Going on a Social Media Hiatus in June

I do this thing sometimes, where I disconnect from all my personal social media accounts for a month.

It’s usually when I’m under a lot of work pressure, or I need to focus all my energy and concentrate on one particular thing.

Strangely, I managed to pick October as the month when I take time off, and I’m sure this year will be the same, seeing as I have fucking exams in November.

But I’m doing the same in June – I do have a lot of work, study, and Real Life Shit to take care off. And I’ll try to come back with a bang, or at least energised. A couple of years ago, I returned with NBO Magazine, and last year I returned in a different country.

My work on CONSUMERIZIM (@consumerizim) and NBO (@nbopress) will continue, and of course I’m available on my email.

Play nice, children, and don’t forget to buy the damn book.

Behind Enemy Lines is free today

Okay, so if you’ve been under a rock, you’ve missed that I published a book on Amazon

Behind Enemy Lines and Other Stories is a free giveaway today on Amazon’s Kindle store. That means the electronic is yours for zero dollars, if you want it!

TITLE: Behind Enemy Lines and Other Stories
AUTHOR: Joe Ruzvidzo
PUBLICATION DATE:  February 12, 2017
SOLD BY: Amazon Digital Services LLC
RETAIL PRICE: $4.99 ebook, $8.99 paperback
ISBN-10: 1520591853 | ISBN-13: 978-1520591858
ASIN: B06W2K3Q57
PAGE COUNT: 136 pages (paperback) | PRINT LENGTH: 96 pages (ebook)
GENRES: Fiction, Short story collection

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Behind Enemy Lines is a collection of stories about ordinary people and anti-heroes dragged into a search for meaning in their lives – whether it is a simple search for identity and love, or a bigger struggle for Africa’s political freedom.

The canvas of their actions, motivations and circumstances is a Zimbabwe of the past, present and future. Humorous, acerbic, funny and tragic, the stories cover the whole gamut of emotions.

A soldier navigates his way across hostile territory to a distant safe house; a freedom fighter searches the debris of a ruined city for evidence of a horrific crime; an ordinary boy is caught up in a bank robbery; and an activist journeys home for her ex-boyfriend’s funeral.

Ruzvidzo interweaves the past, present and future with a confidence often missing in a debutante, offering a uniquely compelling angle to the Zimbabwean experience.

Well, for one day only, it’s FREE. Yes, free. Well, the electronic version, that is.

So if you want a free Kindle book, go here and get it.

Or, you know … buy the paperback.

I Published a Book of Some Sort

I have published a book! My tiny collection of short stories up on Amazon. Go and buy it, if you feel so inclined.

Behind Enemy Lines is a collection of stories about ordinary people and anti-heroes dragged into a search for meaning in their lives – whether it is a simple search for identity and love or a bigger struggle for political freedom. The canvas of their actions, motivations and circumstances is a Zimbabwe of the past, present and future.

 

Humorous, acerbic, funny and tragic, the stories cover the whole gamut of emotions. Joe Ruzvidzo has arrived on the scene with a deceptively simple and lucid storytelling style that pleases and surprises.

 

A soldier navigates his way across hostile territory to a distant safe house; a freedom fighter searches the debris of a ruined city for evidence of a horrific crime; an ordinary boy is caught up in a bank robbery; and an activist journeys home for her ex-boyfriend’s funeral. Ruzvidzo interweaves the past, present and future with a confidence often missing in a debutante, offering a uniquely compelling angle to the Zimbabwean experience.”

The paperback is here: Behind Enemy Lines and Other Stories – paperback

The eBook is here: Behind Enemy Lines and Other Stories – eBook

Blogger Sneaks Back Into Zimbabwe

Keyboard warrior Joseph Ruzvidzo aka Joe Black yesterday sneaked back into the country, after weeks of speculation that he had jumped ship in anticipation of the much-praised bond notes.

By Our Correspondent

Black, an alleged blogger and high-ranking member of some shadowy harshtag groups plaguing the social media, had been critical of the highly-anticipated export incentive, going so far as to call it “fake money”.

Rumours in the nightclubs and bars of Harare claimed Black left the country in the company of his wife to consult with his English backers and lobby for increased funding for the Western-backed regime change agenda.

He was however first spotted at OR Tambo International Airport in the company of media mogul and known counter-revolutionary Trevor Ncube, before being seen rushing through the arrivals area at Harare International where he was whisked off in an unmarked grey sedan.

While Black was not immediately available for comment, a source close to the matter confirmed that indeed Black was now back inside the country.

“Indeed, he is now back inside the country,” revealed the source.

He added: “While nobody knows why his wife did not come back with him, we believe he even abandoned his plotting in the West upon realising the brilliant tactical success that is the release of the bond notes. Maybe she is undergoing training in the use of arms to topple the legitimately elected government.”

Black reportedly spent a month scouring the English countryside seeking funding for the illegal regime change agenda with little success.

He was also secretly filmed paying homage to the British Queen by singing the national anthem alongside 82,000 other loyal subjects, in a secretive ritual called Test Rugby.

Critics say the highly disturbing video proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the British government is sponsoring ordinary Zimbabweans to denigrate the revolutionary party using the social media.

 

The Richest Man in Bobylan

I believe that everyone owns a bag of shit. That old suitcase, or cardbox, which has been steadily collecting random little things over the years.

Mine is a small blue Monarch, tucked conveniently into the top shelf of the wall cupboard in the spare bedroom, between a 2-in-1 and my favourite pink suitcase with white polka-dots (another story). 

In search of an ancient document, She Who Must Be Obeyed was found climbing on a stool and hauling it down (trust me, I’m only support staff here at Castle Black), and I ended up spending two hours sifting through my past.

There is a certain danger in sifting through your past. By choosing to dwell on what has gone before, one can get stuck in nostalgia and forget that the only way is forward. It’s very easy to lose focus; as you touch each memento and are flooded with memories, you cannot but compare that moment in time to this.

Here is a ticket stub from Angelique Kidjo live at HIFA. “I was there at that show and didn’t know you existed,” remarks the wife. “I knew,” retorteth I. “My soul could smell you.”

kidjo
Kidjo – Good entertainer. Bad liar.

There, a debit card from my momentary dalliance with Trust Bank. Of course, that all ended in tears, and that’s one memory too painful to dwell on.

And behold, Ready To Die: Disc One, sitting majestically on an old spindle above Garnet Silk and Adam Sandler; the strangest of bedfellows, but the best combination for a CD shuttle.

And everywhere, tucked “in and amongst” the ancient socks (eww) and the tennis medals (ooh), wound around the chargers and ethernet cables and AAA batteries, folded into the boarding passes and ZESA bills and rent receipts, amidst all this shit from my past, are Zimbabwe Dollar bearer cheques.

I have wads and folds and rolls of the fucking things, so I started chucking them into a little pile next to the black bin-bag, already half-filled with shit like ten-year-old cans of Axe body spray (don’t ask, I don’t know). That’s when it hit me; decades of cartoons and television shows, especially the ones featuring caricature drug dealers, have taught me that when one is surrounded by piles of cash, one simply has one obligation – to count it.

So I decided to count my money. Bearing in mind, my actual, real world, United States Dollar bank account contains Fuckall amount of dollars, you’d think I’d find this perplexing.

Not. One. Bit.

Bearing in mind that there are two classes of Zimbabwean Dollar, the banknotes and the bond paper, I decided to separate my cash. It wasn’t hard, considering that the Moyanas and Tsumbas have the tell-tale glisten of a security strip, the seductive shine of quality paper, the crisp feel of a true banknote.

Gonos have the harsh, no-nonsense feel of an office printout, but they made a significantly larger pile.

And so the counting began.

Before Gideon Gono

DenominationQtyAmount
$14,270
103$30
207$140
1001$100
50010$5,000
1,0009$9,000
A tally of my actual Zimbabwe dollar notes - basically those with anything other than Gono's signature.

 

Zimbabwe dollar bills
Zimbabwe dollar bills

During Gideon Gono

DenominationQtyAmount
$17,603,721,668.00
1, 5, 207$68
1006$600
5006$3,000
1,00023$23,000
5,0009$45,000
10,0006$60,000
20,0002$40,000
100,00046$4,600,000
200,00046$9,200,000
250,0001$250,000
500,00016$8,000,000
750,0002$1,500,000
10,000,00013$130,000,000
25,000,0002$50,000,000
50,000,0008$400,000,000
250,000,0002$500,000,000
500,000,0003$1,500,000,000
5,000,000,0003$15,000,000,000
Out with the bank notes, in with the bearer cheques.

 

bearer cheques
So. Many. Bearer. Cheques.

In total, I have seventeen BILLION, six hundred and three million, seven hundred and thirty-five thousand, nine hundred and thirty-eight Zimbabwe dollars.

Granted, I’ve taken all these notes at face value; bear in mind that many are missing a few zeroes after they got unceremoniously chopped away!

Who cares? I may not have a cent in the world, but at these figures, I feel like the richest man in Bobylan. I’m obviously no Sir Nickwell, neither would I get away with vehicular manslaughter, but I’ll still walk around with my head held high.

Bow down, proles.

ZW$17,603,735,938.00
ZW$17,603,735,938.00

20 Ways In Which Sanctions Have Ruined Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is in trouble. Fortunately for Zimbabweans, Zimbabwe’s rulers (yes, rulers not governors) through the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Ltd always remind us who exactly is to blame.

This has aroused my own sense of patriotism and national duty, so I shall also contribute to the ever-growing record of things we can blame on the imperialistic machinations of the hegemonic Western powers through their dastardly regime change agenda.

Let me tell you a few things “illegal Western sanctions” have done to Zimbabwe. Let he who has ears to hear, etc.

1. It was sanctions which forced Gideon Gono to raid Foreign Currency Accounts, just nje. And then forced everyone to go “Who, me?” when people were still crying for their cash.

2. Remember that trunk of diamonds confiscated from ACR that disappeared from the Reserve Bank, reportedly taken away by armed police at the behest of Mines Minister Obert Mpofu? Sanctions did that.

3. Harare airport road took 15 years and billions of dollars because of Western sanctions. The company which got the contract without going to tender, Augur Investments, once shared an address with one of Minister Ignatius Chombo’s companies. Sanctions did all that.

4. ALL those people reportedly abducted, tortured and murdered by ZANU-PF, especially victims belonging to the MDC party were because of Western sanctions.

5. Sanctions forced Joice Mujuru, until recently the Vice President of the Republic, to claim 55% disability and receive Z$389 472 from the War Victims’ Compensation Fund.

6. When then-Mayor of Chinhoyi Faber Chidarikire was stopped with a human head in his car? Sanctions.

7. Best was when we voted but didn’t have election results and Thabo Bloody Mbeki said there was no crisis in Zimbabwe. The results were finally announced two months after the vote. TWO MONTHS. Damn you, sanctions.

8. Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko lived in the Rainbow Towers Hotel for 587 days because of these goddamn illegal sanctions. People protested, and got beaten for it by sanctions, obviously.

9. And it was sanctions that made Head of State and Government and Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, contest an election “runoff” by himself after MDC quit because ZANU-PF was killing people.

10. In mitigation, sanctions didn’t prevent former Mines and Transport Minister Obert Mpofu from owning much of Victoria Falls and Bulawayo. But I guess it’s sanctions now trying to pull him down.

11. Dr David Parirenyatwa, Zimbabwe’s esteemed Minister of Health took an advance of USD100,000 from the public service medical aid for his private medical practice because of … SANCTIONS.

12. Remember those food riots of January 1998? Yeah, that was all sanctions .

13. Sanctions murdered over 20,000 people of mostly Ndebele origin in Matabeleland and parts of Midlands in the 1980s, in what is generally known as Gukurahundi.

14. It was sanctions that built Gracelands allegedly using the National Housing Fund.

15. Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya were murdered using a petrol bomb, not by one Joseph Mwale of ZANU-PF, oh no, but by Western sanctions.

16. Longcheng Plaza was built on a protected wetland because the illegal sanctions wouldn’t lose jobs “just to protect 23 trees and some frogs” which is just the behaviour you’d expect from sanctions, not the likes of Karikoga Kaseke.

17. Convicted fraudsters like Sir Nickwell and such are looting State funds and become stars and heroes because of illegal sanctions.

18. In the most comical example of Western interference in Zimbabwe’s sovereign affairs, sanctions have instituted a de facto ban on … wait for it … our own national flag.

19. Damn sanctions swallowed the first Land Audit, completely buried the second Land Audit, the Civil Service Audit and various commission reports.

20. Bicyclegate.

See, this is a very short list. There are far more dastardly things that sanctions have done to Zimbabwe, and it would take a whole year of non-stop typing to list them all.

For now let us all, as patriotic and peace-loving Zimbabweans, continue to resist the efforts of those trying to destabilise and lead our beloved nation into ruin.

Pamberi neZimbabwe.

Pasi nevapambepfumi.

Shoko Festival 2016 Diary

Format Video

The Harare International Festival of the Arts was very special to me and mine. Since it was first introduced, I have only missed one edition, and not for lack of trying.

It was the one week in every year when we could forget all our troubles and immerse ourselves in the sights, sounds, food and drink of an international arts festival.

HIFA became so important that friends abroad would schedule it a year in advance, and there’d be excitement and discussions over who the biggest act would be each year. My wife even fled a posting in Zambia once, just to be around for HIFA.

Since the untimely demise of HIFA, Zimbabwe’s arts landscape has appeared rather bleak – it occupied a special place not just in our wallets and leave schedules, but in our hearts.

With such a yawning gap in this year’s calendar of festivities, Shoko Festival has stepped up and is improving with each edition.

Putting aside my own personal and professional relationships with Magamba Network, and donning the more comfortable hat of a music-loving, whisky-swilling delinquent, Shoko is becoming an increasingly exciting feature on the Harare arts landscape.

This is my own little diary of Shoko Festival 2016, held on the 23rd and 24th of September in Harare, at the Museum of Human Sciences and Harare City Library.

There will be some gaps in the timeline – being a judge of the Hub Awards again, I did manage to spend some time at the Hub Unconference held at the Library, but never actually managed to make it to the festival venues anytime before lunchtime, on either day.

I also say “either day” because I didn’t manage to visit Chitungwiza on the Sunday, for obvious reasons involving Jah Prayzah and a well-stocked cooler-box.

Lunch

23 September, 2016

Lunch

So, it begins. After a bit of official government business, I head to the City Library to check in, then over to the Museum for lunch. I bump into Comrade Fatso, who offers to buy me lunch. I agree, obviously, because colonialism reparations. There’s all sorts of youthful things happening in the Brickhill Dome. Schoolkids doing things. Good vibes. Bad lunch. Should have got a shwarma, instead of deep fried chicken and thinly shaved “fries”.

The Hub

23 September, 2016

The Hub

Talks, discussion panels and pitches for the Hub Awards. Lots of interesting stuff, and a few engaging pitches. Picking a winner in each category will be a tough job, with so much talent on show.

House of Hunger Poetry Slam

23 September, 2016

In keeping with the norms and standards expected from a) a festival, and b) a poetry jam, a few of the participants appear to be operating under the influence of certain herbacious and mildly hallucinogenic substances. Hilarious.

Sunset Acoustic

23 September, 2016

Sunset Acoustic

If I wanted to watch a pretty girl dance around in short shorts, I’d have waited til Ammara tomorrow. Expected Tamy to be acoustic guitar music, after what I’d been told, but she had other ideas. A couple of great songs, performance just a bit off. Thank god I’d crashed the cocktail party, so I had somewhere to flee to. Vee Mukarati came after and redeemed the slot like the pro he is.

Comedy

23 September, 2016

Great job all round, with a sterling performance from Zambezi News in particular. Were I a rapper, I’d never wanna get on their bad side. Mandla seemed to wanna be like Clive Chigubu, though.

Tehn Diamond

23 September, 2016

Tehn Diamond

Came on at the perfect time, that kismetic conflunce of cooler-boxes, and killed it. As expected. Obviously.

AKA

23 September, 2016

AKA

Social media will tell you that AKA is a this, a that, a who and a what. Maybe he is, I don’t know the guy. If you pay attention to South African Twitter, you’ll think he’s the national clown. This performance, however, made me realise that the guy is actually famous for a reason. He’s good at his job. I was entertained, which is pretty fucking difficult.

Winky D

24 September, 2016

Winky D

Ninja President. Gaffa. Dancehall Igwe. Godfather of ZimDancehall. Legend in our lifetime.

Hub Awards

24 September, 2016

Hub Awards

Meeting with fellow judges Vivienne Marara and Caroline O’Donovan. Already the dumbest person in the squad, but tried to make intelligent-sounding noises. Vibrant discussion, results seem legit, then off to Old Georgians for the rugby.

Bryan K

24 September, 2016

Bryan K

Bryan Kadengu is a special talent, and although I was a little wobbly after the previous night’s activities, and a few silly doubles at OGs, I enjoyed his set while I fought with the World’s Toughest Pork Chop (don’t ask).

Comedy

24 September, 2016

Donovan Goliath is actually pretty fucking brilliant. Had never seen him perform before, and I was pretty damn impressed. Some jokes were low-hanging fruit for us drunkards. I, personally, was so wobbly I had to sit in a chair. Ugh. I’m such an amateur.

Jah Prayzah

24 September, 2016

Jah Prayzah

Jah Prayzah, the man of the moment. No longer as wobbly, after an hour in a chair, I was dancing and marching along to every song. Everything was on point, the band, the outfits, the vocals, the … vibe. I wish him all the money on Earth!

Ammara Brown

24 September, 2016

As if my black Nikes weren’t already brown enough (ha!), I then had to dance the kongonya. There also may, or may not, have been a couple of Mukoko High Kicks. Thank lawd for knee-braces.

Brilliant times. Long live Shoko Festival, and thanks to everyone involved in making it happen.

Forever.

The Drum Circle of Life

Fanonites and Fanon-lites,
Making Fanon sounds for foreign Likes,

Baby Bantus and Mini Malcom Exes,
Portly public figures expanding off excesses,

Social-media socialists and supper club socialites,
Spouting Sankarra, sharing Shakur,
Pretending to care for the poor.

Jet-lagging hangovers in another Insta-location,
Collecting per diems as an actual vocation.

Workshop warriors in air-cooled land boats,
Donating just enough for local hope to stay afloat,

Holding pot lucks to save the African wild,
Yet saving no fucks for the African child,

The Fun Day fundraisers, the comic relievers,
Charity concertgoers applauding opera divas,

The virgin Madonnas and Angels who fell into pitts,
Picking pickanins piecemeal using African baby starter kits,

Never mind,

The real target of this entire intervention,
Is how to get with that cute Swedish volunteer?

Lean in, smile, don’t forget to mention,
This Is Africa, laugh, and buy another local beer,
Job done.

Captain’s Log: September 2016

Day 366 of year 37, 3rd rock from the sun, Milky Way Galaxy

Captain Broken Jaw, Slapaho Tribe, of the Imperial Metaship Fuckaduck, 2 September 2016, Earth Time.

Chosen mate has proven suitable, and a highly capable companion. The result has been a quite pleasant relationship experience which may prove crucial in keeping me balanced and steady on my mission. Will maintain.

There are few signs of intelligent life, and what sentient beings I have discovered appear to thrive in a constant state of conflict. Whether within their own limited psyches, or with the world around them, they appear to always be at war.

Leadership systems among these limited beings are mostly primitive, and it is often the strongest of the tribe who leads. Such primitive societies are therefore ruled rather than governed, giving natives the chance to engage in their most favourite pastime – conflict.

Due to dwindling resources, and the aforementioned low mental capacity of this planet’s inhabitants, an emergency evacuation may be required. Given their propensity for tribal conflict, this could be soon. If not, their dependence on fossil fuels will deteriorate the environment and atmosphere to an uninhabitable shell, much like our home planet.

There is also a worrying trend towards religious strife, another indicator of the low levels of intelligence obtaining among this planet’s inhabitants. Though the planetary archives show that this is nothing new, my vast experience tells me that it is coming to a head.

Nevertheless, Earth is not completely doomed. I shall continue my mission to document and study useful species, and assimilate into the local populace.

ENDS