Monday, 28 April 2014

The "church"

Today l actually have a guest blogger who preferred to be anonymous..This person literally made me promise that l wont mention his name. This guest blogger is a very good friend of mine and a good writer, with an awesome sense of humour.This is his very own post, his opinions and what matters to him.

When someone asks me a simple question like, ‘what matters most to me’, I feel a certain sense of internal shame and guilt as I cannot seem to find something current or relevant that matters MOST to me in the here and now. Could I be that self-absorbed? I could put on a mask right now and appear empathetic towards global affairs by going on and on about current political issues, the war on terror in the Middle-East, global warming, health or something along those lines that frankly I DO NOT GIVE A RATS ASS ABOUT!

So I go back to the question, what really does matter most to me? If any, one thing does seem to come to mind and recur to me mentally as I ponder over this seemingly simple question. I may not be an expert, professional or authority figure in this field nor am I trying to be judgmental here so please bear with me. I feel (and again, this is just my personal opinion) if anything, the current rise in numbers and surge of these so called ‘Christian Churches, Ministers, Pastors, Preaches, Prophets, Men of God and the miracles they carry out’ seems as good enough an issue to care about as any.

Being a Christian myself, my family church has stood for over years and years, standing the test of time (which of course does not necessarily warrant or grant its authenticity in any way). However, the matter of the fact that it has stood the test of time should imply something, should it not? Not to mention any specifics; I worry and care most about how nowadays ‘people’ have taken keen interest to these newly formed congregations that just appear out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly. One might say, ‘like a fart in the wind’. I worry how we as a ‘people’ (especially in Africa) come to these ‘Men of God’ expecting a quick fix to our everyday challenges / issues, filling and packing up stadiums and arenas on a weekly or monthly basis; placing all our prayers, faith and hope on this ‘mere mortal’ standing at the pool pit. Yes, mere mortal like you and me! This mere mortal, this MAN who began his ministry with a small gathering the size of a football team but now has a congregation large enough to fill stadiums. This man (a so-called man of God) who came from nowhere, driving a simple ex-Japanese car but currently has a fleet of brand new Mercedes Benz and BMW’s. If you don’t believe me look around. Look at the type of lifestyle SOME pastors / prophets are living. Watch MTV’s reality show ‘Preachers of LA’ to get a glimpse of what I’m talking about. Suddenly the opening of a Christian church has become more financial for some leaders. It has become a way to take advantage of people because of their circumstances, whilst simultaneously making a quick buck.    

I may be wrong in my analysis and a bit judgemental. My cry to you is, safeguard yourself from all that may appear Holy and sanctified, be prudent and ever watchful.  

Thursday, 17 April 2014

How prison saved my life

 I’m glad that 2certain girls’ schools in the city centre have invested in new durawalls. I don’t understand how schools such as this these can understand the concept of concealing children in the house and ordinary parents are completely escaped by the idea.  I grew up in a house that has, and still has, a high durawall (so high you can’t see the sunset) and an electric fence that works even when there’s no electricity. Am I saying turn your houses into high maximum security prisons? YES! Gone are the days when we wanted to keep people out nowadays we want to keep our children in. The game has changed and parents do not realise this. There’s now Whatsapp and Facebook bafethu.  I hate the fact that my parents raised me and all my sisters right and some other lazy parent is child rearing via Bluetooth and doesn’t really care where and what their child is doing and that child tries to impart their stupidity onto my sisters. Imma definitely catch a case for that crap.

 It’s now the holidays, and as a parent if you leave your child in the house with no supervision what exactly are you trying to accomplish?

 What’s your end game? Children’s laws state in black and white that they are too young to know better and yet here you are leaving them to act like adults and you get shocked when they actually do. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop, I know this, and you know this. If you can’t be at home to watch the kids then get somebody who can or send them to somebody who can. Like your gogo in the kumusha there, she will teach them the struggle and they will come back with their eye on that paper-chase (both the degree and money.) You probably thinking, “Nah,my child is a good child. She wouldn’t possibly. She ain’t like them other dumb kids that got pregnant.” You are so stupid I now see where your child gets it from. Your child is the dumbest of the lot. Check her arm. You will probably find a family planning device in her arm that allows her to have unprotected sex without the possibility of reproducing. (Told you that you are as dumb as your kid.)

NewStartCenter is implanting these things for free and your teenage kids all know it. (Yes, I’m laughing at the look you probably have on your face right now.) Nor plants can’t protect you from AIDS. Don’t worry about the baby we can see, worry about the disease we can’t see that will eat you from the inside (politically incorrect but who cares?) They must know that this is a life threatening case of false sense of security. I understand that as parents you are on your grind to make that money and provide for these parasites. But at the end of the day, they need things from you that money can’t buy like values, morals, virtue and all those good things. What good will it do for the child to gain all the material things and lose his soul? (Yes, I brought the bible into this.)

 Happy holidays!!!

 Thembelihle Terry-Lynne Zulu

 (@TheComplicatxn on Twitter)

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Stolen post

Relating to child prostitution, I picked up a post from Global posts which was written by Aaron Ross and decided to paste it on my blog. This post actually talks about child prostitution in Madagascar. This made me realise that this issue is indeed a cause for concern.
"Madagascar where child prostitution is common, cheap and trivial
MAHAJANGA, Madagascar — At nightfall, the girls gather in small groups along the waterfront and outside the sweaty nightclubs blaring West African pop music. Some are elaborately done up in makeup and colorful cocktail dresses. Others stand plainly in jeans and T-shirts. Most are somewhere between 13 and 17 years old, though they can be as young as 8 or 9.

There is no shortage of demand for their services. Despite an abundance of prostitutes of all ages in the resort town, minors are a popular choice among clients. Whereas an adult might charge about $10, a child’s services can go for as little as 50 cents.

“The Great Island has little by little developed the sad reputation as favored destination for sexual tourists,” stated a December report by Najat Maalla M’jid, the UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, prostitution of children and pornography involving children.

Madagascar has long grappled with the scourge of child prostitution. Yet since a 2009 coup d’├ętat sent the country spiraling into political and economic disarray, the problem has reached crisis proportions.Reliable figures are hard to come by, but M’jid said there is unanimous agreement among experts that “child prostitution in Madagascar is at an alarming level and has dramatically increased in these past years, particularly since 2009.”

The director of the Collective for the Rights of the Child and Family (CDEF) in Mahajanga, Sylvie Hanitra Rakotoarivao, said in December that 123 cases of child prostitution had been documented in Mahajanga, a city of about 200,000, over the previous month alone.
Foreign sex tourists account for much of the demand. In 2011, the last year for which official figures are available, 225,000 tourists visited Madagascar, a 15 percent increase over the previous year. Fifty-eight percent of those were from France, the former colonial power. And while most undoubtedly came to enjoy the country’s pristine beaches and lemur-filled forests, significant numbers arrived with less wholesome intentions.

In addition to Mahajanga, common sites for child prostitution include the resort island of Nosy Be; big cities like Diego-Suarez, Toamasina and the capital, Antananarivo; and mining towns like Ilakaka in the south.
At the CDEF office, Yasmina, 15, recounted her entry into this underworld in plain sight in 2012. Her parents had split and she’d moved in with her grandmother after being mistreated by her father’s new wife. But the grandmother was sick and Yasmina couldn’t afford to stay in school.
She started to sell beignets for pennies on the street. Yasmina said that one evening, a friend invited her to come out to the beach. There, she presented Yasmina to an older Malagasy man.

“He likes you. You’re going to go with him,” the friend instructed.
She earned almost $10 that night—more than the usual rate because she was a virgin and a fortune in a country where more than 9 in 10 live on less than $2 a day. Over a year later, she recalled the experience with disgust.
“I felt humiliated and dirty,” Yasmina said.
The money, though never as much as that first encounter, was too good to pass up in the months ahead. Her clients were a mix of Europeans and Malagasy. She would usually entertain five in a weekend, she said. Business was easy. Yasmina and several acquaintances would position themselves along the waterfront or on the beach. It wouldn’t take long for prospective clients to approach.

Since the 2009 coup, which led to sweeping cuts in foreign aid and government services, an already precarious economic situation has deteriorated precipitously. The country’s poverty rate has increased by 10 percent or more. Many children have been forced to leave school. Roughly a third between the ages of 5 and 14 are involved in economic activities, according to UNICEF.
But experts say that poverty alone is too convenient an explanation for Madagascar’s child prostitution epidemic. Many point to a growing normalization of these kinds of activities within Malagasy society.

“They no longer hide it,” said Haja Randrianianina, a UNICEF representative in Mahajanga. “It’s in the roads, in the restaurants, the bars, the nightclubs.”
Steven Lauwerier, the UNICEF country representative, added that child prostitution has become something seen as “trivial.”
In a number of documented cases, parents have actively solicited clients for their children. Among many Malagasy, snagging a rich vazha (foreigner) is viewed as a laudable aspiration for a young girl. In rural areas, some young girls are sold into concubinage for a period of several years to a foreigner or a wealthy cattle owner.
The Malagasy government has done little in response. Advocates complain that the local police are heavily understaffed while the gendarmerie tends to be uninterested or in the pay of the criminals. Fading signs in hotels that warn against bringing back minors surely don’t strike fear in too many hearts. Most accusations are handled with a quiet payoff to the victim’s family. Complaints that do reach a magistrate often drag on endlessly without resolution.

Grassroots initiatives like CDEF say they have started to make progress. More victims are coming forward and, for the first time in years, some offenders are being prosecuted.
But judging by the scene along Mahajanga’s main strip of nightclubs on a recent Saturday night, considerable work remains to be done. Plainly underage Malagasy girls drink and mingle with foreign men more than three or four times their age.
After being “extracted” from prostitution by a local children’s organization, Yasmina completed a training course to become a coiffeuse. Her goal now, she says, is to open a hair salon.
But she carries the shame of her previous work along with her. At the start of the interview with GlobalPost, she denied having ever worked as a prostitute. Later, after telling her story, she opened up about the men she used to sleep with.
“Every time I think about these men, I’m disgusted," she said. "Because they take advantage of our poverty.""
Author : Aaron Ross
Published: 31 January 2014

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

What's in a name?

Nomawethu Moyo:Guest blogger


For most of my life I've never gone by my full name - it's quite long, Nomawethu. It's pronounced No-ma-wear-too, try, it's really not that difficult. I've always gone by Noma at school. I go by Thuthu at home and at church, I acquired that name as a chubby toddler who would ram into anything in my way; I would "thuza" things! Mother just calls me anything - if the nickname is not making fun of my slightly knocked knees it's probably about my really fat cheeks or my pimples :)
I went to UWC... You meet people from everywhere there, but UWC is about tolerance, embracing difference and living with our variances so everyone retains their real name and true identity, religion, ethnicity, beliefs, and so forth... I came to college, and here I met Chinese folk who had two names; the official or "real" name in Mandarin, and another self-given one in English just because some people couldn't pronounce their names... I never thought much of it throughout my freshman and sophomore years. During the Class of 2017 welcome dinner, one Chinese boy stood up and said, "My name is Huizhong,* but it's a little difficult for some of you to pronounce it, so my English name is also Huizhong!" And then it hit me...  So I had this moment of inspiration, admiration, appreciation of Huizhong's confidence and decision to stay true to his name and I just thought about how his name meant so much to him. Am I looking for the word epiphany? Last week while at work, another Chinese boy showed up, when I asked him what his name was, he just showed me his card for me to copy it and then I was hit by sadness... Isn't fitting in just an awful struggle? I wonder what it feels like to have a different name in English for that sake... Does giving yourself an English name slightly betray your true identity? If an American student with an English name were to go to China, would he/she give him/herself a Mandarin name just so everyone in China can pronounce it? Is there a muted power-play at work here or is this a way of adapting that we all should really just live with? Microaggressions maybe, or am I taking it too far?
All the same, they're more than just names and it's really polite to refer to someone by their correct name. They all hold a meaning or give one's life a sense of purpose. My name means "our mother" in a way that suggests that I have the responsibility of a caregiver. Some names carry a burden "Sidubekile" (we're suffering), some a blessing "Nomabusiso" (mother of blessings), some gratefulness "Bongani" (say thank you). They reflect our parents' experiences when they had us, they reflect our parents' wishes for us, and maybe they endorse us as members of a community.
No one is undermining a name by genuinely mispronouncing it. Some people just don't try. Some people butcher it with consonants that are not even there in the spelling of that name!  Names hold so much value, they're an identity, maybe we owe them a little more respect by giving them a chance, by trying to pronounce them accurately... After-all we mispronounce at least a third of all the things we say :)

Ps. For funzies you might want to read a book called "We Need New Names,"by NoViolet Bulawayo. She has a different view though... Zimbabweans have quite a reputation for giving their kids interesting names. We joke about it all the time, should we stop? I've met Hardlife, I know many Lovemore's, and various other names but like I said they all hold some meaning beyond them just being a label for a human body. Also, interesting imagery on the covers right?

Monday, 14 April 2014

Surviving my first kombi ride & a lot more in 2014...

Nomawethu Moyo:Guest Blogger
Happy new year! New year, new things, ye ye vele vele what what, this is not going to be a new start for me, I'm not changing any of my crap, I'm not making any resolutions :) partly because I never live up to half of them and partly because I think I really don't need them. So, as usual, my busy brain is full of a hodgepodge of things seen, things done, things felt, and things yet to be done...

So, happy new year and yes, I'm in a kombi - I hope you know what that is... It's an 19 seater van, wait, by right it's supposed to carry 15 people but these men have found a way of fitting 4 of us in a row (instead of 3) - it's nothing new, they've been doing it since whenever! It still doesn't feel natural calling a kombi a van - here in Zim, a van is what the Murricans call a truck. Anywho, I really don't like kombis, they're our most efficient form of public transport and they suck! They are one painful reminder that I'm home, public transport, public transport, I can't ask my parents to drive me everywhere, I don't have a license and I don't have a car of my own :) So here I am, stuck in between an old man, and a young mother with her baby eating a banana. Woooo worst spot ever! The old man is lightly scented with sweat and wood smoke. The skin on his hands looks tough, he has tiny scales at the fingertips, his fingernails full of dirt. Hardworking hands; "he should be proud of them," I think to myself. He looks tired and in this moment, I love this old man, I empathize without pity but with complete understanding. I hate pity, so let me love this stranger for all that I believe he has achieved. To my right, is the young mother, I honestly think she's about my age and that makes me a little furious, but I have no right to be mad. I'll call this young mother, Sharon, I have something against that name for no reason. Why bring a child to suffer on this lousy earth? Sharon* has her baby wrapped in a damp worn out towel that used to have some kind of print on it. On her lap next to the baby, there is a small plastic bag with tomatoes, mangos, bread, and rice. The baby boy, probably about 10months old, is clumsily eating a muddy banana, his hands are well covered with the slime, his nose has some caked mucus on it and I am disgusted and disappointed to the core. I spend half my time trying to dodge the baby with a fake smile, because he wants to touch everything, he's just a baby, he isn't doing anything wrong, I just wish he was a bit cleaner. Half of the world's problems are caused by sex, sex at the wrong time, sex with the wrong people, sex without adequate knowledge, disease, overpopulation, poverty, I need not say more...

To add on to my discomfort, this driver is going a little too fast, he veers off the road to dodge a hump, he will make a left turn and a quick U-turn to dodge a red traffic light, but he has breaks, because he stops at every bus stop! At some point he's driving against oncoming traffic, he swears, he's in a rush but none of his passengers seem to be pressed for time and I wonder why he's in such a rush? My mind drifts to a young man who asked me where I had parked my car earlier when I walked out of a shop with a huge plastic bag full of braids. I was annoyed by him, how dare you ask me where I parked my car, I don't have one! He was just offering to help me carry my plastic bag "to my car," well Bhudi, I don't have one but in this moment I darn wish I had one. Someone starts coughing somewhere, it's a wet cough, and the first thing that comes to my mind is TB, I stretch my neck to check whether he/she is covering his/her mouth. I'm suddenly engulfed by fear, fear for my health and the baby's, just us two, the kombi now seems sticky, hazardously humid and infested with a concoction of pathogens, I can now smell everything and I'm seriously contemplating dropping off at the next bus stop and just calling Bakhe (my Dad) to come and pick me up. I immediately scold myself for being a pathetic nuisance - every single muscle of my body is tense, I'm holding my breath... We've got to find a way of making kombis better, somehow, better drivers, and we've got to preach the gospel of cleanliness to all. I realize I can't preach the "use public transport" gospel, all my save energy, save money, reduce air pollution here, that crap won't help if our public transport is in this state. Maybe it should start with the taxi rank? Maybe it starts with some driver education?A matter for another day, another day...

Time, place, space... It's me standing next to my great grandfather's grave completely blank, furiously blank because I'm frustrated searching for an emotion, a connection. We're visiting the family graveyard to put some flowers after the new year - no beer or anything funny here. I'm with Bakhe and my uncle, they wanted to come... I walk over to my great grandmother's grave, she died at 102, and apparently I took after her - height-wise at least, she held me when I was a baby but I never knew her. I walk around, the graves are many, the graves are many, and I'm ashamed that I still fear death, I don't want to die, at least not now. I soon realize that Bakhe and my uncle are paying attention to the males' graves, particularly age at death. I overhear them trying to recall the various causes of death...the illnesses that led to the deaths...diagnosed and undiagnosed and I hear him say, "This thing might be genetic, it's coming for us." If you read one of my most recent posts about being away from home, this scene may ring a bell... I'm immediately stricken by sorrow but happiness at the same time, they who know may take appropriate precautions & be prepared, yet at the same time I have faith they'll be spared from the ordeal. My thoughts drift of to undiagnosed illnesses that my nation suffers from, the curable and incurable, the discomfort that we live with but shouldn't be living with, the lack of money or the lack of knowledge, the small things that kill people but shouldn't be killing people... It's a moment of gratefulness for the little I know, and a moment of sadness about the need for others to know, and it all occurs to me as I'm standing in my family graveyard, somewhat anticipating my own death, my reunion with my Saviour, and in this moment, it seems bittersweet.

Friday, 11 April 2014

So Zimbabwe wants to make contraceptives available to 10 year olds :)

Nomawethu Moyo: Guest Blogger

Outrage over Health ministry’s move on child contraceptives... (Link to story)
I’ll just dive into this; I think that would be a step in the right direction. Mid-year 2012, I had an interesting conversation with a 25-year-old woman after I claimed that pregnancy is a choice. The lady had dropped out of university 3 years ago because she had fallen pregnant and had no idea that morning after pills existed... Ah, in this era? I was surprised! She lived in Harare so none of this made sense to me and she really wasn’t lying. Pregnancy should be a choice J I think it's great that the Minister of Health wants to have contraceptives available to everyone (even ten year olds) but I want to argue that we need to accompany them with age-appropriate sex education. Also, those who want to, can attach religious/ ethical/ whatever else annexes to it :)

I read the responses to the link provided above and my, some parents are boiling over this issue. Some say sex is a taboo topic! Someone else equated this move to legalizing cocaine, haibo! HIV/AIDS is here to stay shem! In a society with such high HIV prevalence rates we don’t want to be bashful about sex. The article does not say the Ministry of Health plans on handing out contraceptives, all they want is to make sure these kids will have access to contraceptives. I think this is about normalizing the availability and use of contraceptives. I strongly doubt that exposing kids to contraceptives will promote sexual activity in the pre-puberty/ premature age range. I would be shocked if kids actually walk in to buy contraceptives but I think there's a greater motive behind this... It's going to start some dialogue... I believe it will help us make these things second nature when kids grow old enough to please their sexual appetites. I see potential in this change being a way of cultivating a certain culture geared towards reducing teenage pregnancies and assuring that the youth are well informed to engage in responsible sex.

Does it threaten the innocence of kids? I doubt. I was 8 years old when I got my first dictionary and I remember too well that one of the first words I looked up was sex, I was curious! Knowing about sex at a very young age doesn’t mean I thought about it all the time – I didn’t quite understand what it was anyway. My Mom was great with sex talks, she offered me contraceptives in my late teens but at the same time encouraged me to make responsible choices so maybe what we need is education to help parents deliver sex-talks. But no one wants to be told how to raise his/her flock right? Maybe we should incorporate detailed sex education into school curriculums…

 And, Oh the abstinence message! Yes, we've got to teach people to abstain but if it's not working, we have to admit that hammering the nail on a desk won’t keep the chair intact. If previous attempts at preaching abstinence have been futile, let’s resort to something else that's going to be effective instead! Maybe this and some sex education all over the place is it…

I'm not sure about how the availability of condoms to 10 year olds plays into statutory rape laws etc... It may just force parents to talk about sex or at least we can be assured that if underage kids have sex it will be safe sex. In general, there's some shame associated with using contraceptives and I think this whole issue might be targeting that bigger picture... I have friends who're ashamed of buying condoms, they do but they're so bashful about it or they don’t want to be seen doing it. If the use of contraceptives wasn’t such a hush hush matter maybe this wouldn’t be so. Another common scenario is when unmarried couples cease using condoms because at some point using a condom seems to suggest that you don't trust him/her and that's where the pills are supposed to kick in (without getting tested)! Maybe if we’d been exposed to contraceptives and taught differently this wouldn’t be happening. There are also those "pharmacists" (some of them are just tellers really) who give girls a hard time when they buy morning after pills and I think that's great. HIV is here to stay. We’re not going to overcome this pandemic unless we change a lot of things that are amiss in our communities and I believe that getting rid of the stigma around the use of contraceptives is one of those steps…
Nomawethu Moyo
Guest Blogger

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Moral values: What happenned?

Initially I had made a post about child prostitution but I came to realise that l can not talk of child prostitution without talking of moral decadence. At first I will actually look at immorality in terms of infidelity.
The issue really is about these old men who date our younger sisters and these old women who date our younger brothers. I honestly do not understand why a 56year old married man would actually date a girl who is 18 or 20 years of age. This child is apparently old enough to be his or her child, why waste their time? Is the world in short supply of people your age? People who have seen it and done it all in the lives the same way you have. What is this really about? Is the love for money on the part of the Ben 10s and the younger girls or is it just a mere case of moral decadence?

I have heard some people actually say that they date these old men and women because they want these fancy gadgets, phones, clothes and whole lot of things. But the question that I would really like to pose is that: is this really worth it? Is it worth you sacrificing your body and your life? This can cost people their lives in terms of contraction of killer diseases and some could be unlucky to face their untimely death when they get caught up in a physical fight with their lovers’ partners.

As people continue to do this, a web of intersexions is created. Hypothetically speaking, girl A has a boyfriend, she also has a sugar daddy that has another girlfriend with a boyfriend, the sugar daddy has a wife who has a boyfriend who has a girlfriend who has a sugar daddy and a boyfriend. This actually increases the risk of transmission of diseases. It is also reflective of the moral decadence that is present in our communities and in our society as a whole.

I would not only speak of moral decadence in terms of sugar daddies and sugar moms but l will also go on to the social media. These include WhatsApp and Facebook (these are the most popular). In as much as the social media comes with certain freedoms, moral decadence is prevalent in these spaces. There are some Facebook pages which are not constructive at all. Pages where people post their semi-nude pictures and ask to be rated. Where some people actually brag about their bodies. I think its ok to be confident about yourself but to show the whole world your semi-nude picture is something else. For starters what would make you want to seek approval from the world about how you look if you were so confident about yourself. And even if you are the most beautiful person on that page what do you benefit?

People have actually gone to these pages to “celebrate” and embrace their feminity am told. But is there no other way of celebrating one’s feminity other than posing semi-nude for the world to see? Lingerie was designed to stay under your clothes not for it to become your clothes. They are called undergarments for a reason. I mean seriously how can one pose for a picture wearing undergarments. Maybe people are imitating those lingerie bikini models. Those people are advertising lingerie and what on earth are you advertising? Lingerie? Or lack of basic moral values?

WhatsApp has become notorious for breaking marriages because people actually take pictures of their reproductive organs and send to each other. What on earth is that? Why are people doing that? This totally beats mi. It’s like some people are on WhatsApp jus for the sole purpose of distributing pictures of their reproductive organs.