Who is getting his way, Mugabe or the revolution?

FeaturedWho is getting his way, Mugabe or the revolution?

We all have been again deceived by Mugabe’s hunger to rule that has seen him cling onto power for 37 years or its either that we have been reduced to dimwits by the cleverness of the army and schemers of the ‘coup’ (not a coup) scenario in Zimbabwe such that, since a new state of play unfolded in Zimbabwe, we have not been able to predict the next steps into this new dispensation, that is, what will happen to the old man?

Yesterday’s eagerly anticipated address to the nation on the backdrop of military control of government and arrests, citizens march in solidarity and detest of the tyranny, a ruling party ultimatum and various other closed door meetings proved all for nothing. Analysts who had spent the better half of the past days trying to predict Mugabe’s next move were left to put tail between legs and well, frustratingly analyse and speculate further.

Mugabe AP
Robert Mugabe (right) meets generals at State House in Harare on Sunday. Photograph: AP

My colleagues and I had, for the greater part of the day, expressed with much confidence his stepping down,

“just a matter of time and has nowhere to go” they said

If the days gone by are anything to judge the future, we can do nothing but wait and see things unfold while our predictions are chucked into the trash can.

There is a certain power at play here, there is a process, laid out initially that has eluded local and international analysts. There lies, within this whole fracas a mastermind who has plotted and moved his pieces immaculately and is in control of this game.

Emmerson Mnangagwa seems (in my view) to have earned his ‘mastermind’ credentials and is emerging stronger and resolute to keep the world guessing on the cards he holds dear to his chest.

Many believed Robert Mugabe’s move yesterday was a check like in a game of chess, NO! A check mate is coming. This was all part of the plan!

Emmerson Mnangagwa has left no stone unturned and is using his senior statesmanship into advantage far more than we have ever managed to try and grasp. I have never seen a large number of reporters and analysts fail to predict an outcome in huge numbers as what happened yesterday prompting me to suggest (in the days to come) to focus more on what we know rather than what we would like to see. This should go on record, many of us could not see this coming.

The next following days in Zimbabwe are crucial and with time we will grasp the state of play here.

As it stands, universal understanding of Zimbabwean politics or the status quo have been shuttered and we can only but speculate.

As much as I would love to do that here, I will not (sadly I have been made to swallow back my words for far too long) but eagerly wait for the day of official independence. Yesterday’s expulsions of members within ZANU PF coupled with various life changing moments days before was liberating, but there is a much larger target in sight.

Emmerson Mnangagwa will go down in history as the great orchestrator of Robert Mugabe’s fall from power and (or with) grace and has learnt one important thing in war.

“Amat Victoria Curam” that is Latin to say “Victory Loves Preparation”.

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Will Uber survive in South Africa?

FeaturedWill Uber survive in South Africa?

So far they are.

By any means necessary it seems.

Regardless of what is happening the other side of the world, that is losing one the biggest license the company will ever ever have (London license) and fighting to get it back, it seems the problems we face here in South Africa are the least of their worries; and we might have to hold on until they done fixing that part of the world.

Drivers I have used in the past weeks following the torching of two Uber cars in Sandton, Johannesburg have been living dangerously. Trying by all means to avoid places where they might just be identified and put to risk. For weeks I have had to put up with thew following:

  • Having to request the service far from the public places where conventional taxis have been using for years prior to Uber entering the market.
  • Having been driven home with a driver carrying a gun in his car (he sounded so happy having one but then again I am not a gun slinger and didn’t bother asking to look it, rather opting to have the ride end safely and without incident).
  • Instead of displaying their cellphones enabled with GPS on their dashboard, they have had to conceal them and ask me for directions to where I am going, which is somewhat annoying and risky, considering the service can be used whilst in a drunken stupor.
  • Having my ride cancelled because I happen to be waiting at an area the driver deemed dangerous for pick up.
  • Not being picked up because I am paying cash (apparently a few cash requests led to a few drivers being attacked in Johannesburg)

Despite Uber’s in-house problems, it is still remains a choice for many in South Africa while their domination in this relatively new playing field is strongly being contested by Taxify and Cabbie.

70% is drivers on Uber are also on Taxify, which means whatever problems the parent company is facing or its popularity in the area, drivers remain undeterred, their main focus solely lying on making a profit.

‘Uber’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, continues to be keen to be seen to be doing things differently vs the Travis Kalanick era Uber which got bogged down with so many scandals.’ According to Techcrunch.

Uberpop, their brand which Uber uses in Europe for its lowest cost ride-hailing service which connects passengers with private drivers can easily be delayed in South Africa because of not wanting to put un-licensed taxi drivers in danger from the criminal activity and current demise they find themselves in.

While I think it could solve the problem where many have to ride for hours to get to work, the congestion in the roads and ultimately one’s carbon footprint, it is more to do with community acceptance than business sense.

My loyalty to Uber is because, now than ever, I can do more than just catch a ride, UberEats, delivers to your home with a flat fee of 35 rand within the Eastrand,

while Taxify is playing catch-up with the prospect of the former ushering in more services such as self driving cars.

It seems not so far ago, we were totally reliant on meter taxis and their exorbitant pricing but now spoiled for choice.

I am told of a new taxi hauling service called Cabbie, which I haven’t tried out yet because I couldn’t locate it in my app store as easily as the other two (it still has a low rating).

Quantity is certainly not the issue in this game but certainly quality of service. This determined by the pricing, efficacy and at times number of freebies being thrown at me at any particular time.

 

Comparing Uber and Taxify quotes over a small distance in an area, I have discovered some slight differences such as how:

Uber gives you three choices, Uber X, Black and Van, to chose from whilst their competitor only has one. For those that want to ride in style and prefer to be treated as royalty, Uber will win this one.

Taxify has a larger estimate, far more worrying if you have 30 rand in your pocket as it might end up costing 40 rand. If it doesn’t then you save more than Uber which estimates higher but within the same range as their competitor and rarely bills you lower.

To me it looks like the two companies are almost similar depending on their positioning in the market. Taxify is trying hard to get clients and will entice you with a very low estimate of 30 rand (as in this case) whilst the ceiling of their estimate is much higher than the actual estimate from Uber by just two rands. There isn’t much of a difference but I guess in today’s world it counts for something.

All pricing is off course dependent on factors such as traffic, but whatever you chose you are guaranteed to get there safely.

Whether be it on the basis of market experience, service or choices, etc.

Tell us which taxi hauling service you prefer and why, for we would like to know?

FeaturedComing full circle of Zolani Mahola.

Coming full circle of Zolani Mahola.

Many an artist today rarely come full circle. Along their artistic path, there are swayed and persuaded and at times thrown off balance. Being consumed by the limelight in such a way that throws off their initial love with the arts into a downward spiral. They simply forget the reason they became (popular) in the first place.

This ‘secondary’ package (the glitz and the glamour), consumes the head and has veered many off track. As art lovers we experience a loss and consequently the same in the artist’s coffers.

Only a few can be described as coming of age or mature in the music industry, mainly because of the failure to keep the fire that shot them to stardom in the first place, well lit. This constant search for relevance and to be appealing is an art very seldom known to many. A humbling experience it may be, it serves as a reminder of how the arts are constantly evolving and emerging and that the only way you can discover yourself again is to be at the place you started from, in that zone, in that moment.

We have today, many one hit wonders than we have had of fully established entertainers because of the etching of the circle itself, some quickly lose sight. The circle is not to be achieved. A fully fledged artist is not to be.

Zolani Mahola, shot to stardom with her alluring voice, one as such I had never heard before. She placed herself amongst a group of talented artists’ and compositions and backed it up with repeated musical offerings that till today earn a spot within the artistic landscape of the country. Her voice remains one that resembled a fullness every other singer longs for and her persona embodied a true version of ‘my’ African artist, versatile and beaming with prospect of international recognition, a wave she rod quite beautifully for years until she decided to come back to the place where she envisioned herself well before everything we know about her came to be.

In this dog-eat-dog industry, she has remained viable and musically sort after. Her name can easily be carved amongst the greats the country has produced but instead she has not let fame and fortune consume her head but instead use it as draft under her wings, to soar even higher.

One can almost be short of an answer as to what next for such a great career? As times change and the musical landscape transforms itself, remaining viable is a hard job, hence we have many an artist grabbing any ounce of limelight that is thrown to them.

A mother of two, a wife, singer and recently just starred in a theatrical at the Johannesburg Theatre, Calling me Home. It seems she has found her way back home to theatre, her first love with the arts before Freshlyground shot her to super stardom-ship. She envisioned herself being more into theatre but as fate would have it she had to set it aside and focus on becoming a lead singer and song writer.

 “I loved being in the theatre and it is a passion that I had to put aside for the growth of Freshlyground. When I left high school my ambition was to be a theatre-maker, an actress and potentially a director but I ran into singing somewhere along the way. I rode that wave and fifteen years later I came back to me with this production.”

She openly admits that she would love to do more theatre work, despite her first not receiving rave reviews as she would have hoped. Something she knows how to handle from the unforgiving world of music. 

Zolani theatre
Zolani in Coming Home

 Read more on “Coming Home” here

Mahola’s re-discovery is what I think every artist needs to achieve this full circle. While a part of me thinks she never left theatre but was playing varied acts with the same cast in different roles and plays in the music Freshlyground has been making for over fifteen years.

Her performances with the group have been big enough and demanding, unlike any other theatre act ever played on any stage

While Freshlyground is set to realise new material soon as they started recording in December of 2016 with Banana Republic being a single lifted from this upcoming album.

“We started recording fifteen songs in December of 2016 and we are taking our time with crafting those songs. We released Banana Republic on Freedom Day here in South Africa way before we meant to release any of the songs because of the relevance of the song to South Africa’s current socio-political climate..” She said.

The group is not new to protest songs, they realised “Chicken to change” in protest to Zimbabwe’s nonagenarian leader who has led the country for more than 36 years and is about to run for another term in 2018.

“It was a response to the seeming indifference of the ruling powers to the well-being of the South African population. It is a protest song for the modern times… we elected the ruling powers because we felt they would redress the failures of past governments but we have found that largely they want to line their own pockets and are spreading a culture of a profound disrespect for the rule of law. Apartheid so fundamentally undermined the dignity of most of the citizens of our country and much of the time it seems as though the government that we have elected similarly tramples on this fragile dignity. We felt we needed to make these feelings known and put on record: hence the release of the song Banana Republic.” Said Zolani.

Despite the group’s music being banned in Zimbabwe, Zolani does not see herself as an activist but rather a social commentator,

I would not define myself as an activist but I would say that an artist needs to reflect the society they live in.. As an artist I need to comment on the things I see in the world and present this commentary in the best way I know how … for me that is to sing and to act.”

While for many artists, having a husband, two kids and a career usually drags them down, it seems she has done the opposite and has even found the energy to shed a few kilos in the process. All of which has not been easy, she explains, but it has been important enough for her to note that she can achieve even more, if she sets her mind to it.

“…the main reason to shed all that weight was a need to make my physical image conform with the image I had in my head of who I was, of what I looked like when I thought of myself….I do very often times struggle against the idealised notions of beauty that we have bought into in modern society and I have since I was a very young girl. It’s sad… but true.”

Zolani Mahola certainly inspires her fellows, she has remained a true artist despite the burdens of being a woman artist, mother and wife and has added onto her repertoire, a theatrical appearance of equal relevance to her coming of age within the arts industry.

I have followed her music career since the beginning and I would love to own and listen to a solo album from the Waka Waka singer which I have no doubt would be nothing but styled in the manner she has helped shape the music within the group she finds herself in.

With Zolani
Me with Zolani in Harare, Zimbabwe (2005)

Her reuniting with her lost love (theatre) could just be the start of a whole new path for her that could easily lead to her going solo, not that her outfit is in anyway pulling her down, a thought she was reluctant to dwell into but could easily suggest, the thought had crossed her mind.

Listening to ‘Nomvula- After the rain‘ which she co-wrote will tell you a bit about her song writing prowess coupled with an alluring voice such as she packs will definitely make her stand out far more than any other solo artist.

I am almost tempted to explore this line of thought, as I imagine what the world would have been if Beyonce had not braved the cold and discomfort of being a lone crooner. How Michael Jackson would have never become the legend he was if he didn’t step out of the pack, maybe, just maybe, Zolani Mahola could be amongst this group of mega icons.

 

How a pair of panties can make or break an economy.

FeaturedHow a pair of panties can make or break an economy.

I have heard of great politicians who championed great deeds and climbed impossible peaks for the greater good of the people. I have read of stories of warriors and great fighters who defied all odds including death itself to make the world we live in a better place.

But just when I thought I had read and seen it all, a pair of panties potentially put a halt to an economy and its prospects just because they could not find Zodwa Wa Bantu‘s well sort after and un-interested fundament.

It should be a lesson to anyone indifferent, you never know where it takes you.

For the past weeks the Zimbabwean government and her people were torn between accepting Zodwa’s un-apologetic distaste for undies. It boiled down to whether she deserved performing at the just ended Harare International Carnival or not.

Somewhere out there lies a pair of knickers that potentially shaped the future of Zodwa Wa Bantu’s career. This very pair/s is the reason she decided to go without and eventually have her move around freely and to date, make her a valuable commodity racking huge endorsement deals while naked in her bum.

The story made so much headlines and hashtags that it eventually reached my mother and that ladies and gentlemen is when you can fail to answer a simple question, no matter how good you think you can manoeuvre your way out of any odd situation.

I will go on to do a first, ever since Zodwa’s “private affairs” were published and started an online riot that crucified a washed out actress who in her mind thought was doing it for the good of her nation.

I too, do not favour undergarments and their restrictive nature and prefer not to whenever I can. I often move around plainly and the world is so much a free place than when covered and can’t breath. We all could reach a un-explainable height of peace and happiness if we could embrace our free living spirits.

Let’s see if I too can bring down a national event by my confession. (chuckles)

While I failed to see the hoo-ha about her undergarment preferences, especially as the country is knee deep on bigger issues that need all the attention and resources we can get.

I certainly felt ashamed at the level of participation towards an entertainers choice of wardrobe which overtook a worthy cause to revamp and restore the country’s image of failing to respect personal choices and the to some extent the freedom of expression/arts.

And that individuals such as artists, actors and politicians that are supposed to cry for the bread and butter issues of the whole nation are busy hash tagging and starting movements against no-pantie wearing socialites and dancers.

To make matters worse in this horrid display of power and influence was the fact that the line up of artists on the event included members of dance groups whose regalia is almost non existent and whose dances are more close to strip dancing than anything else decent.

For days, the country stood still and waited for ZWB to showcase her signature moves and sexy bod. Hate or like the socialite, she has made a career out of what she believes in. Staying true to it and never quitting (yes I am a fan).

Until all the noise subsided we forgot about the bond notes, the bank queues and twenty dollar offerings. We forgot about everything else that we need sorted and stressed about a pair of panties that do not even exist( I’m guessing Zodwa doens’t even own a pair)

That ladies and gents is the power of Zodwa’s panties, if they exist, that can halt an economy and start an uproar.

 

 

Featured

Grace Mugabe’s assault(ee) in pictures.

Meet Gabriella Engels. She is 20.

Gabriella1
Pic courtesy of her Facebook page.

This is the young lady who has taken two countries into a diplomatic gaffe that will most probably make life a lot harder than it has been already for most Zimbabweans.

I have heard the name in numerous publications and broadcasts and wondered who this unfortunate lady is, who has fallen victim over the first lady’s violent acts and this time through the nasty end of a power chord.

Gabriella Engels
Pic courtesy of her Facebook page

While the story unfolds and with only one side of it available so far, we can only assume that Amai Grace’s silence says it all. With so many versions of the story, one can only assume there is more than what could have transpired in that room on that fateful night than what the eye can see and the ear can hear.

Read more about Grace Mugabe’s history of violence here

Known as Gaby on her social platforms and with very little information on it other than her 19th June birthday, Gabriel could be in a state of ‘anxitement’ as she has become popular overnight whilst still tending to wounds afflicted by the less graceful, Mrs Mugabe.

This could finally be her moment, not that she intended and certainly not that I am for such a behaviour from our leaders, but it could be a turning point into the lives of the two who stand on opposite sides. One could fall, as the hashtag goes, while the other rises to popularity though being on the receiving end of a brutal attack or sadly it could be such a dull ending to a story that has got everyone in South Africa totally flabbergasted after it goes through unending diplomatic talks and negotiations. I say this knowing so well how such cases can be swept under the rug of judicial arm twisting.

Gabriella Engel 2
Gabriella Engels: Courtesy of her Facebook page

There isn’t much to say on such an incident rather than to wish for a speedy and agreeable end to a nightmare that could be potentially disastrous to political ties and Zimbabwean nationalities in South Africa.

All could be lost through the actions of one person who, no matter the provocation could not let God take care of it on her behalf or let her grace and bodyguards handle it on her behalf if reports of her being attacked first are to be taken as truth.

As it is women’s month in South Africa, the public is further disgusted and seeking the full wrath of the law regardless of societal stature. It is however interesting to note that there has never been an arrest of a first lady in any country outside her own in history and with Uncle Bob set to arrive in South Africa to sort out issues, it could be long until this record is broken.

Gabriella Engels (1)
Bandaged and saddened: Gabriella Engels

Listen to Gabriella Engels radio interview here

Messages through her Facebook showed mixed emotions and tones, the two countries will need to use their diplomacy to the fullest to bring calm to this sad fiasco.

Here’s what some of her followers on Facebook had to say:

Jonathan van der Mkhize You’re so pretty just stop mingling with foreigners and good luck on your case (criminal & civil) sue the shit out of disGrace Mugabe, good luck to Gerrie Nel too. Good luck future millionaire (in Rands 😉

Channon Merricks #GraceMugabe had every right to use an extention cord and light to assualt someone ….. however she failed as a mother to discipline her children ….. she failed as a parent to leave her boys in a hotel whilst they are students without proper supervision …. she failed as first lady of Zimbabwe to ensure there is better universities in her country than in another country …. she failed to assault her boys as she had every right to assualt them ….. so assaulting someone else child because you failed as a parent means you are angry at the wrong person …. as a first lady you should lead the no violence against women but you are now accused of violence against a women in another country …..Now running away from police show you are guilty and failling again as a first lady and mother, to account for your actions, your boys will also run away from facing the consequences of there own ill discipline in future ..Boys learn from their mothers..To the victim, be strong and fight the good fight

And then there was a reply:

Heine TheRoyal Tutor Wittgenstein You talk rather too much for someone who constructs sentences no better than a 12 year old. Was the mother wrong to protect her children from a predatory woman with potential STD’s? I don’t think so. Maybe her methods were not ideal. But this rhetoric that she was trying to murder this non-woman is just absurd. People would go to such lengths to push this narrative of violence against women. If women are so sick of violence – maybe they should stop playing victim and stop dating men. Everybody wins!

A war is brewing. May God save the children.

Did Jay Z just pour out his heart!

FeaturedDid Jay Z just pour out his heart!

jay z 4-44My music listening is inspired by one simple thing: Greatness!

I don’t waste time on a bull’s faeces, I simply delete and move on, I simply don’t have to listen to ExQ (I’m supposed to link his name to his wikipedia but he doesn’t have one). I have come to understand how valuable the Megabytes in my phone or laptop are (until #datamustfall is in full effect) enough not to have them wasted on artists with a very low IQ in lyric building and telling a story. That said I still listen to Fally Ipupa, even though I have no idea of what he is singing about, his presentation instrumentally and visually appeals to me.

It’s Jay Z’s 13th album, who wouldn’t want to listen to it after like a four year sabbatical, hate him or love him, we can never run away from the fact that this is the same guy who has somehow shaped the look of Hip Hop as it is today. He has become a household name with more than music understanding but also business mind and a father to many artists to date.

As usual I go in with a strong expectation. I try not to listen to wannabe music critics and listen with a fresh ear. In the end we can only deduce real music without someone yelling ‘that is my song’ in the club. We can only call one a great artist buy the music and not the lifestyle he lives or the woman he married but by simply what he creates in the studio, enough to make sense and impart wisdom and happiness in the lives of many. Sean Carter seems to leave it all out on a record, especially with 4:44, after having faced media scrutiny over his love life. I guess we all needed his own version of the story, much reason as to why the album went platinum in a week.

Jay Z has faced many wars, its not easy to be declared ignoramus to common religion and still continue to live life the way we are given everyday. I might be a bad judge of character, but that’s a sin I am willing to die with coz it’s not for me to put anyone under any criteria.

I have struggled, daily to convince my colleagues that no matter how one seems to show it and portray it in his songs, we can only deduce if it comes from his mouth when he confesses and confessions are for God on the day of judgement. Let the man be and judge him because of what he does and sings about, it seems it is still the same old musician we have loved who continues to make great music for the masses. I am a fan of that.

I’ve stopped listening to beautiful girl songs, how many have been made? We cant only be dancing to songs that celebrate beauty of a woman or how rich you claim to be, this is simply just not good enough.

Imagine a newspaper that only writes about one thing only, with not even a change of angle! Thats how ExQ sounds right now, he simply has just lost any imagination in what to write about women now, he just keeps it very pathetic and you still have people listening and dancing to it.

I want to listen to a song that I can google to, if it’s worth googling and researching it’s adding value to my life.

Simply put I am not a hater, no hatred for someone’s else’s efforts. Same way we don’t support Zimbabwe Saints but Dynamos is the same way my ears close up when anything other than good comes on the radio. I did a show once on radio, the major reason why I never was revered among the many local musicians was the fact that I never tolerated lyrically poor musicians. I loathed making up ‘love this song’ in my shows and threw away anything other than beautiful. The majority of radio Dj’s in the country right now have no love for the music scene other than fill up their pockets with kick back money.  Producers and Presenters share the freebies while we die with frustrations at the end of a broadcast.

Before I even convince you that Jay Z’s album is a five star offering, listen to it here for yourself and share your comments at the bottom, regardless of what I say next.

I often struggle with content to listen to, as I said, I delete a lot. The reason why we all loved Bob Marley and Michael Jackson regardless of how they lived their lives was because their music said something to us that we could relate to at the time even up to now. Oliver Mtukudzi continues to be the pinnacle example of great musicianship in Zimbabwe because of one thing alone, content and yet its sad to have Rocki, Exq and Maskiri in a conversation with friends of musicians from your country.

One wonders why the country seems to have harvested mediocre lyricists when there were born from the likes of Bundu Boys, James Chimombe, Oliver and Chiwoniso Maraire. What happened to writing something that lasts the ages and nothing that lasts the night out and can only be remembered when you get high again.

I have mastered the art of deducing if your song will go anywhere other than your paid rotation on radio by the first minute it plays. If you don’t chose the first statement on your song with great care, be careful to lose me within that entrance. A lot of people will agree with me but then again, I don’t depend on them, music is supposed to be something other than a sum of instruments and a voice behind the mic.

It is much more than that and if you don’t understand what I am trying to say but can listen to Plaxedes Wenyika without picking up some off notes, then this article is not for you.

By the way I am here for Jay Z, forgive me, I get so carried away by the death of music in my country.

In a few words, Jay Z’s album 4:44 exudes maturity and wit no other rapper in the genre has managed to portray. He brings the simple Rhythm and Poetry that Common, Nas, Biggie and Tupac always put in every single they made. You are bound to pick more than one points of discussion in his album than you are in any of my fore-mentioned mediocrity.

Though till now I don’t know what 4:44 means, we will keep gathering all speculations and come up with a concrete meaning when we get a chance to speak with HOV in person. In the mean time enjoy.

To find out what Jay Z is singing about in every song on this album, check out this website.

Dawn of a new national broadcaster?

Dawn of a new national broadcaster?

In the past week Zimbabwe has changed. A country that was governed by a family and their friends has now been rid of it and galvanised into a new era . There is so much happiness and chatter about the hopes or further demise thereof from the new man in charge but we have to wait and see. While we have all been united on the ‘Mugabe must go cause’ there is need to take stock of many things that were not being addressed by the last leader, a lot of these changes might make the country a better place to be.

ZBC and the media.

Being a journalist, there is nothing as frustrating as having a lousy broadcaster that has been failing to develop for years. It’s mainly been a haven for corrupt tendencies and dealings in this organisation. To have it operate in the manner it has been doing in the past years will be disheartening and I assume a new and proper business model is needed to wash away backward thinking and regressive minds that have occupied it.

In the very same type of organisation/s there have been individuals that have risen to potentially decisive positions and have, instead of progressing, stunted the growth of such an important part of society. There is need to treat this institution as for the people and not for a particular entity with the desire to confuse, spread rumours and lies.

It cascades down to the staff manning critical positions in collecting and reporting the news. They will need a crush course in collecting and balancing the views of the nation as a whole. As they have been blinkered, I say to the new leadership, variety is the spice of life! Remaining with the same ideology of a one sided national broadcaster is to freeze media progress and create a construed idea of what the skills entails. Aspiring journalists will grab the wrong idea of what a journalist is and in the process fail to see the importance it plays, that of shaping society.

To date, ZBC has done nothing but drive society towards a melancholic dominance of a single political view. Disregarding human rights abuses suffered by millions from within and outside their borders. Upheld unprofessional standards such as the bootlicking of government officials to survive and move up ladders as they have been the worst poorly paid lot in the entire world. Have been troubled so much creatively that leaders here have no idea what the word means anymore. As if blind to other state broadcasters and opinion from the public, they have continued to move like zombies into becoming the worst broadcasting station in the world.

Having worked for ZBC, I know too well the underhand dealings that take place here. It is a haven for social disaster and the only solution is to start all over. Yes I said it, start a human resource audit that must place each and everyone in their place. Bring in new personnel (if you have to) that have an idea of what it is to become a leader in broadcasting services. I will not hesitate to say that over 50% of the people that work (or have worked) in this cooperation are not qualified to do so, whilst qualified personnel roam the streets looking for a job.

Granted, there has been the debate on talent versus qualification. A line of thought is held by others that talent is vital in the field of journalism and not a paper that says you qualify to perform the duties of a journalist. While I am impartial to both views, I however agree to the thinking that possessing both of these traits are the critical skills needed to grasp the ever-changing media field. Without a marriage of these two there is a ceiling to which you can improve and create better work of the society. Exceptions will be found in this debate but they should be then a way of testing such individuals’ IQ to see if they can make the cut.

There has been a huge loss of experienced personnel in the media because of corrupt dealings and lack of a progressive media; against a career whose demand has never faded. Despite the unwillingness of the country to relax media laws, journalism remains a very well thought of career.

While the army stepped in to address the nation that it had taken over the country and choosing to make it the official broadcaster of all things related to its ‘actions’, we could all see the need to improve this unit to be at par with the world. I am really shocked at the costs of revamping a TV studio and how they have failed to do so whilst there are the only television station that receive millions of dollars in advertising revenue and can potentially do so with a proper business model in place.

zbc pics

On their radio stations, the corporation has failed dismally to create models that can best become regional power houses. There has been a large exodus of talent/professionals that have gone on to work in newly licensed radio stations in the country and beat them at their own game since independence. Their loss is not because they have remained with poor resources, it is because of poor planning and business models. Talent left in these stations have had to suffer un-ending red tape and has reduced them to beggars and ‘freebie’ freaks.

Just like an old Mugabe that needed to go, there is need to also retire old ZBC habits and personnel that have no idea on where to take the broadcaster. My only wish from the new leadership now is to properly engage individuals that can improve the state broadcaster. It must start serving people of all walks of life and thrive to see financial liberation back into it. The change of such a huge entity in the country will most assuredly bring joy and hope of good things to come in the country.

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17 year old school leaver crowned S.A Idols season 13 winner.

17 year old school leaver crowned S.A Idols season 13 winner.

Paxton Fielies, 17, the youngest ever contestant and finalist has been crowned Idols season 13 winner at a colorful show held at Carnival City on Sunday afternoon. She becomes an instant millionaire and a receiver of a number of goodies and a recording deal that could potentially be the catapult to a vibrant career, or not.

Receiving more than 13 million votes, between the two of them, she took away the prize and became an instant media sensation. The young lady from Capetown stole the hearts of the show fans with her beauty, innocence, humility and vocal ability

The finalists showed up ready to lay it all down but everyone could hear the super vocal ability Paxton has been adorned with despite Mthokozisi being announced as being a nose better in the race to bag the highest paying musical competition in the land.

Mthokozisi could have lost it all by shoddily conceding to R.Kelly’s hit song ‘the storm is over’ whilst Paxton ushered out great vocals on her choice of opening performance.

If performances on these songs where in anyway the final decider to the show, the Zulu boy could have lost it.

In the end, the show is decided purely on the number of willing voters the finalists would have amassed in the run up to this one afternoon and nothing to do with how they performed on the final show.

Voting for the show almost reached a 100 million as the nation decided on who they next idol will be.

The duo between the two finalists was probably the highlight of the show and Paxton was pushing a very high range and seemed more comfortable than I have ever seen.

I do admit I have cringed a couple of times in this season having to endure crooked notes and poor performances but this afternoon it was much better and more a great show from these remaining artists with Paxton continuing her great run and maturity which could be a good amount of traits to have moving forward.

The school drop out winner, Paxton will soon be driving in a new car to school attending grade 11 with a number plate written ‘banana’; be sure to congratulate her when you spot it (if the claims on the show are anything to go by).

Zimbabweans in the diaspora: Less likely to return home due to ongoing politicking.

Zimbabweans in the diaspora: Less likely to return home due to ongoing politicking.

Zimbabweans living in South Africa have expressed utter disgust over the ongoing political fiasco reported in the media, thwarting any hope they possessed on ever going back home. The perpetual vilification of political members opposed to the nonagenarian leader and his family is leading many to believe that only if a civil war broke down, it could rid the nation of the scum that has for years now, ran the country aground.

The South African government agreed to renew permits for the millions of its neighbours nationalities a few months ago and long queues have been the norm in the different stations where the applications are being processed.

When I visited one such station in Midrand, Zimbabweans could not hide the pain they feel over the recent dismissal of Emmerson Mnangagwa and other political figures in the past. It seemed the recent firing of such a huge political figure like Mnangagwa only showed the extent at which the country is in shambles.

Many who I spoke to where overjoyed the South African government had decided to renew their permits, giving them more time to work for their families and forget about the hardships back home.

South Africa harbours over two millions Zimbabweans according to figures released in 2008 by S.A Home Affairs. This number is however not a true reflection of what is on the ground as there are many who have migrated and are not in the system. It has been difficult for the S.A government to correctly determine how many Zimbabweans are actually resident in their country but the number is believed to be even larger as troubles embattle their neighbours.

 

Some who I spoke to expressed no remorse for Emmerson Mnangagwa who they believe had been a strong member in orchestrating many wrong doings before and now deserves to be treated just the same way he has done unto others. They blamed him for failing to play his cards right and anticipating where it would lead, seeing how close he was from the head of state, President Mugabe.

Zimbabweans living down south are not in any way ignorant of current happenings in their home country. It is incredible to hear them speak. The amount of information (true or false) that they possess is astonishing for a people that are far from home and constantly consumed by the pursuit of economic happiness.

I have gathered that the many Zimbabweans residing here are individuals who at times would have never met at home, coming from different backgrounds and families possessing different opinions and knowledge. Some of which should not be treated as hogwash. You could be speaking to ex-militia, informants, ex-cons, wanted criminals and even ex-government employees who have loads of information and networks back home.

The ongoing factionalism in the country however, has brought out the true feelings of disgust from almost all that I spoke to. None have any hope of ever going back home and do not care anymore,

“Whatever happens now, I simply don’t care. It’s hopeless to think that Mugabe will step down anytime soon. Even if he does, you are most guaranteed that his wife Grace will be part of the leadership whilst her accomplices (in the G40 faction) will control the strings of the economy on her behalf. Her children will most definitely continue being nuisance as they have been and nothing or no-one will stop them now” An angry Daniel (not his real name) said.

With General Constantino Chiwenga, appearing at a news conference with another 90 senior army officers yesterday and hitting out on the squabbling and removal of liberation war heroes, many believe interesting times are ahead for the country.

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Zimbabwe Army General Constantino Chiwenga (AFP)

The general is believed to be the only person who could stop all the nonsense within the ruling government and could possibly steer the country into another era, if he so decided to plan to take matters into his own hands. Yesterday’s press conference gave hope to many who believe they could still be light at the end of the tunnel.

A comment under a Newsday article on General Chiwenga’s press conference reads,

“mbwa dzevanhu

“Well done Chiwenga, if you mean what you said. But if we all know how Mugabe and Zanu PF have operated, such a statement will cost you life, and Mugabe doesn’t forgive such a poor show of loyalty. It is therefore puzzling that for the first time in the history of Zimbabwe’s independence some one can issue such a grave warning to Mugabe and remain alive in Zimbabwe. If there are no machinations behind this statement, CDE Chiwenga is better off acting sooner rather than later. There is no question that most of Zimbabwe and indeed the rest of the world will be behind the Chiwenga implied action. We may be able to save what’s left of this country, and from dynasty”

 

Another also said on the same page,

Person of Interest

Chiwenga a good chance for you to climb to the top. Forget about Ngwena think about yourself and Mary. Boot the Matibilis out of power, book Jonso into the same cage at Chikurubhi with Gumbura. Tell everyone the country needs 5 years stbilising period with you at top before free & fair elections. Abolish indigenisation laws reduce tax etc, thereby attracting investment. After 5 years everyone is employed and happy they will want you to stay. We will even forget kutizvambura kwawakaita 2008 along with all the other offside statements you make about Zanu PF yega being fit to rule Zim.”

Zimbabwe volatility assures no one of a brighter a future, including politicians themselves. Nothing is ever promised tomorrow today, as we have seen in the fall from  grace of Emmerson. It might seem bad to wish for internal conflict to achieve a somewhat clean up of all rogue elements and prosperous country in the future but the current crop of politicking within the present government have left people with very littl choice.

Voting seems not to be an option as well, with many citing previous elections as rigged and unfair while citizens in the diaspora are still not eligible to vote.

It’s a matter of waiting to see how it all goes, until then, the many residing in South Africa and abroad are not in a rush to go back and participate in the turmoil the nation finds itself in.

 

Winky D feat Beenie Man, fire can’t cool!

Winky D feat Beenie Man, fire can’t cool!

Just received this new track from Winky D and Beenie Man and I have two words for it Fan- tastic!

I doesn’t take me a minute to realise a hit when I hear one. As a matter of fact I think, every artist should run their music by me, I have a good ear.

Though I felt he should have sang (or chanted) more, as much as Beenie did, I still think its a really great offering from the dancehall artist.

Here is the track, enjoy!

Killer Tee management takes fans for granted!

Killer Tee management takes fans for granted!

A small pub in Randburg played host to probably the best dancehall artist in Zimbabwe at the moment, Killer T on Saturday the 4th of November.

Despite my best intentions not to get frustrated in any way over what seems to be a perennial culture for Zimbabwean music promotion, that of poor planning and live shows, I couldn’t help but just.

The show, supposed to start at six in the evening (a suspicious time from the onset) started at one in the morning the following day. The worst ever wait I have ever had to endure for an artist, especially after having spent my hard earned R100 to gain entry and travelled across two Gauteng regions.

The club, Alicats, was definitely the wrong place to host the dancehall artist having only a few square meters allocated to the show and the rest to a different DJ and a VIP enclosure. By the time he eventually got on stage, seven hours later, he struggled to move freely with a stampede ensuing at the only entrance and exit to the club.

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Killer T performing at Ali Cats in Randburg (Pic by Joseph Maramba)

I guess there is no denying that the more artists from Zimbabwe fail to put on a good show outside their boarders, they only tarnish the effort to further put our music and artistry on the map.

Killer Tee is getting good air play on regional stations and should have known better than to keep the crowds waiting for more than seven hours.

I caught wind of a rumour that ensued during the long wait that as we waited, that Killer Tee was playing at another venue in the same town. Efforts to get any sort of answers as to the long wait were nonexistent, staff from the club kept promising he was going to show up soon.

Many a times, fans outside Zimbabwe have been shortchanged by cash mongers who have no respect in honouring professionalism. Artists have been advertised and not showed up which has left a lot of fans wondering whether to attend some shows advertised within the city.

Unless a show is advertised by professionally run organisations such as Computicket, which has the ability to advertise, organize and set up the shows according to demand and even refund if anything fails, Zimbabweans living in South Africa simply leave it to chance when it comes to any other advertised show.

Yesterday was less disappointing compared to other flaws, given the fact that Killer T eventually showed up.

My only fear is ruining the next time they decide to invite him again, fans will most probably choose to arrive at midnight or later or never. Negatively playing on his brand and professional levels.

If there were any hidden plans to push bar sales for seven hours before he came on stage, it worked but not for the second time running. Chances are the next time he is at the same club, less fans will travel to see him unless his management explains to the many fans that were packed like sardines and had to wait for hours on end just to see him perform.

 

 

 

Zivanai Masango: The Interview.

Zivanai Masango: The Interview.

Zimbabweans are a people scattered all over the globe. It’s not news that we have had the worst never changing government since her birth. Amongst the best ways we have had to emancipate ourselves from our sad political and economic situation is to work extra hard; feeding off the scraps falling from the tables of the greedy and made to search for meaning and existence to where the grass looks “greener”.

Amongst the many that have taken the long rides in pursuit of happiness very few musicians have done so in with music in mind, but rather to etch any other form of existence, having had it tough in the music scene back home.

To leave the country in the hope of wowing the greener prospects with a taste of Zimbabwean music is a detrimental to one’s career (if not health) as it is a country not really known for its musical prowess.

With many artists and genres to choose from, the world isn’t very open to the sound of the Zimbabwean artist.

But as they say, the mind is the strongest tool we can ever wield and overcoming any negative thought whilst simply applying yourself to what you love best, can get you very far.

Zivanai Masango is a Zimbabwean born guitarist, songwriter and singer pushing the boundaries and sticking it to where it hurts, to that bent over mentality of ‘kusina amai hakuendwe’ and enforcing the ‘where there is a will there is a way’ attitude!

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Zivanai Masango. Pic (Instagram)

After relocating to the United States of America, Zivanai did not yield on his ambitions and love for playing the guitar. Back home he had played for various artists but since moving to the U.S he explored different sounds. He plays what he calls Afropop/Afrojazz fusion music, a concoction of his roots, jazz influences from Africa and hints of the Blues and R’n’B.

“We do Afropop/Afrojazz fusion music… firmly rooted in the traditions, sounds and rhythms of Zimbabwe and Southern Africa but also reflecting the various international influences I’ve picked up in my long journey as a professional musician… as well as a fan of music in general. International influences include jazz, blues, r’n’b etc” Zivanai said.

When he performs, he does mostly original material from his last 3 albums and some yet to be released material and has found acceptance and a following through his versatility in play and the constructive use of social media. He never misses an opportunity to share what and who he’s working on and his awkward meetings with the world’s biggest names in jazz music, Lee Ritenour and his love for the Ibanez guitar brand.

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Zivi and American Jazz artist Lee Ritenour (Instagram)

Being in America, he has had to be creative. It indeed is a big nation. However, wetting the appetites of traditional mbira/folk music (which has done more to put Zimbabwe on the map as a truly original sound from the land locked country than any other genre) can indeed take you a long way.

With notable pioneers of the traditional mbira such as Ambuya Stella Chiweshe, Dumisani Maraire, daughter Chiwoniso Maraire and Ephat Mujuru, having the paved the way amongst during their time, Masango simply picks up some of this music which is in the public domain to play to his musical advantage. He has been able to put a twist of his own and has seen him become a somewhat force to reckon with.

Becoming a social interpreter or protestor (in whichever way you decide to look at it), Zivanai Masango has managed to reflect the musical journey he has had and the different societies he has been blessed to being a part of.

His song “Varimugomo” which he wrote ‘after an American friend lamented on how they send congressmen to Capital Hill but once they get there, forget to represent the interests of the ones who voted them there’.  cannot resonate enough what we face in his Zimbabwe.

“I didn’t mean to protest per se… but I had genuine questions for those on the hill (leaders)… to ask where that zeal to better the people which they had in the beginning went to… to ask how they have totally lost their collective conscience… to ask why they are not ashamed to pillage the country and turn it into rags… to ask why they don’t have mercy. I had genuine observations of how the ones at the bottom of the chain are always crying while they (politicians) are sitting pretty with their families. If that makes it protest music, then so be it.” He said.

His is a sound that can perform well as they has always been a great demand for folk and traditional sounding music in the world, regardless of how the wave of new music coming up has in a way shoved us from that route into a somewhat downward spiral. Zimbabwe has simply lost its music identity (if we had one) and because we yearn to appeal to trends are digressing and losing the grab we once had on the world.

Which makes him even reluctant to release some of his music sighting the industry as volatile and unsure.

“I have a collection of songs in the works… but I’m not sure whether to release them as an album or just trickle them out as singles. The nature of the music industry these days makes that a difficult question,”

He however might be convinced to do an album, probably in 2018 depending on how well his fans demand for it.

Zivanai is determined to keep learning and improving, as he has figured out, it is the only way to bring up a brand. I sensed a longing for being equally revered in his home country like the one he gets in the US.

Zimbabwean music fans tend to have a cult following to everything. A definition of greatness is usually how the crowds says it is and rarely how it sounds. When they catch the flame, they do so alarmingly, blinkered and never to be moved. It is the same reason why it is so easy to climb the musical ladder in the country, lose footing and come hitting the ground with a big thud! All within a short space of time. Very few artists have survived these spikes in popularity and lived to tell the tale. Many have simply been forced to give up on their dream.

This is what Zivanai is afraid of and indeed a daunting proposition.

It could also be the fact that he didn’t play much as his own as an artist back in Zimbabwe. His solo career blossomed in the states and cannot be drawn into comparing where he has made most impact in his musical career.

Despite his lack of a solo career in Zimbabwe, he admits how easy it is to play for non-Zimbabwean audiences in America. Sighting Zimbabwean audiences as being skeptical.

“There is a certain cynicism and skepticism from home fans, they don’t readily accept you. Whereas non-Zimbabwean audiences are quicker to embrace you and accept you.”

I guess it could be because a new sound like anything unfamiliar requires the taste to be acquired.

Be that as it may, his work is progressive and has worked with great Zimbabwean musicians touring the US, such as Oliver Mtukudzi, Mechanic Manyeruke and self- exiled Chimurenga musician, Thomas Mapfumo. He admits having learnt a lot from such big names in Zimbabwean music and will have to work harder to command as much respect as these artists get as travelling musicians.

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Masango performing with Tuku (www.thepicta.com)

Zivanai is a drop in the ocean of the Zimbabweans that are scattered all over the world who are doing well but barely noticed back at home. It could also be that Zimbabwe is too busy with a lot (of nothing) to see what they’ve got or like he neatly said,

“A prophet is accepted away from home more than at home,”