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Africa is in our hands

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Thursday, July 3rd, 2008 by Moreblessing Mbire

It is encouraging to see that despite the challenges of this world and the hurt going on there are still people who sacrifice to save lives. On Friday night 27 June 2008, I was watching the 46664 concert live on television in celebration of Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday. The concert held in London was graced by a number of international artists under the theme, ‘It’s in our hands.’

Annie Lennox is one particular artist who touched my heart in her efforts to make a difference in the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS. During the concert she showed the audience a picture of a 7 year old child with full blown AIDS whose poor health was being worsened by malnutrition and lack of treatment to boost the immune system. She then showed another picture of the same child after taking treatment and following a proper diet . . . this was such a moving experience to me.

It got me thinking that if each one of us had such a selfless heart, this world could be a better place. I believe that even the smallest of gestures like helping a neighbor in need either in cash or kind means a lot to the recipient no matter how small. Echoing Madiba’s words, ‘there is still so much work in Africa’.

What upsets me is the fact that some of the challenges we face in Africa are self inflicted. For instance, to look at Zimbabwe and the way the economy has gone down and the health delivery system also deteriorating, some individuals still find time to intentionally cause physical harm to others, all in the name of politics. Surely this should be a time for those who directly or indirectly perpetrated violence during the election period to reflect on their actions and what they think they achieved.

It is time we realize that indeed, the responsibility to improve the world we live in lies in each and every one of us. Africa belongs to us Africans and it is only us who can make conscious decisions about our future.

In God we trust

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Friday, April 4th, 2008 by Moreblessing Mbire

Life often confronts us with so many challenges that sometimes the things we want to achieve seem so elusive. A week before the moment that I believed would define the future of Zimbabwe, my heart was torn apart. A part of me was excited and hopeful that the time had come for citizens to decide on the future of Zimbabwe and this would be done accordingly. Another part of me, for fear of disappointment and in an attempt to prepare myself for whatever outcome of the elections, was not keen in being hopeful at all.

A couple of days now, Zimbabwe still awaits the announcement of the results of the presidential election. With all the anxiety that has been created by the slow announcement of results, I for one am not sure what to expect. There is so much speculation about the results. Some in anticipation of a new government are even talking of ‘The New Independence’ referring to the period after the March 29 2008 polls.

With the way our economy has gone down, I keep on asking myself, ‘who am I to hope and dream of a better Zimbabwe?’ In trying to think about our future as Zimbabweans, so many questions remain unanswered. At the end of the day I feel some things need intervention of a high power than ourselves. All I can say to brace myself for the results and the next five years of economic recovery of further melt down is, in God we trust.

When Addressing Us, Uncle and Auntie is Sufficient

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Thursday, March 13th, 2008 by Moreblessing Mbire

Securing accommodation in Harare has become one of the most daunting tasks one has to do if you do not own a house. Almost every month, I have a chat with my family and friends on the struggles one has to go through to find a decent place to stay. Worse still with the high rentals that owners are asking for, some even in foreign currency.

In one of the usual discussions, I came across something that I never thought could happen in real life especially when people are staying under one roof. Imagine the way rentals are so high and others being paid in US dollars and someone decides to add to that a very long list of rules!! My sister’s colleague got a place to stay at some house in Southerton, paid his rental and moved in. On day one, he (to his surprise) received some three sheets of hand written paper titled ‘Rules of Accommodation’ which comprise 29 rules to be observed as long as he was staying at the house.

Right at the top of the rules is a cautionary statement, “Please do not tear this paper, read it regularly, losing it is paying a heavy fine. When addressing us, uncle and auntie is sufficient.” What amazed me even more in the introduction of the rules is the fact that the tenant is given one month probation. And that’s when I thought people only talk about probation when discussing issues of employment.

Rule number 6 reads, “Never do laundry in the tub. Use the outside sink. Hang clothes with pegs, never without. Use the line near the mango tree.” The rules also stipulate that the tenant uses tissue paper only and not newspapers. In addition to the rent and observing the rules, the tenant is also expected to bring 375ml floor polish, scouring powder, a pack of toilet paper, a bulb and toilet cleaner every month. In these hard economic conditions, I tell you it is hard to keep up with landlords’ rules.

The highlighted parts of the rules are a pointer to how much burden tenants carry in addition to the exorbitant rentals. It is such a pity to hear of such stories when there is a Rent Board and the Rent Regulation law of 2007 which ought to protect tenants from unfair treatment by landlords in Zimbabwe. Most tenants are scared that the moment they report their landlords to the Rent Board, they will be evicted from the premises and start all over again to look for accommodation.