Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Archive for the 'Reflections' Category


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Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 by Bev Reeler

Where from, this outlandish collection?

one of pink cloth and blue wool,
white string and shiny blue feathers
some soft white fluff torn from the inside of a cushion
and carefully chosen fragments
from a pink and blue British Airways blanket

the other less colour-coordinated
more eclectic

black wool, black plastic string
white plastic string, white knitted plastic thread
a touch of blue wool, red wool, and a darker shade of leaf green
a portion of shoe lace,
gauze from an old forgotten fly trap,
grey wool, grey cloth
brown wool, a short piece of grey-green wool
thick string, thin string
a fragment of sky blue cloth
a piece of bark,
a dash of dead leaf and small portion of old carpet

lovingly collected parental assemblages,
innovative homes
for new born squirrel mice
and a pair of Curricane Thrush fledglings

remember the old days
when nests were built of grass and leaves?


Silence is the real crime against humanity

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Thursday, October 24th, 2013 by Bev Clark


Gods in the Garden

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Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 by Bev Reeler

In 1947 Johnnie and Greta Makings arrived from a green and wet England
and bought this house on a dry and dusty hillside in a foreign land

at that time there was no water supply to Monavale
just a few rambling farmhouses and manager’s dwellings
strewn across its stony hilltops
that rise above the surrounding wetlands

Johnnie was an action man of the land
a pioneer
he knew how to survive
he was one of the initiators of the communal borehole
that was piped into the scattered dwellings
he picked up the millions of loose rocks and created beautiful dry stone walls
across contours of the hill
around gardens (fed by his house waste water)
built stone houses

he was a creative god in this foreign garden

when we came to this place in 1980
Johnnie and Greta were still living in their (Johnnie-built) house next door
and they welcomed us in with stories of this hill
- their home for 33 years

Johnnie told me of noticing a Gum Tree sapling
when he was building stone steps at the bottom of the garden
and of his decision to leave it to grow
an evergreen fast-growing foreigner to this land
it captured his spirit

when we arrived 33 years later, the hill was already a different place
water was being pumped from a seemingly limitless underground aquifer
and fed into gardens and vegetable patches on the hilltops
it had turned into a green and leafy place
with towering gums and shady jacarandas
foreign trees, planted by the new settlers
seeking a more gentle way of life

gods in the garden

30 years later, a more environmentally aware community
began to see the impact of these foreign evergreens
on the indigenous trees

beautiful Musasas and hardwoods
out-competed by new exotics
which  were spreading fast across the hill
leaving only vestiges of this once unique woodland

once again we became gods in the garden

and began to cut and cull these alien trees
in an effort to retain what had been lost
and we planted back native trees
and began slowly to see the increase in insects and birds and diversity

We too have been living on this hill for 33 years now
and Johnnie Makings’ Gum tree had reached an incredible height and girth
she could be seen for miles towering above the tallest tree on the hill

for years now there have been conversations about her survival …
the obvious problem being the amount of underground water she consumed
she was leaning a bit
she was out competing the surrounding trees
she was getting old – drying out at the outer branches?
was she on her way out?

when we were in Cape Town
Mel took the decision to cut her down

gods in the garden

coming back to a huge empty hole in our canopy was devastating
despite being warned
despite the logic
I feel a deep mourning

she was the herald of sunrise
catching the first light in the  tips of her sky-high branches
holding the last touch of gold
long after the sun had sunk below the horizon
the roosting place of eagles, falcons and passing herons
home to thousands of birds

she was my age
she was my friend
she was a guardian of our boundaries

what responsibility we take
when we play with the balance of nature
only aware of our own intentions
until we see the effects of our actions

in the bare-open space at the bottom,
Mel is ready to plant a few hundred indigenous trees and bushes
the moment the rains begin

gods in the garden

Lily found the huge cobra under the jasmine last week
it’s ankle wide girth winding swiftly across the lawn and into the rocks below
a sense of awe
of gratitude and relief that she is still here

and there were 2 bush babies at the bananas last night
are they a pair?

the garden echoes with the peeping of new fledglings

there are gods in the garden
despite our god-like interference

No littering, no praying

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Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 by Amanda Atwood


A subscriber sent us this picture of a City of Harare sign they spotted at the open space opposite Coca Cola in Graniteside between Seke Rd and Dieppe Ave. Whilst I’m all for no littering, I’m not sure you can tell people where they can’t pray?

Meanwhile, “litterbugs” may face community service, The Herald tells us. Hopefully this includes preventing the wholesale dumping which is taking over Harare’s open spaces, and ensuring effective waste management and collection practises across Zimbabwe.


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Thursday, October 10th, 2013 by Bev Clark


Inspiring conversation through art

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Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 by Elizabeth Nyamuda

Last week I got to meet Toni Crabb a Zimbabwean Barcelona based visual artist. Toni has been working in the arts industry for the past 23 years and has done quite a number of exhibitions. Drawing her inspiration from things, which worry her, and things which give her energy Toni, inspires conversation through her art work.

In a small village in Spain with 300 inhabitants, she went onto the football pitch and painted the goalpost pink decorating it with flowers, plants chairs making it into a space for doing interviews with people. “I wanted audience participation, I didn’t want to be the one making the images. I wanted to gather images from the audience relating to female sex pleasure. At first I didn’t know if it would work but I got a got a lot of interest and people participating,” Toni said. After showing the audience the sexual response curve – a line that shows pleasure and orgasm – she got people to discuss the results.

Asked on why Toni specifically chose this topic Toni had this to say, “The reason I did this is because there is little imagery that women make that we can actually feel and relate to about our own pleasure and sexual experience.” Other issues that the artist covers in her work are social issues like people’s relationship to the space around them and people’s relationship to the environment. You can follow Toni on her website here.