Flag Party Supporters Twar at Public Meeting

Wednesday, 24 April, 2019. HARARE – Mild chaos nearly broke out in Harare yesterday, at a public hearing on the Cyber-Chimurenga War Credentials Bill, when suspected Flag Party supporters sub-tweeted participants critical of the proposed law.

The law seeks to regulate the minimum qualifications for the appointment of Cabinet ministers and induction into the civil service, through the amendment of the Public Service Act.

But a public hearing to gather the views of people from all walks of life in Harare was reduced to a political rally, where speaker after speaker brandished national flags while chanting slogans before making contributions to the bill.

Two suspected opposition ZANU supporters who attempted to contribute, were heckled online  by rowdy activists believed to be aligned to FP’s shadowy splinter group Tajamukirana, as the committee chair Jersey May-Jones watched helplessly, sipping delicious tea.

The contentious bill seeks to scrap the existing minimum requirements for appointment to Cabinet and replace them with new benchmarks. Any potential minister would now be required to have at least one selfie, at night, in Africa Unity Square, a strict requirement which may stymie the ambitions of many a party cadre.

Potential appointees to the posts of Permanent Secretary must possess one Facebook or YouTube video denouncing the previous regime, while carrying the national flag, and two protest selfies. Principal directors must possess a selfie inside court, while their deputies only require a selfie outside, preferably praying. The minimum requirement for entry into civil service has been changed from 5 O-Levels to 5 #ThisFlag tweets.

The Bill has largely been rejected throughout the country, but FP yesterday reportedly Ubered in rowdy youths, some visibly drunk, to support the law.

“We want our new President Zvogwadza to be given more power to ensure that the right kind of people, those who supported the cyber-struggle against tyranny, are in positions of power,” said one Ngoda, attracting wild applause from the crowd gathered at a local sushi bar.

In a first for Southern Africa, the hearing also took Skype Video submissions from the diaspora, with one patriotic lady, flanked by her sleepy-looking husband, speaking of how she was disappointed by certain people after working so hard for the cyber-revolutionary movement.

“I worked so hard for this movement, you know. I watched all the videos and prayed for the founder, only to be disappointed,” she told the sympathetic gathering.

When one dissenter rose to make a contribution, some rowdy youths turned on him, taking away his bottle of Skyy vodka and replacing it with Smirnoff.

The contentious bill has seen the Flag Party deploy some party heavyweights to defend it. Only last week, Attorney General Happiness Helele courted controversy when she spoke out in support of the bill, leading to calls that she was participating in active politics.

“Surely, we have a moral obligation to let the public know who was with them and who had a change of heart, given that so many made themselves vulnerable for the cause,” she told a tiny local blogger.

Political commissar and Minister of Information, Alley Knocker, has also been vocal about noting those who stood by and did nothing while the revolution was being conducted. He, however, begged FP members to focus on the goal and not be divided.

“Focus,” the Minister repeatedly told CNN in an interview with political pundit and former reverend Evans Mampara, on a recent trip to Dallas. “Focus!”

The controversial bill threatens an already fractured relationship with Zimbabwe’s Western funders, with new President Stain Zvogwadza already implicated in a violent crackdown on the traditional press in favour of digital outlets.

The recent disappearance of print editors Rememberance Forward and Jaw Break, both of the independent Jou Ma daily, has prompted protests in Harare’s Africa Unity Square prominently featuring their children, including a social soccer match. The match attracted scathing criticism from former media lecturer now hair model, Badluck Jonathan.

“These so-called paragorns of journalistic virtue have enough children to make two soccer teams, they planted more trees than the Forestry Commission! No wonder they ran away!” he recently tweeted.

Vice President Arex Miller has also courted the ire of the West, after blasting UNICEF and telling the Country Director to either shape up or ship out, which earned him stern condemnation from newly-appointed US Ambassador Mr Clever Newbie.


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Message of Solidarity to the Zimbabwe Cricket Team

On the occasion of the Second One Day International against India.

We, the residents of Castle Black, are in Solidarity with the Players and Staff of the Zimbabwe national cricket team currently engaged in battle with India.

We are concerned citizens who have always held sports in general, and cricket in particular, close to our hearts. We have held faith with our national sporting teams through constant and disheartening loss, and we will not lose faith now.

We realise that the recent upheavals in the team and management, however shoddy and poorly planned, have ushered in a new status quo and the only way to move is forward. The only option we have as supporters is to throw our weight behind our new team and coaching staff, as the only other choice is to fail.

As Zimbabwean sports fans, we know the pain of constant loss, but we have never lost heart, because though we have often lost, we have never failed. Indeed, the recent qualification of our football team for the Africa Cup of Nations after many years in the wilderness shows the value of sustained effort, of never giving up no matter what the odds.

As we type this, the national Rugby Sevens team are on their way to Monaco, with the unlikely dream of qualification for the Rio Olympic Games still burning bright in their hearts. It is this spirit which we, as Zimbabweans, hold within – hope against hope, dreaming against all reason, and fighting on even under threat of failure.

Losing a cricket match is not failure, even if that loss is to an Indian cricket side with a combined age of fifteen and barely a cap among them.

Losing the first match under a new coach is not failure, even if that loss is by nine wickets with a paltry high score of 41.

Failure is giving up, and making no effort either with bat, ball or in the field. Failure is not trying to win, even when winning seems impossible or out of reach.

We at Castle Black cannot permit our team to wallow in failure, as we believe that with time and effort, we can return to being competitive on the international stage. Indeed, we may lose to India, but with hard work both on the field and in the gym, we can pressure what appears a hapless Sri Lanka, and can certainly take a game or two off New Zealand.

We hereby pledge to stand with Zimbabwe, whether in person or via the television, depending on work commitments. Our only expectation is that the team shows the same faith in us as we show with them, and gives their all for the “cowntry”.

Pamberi neZimbabwe! A luta continua!

Signed,

Black, Joe, Mister.
Black, Izzy, Missus.
Lord Voldemort, Cat.

Hell is other people, and Facebook is its waiting room

So there are politics of Facebook friendship. Any activity is a potential minefield, be it posting a photo, a status update or (God forbid) changing relationship status.

There are adults with children and families and (for a few) jobs who actually catch real and serious feelings over nonsense that happens on a social networking website.

I’m not speaking of the adults who complain about “spoilers” just because they haven’t watched the latest Game Of Thrones episode, yet log on to social media websites to complain about other adults who are almost guaranteed to be freely discussing the latest Game Of Thrones episode.

Honestly, how can someone expect their own problems to be the rest of the planet’s, where just because you haven’t watched a worldwide televised event, you still feel entitled to press Sign In on a twitter account and expect nobody at all to be discussing said worldwide televised event?

I don’t understand – if my own lack of hustle (or instructions from She Who Must Be Obeyed) prevent me from watching Game Of Thrones on time, I log on to my Twitter or Facebook app knowing that other adults may freely be talking about it. Spoilers? You’re spoiling yourself, mate. Grow up.

Oh yes, growing up.

“ABC is friends with DEF, GHI ignored my friend request, JKL unfriended me, PQR swore at me in a comment on MNO’s status update about News Story C.”

I’m not talking about 15 year olds at Heritage School whispering at break time, I’m talking about actual grown-up, old-ass mens and womens. Actual grown-up mens and womens sore about Friend Requests, who gets to administer a Group, a deleted comment, or another adult’s new Friend.

Adults with kids can be pettier than the kids themselves, and I find that hilarious. Wanna know the best part? I can be as petty as the rest of them.

In hell, all interaction with demons, LeBron (that’s the devil’s first name), fellow tormentees and wait-staff will be done via Facebook status updates, because that is actually a form of torture.

(And yes, of course there are wait-staff in hell – who do you think dishes out all the side-eyes and spits in your food?)

Because let’s not forget, we all have choices throughout our social media interactions. I am free to unfollow, unfriend or block you on Facebook. I can very easily mute, unfollow or block you on Twitter.

For the life of me, I can’t remember how the fuck LinkedIn works, but yeah, that too.

Logging on to a social website or app is a voluntary act – please, let’s not make other adults responsible for our own usage of said app.

As I speak, there are cliques forming in a certain section of Facebook because a certain admin unfriended someone who thinks they’re too important to be treated thus so now they’re angling to take over admin of the group and now I feel like slitting my wrists just typing out such childish shit.

Anyway, if you find yourself being troubled by what you read in a rugby group or family or school group, or if someone is annoying or trolling you, do something about it. Life is too short to be aggravated.

The power is yours.

I created a monster

In case you’ve been under a rock, I created a digital magazine called NBO.

NBO stands for None But Ourselves (can free our minds). It is a fledgling digital magazine, built on the principle of free, honest & robust media for all. Based in Zimbabwe, the aim is to give a voice to views shut out of mainstream media whilst providing engaging and entertaining content.

I always moan about Zimbabwe’s mainstream media, and the stories they cover. Followers of mytwitter feed know how I violently rail against our newspapers and how stories are presented.

I especially take offence at stories in the State-owned media, and have been known to swear at government “propagandists” on occasion.

In late 2014, I spoke to a few young journalism students and advised them that nowadays, you can build your own media entities with a few short clicks. Nobody needs to make coffee for three years in a major newsroom, waiting to get assigned a story because there’s nobody more senior available.

I have decided to take my own advice. There is no value in whining about the media we have, if we are not willing to create the media we want. The only solution is for me to actually create the type of content I want to consume, instead of complaining all the time about what is available.

This project is going to be my major focus for a while, and I probably will not have time to blog for the near to mid term future. NBO is going to bleed me of all my time and energy, and I’ll make every effort to ensure that it is worthwhile.

Read it here, or download the 79 Mb PDF of the launch issue.

https://issuu.com/joeblack63/docs/nbo-magazine-q1-2016

The One B*tch Theory of Social Media

Is there always at least one bitch lurking on any social media platform at any one time?

While looking at my Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp group experiences, it appears that no matter what you post on any social media platform, there is always at least one person with a shitty reply.

Due to the almost real-time and character-limited nature of Twitter, this behaviour appears to be more prevalent there than on Bookface or App. This does not make the behaviour any less annoying.

It seems that whether you post something nice, or a joke, or talk about your favourite TV show (like Game Of Thrones), or a photo of your baby – virtually anything – someone, somewhere, will find some shit to say about it.

It could be a man, woman or child, but you’ll recognise the One Bitches when you see them.

Some of these smart-ass trolls like to end their bullshit comments with a “LOL” or a laughing emoji, as if appending a smiley-face to the end of a bullshit comment makes said comment less bullshitty.

I’ve experienced this many a time, one example being when someone endorsed my NBO Magazine project, tweeted about it, and received a couple of bitchy replies. Like, whet? I don’t even know you, hater.

Some will say, well, you do it too, Joe. Yes, I know. To be absolutely clear, quite often, that One Bitch is actually me.

Some will say they’re trying to bring humour to a dark matter, because everyone is being so serious. Indeed, they’ll end up playing the victim – I was making a joke, your average bitch will say. Why you catching feelings, they cry?

There are even others who believe it is their duty to make nasty replies to public figures (whatever they’re famous for) because that’s how celebrities “stay grounded, and besides, asking for fame means your private life becomes public, right?”

It is therefore clear that, quite often, the person being a bitch doesn’t understand that they’re being a bitch, or even why they’re being a bitch.

But the facts are there for all of us to see – just open up any random Facebook or Twitter post, especially by a moderately popular person, and see what I am talking about.

That One Bitch can be a member of your family, or a complete stranger. It can be your brother, sister, friend or enemy, hell it could even be me; but there they are, lurking, talking that shit.

The worst Bitch is the anonymous one – hiding behind a fake name and picture to troll any and everyone they feel like. I’ve never understood this. I mean, are you such a bitch that you can’t even be one in your own name? That’s so sad. Personally, I’m not shy to have my own words and thoughts attributed to me.

So before you reply to that Facebook post, or that group WhatsApp, or that Tweet, ask yourself – do I really need to be a bitch right now? Maybe if we all paused before replying, the world would be a far less angrier place.

Maybe today, just don’t be that bitch – why don’t we all try it? Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t.

But whether it’s me, or you, there is always gonna be that One Bitch on social media.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

That Time of the Month

It is the first of the month, which means that many men the world over are experiencing their monthly period.

A period is the part of the monthly cycle when a man bleeds from his bank account for a few days. In most men who have periods, this happens every twenty-eight days or so. It is common for men to have cycles slightly shorter or longer than this.

Maintenance, also known as papgeld or child support, is the regular discharge of dollars, Rands and various other world currencies from the inner lining of the bank account, sometimes through mobile banking. Up to 80% of men report having some symptoms prior to maintenance.

Common symptoms include acne, anxiety, feeling tired, irritability and mood swings. These symptoms interfere with normal life, and therefore qualify as Pre-Maintenance Syndrome (PMS), in 20 to 30% of men afflicted. In 3 to 8%, symptoms are severe.

The first period usually begins between twenty-one and twenty-five years of age, a point in time known as fucking around. However, periods may occasionally start as young as eighteen years old and still be considered normal. The average age of the first period is generally later in the developing world and earlier in the developed world.

In most men who get their period, various physical changes are brought about by fluctuations in hormone levels during the maintenance cycle. This includes muscle contractions of the stomach lining (cramps) that can precede or accompany paying child support.

Some men experience emotional disturbances one or two weeks before their period. Symptoms may include mental tension, irritability, mood swings and crying spells. Problems with concentration and memory may occur.

There may also be depression or anxiety, which can be rapidly treated by consulting the nearest barman.

A late period can have some devastating consequences. These may include, but are not limited to; arrest and detention, court dates,  appearances in newspapers and blogs, embarrassing high-volume visits at work, church or during other public activities.

Period prevention is simple, and usually involves wearing a condom.

Be careful out there.

Sorry I blocked you on social media

Listen,

I am so sorry that I unfriended you on Facebook. Maybe we were just never really friends. Maybe it’s because we’ve never actually met.

Maybe I try to keep my Facebook “friends” to a bare minimum, so I reduce the amount of foolishness, jokes, viral videos and preaching I subject myself to.

Rather than complain about the shit you talk, maybe I just decided to let you live your life without me being a prefect.

Or maybe it was that stupid comment you placed on one of my more serious posts. Whatever it was, I’m sure you never needed me as a friend, and you will survive perfectly well without liking every picture I’ve ever posted.

Go forth and thrive.

I’m sorry I blocked you on Twitter. Shit happens, my friend. Yeah, we’re cool and all, but you don’t get to call me “angry” as an insult on my own timeline. Yes, I am angry. I have every right to be.

There are no force matters on social media. I do NOT have to listen to or accept your reply to my tweet. You, of course, are entitled to have an opinion on everything I post – I just do NOT have to listen to those opinions.

You are not being “silenced” by being blocked. That does not in any way infringe on your freedom of speech. You are still very free to speak, just elsewhere and not to me. Simple, right?

Most days, I vent just for the venting of it. If I use the word “cunt” and other colourful shit, it is not for you to tell me what a bad word is. I know what a bad word is – I use them on purpose.

You are free to unfollow me if you find my language offensive, or you could just ignore it and wait for me to get back to talking about rugby or writing or music or whatever it was that made you follow me in the first place.

But the moment you try and police MY language that I use on MY social media accounts (which by the way I didn’t use your phone to open) then we have a problem.

Maybe it’s because you decided to throw a smart-ass last word at me after I said “go away” but that is also perfectly okay.

As the Steward of Gondor told the hobbit, go forth and die in whatever manner you see fit.

So please forgive me – I am the asshole, and I’ll gladly accept that title and wear it with pride.

Freedom, ka?

By the way, I am also very sorry I left the WhatsApp group you added me to. I really didn’t mean to offend you. I’m sure you just wanted to keep me in the loop with other like-minded strangers individuals. That is okay.

Maybe I just do not enjoy my mobile number being abused. Giving you my number doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want with it. You can’t just add me to groups. You can’t send me Christian propaganda. You can’t call me in the middle of the night and expect me to be awake and pleased. You can’t send me unsolicited marketing texts. You can’t send me bible verses at three in the morning.

But that’s my own fault, and you of course did nothing wrong, you’re just trying to keep me laughing or save my soul. And I love you for that.

Please do not let my misanthropy get in the way of your altruistic efforts. I hope you thrive.

For anyone else I have offended on social media in 2015, please accept my heartfelt apology and forgive me.

Or don’t. Whatever.

Back to work.

Dear South African Student

I see your black behind walking them streets, taking your future into your own hands.

I see your black behind singing and dancing and taking your government to account. I see you marching on Houses and Buildings demanding your rights, and I see that it is good.

I see you on TV, though. I see you from Harare in Zimbabwe, on the voyeuristic eNCA and the sneering SABC News. I wish my black behind was with you. Hell, I wish I could mobilise my own fearful black behind, and also march on Houses with a mass of blacks behind me.

I see you from afar, your black behind toiling in the heat, running from your own police and teargas in front of your own Parliament, and I am proud. I hear reports of your black behind being shot with rubber bullets and live ammunition and tossed in jail and charged with High Treason, and I am disgusted.

Don’t let your black behind be held down, and don’t let the black behind you be held down by those who seek to keep you from taking what’s yours.

I am black, and am fully behind your black behind as you fight to ensure that no black is left behind.

Go ‘head, wit yo bad self.

Never stop. A luta continua.

Love,

Black.

P.S. You too, white and Indian and Martian and Venutian student, whether you’re from Saturn or Uranus, as long as your anus is marching alongside, before and behind the black behind, I love you too.

Photo: TimesLIVE

Oh Happy Day and Other Stories

Well, isn’t this nice?

England are out of the Rugby World Cup, having been whipped at The Home of Rugby™ by a free-flowing Australia side.

Having tipped our Former Colonial Bastards Masters to go all the way to the final and lose to my All Blacks, I was expecting their vaunted defensive discipline to close down Australia’s backs. Uhm, nah.

Bernard Foley, of all fucking people, ran rings around them all night. That should be food for thought for one of my mates with whom I watch a lot of rugby … he hates uBen with a passion! Well, until last night. Anyway.

Here’s an interesting anecdote; my mate Eddie and I were both backing England to prevail over the Aussies, but when Beale came on as an injury sub he said “Oh Beale was on the bench” and I said “Yeah, now they might actually win” and win they did.

Forward passes notwithstanding.

The way England have been playing over the past few years, and their recent pedigree at the U20 World Trophy (three finals, two wins) I actually saw them as the only worthy challengers to my New Zealand.

But that’s how a World Cup goes, eh? Just ask the “Japan and USA are tourists” Springboks. Japan even beat Samoa yesterday, dammit. There IS no form book anymore.

Anyway, so I’m glad England have crumbled at home, now I just need somebody to take care of France and I’m golden. I just hope this doesn’t make Springbok fans mistake themselves for actual contenders – the world hasn’t gone COMPLETELY batshit crazy.

Like I’ve told my friends; New Zealand at this World Cup are like a Tipperary prostitute – we’ll take all comers!

As for cricket, I wore my old Zimbabwe cricket supporter’s shirt (made by Faithwear, remember them?), with faded writing, just to remind these youngsters that we’ve come a long way with this team they’re fucking around with.

I thought my faith had been repaid when we batted Pakistan off the park and bowled them into a panic. And then we failed to kill them off, dropping three catches with six wickets down!

Failing to kill off a cricket match with a hall-of-famer like Shoaib Malik at the crease is criminal, and we’re lucky the calculators worked in our favour, giving us a paper victory.

But it should NOT have gotten that far; I see our mental block still exists, the same mental block afflicting us in ALL sports, and in all aspects of our lives.

I believe that we as a nation have gotten so used to losing that deep down we have a fear of winning, and don’t think we deserve it.

Until we start strutting around and saying “No, fuck this, I DO deserve victory and happiness and cash and pussy and freedom” I don’t think we will ever have it.

Let’s just call it “testicular fortitude” for now. Let’s all show our collective balls! Yes you too, ladies.

Also, I am not drinking this month (theoretically) and will make it through November if I can. That clarity of vision and thought is disastrous when the pub goes into full-on disco mode!

It’s not fun observing the mating habits of the drunken monkey, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. But I’m stuck, being Rugby World Cup month, because what’s a world cup match without atmosphere and banter?

Finally, if Liverpool lose today, Brendan Rodgers will be fired.

Go Everton.

How To Be A Zimbabwean Journalist

Or, An Anecdotally-Accumulated Anthology of Obligatory Adjectives

 

To be a journalist (oops, sorry, scribe) in Zimbabwe, there is a certain parlance one is expected to master.

The layman can easily pick up this language and its markers just by reading all the different newspapers, and figuring out the common terms used to describe certain things.

But for those with better shit to do, here are a few pointers.

 

Giant

See, the National Sports Stadium can not be anything BUT giant. It does seat anything from 65,000 on the football scale to 120,000 on the prophet scale, so it all depends on who is doing the estimating. Whatever the true figure, the NSS dominates the landscape around it, including the Chinese mall in the neighbouring swamp, so yes, it is a giant.

For a bonus point, you can also refer to it as the ‘Chinese-built’ National Sports Stadium.

Also, Dynamos Football Club have to be referred to as the ‘Harare giants’ every time, usually at least thrice in any report.

Eg. Giant national sports stadium | Harare giants | Chinese-built

 

Mighty

Wanna talk about the Zambezi River? Well damn, it has to be mighty! Whatever the story is, whether it’s a tourism fluff piece, or a rare complaint about the treatment of riverside communities, you can NOT possibly describe our mighty river as anything but mighty!

Eg. Mighty Zambezi

 

Majestic

I caught a bit of flak the other day, for calling the Victoria Falls “nothing more than a wall of falling water.” Anyone who has ever said “Zambia’s Victoria Falls” will testify that one simply does not fuck with Zimbabwe’s Wonder of the World, the Majestic Victoria Falls and come through unscathed.

Eg. Majestic Victoria Falls

 

Western-sponsored

This is pretty obvious, but if you didn’t know, now you know. Any opposition to ZANU-PF in Zimbabwe has obviously got to be the Western-sponsored machinations of counter-revolutionary elements bent on reversing the gains of our hard-won independence through a regime-change agenda. These elements are, as always, sponsored by neo-Imperialists in the West.

Eg. Western-sponsored opposition

 

Illegal 

Sanctions? Well, they are illegal, of course. If you work for State television, or ANY of the radio stations (including the so-called independent ones which aren’t fooling anydamnbody) then there are no legal sanctions. In fact, the sanctions remain illegal, even after a European court challenge to declare the sanctions illegal was thrown out.

Eg. Illegal sanctions

 

Unscrupulous

Has the price of fuel gone up? Has import duty been increased? Has the cost of production gone up? Well, none of that matters – anyone who increases their prices is an unscrupulous retailer / dealer / businessman, and a profiteering opportunist. Obviously. Fuck policy.

Eg. Unscrupulous retailers

 

Dusty streets …

… of Mbare / Dangamvura / Luveve / Masvingo / anywhere. Are you an artist who has launched a new album or is going on an overseas tour? Are you a promising young pace bowler, who has just broken into the national ODI side? Or maybe you are Peter Ndlovu, the first African to play in the English Premier League. It doesn’t matter – the dusty streets will follow you wherever you go. The journalist gets bonus points if you “hail” from said dusty streets.

Eg. Dusty streets

 

This is by no means exhaustive, but just a little taste of what you should look out for when you read the Zimbabwean press.

Now let me return to being a “desperate homeseeker” and deal with the “city fathers” of the “Sunshine City” who probably belong to a putschist cabal.

Good day.