OPRAH WINFREY: “Women are going to save South Africa”

“Women are going to save South Africa” – Oprah praised for powerful speech in Soweto
Twitter Nelson Mandela

|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|Celebrated TV personality and humanitarian Oprah Winfrey was applauded for the powerful words she shared at the Is’thunzi Sabafazi (Dignity of Women) talk at the UJ Soweto Campus on Thursday

South Africa will celebrate 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela in 2018, with special holiday packages, new openings, projects and events.

South Africa will celebrate 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela in 2018, with special holiday packages, new openings, projects and events.

He was born Rolihlahla Mandela on July 18, 1918, into a royal family of the Xhosa-speaking Thembu tribe in the South African village of Mvezo


Oprah was invited by Madiba’s widow and fellow humanitarian Graça Machel to be part of the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 celebrations.

Oprah opened her speech by telling the audience that this was her 36th visit to SA and reminisced fondly about how she got to have 29 meals with Madiba.

Oprah said that, even though Madiba could have been filled with so much bitterness over the apartheid government, he chose to be grateful for the lessons he learned.

MANDELA 100: JAY-Z AND BEYONCÉ Headline Global Citizen Festival In Cape Town, South Africa

Preacher Andres Bonsu, Bono and Beyoncé Knowles on stage at the '46664 - Give One Minute of Your Life to AIDS' concert at Greenpoint Stadium on November 29, 2003, in Cape Town, South Africa. Beyoncé will headline the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100.

Preacher Andres Bonsu, Bono and Beyoncé Knowles on stage at the ‘46664 – Give One Minute of Your Life to AIDS’ concert at Greenpoint Stadium on November 29, 2003, in Cape Town, South Africa. Beyoncé will headline the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100.

|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|The Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, marking a century since South African president and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela was born, takes place Sunday, December 2, in his home country with Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Ed Sheeran headlining in the name of ending extreme poverty.

Other performers in the festival at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg include Pharrell Williams, Chris Martin, Usher, Wizkid, Cassper Nyovest, D’Banj, Eddie Vedder, Femi Kuti, Kacey Musgraves, Sho Madjozi and Tiwa Savage.

The festival, free for fans who take anti-poverty actions, begins at 2 p.m. local time, which is 7 a.m. EST. It will be livestreamed on YouTube below:

Preacher Andres Bonsu, Bono and Beyoncé Knowles on stage at the ‘46664 – Give One Minute of Your Life to AIDS’ concert at Greenpoint Stadium on November 29, 2003, in Cape Town, South Africa. Beyoncé will headline the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100.

Ahead of the event, Beyoncé penned a letter to Mandela, who was born on July 18, 1918, and died in 2013.

“I first met you in 2004 at the 46664 AIDS Benefit Concert in Cape Town, and the impact you have had on my life resonates with me today and every day,” the American singer wrote in the letter she posted on her website. “Your kindness and gratitude for every experience, and your ability to forgive are lessons I have learned and will pass on to my three children. My entire family holds you in high regard.”

Beyoncé continued: “It is an honor for me to travel to South Africa this week in celebration of you and your efforts to right so many wrongs. You were a strategic warrior, a bold activist, and charismatic and well-loved leader. Your vision for dignity, for human rights, for peace and a South Africa free of racism and apartheid, allows us all to turn dreams into reality.”

UK – Exiled Zimbabwean Journalist in Great Britain: Immigration; Racism, African Experience; Reflections Or None Of It

Crimson Tazvinzwa: "How to feel and how not to feel as an African immigrant ..."
Crimson Tazvinzwa: “How to feel and how not to feel as an immigrant …”

|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|For so many years I have worked very hard and waited for my left hand to be right. I’m still working hard and waiting …

I admit. This is not my writing style at all – especially when reporting myself. But then here we go. Eisch!. I have decided I share with you some random snippets of my experience or non of it over the 20-plus odd years I have lived on this side of the pond; for I forever shall live in mortal fear of being misquoted or lack of it thereof; or worse still forgetfulness and forgettable.  Non consequential or just as ‘SHIT HOLE’ as US President Trump’s  characterization of Africa and its populations myself included. 

You see! I have seen it all.  From ‘dog-whispers’ to ‘bull-horns’ of racial slurs. Some deliberated, calculated and unleashed and the outcome assessed, and blatant and yet others random and ignorant.  From people pretending they don’t understand my accent, and least still cannot spell my African surname even as it shows clearly on the identity badge laying on my lapel all the time, all written in English alphabet – and (‘by law’?). Wait! Aah! You name it. But jog on still.

But it still hates …

Take accents for example; and their  names. Already cause anxiety and discomfort among and between some lot.

Exhibit one;

One time years back; just over one-year after September 11: my partner and I planned visiting with friends in New York. Our respective annual leave were generous – could take a good 4 weeks in the summer. We didn’t think much about itinerary or anything except booking the tickets online – lastminute.com and whacked email to our friend Monika – a Czech – American to let her duly know we were on our way and asked what we should bring her from London. Flight Tickets were cheap; £420 apiece return and all. 

Except for me to be denied a visa DESPITE the fact I lived in America before. In Louisiana (Lousyana). Barton Rouge.

Despite I was the professionally fully employed between the two of us. As if it should have mattered.

Despite we had our own two bed room flat in North East London; Walthamstow . We bought it for £182.000.00. On mortgage of cause.

My bank statement at that time was very healthy. No reason to complain in this department … at that time at least.

Despite my manager John Pink at Community Volunteers (CSV) writing a passionate passion-able letter vouching for me; tax returns and payslips; bank statements; and the fact that I had not taken sick leave for all the 3 years I had been working with him. And that there was no reason whatsoever for me to get stranded or live off some American public freebies or on government recourse for that matter – we had enough savings in personal and joint account as it stood.

You name it. The whole shebang.

My application failed.

The ‘computer said no.’

Their Sentiment: “There was no sufficient evidence with my application to suggest I would want to return to the United Kingdom after my holiday in America.”

In their pitifully blinkered or myopic eyes on issues of human and social mobility, geography ie population movements and settlements; they had just done some non formulaic calculation;  I wasn’t gonna come back to the UK – would go on a runner. ????


And they said my partner could still go ahead though and travel to visit with our friends as she was on a German passport. They made it sound we were very fortunate at least one of us could still be travelling. Dough!

No refund for airline tickets even as we informed the Airline two weeks in advance.

We took it in our synchronized stride and jogged on.

Images of ‘black men’ doing ‘black man bad man tings

Is it me? Every time I watch news on telly and there is  some robbery or stabbing or even an accident that has taken place. I’m conditioned to quickly check if the aggressor, violent person at that were a black man or not. Simple demographic statistics. And praying … “Oh God Let It Be Not A Black Man This Time.” Of course there is disproportionate representation of black man crime versus white man crime. The media do that everyday. I work there. Masochistic!

Look! As black men we are wired to self doubt; confess; self interrogate, and question our selves first before the other in any situation what ever situation; a bad one or a good one. We can be impressionable, callous, belligerent and gullible. Don’t speak out for fear of being labelled cocky or arrogant or both or self aggrandizing; therefore double-down on self-minimization  and our lack of potential; assumed of course-  trying to prove we can fit in while all the while dying of self-pity. The vulnerability.

I’m not a pub man but when I do do happen to go into one all sorts of things happen.

EXHIBIT 2 – Pub In Barcelona

Imagine the famous and memorable Gaudi Architecture; Las Ramblas and the Olympics village in Barcelona.

Las Ramblas Barcelona;

Las Ramblas is often the first landmark that most tourists identify with the city. It is the central most boulevard which cuts through the heart of the city centre and is a vibrant and lively promenade filled with Barcelona action at its best and sometimes the worst.

Barcelona Miró mosaic on La Rambla

Did you know there is a Miró on La Rambla? The famous painter Joan Miró actually created part of the Ramblas. Many thousands of people walk right over the Miró circle on the Ramblas every day and don’t even know it.
Human Statue:  Galileo

Human statue: Galileo

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet was a Catalan architect who is the best known practitioner of Catalan Modernism.

Gaudí’s works have a highly individualized, and one-of-a-kind style. Most are located in Barcelona, including his main work, the church of the Sagrada Família

Elegant Sagrada Familia Church; Crimson Tazvinzwa, Travel Photos 2005

Magnificent!  We went up to Gaudi House’ by cable car; did little of  nosing around and taking pictures. A cup of coffee.  We were four of us; an English couple who had traveled with us from London; long time friends shall I say, and the two of us. My partner then heavily pregnant; irritable, irritating and all … as you can imagine. We all decided we needed a drink after the excursion up the Gaudi Hill. We headed into the next pub that came to sight by The Ramblers, except I thought I remain outside for a little-while to finish off my ‘fag’. I had just started smoking then, and drinking for that matter. And why not – that was pregnancy stress, anxiety and all.

Another piece of great work by Gaudi/crimson tazvinzwa travel photos 2005

I casually walked in the pub a little while later. Took a quick glance and spotted my little gang patched on a wide table by the corner.

flaherty barcelona

Flaherty’s – Square Joaquim Xirau 

Drinks ordered including my San Miguel. Happy days. Before I realized ; a notably smartly dressed gentleman whom I assumed to be a staffer walked up to me and accosted:

” PARRDONH! My ‘pathronh‘ patrons/customers are not pleased seeing you here.” he said.

“There is another nicer pub down the road,” he added helpfully of course.

Sheepishly and meekly as I always do in ‘these’ circumstances …; I smiled my normal broad smile showing only the white teeth and said something to the effect;

“Sorry. Thank you. Thank you so much. And God’s Blessings!”

What is that all for?

Crimson Tazvinzwa Travel Photos; Ras Ramblas Street Performing Artist; 2005

I believe BLACK CONSCIOUSNESS, BLACK BROTHERHOOD just as SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS has undesired consequences and outer-limits for thoughtful intercultural and interracial dialogue; and our common struggle against prejudice: religious, race, creed or OTHERWISE.

Or some pointless meaningless mumble of some sort.

This all happened in full glare of the Mexican and Brazilian dance troupe who stared at the scene in bewilderment, and bemused . World vision! Consequently my lot including the cacophony of the dance ensemble – wobbled out with some apologizing on ‘their behalf’ to me … which was bizarre but understandable for such brazen attack will not happen in the UK where I live; as I am still aware. I presume.

EXHIBIT 3 – Black on black crime and the language of self – hate and hurt.

I don’t know about you. I have decided the British Law of Etiquette & Decorum still works.

It doesn’t really matter what you are at and where are you at in life as long a you are not hurting or hating others, fair and fine.

For no reason.


The Trump Administration Is Militarizing the Whole Planet

Trump gives OK for troops deployed at US/Mexico border to use lethal force

US Army Soldiers arrive at Valley International Airport, Harlingen, TX to conduct the first missions along the southern border in support of Operation FAITHFUL PATRIOT November 1, 2018, Photo Date: 11/1/2018 / Photo: U.S. Air Force / Alexandra Minor / (MGN

US Army Soldiers arrive at Valley International Airport, Harlingen, TX to conduct the first missions along the southern border in support of Operation FAITHFUL PATRIOT November 1, 2018, Photo Date: 11/1/2018 / Photo: U.S. Air Force / Alexandra Minor / (MGN

|AIWA! NO!|American militarism has gone off the rails — and this middling career officer should have seen it coming. Earlier in this century, the U.S. military not surprisingly focused on counterinsurgency as it faced variousindecisive and seemingly unending wars across the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa.

Back in 2008, when I was still a U.S. Army captain fresh from Iraq and studying at Fort Knox, Kentucky, our training scenarios generally focused on urban combat and what were called “security and stabilization missions.” We’d plan to assault some notional city center, destroy the enemy fighters there and then transition to pacification and “humanitarian” operations.

Of course, no one then asked about the dubious efficacy of “regime change” and “nation building,” the two activities in which our country had been so regularly engaged. That would have been frowned upon.

Still, however bloody and wasteful those wars were, they now look like relics from a remarkably simpler time. The Army knew its mission then, even if it couldn’t accomplish it, and could predict what each of us young officers was about to take another crack at, Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Fast forward eight years — during which this author fruitlessly toiled away in Afghanistan and taught at West Point — and the U.S. military ground presence has significantly decreased in the Greater Middle East, even if its wars there remain “infinite.”

The United States was still bombing, raiding and “advising” in several of those old haunts as I entered the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Nonetheless, when I first became involved in the primary staff officer training course for mid-level careerists there in 2016, it soon became apparent to me that something indeed was changing.

Our training scenarios were no longer limited to counterinsurgency operations. Now, we were planning for possible deployments to — and high-intensity conventional warfare in — the Caucasus, the Baltic Sea region and the South China Sea. We were also planning for conflicts against an Iranian-style “rogue” regime. The missions became all about projecting Army divisions into distant regions to fight major wars to “liberate” territories and bolster allies.

One thing soon became clear to me in my new digs. Much had changed. The U.S. military had, in fact, gone global in a big way. Frustrated by its inability to close the deal on any of the indecisive counterterror wars of this century, Washington had decided it was time to prepare for “real” war with a host of imagined enemies.

This process had, in fact, been developing right under our noses for quite a while. You remember in 2013 when Pres. Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began talking about a “pivot” to Asia — an obvious attempt to contain China.

Obama also sanctioned Moscow and further militarized Europe in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine and the Crimea. Pres. Donald Trump, whose “instincts,” on the campaign trail, were to pull out of America’s Middle Eastern quagmires, turned out to be ready to escalate tensions with China, Russia, Iran and even for a while North Korea.

With Pentagon budgets reaching record levels — some $717 billion for 2019 — Washington has stayed the course, while beginning to plan for more expansive future conflicts across the globe. Today, not a single square inch of this warming planet of ours escapes the reach of U.S. militarization.

Think of these developments as establishing a potential formula for perpetual conflict that just might lead the United States into a truly cataclysmic war it neither needs nor can meaningfully win. With that in mind, here’s a little tour of Planet Earth as the U.S. military now imagines it.

Never apt to quit, even after 17 years of failure, Washington’s bipartisan military machine still churns along in the Greater Middle East. Some 14,500 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan along with much U.S. air power, though that war is failing by just about any measurable metric you care to choose — and Americans are still dying there, even if in diminished numbers.

In Syria, U.S. forces remain trapped between hostile powers, one mistake away from a possible outbreak of hostilities with Russia, Iran, Syrian President Assad, or even NATO ally Turkey. While American troops and air power in Iraq helped destroy ISIS’s physical “caliphate,” they remain entangled there in a low-level guerrilla struggle in a country seemingly incapable of forming a stable political consensus.

At top — U.S. Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicles line up by the Trondheim Fjord in Norway. Marine Corps photo. Above — soldiers from 1st Battalion, 151st Infantry Regiment, complete their live-fire training exercise at Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk in Louisiana. U.S. Army photo

In other words, as yet there’s no end in sight for that now 15-year-old war. Add in the drone strikes, conventional air attacks, and special forces raids that Washington regularly unleashes in Somalia, Libya, Yemen and Pakistan, and it’s clear that the U.S. military’s hands remain more than full in the region.

If anything, the tensions — and potential for escalation — in the Greater Middle East and North Africa are only worsening. Trump ditched Obama’s Iran nuclear deal and, despite the recent drama over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has gleefully backed the Saudi royals in their arms race and cold war with Iran.

While the other major players in that nuclear pact remained on board, Trump has appointed unreformed Iranophobe neocons such as John Bolton and Mike Pompeo to key foreign-policy positions and his administration still threatens regime-change in Tehran.

In Africa, despite talk about downsizing the U.S. presence there, the military advisory mission has only increased its various commitments, backing questionably legitimate governments against local opposition forces and destabilizing further an already unstable continent.

You might think that waging war for two decades on two continents would at least keep the Pentagon busy and temper Washington’s desire for further confrontations. As it happens, the opposite is proving to be the case.

Vladimir Putin’s Russia is increasingly autocratic and has shown a propensity for localized aggression in its sphere of influence. Still, it would be better not to exaggerate the threat. Russia did annex the Crimea, but the people of that province were Russians and desired such a reunification. It intervened in a Ukrainian civil war, but Washington was also complicit in the coup that kicked off that drama.

Besides, all of this unfolded in Russia’s neighborhood as the U.S. military increasingly deploys its forces up to the very borders of the Russian Federation. Imagine the hysteria in Washington if Russia were deploying troops and advisers in Mexico or the Caribbean.

To put all of this in perspective, Washington and its military machine actually prefer facing off against Russia. It’s a fight the armed forces still remain comfortable with. After all, that’s what its top commanders were trained for during the tail end of an almost half-century-long Cold War. Counterinsurgency is frustrating and indecisive.

The prospect of preparing for “real war” against the good old Russians with tanks, planes and artillery — now, that’s what the military was built for!

And despite all the over-hyped talk about Trump’s complicity with Russia, under him the Obama-era military escalation in Europe has only expanded. Back when I was toiling hopelessly in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army was actually removing combat brigades from Germany and stationing them back on U.S. soil.

Then, in the late Obama years, the military began returning those forces to Europe and stationing them in the Baltic, Poland, Romania and other countries increasingly near to Russia. That’s never ended and, this year, the U.S. Air Force has delivered its largest shipment of ordnance to Europe since the Cold War.

Make no mistake. War with Russia would be an unnecessary disaster — and it could go nuclear. Is Latvia really worth that risk?

From a Russian perspective, of course, it’s Washington and its expansionof the by-definition anti-Russian NATO alliance into Eastern Europe that constitutes the real aggression in the region — and Putin may have a point there.

What’s more, an honest assessment of the situation suggests that Russia, a country whose economy is about the size of Spain’s, has neither the will nor the capacity to invade Central Europe. Even in the bad old days of the Cold War, as we now know from Soviet archives, European conquest was never on Moscow’s agenda. It still isn’t.

Nonetheless, the U.S. military goes on preparing for what Marine Corps commandant Gen. Robert Neller, addressing some of his forces in Norway, claimed was a “big fight” to come. If it isn’t careful, Washington just might get the war it seems to want and the one that no one in Europe or the rest of this planet needs.

The United States Navy has long treated the world’s oceans as if they were American lakes. Washington extends no such courtesy to other great powers or nation-states. Only now, the U.S. Navy finally faces some challenges abroad — especially in the Western Pacific.

A rising China, with a swiftly growing economy and carrying grievances from a long history of European imperial domination, has had the audacity to assert itself in the South China Sea. In response, Washington has reacted with panic and bellicosity.

Never mind that the South China Sea is Beijing’s Caribbean, a place where Washington long felt it had the right to do anything it wanted militarily. Heck, the South China Sea has China in its name! The U.S. military now claims — with just enough truth to convince the uninformed — that China’s growing navy is out for Pacific, if not global, dominance.

Sure, at the moment China has only two aircraft carriers, one an old rehab— though it is building more — compared to the U.S. Navy’s 11 full-sized and nine smaller carriers. And yes, China hasn’t actually attacked any of its neighbors yet. Still, the American people are told that their military must prepare for possible future war with the most populous nation on the planet.

In that spirit, it has been forward deploying yet more ships, Marines and troops to the Pacific Rim surrounding China. Thousands of Marines are now stationed in Northern Australia. U.S. warships cruise the South Pacific. And Washington has sent mixed signals regarding its military commitments to Taiwan.

Even the Indian Ocean has recently come to be seen as a possible future battleground with China, as the Navy increases its regional patrols there and Washington negotiates stronger military ties with China’s rising neighbor, India. In a symbolic gesture, the military renamed its former Pacific Command the Indo-Pacific Command.

Unsurprisingly, China’s military high command has escalated accordingly. It advised its South China Sea Command to prepare for war, made its own set of provocative gestures in the South China Sea and also threatenedto invade Taiwan should the Trump administration change America’s longstanding “One China” policy.

From the Chinese point of view, all of this couldn’t be more logical, given that Trump has also unleashed a “trade war” on Beijing’s markets and intensified his anti-China rhetoric. And all of this is, in turn, consistent with the Pentagon’s increasing militarization of the entire globe.

Would that it were only Africa, Asia and Europe that Washington had chosen to militarize. In fact, more or less every square inch of our spinning planet not already occupied by a rival state has been deemed a militarized space to be contested. The United States has long been unique in the way it divided the entire surface of the globe into geographical combatant commands presided over by generals and admirals who functionally serve as regional Roman-style proconsuls.

And the Trump years are only accentuating this phenomenon. Take Latin America, which might normally be considered a non-threatening space for the United States, though it is already under the gaze of U.S. Southern Command.

Recently, however, having already threatened to “invade” Venezuela, Trump spent the election campaign rousing his base on the claim that a desperate caravan of Central American refugees — hailing from countries the United States had a significant responsibility for destabilizing in the first place — was a literal “invasion” and so yet another military problem. As such, he ordered more than 5,000 troops, more than currently serve in Syria or Iraq, to the United States-Mexico border.

Though he is not the first to try to do so, he has also sought to militarizespace and so create a possible fifth branch of the U.S. military, tentatively known as the Space Force. It makes sense. War long has been three dimensional, so why not bring U.S. militarism into the stratosphere, even as the Army is evidently training and preparing for a new cold war with that ever-ready adversary, Russia, around the Arctic Circle.

If the world as we know it is going to end, it will either be thanks to the long-term threat of climate change or an absurd nuclear war. In both cases, Washington has been upping the ante and doubling down. On climate change, of course, the Trump administration seems intent on loading the atmosphere with ever more greenhouse gases. When it comes to nukes, rather than admit that they are unusable and seek to further downsize the bloated U.S. and Russian arsenals, that administration, like Obama’s, has committed itself to the investment of what could, in the end, be at least $1.6 trillion over three decades for the full-scale “modernization” of that arsenal.

Any faintly rational set of actors would long ago have accepted that nuclear war is unwinnable and a formula for mass human extinction. As it happens, though, we’re not dealing with rational actors but with a defense establishment that considers it a prudent move to withdraw from the Cold War era Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty with Russia.

And that ends our tour of the U.S. military’s version of Planet Earth.

It is often said that, in an Orwellian sense, every nation needs an enemy to unite and discipline its population. Still, the United States must stand alone in history as the only country to militarize the whole globe and space in preparation for taking on just about anyone. Now, that’sexceptional.

Maj. Danny Sjursen is a U.S. Army strategist and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has written a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians and the Myth of the Surge. He lives with his wife and four sons near Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVet. This story originally appeared at TomDispatch.

African Reflections: Exiled Zimbabwean Journalist In the United Kingdom; The Murdered Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi And The Remainder Of Us All …

Itai and Sheffra Dzamara’s children, Nokutenda and Nenyasha.

Mugabe may have gone, but the young Itai Dzamara, journalist cum human rights activist’s family is still picking up the pieces after his disappearance and are still demanding answers.

Three Billboards at a Zimbabwe bus terminal. They read: “Abducted at the barber. Still no arrests. How come ED [President Mnangagwa]?” Credit: Baynham Goredema.

Three Billboards at a Zimbabwe bus terminal. They read: “Abducted at the barber. Still no arrests. How come ED [President Mnangagwa]?” Credit: Baynham Goredema.

|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|You see! Sometimes you begin by reminiscing those pleasant moments and occasions visiting friends and relatives in the villages. Often around Christmas festive season – when families and extended families gather for annual reunions. They would travel all the way from across Zimbabwe boundaries.

Myself. Not even a journalist then; barely through high school. Things were dandy. Happy days.

Itai Dzamara, 35, is Sheffra’s husband and Nokutenda and Nenyasha’s father. He was abducted three years ago today. He was getting a haircut on a Monday morning when four men bundled him into an unmarked vehicle and sped off. Itai’s whereabouts and the identities of those behind his kidnapping have remained unknown ever since.
“Every day I think that I’ll hear him coming through the gate,” continues Sheffra. “I think maybe I’ll see him on the news, or someone will send me a WhatsApp. These days my phone is always on, ready to receive news that Itai has been found. Maybe someone will phone, and he’ll be on the other end, or someone will give us information about where he is or tell us he’s on his way back. It’s hard to live like this, every day waiting to hear good news.”


The season. Culminating into Christmas festivities; people celebrate and reflect the successes and failures of the year gone or going by, by  way of feasts and prayers.

Bulls, goats, chickens, pigs and sheep or all of them and sometimes at once are slaughtered. This is ‘MEAT-CURE‘ Season at its best and for a REASON. People joke about this and say you can only come across vegetables at your next door neighbor’s – around this time. 

People eat; drink, talk, sing and dance.

Little harmless verbal fights. Little harmless white  lies here and there. Catching up and harmless gossip are in order. There are also sideline activities; plots: engagements or and birthdays.

People constantly talk and hardly sleep; sometimes music blurring  uncontrollably and catatonic-ally on ‘fading and dying batteries’ throughout the night – and to be honest; this exhausts me a  lot though.

There are no open quarrels except if they are, they are communicated via hidden messages in songs and folktale, proverbs and metaphors. Communication is delicate, deliberate as it is loose due to alcohol consumed and weed smoked –  necessary tasks given the circumstances. This is one of the things so dear to me that I have missed for over – 20 -odd- years and counting. The thought of it alone sends my head into a spindle.

And often wonder allowed as to when I would one day visit the motherland Zimbabwe. I scratch my head often – only for my bare fingers to scratch over a bump, ‘dent on the middle of my head’ – a stuck reminder of how close I came close quarters with  death. This dent on my head:  left by a cocoa-cola bottle struck from one of Mr. Mugabe CIO agents. Challenging my lectures and my views on a current affairs programme I used to co-present on ZTV; Sundays.

On the Zimbabwe Television program. It was a Sunday evening current affairs program. I just happened to have been co opted onto presenting the program by the Head of Radio 4; Sam Munyavi. The editorial content comprised of simple question and answer sessions and general dialogue.

One fateful day though I drew the ire of the then minister of Environment and Tourism Francis Nhema. I queried the minister on the inflated fees for foreign tourists; that included ‘tourist price’ for things like transport, shopping and meals. I pointed out:

  1. I had lived in Kenya in the previous years; had seen how Kenya promoted tourism, including nominal fees and such
  2. Foreign tourists are arriving in droves simply because of President Chiluba’s land and business policy: “I don’t care whether a cat is black or white for as long as it catches the rats”
  3. And that South Africa had embarked on amicable and equitable redistribution of the land
  4. And that Nigeria had just offered Zimbabwean white commercial farmers land leases that span 90 – years if they chose to settle in Nigeria.

That query alone landed me the nickname: Mr. ‘Been-to’ although I would have rather Mr. Bantu.

It has taken me this long to face and accept the reality of my British-ness; and for Zimbabwe to remain a pipe- dream destination; probably as it should be.

In the beginning it used to get to my head and my dreams too.

I reminisce weekends of barbecues/braai KWA MEREKI – HARARE. Fake birthday parties from and among friends to attend to – excuses for PARTIES and having fun. That was grand.

But when mum went to be with the Lord on July, and realised still I couldn’t travel to Zimbabwe for the funeral – for the danger is still as real now as it was under Dictator Robert Mugabe. Imagine! 

My beloved aunt remarked recently: “By the time you visit Zimbabwe all the people would be gone. Dead!. That scared me. For it is the stuck reality.

The narrative

It doesn’t get any better. Thinking of my former graduate journalism student cum human rights activist Itai Dzamara who disappeared into ‘thin air’ from some hair salon downtown Harare; and in broad daylight.

He was abducted three years ago. He was getting a haircut one Monday morning in March 2016 when four men bundled him into an unmarked vehicle and sped off. Itai’s whereabouts and the identities of those behind his kidnapping have remained unknown ever since. 

Rumors has it that he was ‘murdered’, his body soaked in sulfuric acid and dumped in Lake Chivero/McIlwaine – 5 miles west of capital Harare. 

“Every day I think that I’ll hear him coming through the gate,” says Sheffra, his wife.

“I think maybe I’ll see him on the news, or someone will send me a WhatsApp. These days my phone is always on, ready to receive news that Itai has been found. Maybe someone will phone, and he’ll be on the other end, or someone will give us information about where he is or tell us he’s on his way back.

It’s hard to live like this, every day waiting to hear good news.”

And then there is the fateful Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

A Saudi Arabian journalist, dissident, author, and a former general manager and editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel and Columnist for Washington Post who was assassinated at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 by agents of the Saudi.  

The CIA has a recording of a phonecall in which Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gave instructions to “silence Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible”, a Turkish news website has reported.
Gina Haspel, CIA director, is said to have revealed the existence of a wiretapped call between Prince Mohammed and his brother Khaled bin Salman, who is Saudi’s ambassador to the US, to Turkish officials during a visit to Ankara last month, according to Hurriyet.
“It is said that the crown prince gave an instruction to silence JamalKhashoggi as soon as possible and this instruction was captured during the CIA wiretapping,” Hurriyet columnist Abdulkadir Selvi wrote on Thursday. “The subsequent murder is the ultimate confirmation of this instruction.”

The Telegraph

It sends shivers through my spine. My head goes into an ‘intoxicated’ like dangerous spin. Imagine a journalist; one so prominent at that; can be murdered in a Turkish consulate and nobody knows how it happened; and no knowledge of the whereabouts of his body so family can lay him to rest with respect.

And for President Trump to say ;

“Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump said. “In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!”

And for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to say:

“It’s a mean, nasty world out there — the Middle East in particular,” Pompeo told reporters at the State Department. “There are important American interests to keep the American people safe, to protect Americans — not only Americans who are here, but Americans who are traveling and working, doing business in the Middle East. It is the president’s obligation, indeed the State Department’s duty as well, to ensure that we adopt policies that further America’s national security.”

All in front of a ‘dead body.’

Shame! It is a shame.

Shall we ever live in fear for as long as we remain trained and practising journalists?

South African President Cyril Ramphosa Says No Land Grabs In SA

President Cyril Ramaphosa and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Picture: GCIS

|AIWA! NO!|CAPE TOWN – President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised land expropriation without compensation will not be carried out through land grabs. He says the process will be done within the confines of the law. He was assuring investors.

“Our country is based on a rule of law. We have got strong institutions that don’t only protect investors, but people,” said Ramaphosa.

He said the people have turned to the courts each time they wanted to take on the government.

“Land reform is conducted through the most judicious manner in our structures including Parliament,” said Ramaphosa.German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is in the country on a state visit, told Ramaphosa on Tuesday that South Africa would remain attractive to investors.

He said he will encourage more German companies to invest in South Africa.

Steinmeier said there were currently more than 500 German companies in South Africa and they employ more than 100 000 people.

The Constitutional Review Committee in Parliament last week adopted the report on the expropriation of land without compensation.

The report will be debated in the Chamber next week.

But opposition parties have promised to challenge the report in court. They have argued the process followed did not follow all procedures required including dealing with the 700 000 written submissions.

EU – Zimbabwe Must Be Supported, South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa Appeals To European Union

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said his campaign to become leader of the ruling ANC last year received a payment from a firm with links to his son and that he previously and inadvertently gave incorrect information about it to parliament. The donation is being returned.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said his campaign to become leader of the ruling ANC last year received a payment from a firm with links to his son and that he previously and inadvertently gave incorrect information about it to parliament. The donation is being returned.

By CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|Zimbabwe was on the agenda in talks South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa had with European Union (EU) leaders on Thursday.

During a media briefing, Ramaphosa said he discussed the importance of Zimbabwe and the lifting of any sanctions still in place against that country.

“Zimbabwe is on a path of great reforms. This needs to be supported, as Zimbabwe has turned a corner,” Ramaphosa said during the briefing.

He further noted that accelerating investment, focusing on climate change and women’s rights all formed part of global matters he discussed with his EU hosts.

“The EU is SA’s largest trading partner. Exploring opportunities for further investment and the investment climate, especially in SA, is of great importance,” said Ramaphosa.

“The EU agreed to strengthen cooperation in skills development in SA and in promoting entrepreneurship.”

Ramaphosa said the digital transformation of the SA economy in an inclusive manner was another area that needed to be supported.

As for the issue of land reform – on which Ramaphosa had been questioned before during his current visit to the EU – he merely mentioned that it was among the issues on the agenda with his EU hosts.

“We also focused on how we can best strengthen investor confidence in SA,” said Ramaphosa.

A further issue he said was important for SA and the EU to cooperate on was multilateralism.

“We should focus on the issue of multilateralism and make sure the unilateralism promoted by some countries does not lead to huge problems for many countries around the world,” he cautioned.

“The EU is a friend and ally willing to support us as we continue to enhance reforms we have embarked upon. We intend to grow our economy and address unemployment, inequality and poverty.”