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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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.

general
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.

 

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?

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.

 

 

                            Foreign

                            Foreign

By Mudhanganyi

What un-qualifies me? What makes me a stranger?

What makes me the different strand, one queer block posing danger

My dialect, tone, ascent, color?

My birthplace, president or unasssuming demeanor

Why does it seem I alone has to face the culler?

I am known by my many things,

Never of the good ones

But mostly insults, and of them lashings.

My armpits smell

Simple etiquette, it seems, I don’t do to well.

Brothers we are, sisters we are

Inlaws we have become but still demarcated

Geographically and emotionally our hearts be the landmark

It’s a sad tale,

What a bloody, poor heartbreak.

Scapegoat, spoiler, wrecker, taker

Invader, looter, undesired heartbreaker

Asylum seeker, expatriate

Names I’m given when all I pray for is that we relate.

What happened to love

What happened to Ubuntu

If we can’t, forward we can never

But there’s a good ending, if willing, and it begins with you.

Is Uber profitable in South Africa?

uber1bDon’t get me wrong, I love Uber, at first I believed it was amongst the greatest innovations within the 21st century amongst Facebook and Twitter until I was waiting on the street on a rainy night (courtesy of cyclone Dineo) and all I seemed to get from Uber drivers allocated to me was, sorry your driver had to cancel.

Four drivers had cancelled, humiliatingly so as I had gone on and on to my colleagues bragging about the service and low cost Uber offered as compared to dodgy security details patrolling the night that charge them 20-30 rand each for a trip or the conventional taxi drivers who charge 100 – 200 rand over the same distances. I was simply running out of answers to where my ride was as my initial 14 minutes ETA had flown past with no car in sight. The last driver to decline was kind enough (or not) to call and tell me to make other plans as it did not make “money sense” to drive 15 minutes for a journey of five and as much as I wanted to show Uber’s effectiveness and style to my colleagues, I had to agree. For the first time in my lovely relationship with Uber, I saw her other side. My five minute ride didn’t matter but the driver’s 15 did.

 

The rain poured down heavily and with no other choice I went along with friends to ask patrolling security detail at a nearby garage to take me home. Within a few seconds of arriving, one determined Uber driver who had eventually accepted my trip, called to ask for my whereabouts. In my apparent demise, I had packed my phone in a dry pocket and proceeded to the garage when he decided to come fetch me. Initially the ride was supposed to have been far cheaper as we where going to take the same taxi and split the charge but now because my other friends had already made other plans, I had to cough up the fare alone, as such because I loved their service before then, feared to have to pay for a ride which I did not cancel.

 

As usual my ride was nice, the car was smart and smelled nice, my driver even hard the car warm and stirred up conversations that have become synonymous with my every ride. Because the service is relatively new in South Africa and nothing like it, I still have a lot of questions on how it operates and it is like getting it from the horse’s mouth.

 

John (not his real name) was kind enough to explain to me as to the reason why there seemed to be no car available to me when I requested. It is in the way the service operates that might leave you wondering if the business owners of such a huge company are making any money at the end of the day. John told me how he has to wait for hours at the airport in a queue from Uber until eventually he is allocated a passenger. The queue he says can last for hours until eventually getting a passenger who could be going as far as the next city. All fair and done, the customer will pay for the ride but the driver will have to travel back again to the same airport for a fee that reflects only the passengers destination and not the cost to come back and also minus the service fees that Uber takes from the driver.

 

And as for when he picked me up, he was just from dropping a passenger on his way back to yet another queue when he decided to accept my ride.

 

It took him about 14 minutes to get to where I was, I am guessing there where no other Uber taxis in the area at that moment. It then took us 5 minutes to get home, a ride, which cost 35 rands. I honestly felt bad having to pay him such little money but because I have little in depth understanding of how he is making his money, the little conversation we had was enough to let me know that on this particular trip, the poor fellow came out with nothing.

 

“We as passengers can sometimes benefit from Uber, but we can’t always rely on it.  It is worth considering, while enjoying an Uber ride – what would happen if Uber effectively put regular taxi services out of business?  What would happen if we got a ‘no cars available’ message and had no other alternatives to turn to

Maybe Uber will grow to ‘meet the market’.  But if it is losing money at present, is more growth going to cause it to lose money faster or to stop losing money and turn profitable?  More to the point, is there an unlimited supply of potential drivers that Uber can add to its driver base?

The answer to the question about driver supply is key.  That very low fare you just paid to an Uber driver may or may not be sufficient for the driver to stay in business.  Remember that Uber takes 20% – 30% of the fare you pay for its role in the middle, and all of a sudden, a R30.00 Uber fare means a net of perhaps R24.00 for the driver, who then has to pay all his own costs and also self-employment taxes on whatever slim ‘profit’ may remain.” MiscellaneousReviewsTravel

 

Uber’s business models centres on being cheap and now that we have shunned conventional taxis who in turn are feeling the competition and leaving for home in the early hours of the night, we seem to be stuck with a service that might not have enough drivers to come to your aid or unwilling to come through because it does not make profitable sense. The flip side of this dilemna is knowing a colleague who is still waiting to have his Uber permit approved so he can start offering rides.

Uber is a great service, but before many South Africans get vehicle credit to put up a fleet on the streets of Johannesburg in the hope of making a kill, they need to come up with a driver base large enough to put out all the fears of being stuck on the road with no driver willing to accept your ride, no matter how insignificant it might be to the business.