Attacked By HIFA Car Guards

Last night was a pretty ordinary night for HIFA. While we understand the operational challenges they’re experiencing, waiting 40 minutes for the opening show to begin wasn’t fun.

The show itself was worth it, and knowing how finances are, my wife and I even appreciated the tiny fireworks display.

Unlike *each* previous Harare International Festival of the Arts, we couldn’t hang around the Green too long, so around ten we bought our takeaway curries and bade farewell to our mates.

That’s when the nightmare began.

We walked all the way to the Global Quarter only to be told it was closed, including the exit gate, because there wasn’t enough security to guard the Craft Market wares.

Fine. Walk back around the toilets and use that gate? That’s alright. We understand.

Now, we always park in the same place. Park Lane, NSSA side, right by the park gate, which also leads to HIFA’s Global Quarter gate.

The place we parked outside HIFA, in the area we always park every HIFA

When we’d arrived earlier around half past six, we were pleased to see the car guards wearing red HIFA jumpers. Security, we thought. Awesome. They were friendly, too.

As we were walking out, I carrying the two takeaway containers, She carrying the car keys, we saw three of these security guys sitting just outside the park gate, on the curb.

As we walked across the road to the car, one of them yelled out asking for a tip. I told him I’d run out of cash inside the festival; he yelled out for just coins, and I said I had none.

By this time we were almost by the car, and this guy got up and aggressively chased me down. They may have given us jobs but you want us to turn into street kid mode, he screamed at me.

He came to my car door yelling, and as I got into the passenger seat, he slammed the car door after me, barely missing my left foot.

At this point, my wife was at the driver’s side with her purse out, telling him that wasn’t necessary because she was about to give him money (her last US$2 note, turns out) but now she won’t.

So he walked around the car and charged at her, swearing about her purse and she quickly jumped into the driver’s seat and locked the door.

By this time the other two had also crossed the road to our car, I assumed to restrain their colleague.


They also started yelling and swearing. By this time my wife had started the car, and Guy One was now banging on the drivers side window, swearing at us and shouting.

As she switched on the lights, he then attempted to open her door, which she’d thankfuly locked, and I told her to drive off. We lifted off in a rush, turned left into Selous, and left up Second Street.

Now, I have never been harassed by car guards on that street before (every previous HIFA, that’s where we’ve parked).

I’ve even let my wife walk out that gate and drive off alone, because we’ve always felt safe and secure at HIFA.

Not anymore.

We’ll now be parking elsewhere, and I’d advise anyone else going to HIFA 2017 to use well lit parking and avoid that Park Lane gate.

It was dark and there were three of them against myself and my very petite wife, so anything could have happened.

To the HIFA management and event security staff, I hope you do something about this. It’s unacceptable. We have supported this festival for years and have never encountered such problems.

Maybe posting a real security man by that NSSA Park Lane gate to keep an eye on the street kids you hired and decked out in your branded jumpers? I don’t know. Not my circus, not my monkeys.

If we didn’t already have a full envelope of tickets for the rest of the festival, I’m not sure I’d return. But I will.

Let me bet on the response: “We urge patrons to use parking indicated on the map of the festival venue indicated in our programme.”

I wouldn’t rule out intoxication, but that would just be another reason to be pissed.


Update – I tweeted this when we got home last night. It confirms the time, so I’ve amended the story above from “around eleven” to “around ten”.

Update 2 – I communicated with Tafadzwa Simba of HIFA, and eventually got this response on the action taken.

I checked yesterday and the matter had been looked at and the police were informed. Two individuals were dismissed. The whole system has since been made aware of this and is on the look-out for any errant behaviour.

ZANU-PF Hikes Mobile Data Prices

I am tired. I wrote about this over on CONSUMERIZIM:

In one move, Telecoms Minister Supa Mandiwanzira has managed to strike a body blow not just against social media dissent, but also against Zimbabwe’s widespread family units and relationships.

The loss of OTT services such as WhatsApp and Viber may have a direct effect on diaspora remittances, which the same government has been touting as a vital part of Zimbabwe’s economic recovery under the so-called ZIMASSET.

Zimbabweans will surely never get any rest under these people.


Open Letter to Open Letter to Toni Braxton

This was a twitter rant, but I may as well write it all down here for my Facebook Philistines.

I had no choice but to respond to mass stupidity regarding the upcoming Toni Braxton and Babyface show.

First of all, Victoria Falls.

Nobody is obliged to come to Zimbabwe and visit the “majestic” Victoria Falls.

It’s really just a wall of falling water – don’t assume that Toni Braxton gives a fuck about it.

Let’s be honest, you don’t want Toni Braxton to SEE the Victoria Falls; you want her to BE SEEN at Victoria Falls, and take photos there, and tweet about how majestic they are.

If you love the Falls so much, YOU go there and take photos and market the destination. Nobody else is forced to.

She didn’t make it to “her” press conference, huh? Did she say she would? Or did her promoter say she would?

Have you seen her contract? Did it include any press availability? If it did, and she didn’t bother to show, then surely her promoter can take a legal route with her management and sort that out.

Face it, a press conference is a marketing tool. Does she need to market this show? Does she need to smile at you press monkeys and charm you so you can go write glowing tributes about her forthcoming show?

This is not Paul Two or P Square or whatever they’re called who need to go to every radio station in Harare, touting their show at the Summer Beer Festival and begging fans to turn out in their numbers.

We are too used to seeing artists running around doing all this press and marketing for free because they need numbers. Well, guess what?

This is Toni Fucking Braxton, multi-Grammy winner and Queen of Everything Beautiful For Years and Years.

As for this “Welcome Party” I’m sure the grown men and women who sat around just praying to see Toni Braxton had better things to do with their time, otherwise they’re not really that “grown” are they?

Do you know that big celebs are actually paid to show up at events? Why don’t you ask Uebert Angel, who paid people to mumble birthday messages into cameras for him? They don’t just show up for fuck-all. You got duped. Take it up with whoever promoted that party.

Security concerns is a straw man, so I can’t be arsed to reply to “… I am assuming your non appearance is due to perhaps security concerns?” because that’s just someone’s imagination working overtime.

As for ticket prices and poverty, you don’t see me crying outside ZIMOCO bitching and whining because I can’t afford a Benz. There are financial lanes, and we all should stay in them.

I personally couldn’t afford a ticket to the Toni Braxton show. If you can’t afford one, go see Alicky Macheso at Pamuzinda, or one of the 47 Chimbetu brothers around. It is allowed. Let your wallet be your guide.

Apparently, Steward Bank organised some business dinner for her, with Walter Mzembi and the SA Ambassador. And she “snubbed” it.


Again, was she paid? If she wasn’t paid to appear, then there’s no point. She still has choices, right?

If this meeting or dinner was scheduled with her directly, and she was paid for it, then I’m sure her promoter will sue her for it for breaching her contract and whoever paid her for her appearance will sue to get their money back.

Otherwise, remember, she doesn’t owe you shit.

Toni Braxton doesn’t have to walk around the flea market or stand in the sunroof of a Hummer driving down Samora Machel and hooting for her to do what she came here to do.

If you’re holding a ticket to the Toni Braxton and Babyface show, then she owes you a show.

Otherwise, she doesn’t really owe you anything else.

If she chooses to remain holed up on the top floor of a 5-star hotel while preparing for her show, that is her choice.

Next thing you’re gonna be blaming her for job losses in Zimbabwe.

Grow the fuck up.

I am glad Rhodes fell

Format Video

*Scroll to the 12'45 mark, to hear me mumble incoherently

I haven’t been blogging much of late, chiefly because I have decided that I will no longer just write for writing’s sake, but only when I have something to say.

I think many bloggers fall into the trap where they feel compelled to push content, on a timetable or in reaction to events, and quality be damned. I’d rather stick to my work, than type out shit I don’t feel.

I realise this kind of thinking and behaviour leads to a drop in readership and metrics, but that’s only if readers and stats are the only goals in expressing yourself. Besides, if the content’s not quality, and you’re not writing from the heart, there’s no fucking point in blogging anyway.


Until late yesterday afternoon, I had been watching the controversy around the Rhodes statue at UCT from a distance.

Then I saw a tweet, in reply to a question about “Decolonising South African universities”, saying that statues represent our history. This was, inevitably, from a white youth.

And that flipped my switch, which ended up in my reprising my Reuben Barwe accent on Al Jazeera.

They represent “our” history. I got to wondering whose history he was talking about. Was his a collective or tribal “our”?

Because this is the new Africa – black people won. Our history is a painful one of colonialism, slavery, mass murder, land theft, rape and mass subjugation of the black African people.

It is okay to remember our history, but we don’t need to maintain monuments to it. Rhodes was a mass murderer and a land thief; that is not in question. We had to fight actual wars to rid ourselves of the legacy of Cecil John Rhodes and his cronies.

Why in Africa must we still maintain the relics, monuments and idols of our British imperialist subjugators?

Monuments and symbols are a reflection of a society and culture, why have monuments to our defeated enemies?

Where else but in Africa do the victors of war maintain the monuments of their former enemies, who they defeated?

Have we, as Africans run out of heroes to build monuments to, that we clamour to defend the monuments of our very own villains?

Whose idols & monuments do I want my kids in an independent Africa seeing daily? British imperialists or liberation struggle heroes?

I believe we need to give more prominence to glorifying our liberators instead of allowing the relics of our colonisers to abide, as if we didn’t win. It’s a cultural issue.

I am okay with a remote grave or shrine somewhere at a historical site. But I want my kids to be seeing statues of our liberators about town; people who actually defeated the evil of colonialism, and not monuments to the architects of our subjugation.

I want my kids surrounded by symbols honouring the heroes, not the villains.

I say fuck it, put them in a museum. Those who wanna worship at the foot of Cecil John Rhodes can go and visit him there, like they do his grave.

Anyone who wants to genuflect at the feet of their statues is free to do so, but our public spaces should reflect the realities of not just our history but our existing realities and the future we want.

We have enough idols worth erecting; the Mandelas and Sobukwes and Bikos and Nkomos and Tongogaras and Sankaras and Nehandas deserve the honour of commanding our parks and traffic circles and university quads, because they fought to free those spaces from the CJRs and Beits and Jamesons and Victorias and Elizabeths and their legacies.

Decolonising the mind is not an event, it is a process. A part of this process is removing the notion that the alabaster master is inviolate.

I am glad that is no longer an issue, and the statue has been taken down. This can open up a larger conversation across Africa about how we maintain our colonial relics at the expense of our traditional ones (many of which were destroyed).

Just one more thing – if you think “there are bigger issues” than a statue to “focus” on, that’s your choice. Please proceed to focus on those bigger issues, or anything else you feel is worthy of your attention.

You do not have to be “distracted” by all this “hullabaloo” about a statue; nothing and nobody is preventing you from doing all the “better things to do”.

It is time to free our minds.

Southern Eye Whitewash, Justify Hooliganism

Following the violence-marred weekend football match between hosts Highlanders and Caps United, I made sure to read match reports from the Bulawayo papers.

I only cruised past the Chronicle, because their so-called reporter, Ricky “Traitor” Zillo, has demonstrated in the past that he has blinkers on when it comes to his beloved Bosso, and there is no hope of professionalism from that corner.

For this critique, my example will be a title from which I expected just a tiny bit of professional journalism. Southern Eye, how you have failed us. SAKHELENI NXUMALO is not a sports correspondent, it’s a Highlanders shill masquerading as a journalist.

Reading the match report, there was no mention of crowd violence at all. No, wait, I am mistaken, there was a mealy-mouthed attempt to barely mention an allegation of trouble. But not as fact, or that the reporter witnessed the violence, but in the context of allegations by Caps players.

The Caps players felt harddone by referee Philani Ncube’s decision to let Tarumbwa’s effort stand as they felt the striker had scored while their keeper was under attack from missiles thrown from the Soweto end.

(Some could argue that this is a mention of the violence, which, even if it was, would not be nearly enough to describe the chaotic scenes at the ground).

That is all. From the violence that rocked Barbourfields, scenes which saw at least one Caps fan hospitalised.

This morning, I spotted another headline – “Gumede warns Bosso fans.” I was intrigued. Having read the match report on the very same Southern Eye, with no reports on violence from Bosso fans, why would the Highlanders CEO be warning Bosso fans?

Let’s see what SAKHELENI NXUMALO had to say on the matter.

Gumede was commenting on the crowd trouble that rocked Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday during the Bob 91 Super Cup semi-final clash against Caps United …

Wait – so crowd trouble rocked the stadium? You did not mention this in your match report. Were you trying to hide it from us? Because your entire match report did not tell us of this crowd trouble, comrade.

So now that their intrepid Sports Correspondent had deigned to inform us of said violence, it was now Southern Eye’s time to … justify said violence.

Former Dynamos forward Mutuma constantly needled Highlanders fans during Sunday’s match and his celebratory run towards the Soweto stand proved to be the last straw for the home team’s fans and they responded by raining missiles onto the pitch.

It proved to be the last straw. They responded by raining missiles onto the pitch. Do you recognise that tone? That is the voice of a defence attorney explaining why his client committed a crime.

Delaying antics as Caps United sought to wind down the clock were responsible for sporadic incidents of missile throwing … 

Let me stop you there, “journalist”. Caps United players were not responsible for missile throwing. They did not throw any missiles. Do you know who is responsible for missile throwing? MISSILE THROWERS!

And now the clincher … point the finger of guilt at the opposition.

Caps fans were guilty of missile throwing as they pelted Highlanders goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda with all sorts of objects when play was about to resume after the visiting team’s players had resolved to continue with the game.

Oh well, that’s it then. Highlanders fans were not responsible for “responding” to provocation. Caps fans were, of course, “guilty of missile throwing.”

It is perfectly fine to defend your favourite football team. I suppose it is even okay to try and hide, whitewash, justify and excuse football hooliganism when committed by your fellow supporters.

What is not okay is doing this in an actual newspaper. This kind of thing is for us worthless bloggers who know nothing about balance and professionalism and ethics.

This kind of thing does not belong in a title purporting to be an independent newspaper. Where are the editorial staff? Or is this kind of petty partisanship actually editorial policy?

Southern Eye should be ashamed, for very simple reasons. The initial match report should not have gone past editorial without clearly mentioning the actual events that transpired. That in itself was criminal.

Then this piece of trash, trying to justify and excuse hooliganism, should have been rubbished immediately. There is no justification for football violence. There is no excuse for missile throwing.

There are no circumstances under which a newspaper article can accuse football players of inciting violence (by simply playing football) and NOT condemn actual football hooligans who engage in violence.

There is no excuse for this kind of writing, unless Southern Eye editors are blatantly telling us they are Highlanders fans first, and journalists second.

This is pathetic.

Image from New Zimbabwe
ZIFA are waffling the usual nonsense

BREAKING: Mujuru allies suddenly discover citizens

A shocking revelation has this morning shaken the Zimbabwean political sphere to the core.

The sudden discovery by Joice Mujuru and her allies, who had been unceremoniously dumped by ZANU-PF, of the principles of democracy has sent ripples through the social media.

In an open letter addressed “TO THE CITIZENS OF ZIMBABWE”, and ominously branded number one of 2015 (implying there’ll be more to come), the cabal of former ZANU-PF bigwigs appeal to be given a fair hearing.

The People From All Walks Of Life (aka The People) were dismayed to find out that the group, fronted by Didymus Mutasa, have only just now discovered things like “one-man-one-vote”, “majority rule” and “constitutional guidelines”.

In an imaginary interview, the Man On The Street could barely conceal his amusement at ZANU-PF chefs complaining of false allegations and political smear campaigns, given their history of deploying the same tactics against political enemies both real and imaginary.

The irony of Didymus Mutasa complaining about the lack of a “free and fair platform” to “elect leaders of [their] choice without intimidation, victimization, fear or trepidation” was not lost on a passing postman, who chuckled at the line in which he complained about “the erosion of … democracy”.

As we concluded the interview, a nearby airtime vendor yelled “Zvaiwana ngwarati“, a phrase we could neither make head nor tails of. Purporting to represent The People, he proceeded to issue his own statement.

“We The People From All Walks Of Life find it interesting that at this late stage in the game, if indeed the game is still even in progress or the whistle has been blown and all players have retired to their respective changing rooms (or to lounge about in miniskirts, whatever the case), these former bigwigs have decided to recognise the citizens of Zimbabwe, and even go so far as to write us a letter.

“We wholeheartedly reject that statement, and strongly advise anyone disgruntled by internal ZANU-PF political machinations to deal with their issues, and not involve us, the long-suffering People.

“We shall not be used to advance petty political agendas, and will not entertain charlatans bent on further squeezing us for material gain as if they were squeezing diesel from a rock.”

With gullible media outlets speculating about a split in ZANU-PF, it would be interesting to see what developments will follow.

No-one of any importance was available to comment at the time of going to print, as the entire nation seemed to be laughing all at once.

The Cane Spirit Manifestation

My dad was a primary school headmaster.

Reading that, one may come to believe that my old man is no more. On the contrary, the gentleman in question is quietly retired at his home in Chegutu (getting so much balder he wears hats inside) watching his stock of grandkids grow by the year.

So, to correct that opening line, and make things a little clearer, let’s begin from the beginning, shall we?

My dad, who is, was a primary school headmaster.

I once made a best man’s speech at a wedding, and I joked that my dad beat other people’s kids for a living. My stand-up brought the house down. Ndiwo anonzi ma true jokes ka?

Now, I’m not sure if the cane spirit is hereditary (cane spirit, because caning, headmaster, cane, you’ll get it in a minute), but I have the occasional moments where I just want to correct somebody.

Early this morning, I made an egg run to Bon Marche Avondale. It is Friday, so the maid is around, and y’all know maids need to eat, right?

So there I am, got my eggs, a couple of samosas to keep things spicy, and I think nah, I needs my medicine, innit? Schweppes Lemonade, it’s in the drinks section, let me pop over.

I entered the drinks section, which is a little dark cave filled with alcohol of all kinds and two fridges on the far wall carrying ma soft.

On the left wall of shelves, right at the far corner intersecting with the soft-drink fridges, is an eye-level display of mini Amarula Cream bottles.

There stood a boy child, in a red jersey and grey pants, holding one of said Amarula bottles and checking the price.

Me: Hey kid, aren’t you in a school uniform?
Him: Yes rasta, that is indeed what I’m wearing.
Me: So what the hell are you doing?
Him: I’m just looking, rasta.
Me: What are you looking at, exactly?
Him: The price.
Me: Put that bottle down and get the hell out of here.

He smiled sheepishly, carefully returned the bottle to the shelf, glanced at the price of some sort of vodka, smiled at me, and sauntered by as if the whole thing was some big joke.

Here’s the thing; I am not some grumpy old man roaming the streets of Harare terrorising people’s damn kids.

What annoyed me was, before school, in uniform, this kid is just wandering around the alcohol section of a major supermarket chain, and not one employee has asked a question.

I won’t go into a whole tirade about teenage drinking and responsibility and so on and so forth because, like I said, it’s a Friday.

I’ll just say one thing before I get back to work.

Little shits do shit like this because big shits like us allow it.

Good day.

Zimbabwe is politically foolish

So. Are we really saying the first lady is ruling the Women’s League?

Is it true the Youth League were trying to vote young Bob into their structures?

Listen, man, I’ve tried to keep my seat and ignore this nonsense, but enough is enough.

When people start talking about how they are queens, I get annoyed. Queen of what? This is a constitutional republic in theory, we don’t need a monarchy.

As I recall, nobody said the First Family was gonna rule Zimbabwe until kingdom come. We never agreed to let this bunch of people rule use in perpetuity.

Know what I think? I think we’re near a crossroads, and the daily succession talk is meaningless. We’re heading into the abyss, friends.

Military dictatorship is the about the only stability that Zimbabwe will have in the near future.


Time to grow up

I turned 35 on Wednesday. I am officially an Old Barley.

I fit the stereotype of a grumpy old man, but I do like to have the occasional drink and have a good time.

So I spent yesterday watching cricket, and went into the Scud & Nanny for a few scotches afterwards.

I bumped into one of my mates, who I’ve known in cricket circles for many years. How are you? I’m fine. I feel old. It was my birthday yesterday.

Then he poured his beer over my head.

Now, if you haven’t noticed, I HAVE MOTHERFUCKING DREADLOCKS. You don’t pour beer on dreadlocks.

In fact, outside the monthly shower, shampoo and retouch, you don’t pour anything on dreadlocks. Not even water.

I’m attending a conference in South Africa this weekend, and on top of all the millions of things I have to do, now I also have to spend three hours of my Friday getting my hair done.

Secondly, we are grown-ass men. We do not pour beer over each other’s heads. That juvenile shit is for the youngsters to do.

Thirdly, now I had beer in my hair and on my shirt. So I’m walking around the pub smelling like beer. Remember, I’m a grown-ass man.

I was pissed, and I told him so in no uncertain terms. It’s unacceptable behaviour, really. If people want to treated like adults, they should behave like adults.

Pouring beer over my head has, literally, wasted my time and money.

Who does that?

Zimbabwe Cricket has gone crazy

Tinashe Panyangara celebrates the wicket of Andrew Poynter of Ireland during an ICC T20 World Cup match on March 17, 2014 in Sylhet, Bangladesh. (Photo by Pal Pillai-IDI / IDI via Getty Images)

So I’ve tried to keep my head up. Nolonga. Zimbabwe Cricket has basically been playing rubbish for a while now. Our organization has been poor, and I don’t think anyone in charge is really focused on winning anything.

Look, the current national cricket team coach, Steve Mangongo, has never played a single international cricket match. Now that we’ve fired selector Wayne James, the only man in the current selection structures with international experience, we have a serious dearth of XP at the top level.

But that doesn’t matter. What does is that Mangongo and Givemore Makoni (chief selector, fuck-all international XP) are running Zim cricket like their own little tuckshop.

Tell me something; does it make sense that Tinashe Panyangara, who shared a video of Australia’s Mitchell Johnson bowling with a WhatsApp group of Zim cricketers, gets fined $1,000 and expelled from the national team?

A resurgent Panyangara, who has been bowling well (if not fast) in a team struggling to field players with experience and (bowling) control?

“Choki”, who I admittedly play a bit of pool with quite often, is an asset for Zimbabwe cricket. At this stage, with Australia and South Africa around and a dearth of talent to compete with the two best ODI sides in the world, we can’t afford to run the national cricket team like a rural tuckshop.

Someone needs to rein in our selectors before Zimbabwe becomes Takashinga Cricket Club by another name. Zim cricket is struggling and we need all the ball control we can get.

We can’t afford to be fucking idiots about a cricketer sharing a cricket video with fellow cricketers. They’re players, they banter. Grow up, guys!

We’re shooting ourselves in the proverbial feet and I won’t take it lying down. Before we have yet another player revolt on our hands, let’s stop running cricket like our personal club.

We appreciate Mangongo and Makoni’s development efforts (and successes), but where running the national side is concerned, they’re painfully out of their depth.

I haven’t even spoken about Wilsons and Wilfreds and Metbanks and sponsors and rentals and $7 entries etc.

Guys, this is a national team, stop fucking around and treating it like your bedrooms.

We’re watching you.