a national symbol of faith, hope, optimism and patriotism as it rightfully should be.

Our government probably thought, God forbid that Zimbabweans be patriotic. Someone swooped in to make the “manufacture, sell or use” of the National flag without the written permission of the Justice a crime.

Protest ban and police brutality

The constitutional right alone to merely complain, stand up and speak out was taken away from us. Scores of activists were thrown into jail.

While Harare never has water for its rate paying citizens, the police had enough water to douse protestors during protests.

Harare local government does not have enough money for pretty much anything but the police were armed with brand new looking water cannons. It was even reported that the government had imported US$6 million worth of police vehicles.

Our crippled health system

Our President and his family flew frequently to Singapore for health visits.

The Health Minister, Parirenyatwa was at the centre of a US$100,000 scandal with PSMAS.

The same minister in the past, who was more concerned about the pronunciation of Quinine instead of his actual job of ensuring that public hospitals had the drug.

In the background, the ordinary Zimbabwean’s medical aid was temporarily suspended. Drug shortages were reported country wide and elective surgeries suspended at Harare Central Hospital and United Bulawayo Hospitals.

But the ultimate pinnacle of the government’s hatred of its people?

Gideon Gono called his version of them “agrobills” then “bearer cheques”.

Bond notes

That’s what Mangudya calls them. The legal tender that is not currency. Mangudya repeats it is not a currency!

Because 2008 had not been torture enough.

Marambadoro: Chronicles of an alcoholic

 

by Kundai Marunya

Like many other drinkers I have had my fair share of losses, be it treasured possessions or personal effects. I remember a year when I was at my worst. I would lose phones almost every two months.

Though I may have this irresistible urge to mourn my other losses, today I will tell you about my greatest loss of that year, she who got away.

It was a Saturday, around this time of the year. I remember the drizzly morning and chilly perfect weather as I waited for my girlfriend to come for a sleepover. ‘Principled’ as she was it had taken a lot of convincing for her to come a day before she was supposed to be in town on school vacation. Her family would be led to believe that she was to come the next day so she could spend a night at my place.

Anxiety got the best of me as I waited in my lone lodgings. I tried watching a movie, but pictures ran past my eyes, my mind capturing no substance. I tried reading but still the words flew as fast as I consumed them. Restlessness took its toll. I cleaned up my house to keep my mind occupied, but as soon as I was done the anxiety kicked back in. It had been three months since I had seen her last and basic biology got me up and waiting to devour the intimacy she so well offered.

During my wait I would check my phone every other minute to see if she had texted anything. When the phone finally rang I jumped like a mad man, grinning like my mouth would slit.

To my disappointment it was a friend of mine; for identities sake I’m going to call him Dean. He asked me to meet up at a club in town for drinks. Realising that I was going to get into town to get my girlfriend anyways I agreed to meet him. I would never say no to free drinks with good company anyways.

So we met up and started at our drinks. After a couple of beers, no call from my girlfriend, we decided to make a party of the day. We drove to Mereki, still close to town to pick her up when she got to Harare.

Time wound down. 2pm and she had not yet arrived. I gave her a call to inform her of where I was only to learn that she was just departing from Gweru, a five hour drive to Harare. Calming myself to enjoy the most of the day waiting for her, I partied on. We called a couple for friends, and in no time we had a full house of bad company, some of the heaviest drinkers I know.

We switched from beer to vodka and whisky while pork and sausages was cooking on the braai stand, loud reggae music blaring from a car stereo. It was a perfect environment to get wasted, and I made the best of it.

Between good conversations, a bit of drunk dancing and a lot I don’t remember doing, I lost track of time. I just remember waking up in my bed the next morning, no recollection of how I got there. Thinking of calling my friends to get an idea of how crazy the day went, I started looking for my phone but it was nowhere to be found.

I borrowed my housemate’s phone and tried my number but it was not reachable. I called Dean, who also had no idea how he got home and where his car was. I then tried my girlfriend who was pissed as hell, broke off the call after a bit of cursing, never to pick up again. I later learnt from her friend that she had was left stranded in town and had to go and sleepover at her sister’s place risking exposure to her parents.

My name is Kundai Marunya, ndakakanyika uye handizvianze. I however regret how my drinking has resulted to untold loses.

4 Alternatives To Consider In The Wake Of Bond Notes

 

By Simba The Comic King

Two days after bond notes have started circulating, the potential for civil unrest is at an all time high with some sources claiming that even the cops and army are fed up of this s**t. You might be wondering how it all came to this, how you can wake up on day with a currency imposed on you, it’s simple really: use your presidential superpowers. President Mugabe gazetted  Statutory instrument 133 of 2016, Section 44B of the amendment which reads:

“The Minister may by notice in a Statutory Instrument prescribe that a tender of payment of bond notes and coins issued by the Bank that are exchangeable at par value with any specified currency other than Zimbabwean currency prescribed as legal tender for the purposes of section 44A, shall be legal tender in all transactions in Zimbabwe to the same extent as that prescribed currency.”

For those of you who may have dropped out of pre-school, in simpler English this means, “The bond has been shoved up your a**”  whether you dig it or not, and they used a thingie that rhymes with statue (I hope it wasn’t made by Dominic, it would be a bit too grotesque to go anyone’s hiney). Even after all protests against this move, our government just has this uncanny ability to let you whine all you want, blow s**t up all you want, after that calmly ask, “Yo’ll niggas done?” then someone hands over the mic to MC Bob and he drops it. It seems somewhat superfluous to try battle government MCs who don’t even need to rhyme, all you need to know is that their word is their bond (note). Given this atrocity of a development here are alternatives that many, including my f**kin’ self, are considering:

Plastic Money:  Just yesterday I offered to pay my landlord in plastic money and he asked me if I live in a plastic house but of course that is how ignorant f**ks roll. By definition, Plastic money is, “a term that is used predominantly in reference to the hard plastic cards we use everyday in place of actual bank notes. They can come in many different forms such as cash cards, credit cards and debit cards. Your I.D and Pablo’s VIP card don’t count.

Relocation: I have a friend who landed in Dubai this morning, s**t has become so bad that she had to go to a country that has the strictness of a great, great Muslim grandad. It is estimated that over the years Zimbabwe has lost over $77 billion in corruption. That’s a little bit less than Bill Gate’s net worth but Bill ain’t Zimbo, so we don’t give a f**k, we’ve just thrown the f**ks out the Windows (I swear these puns are unintentional). The average Zimbabwean professional can’t afford to make a living (or death) in an economy  riddled with Bond bullets.

And lastly an alternative that many strongly (like Herculean strongly) felt was the best:

Use of the Rand: In the lead up to the introduction of Bond 0000000000000000000000000000000000007… (got tired of typing zeroes but I think you get the point) …. South Africa tried really hard to convince our government to use their currency but because of this nigga called Pride who always wants things to go his way, our government refused as they pretty much felt they would be signing away their financial authoritative souls to the devil whose real name is Jacob Zuma. So ironic considering SA is the last place you would call Hell. Some within the ruling party, Patrick Chinamasa to be precise hinted that joining the common monetary area (CMA) would be the ultimate solution to the impending economic collapse but what does he know? Chinamasa does not have a doctorate degree from an unaccredited yet esteemed Washington International University. He should go online and get a life and fake degree while he’s at it. Besides joining the CMA would be tantamount to joining the Nazi party. This is of course, according to ZANU PF. Only they can be that paranoid.

A complete change in Government: This is the best option on the list but typically, the deathiest as well. Hell, even Pastor Evan freaked out when he felt the full wrath of the hurumende. However, by introducing bond notes ZANU PF has pretty much f**ked its self over and shot itself in both feet. Protests or not protests, this current regime is bound to self-destruct, its’ just a matter of time.

As we spend money with less value than monopoly money, let’s all take a moment to bow our heads….and check our wallets to see just how much US dollars we still have cause that could be the difference between you and eviction. Till then gaddhemeti.