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No! To a curfew on women in Zimbabwe

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Friday, July 27th, 2012 by Zanele Manhenga

I think we are really regressing as a nation sometimes, what’s with men lobbying for women to be indoors by six o’clock? We cannot go back to the medieval era when women like children were meant to be seen only and not heard. Giving women a curfew is meant to alleviate prostitution they say. Bakers Inn will cease to bake bread the day the bread does not have consumers. The same way prostitution will end when men stop consuming the female product. If this is passed as a law it is going to be disastrous for women like me whose industry strives at night. I am a musician and performer who will be jobless. What other option of work will I have for a job? If the majority of women whom I know work long hours in offices have to be home by six and have no husbands or any other help to make ends meet, how will they survive? Can you imagine the bulk of women jobless wanting to put food on the table for their children and other persons under their care? Women often have more people to take care of than men do, imagine the pressure that this woman will have? If she is not going to be a commercial sex worker she is going to prostitute to her husband, boyfriend, lover or any other man in her life in the comfort of her house and not on the street corner. Prostitution by my definition is having sex in exchange for money or up keep. Putting a curfew on women will not stop prostitution. Instead it will make it rise. Prostitution is not going to be alleviated by this but is going to come to our homes as our mothers, sisters and all the female relations will sleep with men in their lives just to make him happy in hope he will leave a dollar for bread. Need I remind men out there that prostitution knows no time of the day? There are other ways prostitution can be alleviated. I don’t see how imposing a curfew on women will help.

Selling is better than just sitting

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Thursday, February 10th, 2011 by Zanele Manhenga

My name is Mai Machafa and I have been selling since 2003. What made me keep on selling is that I realized it is better to be my own boss than to work for some one else. I think selling as a vendor is better than just sitting. I would love to do something else besides selling vegetables but right now there in nothing worthwhile to do besides being a vendor.

What I would say is a big problem is the council. We are paying money to them but they do nothing in return with our money. The money they want us to pay is too much when we do not have water. The toilets are bad and we don’t have electricity so we can’t sell at night.

The future I wish to see in Zimbabwe is a future that is good like what we once had. A life that where we struggle less. We want to be able to have and afford stuff. I want the future to be good for my 4-year-old son so that he doesn’t become a vendor like me. I want him to be able to have a good job and for him to have a good education.

The advice to people that do not have anything to do I would like to say you can start selling even at your gate. Sell anything – mangoes in your yard or even the vegetables from your garden. Do something that would ensure that you have food in your house.

Zimbabweans drowning in their own rubbish

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Thursday, February 10th, 2011 by Zanele Manhenga

I know the city council has not been able to remove rubbish from some parts of Harare but that does not we citizens should enjoy it. There is this rubbish pile by Kuwadzana and instead of the people burning it or even sitting as far from it as possible, some vendors sit near it and enjoy it. Life carries on like there is no serious harm to their health and that of their customers. I was amazed that people can actually sit that close to a rubbish pile and laugh and enjoy themselves. There is also a lady who was picking up some plastic papers, taking her time while she was bending towards the rubbish. She did not seem to be bothered by the foul smell coming from there. I do not even want to imagine what she wanted to with the plastic papers, I just hope she wanted to light a fire or something along those lines.

I really think Zimbabweans have become content with things going wrong. People seem not to care enough to at least do something about it no matter how small. I know the rubbish pile might not be going anywhere soon but people can at least burn it.

If they can’t burn at least stay away from it.

Short cuts can pay off

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Thursday, February 10th, 2011 by Zanele Manhenga

A wise woman my mum, has always told me that short cuts have short falls. It is easier do things the long way and not skip a process than to go back to stuff you should have done long back she would say.

I have come to believe her because of events on Wednesday when my colleague and I at Kubatana were doing our monthly delivery of the vendor wrapping sheets. This is an exceptional one of a kind in a realm of its own project in Zimbabwe I must say. The project seeks to give vendors a space to be heard and also be given information on issues that concern the everyday person on the ground.

We decided to take a short cut that was to lead us straight to Epworth in no amount of time. And there it was. This big pothole turned into a little dam in the middle of the road. Turning back was no option because before the dam site the car we were in almost got stuck in the mud. In fact we had left a couple of men trying frantically and in vain to lift a truck that had been swallowed by the mud. So we decided to move forward and brave it out. Thanks to our lucky stars we managed to get out of that little dam alive and kicking.

I would like to say to my mum I am absolutely positive that when you used to say short cuts don’t pay off, your words got in with the ear and left with the other. I guess experience is the best teacher. So I would like to repeat the words of a wise woman and say in this case short cuts have short falls that have potholes turned into little dams.

Anyone thinking of using that road take it from me shortcuts have short falls and I have evidence.

What’s with boot sandals?

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Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 by Zanele Manhenga

I love fashion. I seriously do. In fact I sometimes travel the fashion dream express and see myself as a trendsetter. I hear people asking me how I came up with such extraordinary style. I can almost close my eyes as I protect them from the flashing of the camera as I’m writing this. But when reality hits me hard I realize maybe to be up-tempo with fashion and to be in the season of what is happening in the fashion world is not for me. Correct me if I am wrong, but what am I missing here with those boot sandals that have infected the City of Harare? Why on earth would I wear a boot and a sandal at the same time? A boot for winter combined with a summer shoe? Nooooo … On my fashion dream express I do have nightmares. Instead of being commended on wearing such an innovation, I see people laughing behind my back. That shoe is what my nightmares are made of. To me the boot sandal is a fashion boo boo. I will not be caught alive wearing that shoe – never. Why, ah why – seriously ladies – I know things come into fashion and people have to be daring and different and all that but I do not see the fashion and sense of that shoe. Help me out with the math behind a sandal that is a boot. The way they are just asina irombe mutown (if you don’t have it, you are poor). Please enlighten me.

Home made polony stand!

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Monday, November 29th, 2010 by Zanele Manhenga

I believe in constantly evolving, growing, improving and innovation. One must learn to do things differently especially when you are in business. If it means doing your business starting from the inside out, outside in or whatever that’s ok as long as you keep and stick to good business ethics. I have one such Zimbabwean lady who is a perfect example of innovation. I would like to assume that this woman said to herself: Hang on, I need to be different from everyone selling the same product as me. My product needs to be bought so I can send my children to school. It needs to be seen by everyone. Everyone needs to know what I am selling. So let me make a polony stand.

If you go to this lady’s stall she has polony on display for all to see.