Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Author Archive

Shaking butt

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Thursday, June 7th, 2012 by Tina Rolfe

I like to think I can shake my butt with the best of them, but these days the trouble is that my butt keeps shaking long after the music has stopped and less flabby people have gone home. I may exaggerate the duration, but the act is fact, unfortunate but true. I joined a Zumba class last week, primarily because it was cheap, and I can take the kids (the whole family can enjoy the hilarity of playback as enacted by my children, joy!), and it’s close to home, and the winter weight is telling, and I’ve been meaning to get some exercise …. so, lots of reasons to go.

Anyway, I arrive, water bottle and hand towel at the ready.  We are a mixed bunch of people, and at this point I’m feeling a little smug (read: I’m not the fattest). There are a couple of youngsters (twenty-somethings) with a full face of make-up on, making eyes at the instructor (who is all of 18) – but not for long. At least 1 bows out half way in a bid to retain what mascara remains and to retire to the bathroom to fix her hair (smug, again). There’s a girl and her mom, allegedly on holiday from Holland (I think it’s a plot myself). There are some overweight ladies, apparently ready to make a change (am not sure what they think the Energade will achieve – probably more calories in a bottle than you can burn in 45 minutes) – you can see I am setting myself up for some well-deserved slapping down can’t you?

I probably made a good 15 minutes of uncoordinated effort to keep up, little realizing that I had an unattractively red face by this stage and it was obvious to all that I wasn’t able to follow the instructor’s “breathe through your nose, exhale through your mouth” – my lungs were bellowing, no chance to close my mouth!  In the corner of my eye, the daughter and her mother happily persevering at a steady but unfaltering pace (it may seem trivial, but I will come back to this later). I did not give up, but I was the only participant (read: contestant) that had no water left by the end of the session. You catch the drift.

The next day I was happy to note that I had no muscle pain (smug), so I rolled into the next Zumba class with the mistaken belief that I couldn’t be as unfit as I thought.  This week more youngsters in hot pants and make-up, (word is out that the instructor is a hottie and will chat to you after class even if you have ducked half the workout and spent the time in the toilets like a teenager …. what am I saying, he IS a teenager!). Me? I drag my sweaty pits home as quickly as I can pack up the children, this is NO time to hang about, perspiring and red-faced and with barely sufficient breath to shout for the kids, never mind conversation!  Anyhow, I see the daughter again and ask solicitously after her mother (read: smug) and blow me down with an anchovy if she doesn’t say, “Oh, you mean my grandmother …” – who is apparently game viewing in Hwange and has therefore missed her weekly workout, the one she attends when she’s not cycling (as you do, Dutch and 80 in the shade) or judo or swimming. Enough said.

All I know is, if I can do that amount of jumping up and down at her age, without the assistance and protection of a nappy, I’ll be …SMUG (was going for grateful, but honesty won out).

Give me a dance floor and red bull and nobody is sexier

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 by Tina Rolfe

I’m one of those unfortunate souls who have the remarkable ability to remember, that which is best forgotten.  Other people say things like “I don’t know how I got home”.  It doesn’t matter how inebriated I am, how unable to co-ordinate my feet or control my tongue or negotiate corners – I can remember every humiliating moment in crushing detail as soon as I start to sober up.  Four gin and tonics and one Dom Pedro later (the Dom Pedro definitely gave me the hoof) on Sunday and I was into a debate on religion versus reality with all the fervor of a self-declared genius.  Give me a dance floor and red bull and nobody is sexier, give me gin and I become confrontational and aggressive and right! What I may have lacked in argument (somewhat slurred and occasionally illogical) I made up with volume and impassioned gesticulation (vaguely threatening) and I seem to recall my husband sidling past discreetly once or twice (also hoping to avoid a fight), asking me between clenched teeth to tone it down. Nevertheless I was convinced I was making a dent in the other person’s argument or I think “sway” was the word that came to mind.  He remained calm throughout (with a few feeble attempts to change the subject which I skillfully swatted aside – by this time almost having a chat with myself), amazing that he bothered to maintain the conversation at all, what with me carrying on with all the disgusted self righteousness that gin can muster – note I say nothing of dignity.

Later the same night I relived each painful moment, sucking on my large bottle of water and trying to swallow my peanut butter sandwich with no saliva, my brain the size of a pea rattling in my skull. In younger years this tried and tested remedy was reserved for the morning after (whether because I partied longer, or I was just younger I’m not sure). Movement, light and noise are very painful at this stage and a combination may result in many happy hours renewing acquaintance with the bathroom tiles. Anyway, days have passed, and I have managed to write this now without blushing (although I still feel ridiculous) and the gin and tonic has been untouched in the fridge since then – my husband’s tongue-in-cheek offers to mix me a drink have been scorned. I am obviously too old for the “hair-of-the-dog” trick – if it ever worked (I think he just likes to watch me go green).

Are any of your resolutions surviving January?

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 by Tina Rolfe

Tell me; are any of your resolutions surviving January?

I decided to steer clear of the usual suspects this year – the diet, the exercise, the booze ban.  Instead I prayed for wisdom, maturity (mental, not physical obviously – you only want to be older when you are 12 and ¾’s), tolerance, restraint and grace – assuming that the diet, the exercise and the booze ban will follow as a matter of course (ha!).

These resolutions are a journey, rather than a destination (some have pointed out the potential ease of reneging and have questioned my motivation – or lack of – quite uncharitably I feel) but I do have one outstanding from last year that I hope to complete this year (and it is measurable).  It involves a reading list – the point being to read a number of books (over 100 on the list) which are selected (by a panel of academics) based on their impact on society at the time they were written (and none of them are new) or through history – whether due to literary style or content.  Some of them are painful, so painful that my Kindle remained untouched on my bedside table for weeks, and I have struggled all the way to the end of others, still not having discovered the reason they were chosen to be on The List in the first place.  Anyway, I shall persevere.

Daniel started “big school” this year.  My eyes brimmed as I took 101 photos of his first day, complete with too-long-shorts and large floppy hat.  He went off (tearful mother clutching large bog roll – you want to take a new one, not one that has dwindled to a few discreet nose-blows, and forget the dainty multi-coloured tissues – your nose will break right through and you’ll have finished the lot before you reach the car) cheerfully waving good-bye, after a hasty kiss and “I love you mom”.  I had so much to say. I was brimming with well-meaning advice on playground and bathroom etiquette. I was prepared for the “I don’t want to” battle complete with temper tantrum and tears.  And I was left, bereft and forlorn, looking after my departing child, my baby, his little satchel bouncing off his back as he ran into school.  I almost ran after him.

Tyla had her very first spelling test ever. And, after 2 afternoons of coaching and oral repetition in the car (Daniel being loudly shushed into silence), she got all her words right – I can feel my chest puffing out as I sit here.  She is enjoying Grade 2 less than she expected (things are so hard).  Still, I am always proud of her, although she may be daunted or nervous or scared, she always walks into a new situation with her chin up.

And so this year has been full of milestones already. We are well and truly launched into 2012, let’s try to remember our time here is finite – and make the best of it!

You gotta love ‘em

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Tuesday, November 1st, 2011 by Tina Rolfe

I’m at my best first thing in the morning, hair sticking out at all angles and a face that needs ironing.  The kids, on the other hand, wake up as though they’d never slept – their eyes might be a bit droopy, but the energy bubbles just under the surface.  Such “tail-wagging” is reserved for the weekend of course, when I want to lie in.  On a school day they have to be coaxed from bed and scooped into their uniforms with a shoe spoon.  Daniel never has his hair brushed, and ignoring his feet, I sometimes only realize he’s forgotten his shoes when we get to Tyla’s school (having removed them to jump on the bed).  Tyla has her hair brushed, but inevitably the skirt is rucked to the side, her shirt is partially untucked and her socks are inexorably slinking south – and this is how we arrive at school.  Carrying satchels and silkworms and mulberry tree leaves and flowers and extra glitter (Xmas is almost upon us – the decorations are going up, and come December 24 we will all be ready to murder anyone who sings “jingle bells”!).

But at the weekend, you are prodded and whispered at and when Daniel gets impatient you might get a finger full of slobber in your ear – otherwise known as the “wet willy.”

So I started writing this on Sunday morning, closer to 5am than 6.  Aunt Jen gave Daniel some fishing lures; plastic worms with all sorts of wiggly bits and colours to fool the fish, and both kids have taken great delight in hiding them where I will inadvertently find them.  My shrieks, the first genuine, the rest contrived it must be admitted, are mirrored by happy squeals and giggles.  As I sip my coffee, they are busy planting lures all over the bed where Graham is still sleeping, or trying to, their giggles are hard to suppress and tip-toeing is out of the question.  I am unashamed at having made the suggestion and obstinately ignore the lure wedged between my toes.  It must be the best part of my day.

Zimbabwe media project wins new media award

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Friday, September 30th, 2011 by Tina Rolfe

The 15th Highway Africa Conference, was held at the Cape Town International Conference Center from 17-19 September 2011. This event is arguably the largest gathering of media practitioners in Africa and seeks to stir debate and discussion on journalism and new media.

For 11 years, these unique awards within the profession of journalism on the continent, reward pioneering, innovative and creative use of technology in journalism and the media.

The Awards were established to recognise African innovation in the area of digital media and to highlight the role that digital technologies play in journalism and the media at large.

The conference, which follows events in the Arab region where social media has been highlighted as playing a pivotal role in the revolution, saw delegates exploring other ways in which social media and other technological tools can be used to tackle global issues such as global warming and the millennium development goals.

Freedom Fone was awarded the SABC-Telkom Highway Africa New Media Award in the Non-profit category.

We are proud our initiative has been recognized regionally and are encouraged by the global interest shown in the platform, with downloads in over 48 countries to date.

Pictured above: Tich Sigauke accepts the award for Freedom Fone.

Changing seasons

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Monday, September 26th, 2011 by Tina Rolfe

There is a lot positive to be said about the changing of the seasons, it’s just that it doesn’t all “spring” (ha ha, weak I know) to mind immediately.  I am under attack by the dust and pollen and bush fires and other rubbish in the air.  The glaring sun, with its almost white light, is less than flattering for everyone, particularly after the winter months. We emerge with all our dents and dimples on display.  By midday, all the hairspray has evaporated with the sweat (not that I use hairspray – not enough hair). We are limp, with damp patches under our arms, shiny faces and the energy God gave a sloth.  Everyone in Europe associates spring with green. Here everything is brown, and dry – even the horizon is dyed with dust.

The birds of course, have returned from wherever they went (at least I don’t pretend any great knowledge), and their chirping is cheerful first thing in the morning – only drowned out by calls of “Moooom, I can’t find my school shoes!”.

And then total silence by lunchtime as everything pants in the shade.  All creatures are preparing for the next round of babies (imagine having to go through that each year??) and the weaver over my swimming pool is industriously stripping the palms for nesting material. Poor bugger continues despite the repeated rejection – he has built 3 already this season; at least, those are ones that survived her ladyship’s onslaught. I put water out just for him, to help him through the heat and encourage him.  Aaah.

The pool is back in play, which is a blessing for all mothers.  The children can jump and splash and play and then collapse in an exhausted heap at the end of the day, happy to be in bed, no arguments, asleep before you finish the story.