Tag Archives: zimbabwe

When Do We Fight?

As the world bathes itself in the blood of innocents, ignoring their cries as they bleat acknowledgements to corrupt leaders, I ask: when do we fight? Continue reading

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Zimbabwe

It’s a shame I haven’t finished writing my post on the riots back in 1998. I had intended on completing that story and moving on to how I met Morgan Tsvangirai after an attack at his offices. Continue reading

Interview with an MDC Leader

As a freelance reporter, scooping a good story in a timely fashion was pretty difficult. After all, I had to hold down a proper job to pay my bills.  Luckily, my boss was very flexible and encouraged my ridiculous requests to have an afternoon off to catch the frequent riots occurring outside our ten story building in the middle of Harare City Centre.

Most of the time I went in blind; that is, I didn’t know what the riots were about and had to strike up conversations with people running from the military police in order to get the scoop.

In 1997, such a day occurred. University students had been staging riots across Harare city centre, striking against new taxes being introduced to pay for war benefits for war veterans who had fought in the struggle for independence over seventeen years earlier. In the midst of the ruckus, I bumped into the Bank Worker’s Union leader. He and I happened to share a space within a group of strangers watching the chaos from a street corner outside Greatermans department store. We were deciding whether to run down the road like the frightened crowds around us or wait. Most of those standing with us were shop workers trying to find a safe way home. As we paused amidst the screaming, running mob, conversation sparked.

When he heard that I was a reporter, he offered me the opportunity to interview him to get the bank workers’ perspective on the behaviour of the Zimbabwean government. A date was made for the next day before a military jeep interrupted our discourse. A tear gas cannister barely missed my head and shot past the rest of the group, ending up bouncing across the street to a shop aptly called Reflections.

Escape became our main priority and I lost sight of my news source in the choking cloud enveloping us.

To be continued…

Memories

Last night I had a dream.  I dreamt I was back in Zimbabwe, travelling to all the amazing places we were fortunate enough to visit a few months ago.

I have a feeling that I need to share more photos.  Please excuse the unfocused imperfect ones – they have been included for the nostalgic value.

A shopping centre on the road to Mutare.
Quick clicks as we drove through Mutare on our way to Nyanga.

Look at the backdrop to the high street. My photo does nothing to capture the beauty and the weather was not exactly enticing.

‘Welcome To Mutare’ with Izzy reading her book.

These still give me the shivers.  I can’t say I would ever eat dried worms, but apparently many people love them.

Shopping heaven for any ex-Zimbo – do these products bring back memories?


A true statement from a bumper sticker that encapsulates the mindset of Emergency Taxi drivers!

I will put up more photos in another post as I don’t want to inundate you with just one huge blog post.

Hope you enjoyed travelling with me down memory lane.

Have a great Thursday.

Great Zimbabwe

 We took a trip to Mazvikadai, a stunning place close to Chinhoyi where there are ponds for fishing just off the main lake.  It’s a resort, though I’ve never explored the residential side of it.

  From this picture you will deduce that they keep live crocodiles.  Now we were told stories of baby crocs stealing bait and attacking the fishing line of unwary fisherman and some family members even warned my younger sprogs to stay far from the water.  I didn’t believe them.  Surely, they wouldn’t allow you to fish with crocs? Boy, was I wrong!
   

 The crocodile enclosure spanned across two sides of the bridge crossing to the ponds, housing the most humongous specimens I have ever seen.  Basking in the hot sun without a care in the world, these creatures secretly watched us, their sparkling green eyes attuned to the slightest movements around them.  I warned my youngest to stay away from the fence dividing us from these gigantic creatures, but found myself drawn closer to their close proximity to the fence.  Some force enticed us to want to get closer, as though what we were seeing was too far fetched to believe.  

  

 My brother scoffed at us and moved us along to the pond where our equipment was being delivered from the car.  Yes, there are gentlemen there to carry your things so that you don’t have to struggle on your own along the jagged paths.

  Upon arrival at our own thatched gazebo housing a large picnic bench and overlooking the splendid pond, my sprogs started screaming.  Up in the ceiling, close to the beams was a giant spider with long black legs and a body, half white-half black.  It contentedly watched our chaotic reaction to its presence from a web intricately woven like a hanging basket amongst the beams.  After a deep breath I told them to just ignore it.  After all, we had seen similar spiders surrounding the lion enclosures at the lion and cheetah park.  They were supposedly harmless!

Once they got over the fact that we had company in the upper beams, they focused on the creatures flittering to and fro between the brickwork on the ground.  Another round of screams were released because of the large ants and small spiders!  I became impatient and told them to get a grip.  We couldn’t avoid all of nature.

  They settled down once we brought out the rods and big brother showed them how to load the worms in the hooks (something they refused to do themselves!). Soon, everyone had their own private spot around the pond.  The fish were very savvy; each time a line was cast, we watched them literally jump out of the way and dance to another safer spot in the pond.  Frustratingly, the tiddlers found it amusing to clean our bait off our hooks if we left the line in the water for too long. 

The day dragged on and the heat pounded down on our heads.  Accompanied by the sound of the various birds hidden in the reeds, the little kingfishers ducked and dived, barely catching the wily little buggers hidden just below the glassy surface of the water.  I grew tired of my spot under a tree.  The smell of fermenting water and the heavy buzz of flies behind me was off-putting, even if the spot was perfect for catching the Wile E. Coyote fish cooling themselves in the shadows cast over the water by the tree’s branches.  I moved back to our gazebo to join my brother who was frying up some boerwors (spicy sausages) as a snack.  

  He asked me to recast his fishing line which was drifting lazily in the semi-cool breeze towards the lily pads.  Excited to do it since he had a really nice sized rod, I hopped to the opportunity.  Unfortunately I underestimated the wind and my ability to cast a heavier rod; the hooks and line went straight past a tree that had fallen into the water and got caught in its branches.  Weirdly enough, this tree was still growing.

I apologised and promised to go retrieve his line.  Big mistake.  It’s only when you do something ridiculously dangerous that you realise how old you are.  I started climbing this tree, telling myself that I had done this a thousand times when I was younger.  

“Just keep your balance,” I muttered to myself, “and you’ll be fine.”

Well my vertigo set in and the green, murky water kept reaching up to grab me.  I decided all fours was the way to go and crawled along the crumbly trunk.  A thin branch was in the way so I batted it to one side, not noticing the sharp thorns poking out.  It was some kind of Acacia plant that was using the tree to support it.  There’s a special word for plants that do this, but it escapes me at this moment.

Long story short, I managed to crawl up to the slender branches jutting out into the water just as my brother reeled in the line.  Disentangling the hooks from the fine, feathered leaves of the tree set it free and I was able to return to the safety of dry land.  My arm was ripped by the thorns but that didn’t bother me as much as the threat of falling into the water.  Later that day, I saw a baby croc swimming further up the pond. I was very glad I hadn’t fallen in! 

 

After a lovely day basking in the sun like the crocs, we packed up and headed home.  I’m sure I saw the fish waving good-bye and laughing at us.  I didn’t mind.  The baby crocodiles swimming just behind them were smiling too! 

Quick Pics!

The adventure continues.  Here are a few pics from the Lion and Cheetah Park.

Enjoy!

   
    
 As you enter the park, you are greeted by the sight of one of the big five: the regal lion!

   
    
 Within touching distance of these great creatures, we held our breath when one of the females decided to move to a cooler spot, closer to our car!  Everyone was hissing at me to close my window, but I had to capture her relaxing, curled like a kitten.

   
This is Leo, a South African white lion.  His partner, Lola, is expecting Cubs in the next four months. Apparently white lions are far more ferocious than our brown maned locals.

    
M

Meet Tommy.  He’s over 300 years old and has be the longest resident at the park.

 

  
 These little guys are already six months old.  We are hoping to return one day to see them all grown up, probably not as large as Tommy though!

   We were driving around the game park, hoping to catch a glimpse of just one giraffe and instead we’re blessed with a view of four giraffe, zebras, Impala, wild boar and an ostrich.
    
Hidden in the bush next to the car were two zebra.  I screeched, “Stop! Stop the car!”  

Meanwhile, just ahead on the dirt road was a herd of buffalo.  Everyone else could see the buffalo but no-one had noticed the zebra by my window!

   We were always told to be wary of the buffalo.  I don’t know how true this is but, if you see one separating from the herd, move away.  It’s usually the alpha telling the rest to stampede or attack!
I hope you liked our trip to the Lion and Cheetah Park.  Unfortunately the four resident cheetah were poisoned a few years ago and some of the other animals had died from old age.  I hope they do get a chance to replace them as the animals are very well looked after in their own large enclosures where there is less of a chance of them being hunted and killed. Freedom is always the best option, but in a world where few things are preserved and respected, maybe it’s better for them to be in a game park.

Holiday Photos

Hello,

It has been a rainy day today and we have spent it shopping.  The cold seems to have followed us from England and I don’t think my family are too impressed.  The lovely thing about the rain is that it’s warm, not cold, and sounds so serene pitter-pattering on the rooftops.  It’s a pity we can’t light a fire; a family of Hoopoes have nested in the chimney and we don’t want to disturb them.  

Here are a few photos from the past few days…

   
 Two metal sculptures at the top of Argyle Road in Avondale. Apparently they stand on the pavement of a back-packer’s lodge.

   The Catholic Cathedral captured from the car.
 Lovely patisserie in a Food Lover’s Market in Borrowdale.  They were huge and mouth-watering!

  The rest of the shelf of delicious treats.
There are many more and I am preparing a nice post on the artists and sculptors I met at a flea market the other day.  To give you a taster, here is a picture of some of their art:

   
 
I hope you’ve enjoyed a little taste of Zimbabwe.  Join me again for another update on our holiday.

A Day In The Sun

Well, day two is winding down and the mosquitoes are circling us like vultures descending on carrion. 

  After a magnificent breakfast, we ended up  spending the day being pampered at a hair salon run by a wonderful lady that was my mum’s friend.  We also took a trip through the city centre which has changed so much. 

Hoopoe bird on the telephone line

The heat mixed with the smell of burning wood filled the backdrop to the traffic chaos on the crowded streets. Cars hooted and flew past in their mad dash to get to different destinations further up the congested roads.  Men, women and children risked life and limb in their brazen attempts to sell water bottles, flags, airtime and snacks to cars stopping briefly at traffic lights.    
Watching the hwindi’s (illegal touts who stand on the sides of roads encouraging commuters into Emergency Taxis, an informal transport link) work their street corners by corralling prospective passengers into an ordered group for the oncoming Emergency Taxis made me think of how ingenious Zimbabweans are.     

With every possible economic and natural disaster washing over their towns and cities, the motto of the survivors is: Don’t worry, we’ll work a plan!

For those of you old enough to have watched the tv show, Macgyver, you will remember  his amazing talents of using whatever he had at hand to create something extraordinary that would help save him. Well, that for me is a typical Zimbabwean. 

Water storage with carious sources of fuel in case the water and electricity are turned off, a frequent occurrence in Zimbabwe

 Everywhere you turn, people are creating/inventing incredible things to help make life easier. I am in awe of their resilience and forward thinking in a time when most are crushed.

A millipede, better known locally as a Chongololo!

Monday Coffee

Hi!  Thanks for joining me at the most unusual place yet…the airport!

We don’t have to have coffee if you don’t want to – instead, we could have a glass of wine to celebrate the fact that I will be travelling back to the land where I was born in just a few hours.  It’s great to have company whilst I wait for my flight.

Did you get a chance to see the coffee blog I posted over the weekend?  How fantastic is it that the blog we all love to read and share has found its way to the powers that be?  I’m pretty excited to be a part of it.

I remember linking my first coffee blog to Parttime Monster’s post and thinking, what a great idea to share a space with fellow bloggers and catch up on news.  I prefer creating an illusion of actually meeting up in a coffee shop, or my bat cave, or at an airport!

 

Sharing our Monday Coffee at Oriel

 Now, we usually share a slice of chocolate cake or a different scrumptious treat, but for today, how about a Caesar salad or something more sustantial?  

My order is a a plate of French fries and olives on the side.  Delicious!

Whilst we wait for our orders, why not tell me where your most recent travels have taken you.  Some of our fellow readers are world travellers, whereas some are like me, a bit green behind the ears!  

If you had a dream destination, what would it be?  I would love to visit Hawaii, or the Sahara Desert.  Two extremes, but both exotic, beautiful places.

Right, our food has arrived and it’s rude to to keep checking my phone whilst we eat.  I’ll bid you farewell and will keep you updated on my travels with a few photos to give you an idea of the beauty of the place.

Oh and if you were wondering where I’m going, it’s Zimbabwe in Africa.

Bon apetit!

A Coloured Lullaby

Here’s a little poem to make you cackle.  The slang is South African.  
Hush little laatjie don’t you cry, 

Daddy gonna steal you a GTI, 

and if that GTI don’t torque, 

Another GTI, I will stalk.

And if the stalking don’t go to well, ,

Daddy’s gonna steal you a Caravelle, 

And if that Caravelle can’t make tricks, 

Daddy’s gonna jack you a VR6, 

And if that VR6 won’t fly, 

Daddy’s gonna knock a BM from a Sandton guy.

And if that BM’s sound is kwaai, 

Da lenz cherries will go with you to elke braai,

And if the cops ask why?

Daddy will buy the docket from the police spy,

And if all these things still make you cry, 

then you not my laatjie , 

Your mom told me a lie…….