Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Author Archive

What makes a home?

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Tuesday, September 11th, 2012 by Leigh Worswick

A piggy bank sits on a bedside table in one of the houses at Musha Wevana. Beside the piggy bank is an empty yoghurt container with Zimbabwe dollars that had been saved and are now worthless.

More photos here

Faces of Zimbabwe’s future?

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Tuesday, September 11th, 2012 by Leigh Worswick

Rufaro draws in the sand after school. The children find creative ways to entertain themselves despite the fact that they don’t have any toys.

Check out more photographs of Musha Wevana Children’s Home here

Photo credit: Kubatana.net/Leigh Worsley-Worswick

Zimbabwean farm photographs

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Tuesday, September 11th, 2012 by Leigh Worswick

Ester, also known as “Amai White” is 90 years old and originally from Malawi.

More portraits here

Photo credit: Kubatana.net/Leigh Worsley-Worswick

Mystified muggers

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Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 by Leigh Worswick

Petty crime in South Africa is on the rise. People are constantly being pick pocketed and mugged. The situation is getting ludicrous. A couple of months ago a Rhodes student was mugged at knife-point for a packet of chips. The situation was almost too ridiculous to take seriously and one had to question the desperation of the mugger.

Recently a close friend of mine who is currently studying at the University of Cape Town was mugged while walking home from an exam in the afternoon. She noticed two men walking towards her and told herself … “Zi walk with a purpose, walk with a purpose.” The two men cornered her and demanded she hand over her wallet. A smile slid slyly across her face as she reached into her bag and without reluctance handed her wallet over. The two men opened the wallet to find a measly five rand coin. Mystified the men handed back her wallet in disgust and disbelief.

Bewildered by the situation the two men instructed her to hand over her cell phone. Reaching once again into her bag, she now really had to practice some self-control and contain her laughter. The two stared excitedly awaiting the latest black berry or snazzy cell, but instead she whipped out a “brick Nokia, no colour screen”. “I was laughing in my heart,” she said as she pulled it out. The two muggers stared in utter disbelief and began to laugh hysterically as they chucked the brick back.

To make the situation even more hysterical they then proceeded to reprimand her for walking alone in dodgy areas. “Really can you believe the cheek to mug me and then to be too fussy to take any of my stuff?”

Clearly muggers can be choosers.

Mugabe meets Pope

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Monday, May 16th, 2011 by Leigh Worswick

Recently president Robert Mugabe visited the Vatican for the beatification of  Pope John Paul II. This sparked widespread debate on whether Mugabe should  be invited to the ceremony. Many people believe that it is outrageous that the church accept and shake hands with a man who is known for the atrocities he has committed against his people. Many people feel his presence at the ceremony should not have been allowed and the Vatican should have condemned it. However on the other hand some people have argued that: “The Vatican is a Church; on what grounds can it ban someone from coming to Mass?”

The incident has caused a large amount of controversy as well as conflict between different ideas and beliefs. Although the argument that the Vatican is a church and on what grounds does the church have to “ban someone from coming to mass” is a valid argument, the pope shaking hands with Robert Mugabe could be seen as a gesture of acceptance that undermines the credibility of the church.

Media under siege in South Africa

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Wednesday, September 29th, 2010 by Leigh Worswick

I recently attended a press conference held in Grahamstown in which the topic was the proposed Protection of Information Bill and Media tribunal. The question being addressed “is  the media under siege?” There was a panel made up of various authorities including a member of the ANC  regional executive Mabhuti Matyunza.

Many people perceive that the ANC is putting a “squeeze on the media” and the introduction of the Protection of Information Bill would enable the government to prevent corruption from being exposed.

One of the panellists convincingly argued that that the things we want to keep secret are those things we are ashamed of, not the things we are proud of. He further argued that the government are in fact our employees. They are spending our money; they are elected by us to represent us. “I hope you like your ministers cars coz you pay for them!”

Many of the panellists agreed that the Protection of Information Bill would be taking South Africa back to the apartheid era. I completely agree with this argument as the Promotion of Information Act that was implemented post apartheid was put in place to prevent government from being corrupt. It was put in place in order to prevent and expose corruption. With the introduction of this Bill it will become almost impossible to expose corruption.

Another panellist commented that what you need for a “Healthy Public Sphere” is an opinionated society. We see the importance of this when we look at Zimbabwe where many ministers are able to get away with corruption because there is no freedom of expression. Does South Africa want to head down the same road as Zimbabwe where they will live under the complete control of government?

I was shocked at the attitudes of the ANC in response to the outcry against the proposed Protection Of Information Bill. President Jacob Zuma said something along the lines of we are the people who brought media freedom to this country you cannot tell us about media freedom. This statement sounds remarkably similar to the ideology Mugabe expresses when he argues that ZANU-PF liberated Zimbabwe and therefore they can do as they wish. Mabhuti Mtyunza the ANC regional executive seemed to avoid the issue being discussed and continued with his own agenda of how the ANC has done so much for the country. He argued that the media is “denting” and “destroying the country” and “working for the opposition” and as a result needs to be “monitored and guided”.

Does South Africa not realise that the platform of democracy is freedom of the press and freedom of expression. South Africa seems to have failed to learn from Zimbabwe’s mistakes, once there is no freedom of press corruption thrives and ministers are able to exploit resources as well as people.