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It’s Spelt AmhlopHe

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Monday, October 3rd, 2011 by Thandi Mpofu

To bastardise a language is to corrupt or debase it thereby lowering its quality and character.  This happens every time a congratulatory message is published containing the very common, but very wrong ‘amhlope’.

Although it may seem to be a small thing, in actual fact the opposite is quite true.  To illustrate, consider an instruction manual where all references to a chock, used to prevent heavy objects from moving, have the ‘h’ omitted.  From a minor blunder, major consequences result.

It’s one thing when the misspelt word makes the occasional appearance in the press.  That can be excused and put down to a few people who are yet to know better.  However, looking at the situation as it stands, we are facing a national pandemic where the affliction is linguistic ignorance.

Here’s the thing.  There’s a whole bunch of Chief Marketing gurus, PROs and other comms. experts who are blindly copying from each other and perpetuating this misspelling.  It’s like nobody has bothered to check how to write the word correctly, which is illogical when using a language one is not fluent in.  And as a result, I often find myself paging through some or other congratulatory supplement, cringing at every sight of the unsightly error.

Thankfully, these circumstances are nothing a little care can’t fix.  Media professionals who are careful ensure that there aren’t any spelling or other mistakes to reduce their credibility and that of their written work.  Further to this, Zimbabweans who care work towards the preservation of their heritage, which includes SiNdebele, one of our official languages. If we can be so diligent when using the Queen’s English, why not show care with our own languages?  And if we don’t care to care, who shall?

Without going into a lesson on the orthography of SiNdebele, know that the word ‘amhlophe’ is spelt correctly when it has two letter ‘hs’ in it.  The first is flamboyant and creates a distinctive sound which gives the word character.  The second ‘h’ is modest and serves to give the letter ‘p’ the ability to pack a purposeful punch!

Wicked Leaks

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Tuesday, September 13th, 2011 by Thandi Mpofu

New Magazine – Out Now!

Who needs Cosmo or Metro when you have Wicked Leaks, your first choice magazine for hot gossip and scintillating scandal from the world of celeb-politics.  Get your copy and gorge yourself on delicious disclosures!

In this issue:

Up Close
Top officials tell-all in exclusive interviews. It’s all about party makeovers and sprucing up the leadership.

Do’s and Don’ts
If you are being criticised for lacking strategic direction, read this. Get advice on how to lead your party in a confidence-inspiring way.

Astrological Guide
Find out what life, politics and health have in store for you until 2013.

Tell Aunt Charlene-Rae
There’s nothing like a secret meeting with your trusted agony aunt to get things off your chest and all over the Net.

100 Ways to Stop being a Weak Political Operator
This list will put an end to your friends mocking you and making fun of your leadership style.

Take the Tic-Toc Test. In a few quick steps you can calculate how long you have to live when old age and ill-health are taking their toll.

Sizzling Sex Secrets
You won’t believe who’s in bed with whom! Includes sensitive issues discussed during pillow talk and long lusty liaisons.

Free Give Away
A chic wrist band inscribed with the inspirational slogan ‘Leak Strong, Not Wrong’.  A reminder not to get caught on the wrong side with your pants down. You can never be sure that a leak taken in private won’t become a public spectacle.

The 10 Commandments of the Feeding Trough

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Monday, August 29th, 2011 by Thandi Mpofu

In Zimbabwe there is bountiful enjoyment by an elite few who are favoured to partake from the lofty feeding trough.  After all, it provides generous sustenance for their privileged lives.  Not surprisingly, many of us mere citizens wish to one day be among the chosen who take their place and gorge at the feeding trough too.  However, a word of caution.  The preservation of feeding trough’s status quo is pivotal and is guarded at all costs.  The blood of many has been spilled for it.
Read and understand the laws that govern the feeding trough and then decide if you are still willing and able.
1. You shall have no other masters except those at the feeding trough; they who brought you out of slavery.  Neither shall you have close friends from outside the feeding trough.  For your colleagues at the feeding trough are jealous colleagues and they will not hesitate to punish the fault of the father in the sons, grandsons, great grandsons, distant relatives,  family pets or tea cups.

2. You shall not speak ill of the feeding trough or utter its name in misuse.  For this will not go unpunished.  Food poisoning cures anyone’s inability to keep their mouth shut.

3. Observe the customs of the feeding trough and keep them sacred.  Lengthy periods spent languishing in jail have been known to remind the errant of the importance of the hierarchy at the feeding trough.  Neglecting to pay tithes can lead to banishment or even death.

4. Honour the feeding trough’s god-father and patriarch so that you may have a long, accident-free life.  Elevation and prosperity are the rewards of those who take heed.

5. You shall not kill any colleague at the feeding trough, unless this is deemed necessary and you are instructed to.

6. You shall not commit adultery with the spouse of any colleague at the feeding trough, unless this is deemed necessary and you are instructed to.

7. You shall not steal from another at the feeding trough.  Theft from a fellow colleague will result in the pain of death.  Theft from anyone else will result in the easy accumulation of great wealth.

8. You shall not bear witness, truthful or otherwise, against others at the feeding trough.  This is tantamount to treason and can only lead to the loss of life … yours.

9. You shall not covet the god-father’s position.  Should you discuss or even think about this, you will find yourself consumed in a blazing inferno, with no one coming to your aid, and there will be grinding and gnashing of teeth.

10. You shall not set your heart on the wife, house, fields or wealth of a colleague at the feeding trough.  However, should your desires for these become too great and you set about to make them you own, don’t get caught.  If your space at the feeding trough increases, questions won’t be asked.  Such is the way of life at the feeding trough and everyone will have to leave at sometime.

What’s your favourite position?

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Monday, June 27th, 2011 by Thandi Mpofu

An assessment of the range of political parties we have to choose from shows that whichever way one looks at it, Zimbabweans are screwed!  It’s mediocre politicians all around, positing ludicrous policies whilst they happily take part in scandalous shenanigans.  So come next trip to the ballot box, we’ll just have to elect the lesser devil into power.  Question is, whose political thrust will be easiest to endure?


They’ve courted our vote for years, promising new and exciting things if we give them a chance.  They’ve positioned themselves as the party for the ordinary Joe, preaching right, opposing wrong and taking up the people’s cause.  To their credit, they’ve managed to gather a large following, many of them eager youths. Unfortunately, they have also shown signs that they will give us more of the same.  We have seen them in government and they haven’t proved themselves very different.  In fact, it’s quite predictable how things will turn out should they have complete rule.  I foresee that after they have been in office for a few years, they’ll have us lying on our backs once more, as we go through the motions of the same old same old.

Who’s On Top?

This party is small but feisty and able to play ball with the big boys.  Despite their size, they have many tricks up their sleeve and the ability to turn the heat up on events.  They are well known for rousing the political scene. The downside is that leadership issues remain unresolved.  As things stand, it appears to be a party of wrangling cowboys.  So one wonders, at election time, will we be voting for a party with a guy on top or maybe a reverse cowgirl?

Standing Up and Shaking

The little parties of Zimbabwe politics are unstable.  However, they make sure that everybody gets some and this keeps things entertaining.  Usually, as elections are coming, these groups remind us of their existence by becoming rather vocal.  Occasionally, they will make the news, either for infighting or swinging, that is exchanging (political) partners they get into bed with. For this reason, nobody truly knows what (and whom) they actually stand for.  Most people are therefore, uncomfortable about engaging with this bunch.  After all, can you really vote easy when there isn’t something solid to lean against, and you’re balancing on one leg with the other leg dangling precariously somewhere else?

Violated in Every Way

The lover who turns on you is the best way to describe this party.  Things began beautifully and we were happy bedfellows.  Today it is dramatically different and the good times are but a distant memory. It’s a case of no matter what position you choose for yourself, you will never be satisfied.  In fact, you will suffer abuse.  The party of selfish lovers have years of experience in bondage and sadomasochism.   They’ve made us perform demeaning acts, brainwashed and drugged us senseless, used and used us some more. Still, in spite of this, the results of the vote will have them firmly back in power, and power is what rape is all about.

With such a political landscape, it is understandable that Zimbabweans feel disillusionment, indifference and fatigue when it comes to voting.  Thus, when the outcome of the elections are known, by far the largest population of voters, as always, will be those who have opted not to pick a favourite position for being screwed over.

Desperately Seeking Sisi

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Tuesday, June 14th, 2011 by Thandi Mpofu

We’re looking for a new domestic worker.  The last one left because she was getting married (logical?).  Forget the difficulties of actually training and living with a virtual stranger.  The search for a domestic is probably more tortuous.

As a starting point, it made sense to ask the out-going employee to recommend a replacement.  For us, that had always been a tried and tested method.  However, it proved to be trying and testing of us.  First, she said that she needed us to give her the details of the incumbent’s conditions of employment.  We obliged.  Then she wanted us to justify why her conditions were different from the new ones we were offering.  We gave her an explanation but soon found ourselves being interrogated on each and every point.  It wasn’t long before we were given front-row and centre seats to her protracted pity-parties.  In the end, she decided that she was no longer able to assist us … because of her husband, of course.

A little frazzled, we turned to family and friends for their help.  Unfortunately our quest churned out more horror stories than referrals.  We heard it all – about moodiness, going a.w.o.l., pilfering; of molesting maids and witching workers.  It all had us reconsidering whether we really needed domestic help.  Three days of doing laundry soon set that straight!

We broadened the search and sought assistance from neighbours.  No luck again, especially since somehow they got the impression that we were trying to poach their own domestic workers with the ‘showy’ working conditions we were offering.

The focus shifted to our neighbours in our rural area.  This time we wanted less references and more potential employees.  That became a learning experience.  Apparently, many in Matabeleland would prefer to seek work in South Africa than in Harare, which is viewed as a foreign nation.

We’re now toying with the idea of using a recruitment agency.  Having scanned the papers, we’ve come across ads that say, “For 18 – 45 years old maids, gardeners and cookers, please phone Shadi on 123456″.  Understandably, we’re a little hesitant to make that call and so the laundry basket piles higher and higher!

Zimbaly and the evil wizard

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Monday, May 30th, 2011 by Thandi Mpofu

Once upon a time there was an African princess named Zimbaly.  She was beautiful, rich and admired by everyone.

Oneday Unaz, the old, evil wizard kidnapped Zimbaly and made her his slave.  First Una looted and plundered Zimbaly’s wealth so that virtually nothing remained of her former affluence.  Next he put the poor maiden to work under despicable conditions.  For many years, Unaz controlled, manipulated and brainwashed Zimbaly, depleting her completely.

Then it happened that some bad luck befell Unaz himself.  His enemies from across the sea cast a spell on him.  Unaz’s movement became confined to a small part of all the land.  He was unable to travel about freely as he had done before.  The situation was too much for Unaz to bear so he came up with an idea to once again use Zimbaly to remove his enemies unjustified spell from him.

Unaz called Zimbaly to his chamber to give her the task.  She was to go throughout the country, accompanied by armed guards, collecting as many signatures as she could from everyone she met.  Unaz promised her that if she did this satisfactorily, he would release her and all her suffering would stop.  The end of the spell would bring freedom and happiness to both Unaz and Zimbaly.

Motivated, Zimbaly set about her task.  She went from door to door, obtaining signatures from many.  She organised large gatherings where the masses in attendance signed the petition.  Although Zimbaly did some advertising and in other cases used charm to persuade people to sign, her intimidating escorts had a lot to do with the great number of signatures eventually gathered.  Zimbaly actually got well over the target initially set at the start of the campaign.  She was pleased with her achievement and more than that, she was excited that at last she would be free to chart her own destiny.

Zimbaly met Unaz at the appointed time and place, and proudly presented him with the signatures she had gathered.  Unaz was suitably impressed. “There’s just one more thing you must do to complete this task”, he said. Unaz presented Zimbaly with a frog and told her to kiss it.

Zimbaly did not hesitate because she was well aware of what happened when a princess kissed a frog.  She closed her eyes.  Carefully, Zimbaly planted a kiss on the top of the frog’s head.  But alas!  When she opened her eyes, she quickly realised that it had all been a lie.

Unaz’s enemies were not impressed by the lengthy list of signatures and they took no notice of the petition when it was presented to them.  Unaz continued to live under the sanctions imposed by his enemies.  He did not acknowledge Zimbaly’s  efforts in obtaining the signatures but kept her under his cruel governance.  So, Zimbaly remained his prisoner, suffering abuse of human rights, hardships and poverty.  Her dreams of returning to her prosperous and peaceful life had all been a silly fairytale.