LISTEN: What exactly is ‘social media abuse’?

Last week Monday, I joined the host of Star FM’s #TheHub programme to quiz the ICT Minister, Supa Mandiwanzira on what exactly Government regards as ‘social media abuse’ and to get clarity on Government’s stance regarding social media i.e is Government planning to ban/regulate it?

In this 3-part interview, Min Mandiwanzira responds. I add a few quotes from the discussion and will leave you to ponder them.

Mandiwanzira on Government’s ‘official stance’:

The official stance is that social media is an important tool for development…..but we must promote the responsible use of social media

Mandiwanzira on what constitutes social media:

When we talk about abuse we are talking about things that undermine the rights of others….things that are illegal in the context of our country’s laws

Mandiwanzira on how Government views criticism:

They are talking about we don’t want you to criticise the President or to criticise ministers. Well, we like criticism…

Mandiwanzira on claims that he stole money from parastatals:

I think that they must produce evidence… There has been stories that I took $200 000 and I drive a $200 000 car, what nonsense!

Mandiwanzira on identifying those who abuse social media:

Zimbabweans, especially the bad apples, must never fool themselves that they cannot be found. Every item you use has an address….people must not hide behind technology and think they are smart

Mandiwanzira on dealing with users who abuse social media:

I think the people who must regulate social media are its users. When you see as a user of social media somebody abusing it and sending you child pornography, report them to the police….there are laws that already deal with that….

The frightening ‘normalcy’ of domestic violence

One of the funniest stories my mother ever shared with me was a story about violence.

Actually there were two – one is just less funny owing to the horror I still feel when I imagine how it could have all turned out.

My mother’s side of the family had some colorful characters, chiefly my maternal uncle papeNever (the father of Never) and my maternal aunt mmeDubekile (the mother of Dubekile) who were both ex-combatants and had a penchant for regarding physical violence as the best conflict resolution strategy.

The first story my mother told me was of an incident that occurred when I was three days old.

My mother said that when I was three days old I was nearly killed by my uncle papeNever (her big brother) who had drunkenly and wildly swung an axe on the bed I had been laid on.

My uncle papeNever had burst into the hut my mother was resting in wielding an axe in hot pursuit of his wife, my aunt mmeNever (the mother of Never) over an unspecified dispute.

But generally, papeNever didn’t let not having a good reason get in the way of giving his wife a good beating – especially when he had imbibed.
On that day, my mother had arrived from Beitbridge hospital with three-day old me – her first and newborn baby – exhausted from the rigors of labor, fatigued from the journey by bus from Beitbridge town which was concluded by an arduous trip in a donkey-drawn scotch cart that had to negotiate its way over and around bumps, ravines and crevices to get to her parents’ homestead in the hinterlands of Tshapfutshe.

And on that same day, my aunt mmeNever had been tasked with preparing a hut for my mum and she had taken to the task with much gusto seeing as she and my mum were very close – sweeping away the cobwebs on the thatched roof, applying a new layer of cow dung to polish the mud floor and making herringbone, chevron and checkered patterns as decoration.

She had attacked the mud walls with a stone to smoothen the inner wall surface and also used rich red, grey and white soils to paint the outer walls of the mud hut which she decorated with precise drawings of flowers on one side and shapes inspired from a deck of cards like the diamond, the heart and the ace of spades on the other.

I know all this because my mother had described it – she approved very much of cleanliness and was highly particular about the details of maintaining a presentable hut.

My aunt mmeNever had apparently done a sterling job on that day.

Everyone was excited about me, perhaps they were more excited about Virginia (my mum) the spoilt last born in the family, becoming a mother.

My uncle papeNever had missed my mother’s arrival as he had gone drinking – presumably.

Which is why when he had chased after his wife, all the way from his own homestead, yelling while she screamed – both of them failing to enjoy the beautiful orange hues of a setting sun in the horizon – my uncle had not known that mmeNever’s intended destination was the hut at the far end of my grandparent’s compound where my mother was resting.

He had chased after her, following blindly with the singular intent of catching up with her and teaching her some manners.

My aunt mmeNever had rushed into the hut and immediately dived under the bed which rested on bricks to elevate it (it made sweeping much easier) without offering any explanation to my mother who had been sleeping and oblivious to all the commotion.

Before my mother could gather her wits, my uncle papeNever, who had been about to catch up with his wife had also burst into the hut seconds later swinging his axe wildly – more for show than with any intent to actually strike his wife.

He was like that my uncle papeNever – always seeking attention by abusing his wife whom he knew everyone adored then waiting to be restrained and pleaded with and begged to ‘please calm down and stop doing this’.

On that day however, my uncle papeNever had not known several things.

He had not known that my mother was back from the hospital, he had not known that I was on the bed and that the bed had been changed from its usual position during mmeNever’s frantic spring cleaning so when he swung wildly, he tripped over one of the suitcases on the floor and his axe arced and impaled a shawl I had been wrapped in on the side of the bed where I had been laid.

My mother had moved me earlier to breastfeed me and had fallen asleep and had not laid me back on that shawl.

My mother told me that she had screamed. Screamed at her big brother.

Screamed for my grandparents to come and see, see papeNever try and kill her baby.

And my mother’s screaming mingled with mmeNever’s own screams for help whilst I obligingly joined this chorus with my own cries.

My uncle papeNever had not seen me yet and upon realizing who was in the hut he had tried to reach out and hold me, to quiet me down and meet his new niece but my mother would have none of it, screaming that he must get out.

It was my aunt mmeDubekile, my mother’s big sister, who had dragged my uncle papeNever out of the hut and then proceeded to viciously pummel him with fists, kicks and all manner of ex-combatant fighting moves until my grandmother had cried out to say she would not have it… she would not have anyone try to kill her son before her very eyes.

I was a newborn when this happened but my mother told me of it with such vividness that sometimes it feels like I remember the violence through her narration and experience of it.

The other story my mother told me, I cannot get into it in this post. Maybe next time.

I was reminded of this story some days ago when I read of a man that killed his 10 day old baby whilst trying to assault his wife.

It frightens me that the more such stories appear in the media, the less outrage and action they provoke.

I think that no matter how much we witness these incidents or read about them – we must never regard them as normal or as an unchanging and unchangeable aspect of life as we know it.

Perhaps we tend to think of domestic violence in terms of what ‘other’ people are doing and never in terms of our own actions, attitudes and choices.

It frightens me that violence against women, against children, against men should become a normative way of life as reflected in our media.

And I am frightened by our collective nonchalance because in many ways, I think the biggest challenge in fighting gender based and domestic violence is the perception that violence is not only normal but inevitable in our nation’s homes.

p.s: apparently my father hadn’t even had a chance to see me when this incident occurred as he was away on business in Bulawayo… so you can imagine how much ‘drama’ (I am understating it) it would have caused if any harm had befallen me

What suffocating injustice!

I got to work late having been online since 3am attending to work-related tasks that unhappily involved engaging with a story about how top management at Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) is gobbling at least US$1 million in basic monthly salaries at a time the State enterprise is reeling under a US$38 million debt.

Honestly, I am choking with some indescribably emotion.

It is a cross between excruciating pain and mind-numbing rage.

Not to mention the sense of complete violation that always weighs me down when I have to consider the nature, form and shape of a given instance of injustice.

What on God’s green earth is wrong with our leaders?

I say ‘our leaders’ and take ownership of said leaders even though I did not choose them because they are the leaders of the day and viewing them as someone else’s leaders would diminish my capacity to hold them accountable – so they are MY leaders and I want to hold them to account.

I got to work still in a state and quite incapacitated, unable to function let alone process any of the tasks that I had before me.

I was and still am too aggrieved, beyond distressed and indeed quite beside myself.

So I ignored the buzz around me, shut the world out and sat at my laptop to write because for some of us – writing is what we do when we don’t know what else to do and when we don’t have the power to do anything else.

I was reminded this morning of this very touching musical scene from the acclaimed film – Sarafina.

The music score for the scene in question captures this heartrending mood of the youth’s powerlessness following a brutal raid by apartheid police against which they were completely defenseless.

There is something about those piercing voices, shrieking in desperation and shouting to the heavens:

“O safa, saphel’ isizw’ esimnyama
O safa isizwe sabantsundu
Anitshelen’ inkokheli zethu zisilamulele kuloludaba”

Loosely translated the song means, ‘Oh, the black nation is dying, the African nation is dying! Can you tell our leaders to come to our rescue’?

Words cannot do justice to that poignant song so before I continue here it is below so you can listen to it for yourself.

Anyway this song strikes a chord in me because it speaks to the value system that I was raised to uphold.

It speaks to the idea that it is the duty of those who have power to protect those who have none.

It is the obligation of those who have voices to speak up in defense of those who (for whatever reason) cannot speak for themselves.

It is the mandate of those who are leaders to protect the interest of those they are leading and it is the worst human failing to betray the public entrusted invested in a person.

What is wrong with our leaders who don’t care?

They don’t care at all. Not even an iota. Hell, they don’t even care enough to even fake it!

How does anyone sleep at night knowing that they are complicit in an injustice as awful as the PSMAS salary debacle?

Honestly, when will have leaders that we could even conceive of crying out to for help, for deliverance or for rescue?

In the family pecking order, I am reasonably positioned in the higher echelons of authority and being a big sister to several boys and girls (most of them are fast becoming young men and women) – I dutifully assume the responsibility of rushing to the rescue whenever my siblings are in trouble.

I never hesitate because it is hardwired in me that by virtue of being their ‘leader’ in the family’s totem pole – I have an obligation to place myself between them and harm.

I do not know any other duty more sacrosanct than the duty to protect, to defend and to sacrifice (within reason) for those whose care and wellbeing I have been entrusted with.

It is with this fundamental understanding of what it means to lead, to be responsible for the fates of others and to have the power to positively impact upon their lives that I am rendered stupefied by the leaders Zimbabwe is cursed with.

We are surely cursed. Because there is no other word for it.

It is a curse to have such selfish creatures, such conscience-less, heartless, un-empathetic, callous, unrepentant, shameless, arrogant and evil people at the helm of public institutions.

Surely, heads and torsos must roll.

Having won a parliamentary majority, the buck for every grievance we have stops with ZANU PF and if it fails to act on these atrocious goings on; it will live up to the words of one of its own – Nathaniel Manheru who stated: Trust my Party: when it finds itself with no enemy, it ingeniously becomes one itself! Against itself!

Perhaps ZANU PF has been afforded an opportunity to prove that it is not what Manheru fears it is when he noted – And then a key point which many seek to duck: it is in its moments of undisputed and indisputable ascendancy and triumph that Zanu-PF is always at its worst and most fallible. It becomes reckless, very reckless. It becomes insolent, very insolent. It becomes indifferent to the people, most indifferent.

I hope the Government day does not choose to remain indifferent.

In a very perceptive and refreshingly candid article Amai Jukwa charged-: We [ZANU PF] have become accustomed to mollycoddling ineptitude and finding any and every excuse to defend those responsible…It is not so much that Zanu-PF does not know what is right to do. The problem is that some put political expediency ahead of efficiency and competence. There is a tug of war between the intellectual persuasions of Zanu-PF and it’s political considerations…Government agencies are inefficient and unimaginative; some of those in power have no sense of community and seek to line their pockets at the expense of the nation… If Zanu-PF is serious about making Zimbabwe work again it needs to say thank you to the incompetent comrades within its ranks for the little work done thus far and then bid them farewell.

To conclude my frustrated rant and smother this overwhelming sense of impotence; I will borrow from the Herald’s Editorial Comment of today reacting to what it termed “the institutionalized plunder in Government-linked enterprises” which observes -:

In short, people are paying themselves for failing to prove their individual and collective worth to the nation….. There must be some form of punishment for people who steal our present and our future from us, because their actions are really no different to treason. Zimbabweans need to see political will going beyond talk to real action that does not spare self-serving parasites regardless of who they are.

If this chorus of voices does not ring as melodiously as the musical score of the film Sarafina – it is the best we can do in raising our voices to call for those in power to heed our pitiable cries.

This injustice is suffocating!

p.s I was so annoyed I couldn’t be bothered with putting pretty pictures.

Questioning, querying, probing and poking….

I have been writing a column for the Southern Eye for a while now. The title of the column is ‘Agreeing to Disagree’.

I kind of use it as a platform to ask, probe, query and poke viciously at sleeping dogs. Here are just a few of the things I’ve been mulling over:

The elections are over, what else is left other than closing a chapter on Zimbabwe bearing in mind that:

What remains open is the next blank page after this chapter. What remains alive to possibility and what our hopes can latch onto and our dreams can hinge on, is the undeniable fact that five years from now there exists an opportunity to rewrite the narrative. It is an opportunity that can only be realised by the choices we make today and the resolutions that we commit to here and now.

…as long as we choose to care, hope is not lost

I think our commitment to the future of our country will be determined by the extent to which we are willing to care. When we get to that point where we want to throw our hands up in despair, it might be worth considering the possibility that caring is the only patriotic thing left to do because:

Indifference is the easiest thing in life. It is the most convenient cope-out of all. Just decide you don’t care. Decide you’re not going to lose any sleep over anything that doesn’t appear to remotely affect your bread-and-butter
issues. But the problem is that if you stop caring, you give power to those who would run the country aground and surrender your agency as a person to determine the course of your own life (to whatever extent it is within your means to influence political actors).
Five years is a long time not to care.

And then there was a week in which ZANU PF (in usual consultation with itself) conferred national hero status to three people…. it made me think about the selection criteria and wonder how much of the history I think I know is actually accurate. I think there’s a real possibility that we will remember historical lies for as long as ZANU PF maintains its hegemonic and monologic stranglehold on the nation’s liberation struggle narrative. In my musings I wrote:

It has been said that without memory we become less than ourselves and it matters what our real historical narrative is all about rather than having one party using history to claim political legitimacy. Where are the people who remember differently? Where are the people who were there when it happened and who can refute what the public media has constantly churned out, what the history books have claimed and what Zanu PF has insisted on propagating?
What really happened? Is it true that Zanu PF single-handedly liberated the country as they have claimed non-stop?

More recently, I wondered about the love and the hate that Mugabe attracts. I was thinking of my own ambivalent feelings towards the man. I agree with so much of what he stands for (it appeals to my pan-African sensibilities) but then I find myself vehemently opposed to the manner in which it is implemented (e.g the need for land reform was noble in principle but the land grabs were unconscionable). I do wonder at the way in which he is adored on the continent and I wonder what sacrifices I made to facilitate it because who’s footing the bill for Mugabe’s glory, if not ordinary citizens like me. While they may praise him, there’s another side to the story:

How do I tell these people who gaze at my Zimbabweanness through rosetinted lenses, of nights in which neighbors tossed stones on the roof to help me wake up and collect water from the taps because it had returned just for a few minutes? How do I explain standing in queues at borders hoping to go and buy basics from neighboring countries, queueing at banks trying to withdraw a set daily amount of money whose worth was devaluing while I queued, queueing at supermarkets where I joined stampedes for a packet of salt, and getting whipped one day by an overzealous city council security officer who was manning the queues at a taxi rank after I was pushed out of the line and he thought I was trying to jump the queue? There’s a part of me that feels like Mugabe wanted to make a point. If the adulation of the Africans I have met is anything to go by, he succinctly made his point, but he made it at my expense.

Suffice to say,I’ve got a lot more questioning, querying, probing and poking to do because somehow; the answers matter to me now more than ever before. It must be a mid-life crisis of sorts. But these things do haunt me and keep me up at night. Writing the column is becoming therapeutic – somehow.

“Sorry” would have been nice

Our bitterness does not come from the fact that we’ve been hurt.

Our bitterness comes from the fact that those who have hurt us remain perpetually unrepentant.

Our bitterness comes from the fact that those who have hurt us go unpunished, make no penance and show no contrition.

And so our wounds remain gaping, our sense of violation festers like a sore and the injustices we have suffered silently, become loud screams in our heads.

We have heard our national leaders shift blame for the country’s demise. They have rationalized….but they have never once apologised for messing up our country

We have been powerless to retaliate because at first we were young (born frees) and later we were ignorant of the power of our vote (pushed to the margins by the older generation who insisted that they knew what was best for us).

Then in time, we were rendered powerless by our lack of capacity occasioned by the worst economic meltdown that had those whose skills we relied on scurrying out of the country like rats deserting a sinking ship.

We lost the skilled teachers, nurses, doctors and other vital citizens owing to a massive brain drain.

But that’s not all we lost – we lost our big sisters and our big brothers; siblings whose protection and mentorship we were deprived of – learning to fill the gapping hole caused by their absence with lists of things we wanted them to send from abroad when all we really wanted was for them to come home and help us understand the chaos and turmoil that Zimbabwe had become.

We lost our mothers and fathers who needed to eke out a living on faraway shores while we were left under the guardianship of extended family members – some good and some not-so-good.

We lost our path and found it all by ourselves again.

We have suffered and no one said “sorry”.

Not even once.

No one apologized because no one noticed that we bore the brunt of it.

Well, we remember.

We are not powerless anymore, we are not ignorant anymore and more importantly – we are not incapacitated any more.

We are first time voters.

And from now on; we will make every election a living nightmare for those who’ve lorded it over us for years.

Even if you rig these elections; we will prevail eventually.

We will appeal to our peers – the youth of this country who make up about 60% of the entire population – and we will get them to swell our numbers at polling stations. The wool you pulled over our eyes is gone now.

You liberated yourselves and not us – so don’t speak the language of liberation to those whose lives have been shattered by your political tyranny.

You lied, Delta

In 2011, I said something so unpopular that several of my close friends took me to task over it.

But of all the people who vehemently disagreed with me; I remember that Munyaradzi (who’s more like a young brother to me) called me a liar.

In reaction to a blog post titled, I once met a Zimbabwean…, Munyaradzi really let me have it, lol… and given the fact that he is quite fond of me…it says something for him to have responded in such a vehement fashion:

I must say how disappointed I am in you for allowing emotions instead of simple logic to run you my dear, first of all, you as a journalist you must be aware of the donor funding that is circulating in this country, if the Americans want to fund internet access, they can, and let us not be naive about that.

The issue that America does not have a perfect democracy does not exonerate us from the injustice that has been suffered in this country.

It is no reason why there were land grabs that caused more harm than good, it is no reason why the militia was let loose on the general populace.

The violence that has been a common feature in the political landscape, families that have been crippled families.

It is not all rosy as you were trying to paint.

We have weaknesses and the first step of emancipation is accepting who we are and that we surely need help.

The economy is struggling because of people who are so ignorant and refuse to be told anything. You lied as our representative Delta.

“Those who never retract their opinions love themselves more than they love truth.” ― Joseph Joubert

And in my response, on the comments section of the same blog post – I said:

You are proving my point Munya….. my point was and is – that what you have just narrated is ALL that is known about Zimbabwe…

But if anyone, including you, wants to argue that what you have outlined above is the entirety of the Zimbabwean story – then I certainly differ with them.

You want to talk about the land grabs; why don’t you go right back to the beginning of the dispute over the land and to why the land was such a contentious matter?

That way you can fully appreciate the extreme sense of frustration that must have driven those people to take such drastic and unlawful courses of action.

While I totally condemn the unlawfulness of what they did – no one can deny the legitimacy of their grievances – not even you.

No one can deny the moral claim that they (and we all) have to the land.

Please don’t just pick out nyaya yema-land grabs as if it was all an isolated event and not part of a greater process in which blacks tried (without much success) to remedy a historical wrong of land dispossession.

And in trying to remedy this wrong – some took the law into their hands and invaded the farms.

They were wrong – it is true.

BUT what was done to them – to us – (dispossession) was wrong as well.

There is no need for me to be emotional when there is a clear historical context to explain the events and possible motives that I believe contributed to the chaotic, violent and infamous land grabs.

My question now is – who ever tells that side of the story? The story that goes beyond just the grabbing of the land?

Who ever tells the story of a disenfranchised black majority and a privileged white minority?

Who ever bothers to explain the deep feelings of frustration, disgruntlement and genuine grievance that I believe fueled the land grabs?

Who ever bothers to mention that men and women went and got killed fighting to own a piece of land?

This is the missing part of the narrative Munya.

I am not disputing what you have raised but I think in leaving out the context (or regarding it as irrelevant) you perpetuate an incomplete narrative of Zimbabwe and a distorted account of the land dispute.

So I told the stories no one else seems to bother about and the stories no one seems to care to remember…because they are all stories about Zimbabwe – in its various epochs and each successive event triggering a myriad of reactions.

If you concentrate only on the “consequences” of things and ignore the causes… how can you then state that you have done justice to the story of our nation?

In it’s ugliness, in its splendor – we must own our history and we must tell it and we must occasionally use it to understand our present.

What you have narrated is what is already out there – who is going to tell the bits that you have left out??

So having established in my post from yesterday that I have a right to be wrong – this post is about continuing a conversation around the emotive land issue.

It is a conversation I started in a YouTube video (whose backlash was the subject of my last blog post) and it is a conversation that carried over to the blog post which is the subject of this current post and it is a conversation that carried over into my MA dissertation where the enlightening views of academics such as T.O Ranger, Blessing-Miles Tendi, Sabelo Gatsheni-Ndlovu, Sarah Chiumbu, James Muzondidya, Brian Raftopolous, Norma Kriger, Sue Onslow among many others shed a lot of light on my own preoccupations with Zimbabwe’s history and the centrality of the land question.

I am still on a quest to fathom the meaning and nuances of it all. And if advancing unpopular views and playing the devil’s advocate is a price to pay for a more honest reflection on the issue – then I will exercise my right to be wrong and defy every ideological bully who would presume to insult me into ‘submission’.

How can we know the answers if we’re too scared (of what people will think of us) to ask the questions?

I have a right to be wrong

There is something defiant and vulnerable about speaking one’s mind.

Defiant because we are often not forgiven if what we think is at odds with what others expect us to think. Vulnerable because people can only attack your ideas if they know what your ideas are.

Perhaps that’s why so many people succumb to the temptation of concealing what they really think to avoid being criticized.

And criticism hurts.

…I reserve the right to be wrong

I have just recently recovered from the smarting of a stinging attack on ideas I held two years ago which are contained in a YouTube video that was made by some High School kids I interacted with in the USA.

The video was posted on Facebook by someone I don’t know (although their name is familiar) and the backlash was instantaneous, unrelenting, venomous and vitriolic.

My ideas were attacked, shredded, pummeled, stomped on, spat at and dare I say, generously covered in all manner of verbalized excrement – all in a bid to voice just how disgusting my point of view was to most of them.

In the video I stated that I believed the land issue in Zimbabwe was a moral justice issue and that framing it as a political one and particularly framing it is a ‘Mugabe-is-the-problem’ one was advancing a narrative that was incomplete.

…it’s so safe to remain in the bud of ‘popular opinion’ because blossoming into a contrary way of thinking can make you an easy target

Given the audience I had availed to me and given that the conversation was an informal one the following flaws are evident:

i) my ideas were paraded naked as I spoke off the top of my head, ii) my ideas were presented in their raw and unprocessed state un-subjected to the rigors of research iii) my ideas were un-propped by facts and iv) my ideas rested precariously on the notoriously unreliable premise of broad, sweeping and overly simplified generalization v) my ideas were informed by a skewed and biased narrative on the unequal distribution of the land and consequent economic marginalization of the black majority.

In short – I was wrong.

In any event, I ended the conversation on a flippant note by drawing parallels between the Zimbabwean land narrative I had presented and the storyline of the film Avatar! because it occurred to me that the audience I was addressing would be able to relate.

This was in 2011.

I don’t know about you…BUT I celebrated when the blue creatures in Avatar won their planet/land back! And I would celebrate a similar triumph in a just and equitable land re-distribution in Zim!

I came back home and all but forgot about it, because conversations around the land rarely made it into the conversations I ordinarily engaged in.

 As I pointed out above – I am guilty of uttering several inaccuracies but inaccuracy is almost inevitable when offering an opinion or interpretation of historical events that you have no living memory of.

Reflecting on that video many months later when it came up in a class discussion during my Masters’ studies in the UK; I realized how much of what I said was what I had heard incessantly in the public media.

It occurred to me that my recollections of the history of land dispossession in Zimbabwe was part of a broader public and institutionalized narrative of the nation’s past – a narrative that advanced the political interests of ZANU PF at a time when it faced overwhelming opposition.

…studying for my MA taught me how to confront my wrongness and challenge my assumptions

I began to think of why there had been no alternative discourse – no rebuttal – no disputation – no challenge and almost no counter narrative.

I began to think of how the media influenced what I remembered and how I remembered it and about the framing of the land narrative.

I began to think of how I could challenge this obviously biased telling of the nation’s past when (a) I had no living memory of those events (b) I was part of the ‘born-free’ generation and (c) I never fought in any war and when my ignorance deprived me of the capacity to create an alternative narrative.

It was with these preoccupations and frustrations that I later went on to write my MA dissertation on the framing of collective memory in Zimbabwe’s post-independent generation who – like me – were either too young to remember or had not even been born at independence.

I still maintain that the issue of the land is as much about  JUSTICE as it is about anything else but there is a lot that I would amend from the views I put forward in the YouTube video that has come back to haunt me in recent weeks.

I don’t suffer from belief perseverance…In case you’re wondering what it is – belief perseverance is a tendency to cling to ideas even when confronted with evidence to the contrary.

It is a great source of relief that I do not suffer from belief perseverance. I have never asked for anyone’s permission to hold an independent thought, I just do. In a blog post, when I stopped to think about it, I asked why do we “beg” to differ? Why can’t we just differ?

In the political conversations that I have been privy to, belief perseverance appears to be an ailment that afflicts many Zimbabweans.

But I suppose it is to be expected when you live in a country where the political conversation is monopolized by ideological bullies who will take it as an attack on their person – equivalent to the mentioning of their mothers’ unmentionables – if you happen to hold a different point of view. 

I don’t mind having my ideas attacked. I may not like it and it may not be a pleasant experience but if my ideas hold no merit and are un-constructive then they should be attacked.

…I’m going to get things wrong every now and again; but I won’t let that stop me from cultivating my mind

But attacking me personally is an entirely different proposition because when I’m provoked I don’t think my silence is a gift I should bequeath to me provoker.

I resist being bullied and maintain that I have a right to believe what I wish and to express it whilst retaining the right to change my mind about any stance I take.

In other words, I have a right to be wrong.

And when I am wrong, you have a right to point it out but that right does not afford anyone the luxury of hurling insults at me.

I once remarked in a blog post I wrote about Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo titled a woman who said something important:

Sometimes even when what we have to say is wrong… if it is important – it will get a reaction precisely because its wrongness points to what is right.

I think with regards the YouTube video – I must have said something important if the backlash is anything to go by. For all its wrongness, perhaps it forms a premise to have conversation about what could be right.

With hindsight, my MA dissertation did just that – it unpacked the fallacies I once held as fact and granted illumination upon those narratives I once held as gospel truth.

“it’s very dangerous to have a fixed idea. A person with a fixed idea will always find some way of convincing himself in the end that he is right” ― Atle Selberg

When it counts, I enjoy being my own critic – it eases the sting of hearing it from others whose dissension often comes laced with malice and marinated in venomous diction that seeks not to counter my view but to demean my person.

Anyway. There are no hard feelings.

I recently did an inventory of all my vital organs and precious body parts following the thorough cyber-bashing that my good name and person were subjected to on account of the views I expressed in the aforementioned video – I am delighted to inform you that I am still intact. Thank God, criticism is not life-threatening; I may well have been staring at death’s door.

It is said we have to live today by what truths we can get today and be ready tomorrow to call it falsehood.

Today I let my thoughts roam naked and be prepared tomorrow to point out the flaws, the stretchmarks, the unsightly cellulite and the blemishes on the surface of those nude ideas.

I don’t fear having my voice drowned by the hysterical disapproval of others because it is impossible to drown the voice of a writer.

Besides, when I write… who can shut me up?