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19.11.17

Hannah's View: UNCONVINCED - Zimbabwe after 18 November 2017

Hannah's View: UNCONVINCED - Zimbabwe after 18 November 2017

UNCONVINCED - Zimbabwe after 18 November 2017

I am a 32 year old woman, born, bred and educated in Zimbabwe.  I am one of the last generations to receive government grants for tertiary education (but even that almost did not happen regardless of my high A level points). I do not have a fancy surname, I am not the biggest hustler on the street and I want to share my story so that people can understand why yesterday’s (18 November) citizen march, (though historic, epic and exciting) remains to me unconvincing. I also hope to illustrate my lack of faith in this exciting time, in light of recent events within the week we did not have a coup but the military took over political and communications at a national level. But before I do so here is a paraphrase from a man I would call a prophet, who has shaped how I look at the world, Chinua Achebe:

After the white man left the house at independence, those who could, got into the house and left the rest of us, outside in the rain.

I shall now expand that metaphor to the Zimbabwean situation: Now those in the house have had a squabble, one was thrown into the rain and the friends of that one, decide that they want their friend back and now remember that there are those outside who, if they make enough noise will allow the ‘head’ of the house to allow that friend back and the head will be put out. But guess what?

Those outside in the rain, will remain there.

Growing up, I believed if I worked hard enough in school it was enough for me to be as successful as my little heart desired. That perception changed soon after Advanced level when a friend of mine when job hunting as we waited for our results and were deciding whether to go to university. We went all over town, and left our cute CVs everywhere. I eventually got a call, but not from any HR but from my uncle who had gone for a golf game and had met the GM of the departmental store I had gone to three times (and they had told me they are not hiring as they were already over the limits), on a Saturday morning. Monday morning, the H.R was being introduced to me by the GM secretary.

THIS IS MY STORY.

How many people have really got jobs on merit or because companies have need and will take people who have applied first, and are ready for work?

After university, I sent out my CVs all out in Zimbabwe; via email, in person and through friends. Then by some chance, I met an HR, who liked my face, I suppose, who suggested that I meet the owner of this establishment and pitch to him, my idea of what I could do for them. In essence, I was creating my own post.

YES I CAN BE A HUSTLER

And I am sure many Zimbabweans have done more impressive things, but my question is why should we have to struggle so hard?
Zimbabwe has its own way of doing things, the people are like no other in the world. We are angry, yet respectful of our elders; we are educated and highly superstitious (I am too, believe it or not); we are peaceful or is it that we are fearful?

Do you know that there was a time in my people’s history not so long ago, we could not speak on politics? Yes, there was a time when the word politics was like a permanent stain of coffee or red wine that was to be avoided by all means. It was good to be a coward. When I watched Boniface Mwangi, the Kenyan Journalist and Human rights activist’s speech, “The Day I stood up Alone”, I understood Zimbabweans better. Boniface said that in Kenya “being a coward was a compliment. A coward goes back to his mother. That meant if we stay out of trouble you would stay alive.”

When I was at university, it was unheard of to speak against a ruling party led by an iron fist and if there was ANY rumour of any ‘political’ movement against the regime, the army would make its presence known. There would be a helicopter hovering low enough to let us know they have an aerial view, the training soldiers would go through our university to let us know there are many, and of course the dog section would do jogging rounds with the dogs to remind us that they have strong teeth.

YES, THE ARMY MADE ITS PRESENCE KNOWN

Yet yesterday all that was forgotten for the day, because, uhmm, oh it was a historic day and people have for once come together. TOGETHER FOR WHAT?

What happened yesterday, to me is pretty much like, getting excited that your boss’s brother asks you to stand up against your boss (who you not stand up against because the same big brother would have beaten you up) because that brother wants to have the same car as his his brother, but uses you as an example of how his brother is unjust so that outsiders think he has you at heart. The people were manipulated, manipulated as the Germans were manipulated by Adolf Hitler (and up until today they do not want to be associated with him but truth is they willingly

WAKE UP ZIMBABWEANS.

MDC came, and fought until they too were wooed and used until they realized that those of the powers that have been cannot share their limelight, what more give it away? Blessing Vava, wrote it well, in his article, Zimbabwe, election 31 July… An end of an era, at the end of the Government of National Unity showing that all it did was it showed the MDC as, “minors in government who failed to realize that the GPA setup was not a permanent creature, but a temporary measure to create a conducive environment for elections.”  

Just as I am writing this article, ZANU PF has fired their beloved Robert Gabriel Mugabe as chairperson and voting to replace him with Mnangagwa.

Okay…. That was really faster than expected, but is my cynicism waned? Not in the least. The excitement shall soon die down and reality shall set in.

WILL THIS REALLY MEAN CHANGE?

Change for me and my contemporaries who are not working, or working for unfair wages (considering our qualifications, skill set as well as years of experience)?

Will the terms and conditions for my return to my homeland which I vowed not to leave but was forced to do so, be met?
Will my unknown surname continue to deter me from receiving equal opportunity?
Will Evan Mawarire’s family, Thomas Mapfumo and so many others return from exile?
Will there be an environment where criticism is not received as hate but taken into consideration? Will the highly capable white Zimbabwean farmers be allowed to return and work alongside truly interested black farmers to make Zimbabwe the bread basket of SADC?
Will the national road networks be restored to their former glory, as well as the Air Zimbabwe? Will the cities be clean, the infrastructure restored?
Will the banking system be normalised?
Will the 15billion and other unspoken amounts be found and put to use for the national good?
Will the public hospitals be functional and standards be restored?
Will corruption be stamped out?
Will the unnecessary road stops be removed?
Will the unfair ZIMRA rates at the borders be lowered so that people need not bribe officials to bring in goods?
Will the education systems and levels be restored?


Yay for ZANU for their change, I now wait for the change for Zimbabweans, I am still unconvinced. 

6.9.16

Drama, drama, drama

"I have broken up with him more times than i can count."
Wrapped around their little finger....
The ultimate drama that men and women give each other in relationships seems unreasonable whenever i listen to one party complain about another. 

More often than not I have come to the realization that many people argues, fuss and threaten to leave because there isn't a sense of equality in the relationship.

Threatening to leave implies that the threatener feels they have a hold on the one who is to be left and the threats are done to induce behaviour favorable to the leaver. 


Unfortunately the masters of this art do not come dressed in an elaborate evil villainous outfit with a roaring laughter to match. They are you average Joes or plain Sallys. What is even sadder still is that these people may be unaware of the hideous trait and will torment people who care for them into uncaring. 

Psychologists say that emotional blackmailers cause 'FOG' in a relationship to get to their unknowing victims. 


Fear,  (The Real F-Word)



When you are "in love", the one thing you do is open up with your new partner, your fears, hopes and dreams. Unfortunately, some people will use that information against you to serve their purposes. One of the biggest fears people have is to be viewed as 'failures'. For many African girls, being unable to find a husband by a certain age is a real fear, though they may not be honest about it.When they then open up about it, a man can take advantage by dangling the prospects of it and threaten not to give it if she does not comply to his demands. On the other hand, a number men have the fear of being 

 One of the most painful parts of emotional blackmail is that it violates the trust that has allowed us to reveal ourselves. 

Obligation



Often our ideas about duty and obligation are reasonable, and they form an ethical and moral foundation for our lives. Sometimes these are out of balance. Blackmailers never hesitate to put our sense of obligation to the test. Reluctance to break up a family keeps many people in relationships that have gone sour. Most of us have a terrible time defining our boundaries when our sense of obligation is stronger than our sense of self-respect and self-caring; blackmailers quickly learn to take advantage. 

Guilt- Tripping


Guilt is an essential part of being a feeling, responsible person. It's a tool of conscience, in its distorted form, registers discomfort and self-reproach if we've done something to violate our personal or social code of ethics. One of the fastest ways for blackmailers to create undeserved guilt is to use blame, actively attributing whatever upset or problems they're having to their targets. Once blackmailers see that their target's guilt can serve them, time becomes irrelevant. There is no statute of limitations. 

What does it do to a relationship?

Drama comes in a variety of ways;

Displays of jealousy anytime someone whom the partner may feel is more attractive,intelligent, confident or even just nicer than them befriends their person. This is where the problem begins. In as much as you begin to "belong" to a person and they "belong" to you in a relationship, it is imperative to know that they are NOT your possession. 

A human being does not just have a single relationship and in my opinion it would be very unhealthy to just have a single relationship (as a number of horror or criminal drama movies have shown). So to expect that your partner should have you and only you in their life is absolutely selfish,unfair and to a great extent a sign of insanity.

Have reasonable expectations from your loved one and also be a little less selfish.

Once in a while (not too long of a while) ask:

Be kind, sensitive, considerate and aware of how your partner feels and how you would feel when treated in a particular way.

Hopefully we have less drama and more love in this world....

Til Next time!!


5.6.16

Not Quite...

Hello my name is Hannah. I can adjust to any situation you put me in. I can be poor and live with it; I can also be rich and live with it and I am average and living with it.


Travelling on a train with my students

What is poor, what is rich and what is average?  No one can truly define these terms easily. They are all subjective depending on one’s experiences and comparisons. Actually, these three term only exist in relation to others. They are not in a vacuum.

If all people had an orange house with the same furniture inside and the exact same food and the appetites were the same there would be no rich, poor or average.

I do not know who came up with the distinctions. Was it God? Why are some people more talented, more confident, less interesting or even less attractive? Who knows?

I don’t.

Before a work out
 Recently I was thinking of my friends; the people I am 100% myself and not feel awkward with. I did come up with a few names. I was having these thoughts because of the struggle I have had in making friends as an adult in a foreign country. So difficult finding people who I can easily fit in with. It was just when I was talking to my closest of friend’s that I realized something about myself: I am not quite…..

Let me put it poetically, maybe it will make some sense:





I am not quite poor but I am not rich either;
I should have a car by now…so they say
But I do not, I cannot afford it.
I do not have a piece of land in my name
And I live from cheque to cheque,
I have no investment account.
But I do have a microwave
I have a flat all to my own with furniture and gadgets I bought on my own
I take myself to nice places at least once a month
I have never gone to sleep on a hungry stomach
For lack of food in my rented house.

I am not quite black, not quite white either
I seem to know much about the world
I have friends of the lighter skin
My sense of humour is somewhat white
I enjoy rugby and cricket
I love green tea, quiet restaurants
And watching the stars (yes those ones in the sky)
But wait, I love my motherland

I am a conscious black woman
Who understands the effects of our colonial history
I love chicken
I love African music
I ululate loudly at weddings
I can’t play a fancy musical instrument
I find it offensive if someone calls black people
“Those people”
I am not paid as much as a white person would for the same job.

I am not quite an intellectual, neither am I a dimwit
I have a university education and pursue even more
Yet I have made many unintelligent decisions in the past
I hope I do not make them again… really I do

I am not so sophisticated but I am not so crude either
Part of me was polished, yet the rest  remained raw 
I understand the way in which cheese must go with wine
I get the intricacies of being a lady
How to sit properly, talk properly and walk properly
Yet I prefer sneakers to heels, dancing to high teas
I would be happier at a braai than a formally dressed dinner party

I am not quite anything,
No box distinguishes me…. I am a bit of this with a bit of that. It is who I am
I was unhappy about it, for a second… no more
I am a unique diamond

Perfect with mg imperfections… which I now celebrate with a new found vigour!

That is who and what I am ... Friends or no friends, i am comfortable in my beautiful skin. I can understand that the ones i have, no matter how far they are... are the coolest and most amazing friends a person could he have.


19.3.16

Hannah's View: Remembering Hannah

Hannah's View: Remembering Hannah

Remembering Hannah

As my thirtieth year drew to a close last tear, I seemed to have bells ring in my head.

I asked myself some deep life questions such as;

Was I happy with how far I had come in life? Was I accepting who I am and was I working with my talents to be where I wanted to be? Would I ever be truly successful or happy? What had I done for myself ever since I had become 'an adult'?


The answers where not simple yes/no answers.

I realized that for a long time I had harboured bitterness towards some adults who had made decisions for me which had set me on a life course I really didn't choose. A lot of times I would pine over my mother: if she had been around life would be different.I also pined for my father, the only man who truly loved me.

I missed my parents, I missed the family I wish I had had and never did. I had reached my 30's, no husband to attach myself to, no child to inherit my looks or brains or anything at all, for that matter. I had always believed that somehow I would end up in some husband and wife situation with two or three kids and finally I would have people I belonged to and they belonged to me: Hannah's next of kin.

But 30 was here and that belonging had not happened and there were no prospects of it happening any time soon. So back to my life questions, I realized, I needed to do morej to be more.

It seemed my body was in agreement with me. My health was shaken, I was not well as we approached the end of 2015, I had just applied for studies of a second degree and I was determined to get my driver's learners license (another thing which I watched those around me get and I didn't... I guess the adults in my life reasoned that I wouldn't own a car anyways...hm!). I had been working like a maniac to make money for material comforts and total neglected my physical and mental well-being.



Straight after the doctor made the remark that it would do me good to lose weight
, I looked for a personal trainer. My application for the next degree went through and I wrote and passed for my learners license.

When 2016 began I felt aomewahat dulled out as if there was nothing to look forward to. Life seemed to be dull. And then again the train began to move. Back to work, I got a side biz for Saturday mornings, started now reading for my next degree, in the mornings I exercise and evenings, I walk.

I am trying to bring meaning to my own life.

I also discovered now that I don't really need to "belong" to anyone. It would be nice if I did but it's alright that I am where I am now. I see the pressure people who have others to be accountable to have and I am not sure I could handle that well. God seems to be aware of that about me. I get lonely but not once I start on the train.... I get so engrossed in my little world that it may be cruel to ask that some other person bears with that.

It's good to know that I have people to talk to when life gets heavy. Or I can just sleep in blissfull solitude.


31.1.16

Taking each other seriously

One day I asked a cousin of mine almost jokingly why they -him and other cousins of mine- are comfortable telling me their secrets other than the fact that I keep them. He quickly answered,

“It's  because you take people seriously and genuinely listen.”




I must say I was rather flattered that he would think that about me but it was later on in life that I realised the depth of his statement.

People need and trust a person who not only takes their words seriously but how they feel about what they are talking about.


Many people in this day of kermit and his tea, social media updates and so on and so forth have lost touch with understanding real human connections. Though let me say right now that it may have been an age old problem.


This is why people have friends but others that are closer to them. I think it is perhaps why a stranger can easily poison a relationship that has been supposedly solid for years. When human beings get an ear that has a heart with it and that gives more than just time but also interest they naturally want to get close to that.

Recently on a fb book page that I am on, a mother was worried about her son's bed wetting. After taking some good advice about water drinking times and talking to the young man, who told her that he was afraid of something at night, she said she didn't buy it.

This saddened me and then inspired me to write this article.

Is that what many of us are like? We want to get to understand why people in our lives are as they are and yet when they are open to us, we have the tendency of downplaying their feelings especially when it comes to fears.
The parent child relationship is the first every human being experiences
If trust cannot be established at this level, it may never be established
with anyone else


I have come to understand that any fear that someone else has and we don't have it seems unreasonable. Automatically, we tend to think that fears are silly when we have either overcome them or never had them. Yet, we all have a fear of one thing or another and are constantly working at avoiding them or overcoming them.



I have a strange fear; going down stairs. I always wondered why, until I met an older cousin who explained that when I was very small they would visit us at our house which had stairs and as a game with an older cousin push me down stairs…. They got into big trouble for it but the fear was instilled in me. That really seems silly I am sure but guess what I am not afraid of heights. I went mountain climbing in a beautiful place called Chimanimani and I loved the mountain climbing the most and one of those cousins had the hardest time climbing a mountain face! To me it was silly because I did it, easily!

Back to the issue at hand, I believe that many issues of mistrust that families have are because for years on end individuals have never had in-depth conversations and taken each other seriously.

It also happens when it comes to achievements, goals and dreams.

Is it not funny sometimes that the people closest to you get surprised when you achieve something great? I remember  one of the prevalent comments I received after getting my poetry published was;

“I didn't know you were writing a book!"

But I tell people that I write poetry and they take it as something fickle.

Right now many of us don't take the work that our parents, children, spouses and friends seriously and yet other people will acknowledge them and hold them in high esteem. Only when someone makes it to the newspaper or television/ radio interview do we then stop to see them, when daily our eyes just pass over them. That is not right

I believe that it is vital that we start as soon as yesterday to pay attention to the people we say are close to us. Let's not just take their fears, hopes, dreams and their desire to be known by us lightly.

People are lonely though they are surrounded by people who claim to love them. Depression is rife particularly because people have no one who takes genuine interest in who they truly are. Family feuds and dysfunctions are starting because we refuse to acknowledge what others really feel until they express it in "rebellion".

Listen with your heart

Diseases, disorders and even abuses of all sorts are on the constant rise just because us the essential people in other people's lives simply choose not to go deeper in knowing those closest to us and encouraging them with whatever challenge or achievement they may have encountered.