Sunday, 25 November 2012 10:03
HARARE - The Anglican Church is witnessing threats of fresh violence as
bishops aligned to the dethroned Nolbert Kunonga battle parishioners seeking
Three of Kunonga’s bishops on Friday threatened to unleash violence on
bishops enforcing an order issued by the Supreme Court on Monday giving the
disgraced Anglican bishop five days to pack up and leave.
This came a day after Kunonga’s followers allegedly poisoned a mango orchard
to fix members of the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa
(CPCA) at St Paul’s Church in Chinhoyi.
Kunonga’s bishops could face charges of contempt of court by resisting
eviction if they plod ahead with their defiance.
Precious Shumba, spokesperson of bishop Chad Gandiya — who has been given
control of all Anglican Church properties in Harare by the Supreme Court —
told the Daily News on Sunday that there were pockets of resistance from
Kunonga’s bishops who were staunchly resisting eviction.
There was now a high risk of an outbreak of violence.
“Our church members are still facing resistance at Tafara’s St Philip Parish
where some rogue elements led by one Mukariri, who is loyal to Kunonga, has
threatened to mobilise some youths and militias to harass our members and
bishops,” Shumba said.
“He is refusing to move out of church properties and wants to start
violence. He is joined by Raymond Makiwa of St James parish in Mabvuku.
“At Guruve’s St Philips Parish, there is a Morris Brown Gwendenge and his
wife Portia making the same threats. These are pockets of resistance we are
facing as members of the Anglican Church. They are the last kicks of a dying
horse,” he said, adding the bishops were acting on instructions from their
“We understand that they are taking instructions from their godfather
Kunonga, whom we understand is hiding somewhere and directing the operation
of violence against us,” Shumba said.
Kunonga was unreachable for comment yesterday.
But the Harare Anglican spokesperson, who is also a director of Harare
Residents Trust, said they were not going to rush to throw Kunonga’s
followers out into the streets as the dethroned bishop did culminating in
the five-year court battle.
“We are going to follow the due process of the law and first finish the
auditing of our properties to verify what was damaged, vandalised or stolen
before moving into these premises with an eviction order,” Shumba said.
“We want to do it the legal way and next week, there will be a lot of
action as we are still cleaning our church premises and contacting the
police and engaging our lawyers to end this rank madness by Kunonga. We have
a Supreme Court judgment which shows that we are the legal custodians of
Gandiya’s faction regained control of 80 Anglican Church buildings, nine
secondary schools and 10 primary schools, learning centres and orphanages,
after the Supreme Court ruling last week which delivered a deadly blow to
The court ruling has brought some semblance of peace and tranquillity to
other Anglican parishes in Avondale, Cranborne, Mabelreign, Mufakose,
Budiriro and Norton where the midweek church services were conducted as
Kunonga bishops moved out, making way for Anglican members to take control
of their properties.
Yesterday, a crew from the Daily News on Sunday visited the Avondale Parish
and witnessed that peace had returned to the parish with women preparing for
their routine Saturday meeting.
Reverend Innocent Motsi of Avondale parish said Kunonga’s sympathisers
were going to move out next week on Wednesday.
“They are operating on the basis that they are supposed to vacate the
premises on the 28th but tomorrow we will be holding our church service in
the morning,” said Motsi. - Chengetai Zvauya and Gugulethu Nyazema
Sunday, 25 November 2012 10:01
HARARE - It was a partnership church leaders say was manufactured right in
the devil’s chambers.
For five years, renegade Anglican bishop Nolbert Kunonga and the police
formed a powerful force that reduced the Anglicans in Zimbabwe to a
desperate lot until the Supreme Court ruling last week.
So vicious were Kunonga and the police that the global head of the Anglican
church, Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, flew into Harare last
year to beg President Robert Mugabe to use his influence on the police.
The Daily News on Sunday relives the unholy alliance which resulted in women
and children harassed, churches closed and orphanages, schools and churches
Correspondence shows that Kunonga and police bosses were in constant touch.
He also took advantage of his close links to Mugabe to coerce the police
into his corner.
Following the onset of hostilities between Kunonga and the Church of the
Province of Central Africa (CPCA), police were roped in to massive effect.
In a letter dated October 30, 2008 to police commissioner-general Augustine
Chihuri in which Kunonga was giving a brief report on his takeover scheme,
the renegade bishop expressed gratitude for the help he was getting from the
force and appealed for more support.
“We give you a brief report province by province of what is happening in the
Church and appeal for more assistance.
“We applaud the assistance we are getting from the police. We could have
been dragged into chaos but the police were available to silence the Gandiya
faction movement at stations like Highfield St Paul,” Kunonga wrote to
He provided advice to Chihuri on areas that required police attention and
how to deal with some police details reluctant to evict CPCA members without
a court order authorising them to do so.
“What we have observed is that the Dispol (district police) Assistant
Commissioner sends the directives but the police details under him seem to
be undermining the authority. They demand things which are not available at
“Things like court orders cannot be obtained. The police details should take
orders from their seniors, which I believe will help diffuse the Mashonaland
West scenario,” wrote Kunonga.
In Harare, police who had embarked on a brutal clampdown that forced CPCA
members to abandon churches and worship under trees and in rented school
classrooms. Kunonga advised Chihuri to use this as a template.
“What the police are doing in Harare, we appeal that the same position be
taken by the Propols (provincial police commanders) in the provinces of
Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West.
“It is good that the pattern remains uniform. If we allow these people to
keep using our churches, then there is a loophole somewhere,” wrote Kunonga.
In his letter, Kunonga also explicitly revealed his political inclination.
“However, we cannot run away from our stance that we support the ruling
party (Zanu PF) and we shall keep praying for peace and sanity under the
leadership of (President Robert Mugabe),” he said.
Police spokesperson Andrew Phiri early this year described this
communication as part of routine police-public cooperation.
When Williams came to Zimbabwe in October last year, he also exposed how the
link between police and Kunonga had turned the dispute into a grave matter.
In the dossier, Williams detailed how Kunonga’s campaign had led to brutal
repression, murder and denial of basic freedoms of worship.
“Zimbabwean bishops have received personal death threats by phone, in person
and at gun point,” he stated in the dossier.
“On February 18, 2011 Jessica Mandeya of Harare Diocese was murdered.
Her body was not discovered for two days until Sunday morning when friends
came to join her to walk to church.
“We have information which very strongly suggests that she was murdered
because she belongs to the Diocese of Harare CPCA.
“She had received threats to that effect in preceding weeks and days as she
consistently refused to join Kunonga’s church,” Williams told Mugabe.
He also accused the police and an unnamed minister of Home Affairs of
failing to take action when Anglican congregants were denied access to
pilgrimage cites like Bernard Mizeki (2010) and Arthur Shearly Cripps Shrine
(2011) in Marondera and Masvingo respectively.
There were also numerous reported cases of arrests and detentions without
charge of priests in Chivhu and other parishes.
Mugabe received reports from Williams of disruption in schools across the
country and health institutions coming to virtual standstill.
In one instance, Kunonga’s sidekick Elson Jakazi of Manicaland, forced
administrators at St Peter’s Mandeya clinic to deny medicine to malaria
prone Honde Valley where women, children and poor villagers were in dire
need of help, Williams alleged.
Training of priests and HIV/Aids workshops for caregivers came to a
standstill as well as relief services previously provided by the Anglican
Church as Kunonga and his rogue vigilante group wreaked havoc. - Staff
by Roman Moyo
THE Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) says it has registered more
than 62,000 tobacco growers up from the 25,000 in the last season.
TIMB Chief Executive Officer Andrew Matibiri said with grower numbers
increasing, the focus was on now on improving the quality of the crop.
At least 80 percent of the registered growers are small scale farmers.
“Now that the number of farmers has increased we wish that farmer
organisations really work with the growers and that includes us to ensure
that farmers do not concentrate on the quantity of the crop but the
quality,” said Matibiri.
Matibiri said so far, more than 19,000 hectares of land has been put under
Prices for the crop in the last season closed 34,2 percent firmer, averaging
US$3,69 per kg compared to US$2,75 last year.
The Medium-Term Plan (MTP) had forecasted tobacco output at 180 million kg
this year, which could not be achieved due to limited funding among other
Still, overall sales volumes for the season reached 144million kgs.
Tobacco production has continued to record steady recovery over the years
but officials say the industry needs US$200 million in fresh capital to
return to peak production levels of 237 million kg recorded in 2000.
By Richard Chidza, Staff Writer
Sunday, 25 November 2012 10:03
HARARE - Human rights watchdog, the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), has
reacted angrily to a proposed plan by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF to
place stickers on supporters’ homes ahead of next year’s watershed
In a statement, ZPP said Zanu PF is taking notes from the Nazi era when
Germany was under feared dictator and war monger Adolf Hitler.
“The Zimbabwe Peace Project learnt with shock that Zanu PF intends to mark
its members’ houses with stickers.
ZPP finds this move rather objectionable.
“From history one would understand that during the Second World War, Jewish
homes and businesses — and then the people themselves were daubed with the
‘‘Star of David’’ and hated by their communities,” ZPP said.
Addressing a Zanu PF inter-district meeting held at Masvingo Teachers’
College last week, Masvingo provincial party chairperson, Lovemore Matuke
reportedly said it was mandatory for every Zanu PF supporter to have a
sticker on their doors for “easy identification”.
“You are supposed to have stickers at every household so that we identify
you. Our real supporters should have them wedged at their places. If you do
not have that sticker at your place, you will be skipped,” Matuke is
reported as having said.
With elections looming and Zanu PF’s political life hanging precariously in
the air, Matuke’s comments are likely to evoke memories not only of
Gukurahundi but the 2008 atrocities that reportedly claimed the lives of at
least 300 opposition supporters.
“ZPP sees this as a direct move to harass and intimidate the electorate on
the eve of a very crucial election.
The Zanu PF party has in the past used freebies such as food and
agricultural inputs to lure voters.
“We realise that people’s rights are going to be violated as a result of
this proposed Zanu PF identification process,” ZPP said.
“There is no doubt those stickers would be used to identify people who do
not support Zanu PF, who would then be victimised during and after the
elections. The whole move is designed to instil fear in the hearts and minds
of the electorate and it violates the people’s freedoms of association and
the rights to freely choose a political party of their choice.”
ZPP called on all the parties in the fragile coalition government to
“strongly consider the lives and welfare of the people before, during and
after the elections in 2013”.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo was unavailable for comment as his phone
SUNDAY, 25 NOVEMBER 2012
A group of Middle East and Asian billionaires has given strong indications
that they intend to invest in the country’s diamond sector following
projections that Zimbabwe has up to 1,8 million hectares of unexploited
Diamond experts have already hinted that Zimbabwe gems will double world
diamond supply by 2015 since Marange precious stones continue to attract
some of the biggest players in world diamond trade.
The billionaires include Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre (DMCC) executive
chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, who has close links with the super-rich
Al Maktoum royal family of the United Arab Emirates as well as members of
India’s “diamantries”, who are a clique of the richest diamond dealers in
In an interview last week, ZMDC chairman Mr Godwills Masimirembwa confirmed
negotiations with the potential investors had already opened.
“We are indeed holding negotiations with the investors from the Emirates
although negotiations are still at an early stage,” he said.
Mr Masimirembwa said the possibility of huge unexploited diamond reserves in
Marange is high.
“We estimate that there are up to 1,8 million hectares of unexploited
“This is why we need investment to tap this resource,” he said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe Diamond Conference 2012 held in
Victoria Falls recently, Ahmed Sultan Bin Sulayem revealed that his
organisation was keen on investing in a new concession in Marange.
“The DMCC is a coalition of several members and quite a number have
indicated that they want to invest in Zimbabwe’s diamond sector.
“Talks are still at an early stage, but these investors are some of the
richest people in the mining sector.
“We are also willing to assist Zimbabwe in their trade of diamonds.
“That is why we are holding regular talks with the Zimbabwe authorities,” he
Bin Sulayem said the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe had scared away investors
from the Emirates.
“It is only that the issue of sanctions imposed on the diamond companies has
created logistical problems for some of our partners within DMCC.
“You know, investors are very sensitive about issues such as sanctions.
“Therefore, some members within DMCC are adopting a wait-and-see approach.
“However, we are facilitating the free trade of diamonds from Marange to the
Zimbabwe has become one of the major players in the diamond industry.”
The Sulayem family has been one of Dubai’s most prominent business families
since the early 20th century.
Media reports indicate the majority of the members of DMCC comprises
renowned companies dealing in gold, diamonds and other precious minerals.
Chairman of the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) Mr Vipul
Shah said council members were targeting partnerships in diamond cutting and
GJPEC has over 6 500 members - Sunday Mail.
“There are high hopes in Mumbai where big players in the cutting and
polishing industry want to invest in Zimbabwe and also bring expertise to
the mining sector.
“Some of our members have already started holding talks with our Zimbabwe
counterparts,” said Mr Shah.
Sunday, 25 November 2012 09:50
HARARE - Desperate Zimbabwean migrants working on South African farms are
faced with the dilemma of standing for their rights or risk losing their
jobs, reports have suggested.
Many Zimbabweans living and working in South Africa either sold all their
belongings or abandoned their life in Zimbabwe in search of greener
pastures, especially during the period between 2005 and 2008 when economic
hardships took toll at home.
At the same time, life in the neighbouring South Africa has been difficult
for Zimbabwean refugees as they experienced xenophobia, deportation, and
This resulted in most opting to work as seasonal workers on farms, mines,
part time jobs while other rowdy characters engaged in criminal activists.
The recent farm strikes, soon after the infamous Marikana mine strike, have
exposed the low wages earned by farm “helpers” as farmers have called them.
Though the South African government is pleading with the workers to postpone
the strike to give them time to review minimum wages, the strikers have
refused to back down.
According to reports, most farm workers in De Doorns (a settlement in the
Western Cape) are seasonal, that is, they work 5 to 6 months at 1 600 South
African rands per month.
The social network is now abuzz with people raising concern at the abuse of
“I am worried about farm owners causing great tensions by using Zimbabwean
workers when strike tensions are high please be careful,” reads one tweet.
Another reads: “Some farmers (don’t know how many) do help their workers as
work is seasonal and they will be destitute without extra income.”
“I am shocked that farm owners claim they can manage with half the workers
they employ. Just employing workers to help them?” the discussion went on.
Social analysts have said some Zimbabweans are destitute in neighbouring
countries as they are embarrassed to return home as failures.
Most pretend to their family and friends that they are living the good life
yet they depend on these seasonal jobs and piece jobs. - Bridget Mananavire
Zimbabwean churches have condemned widespread endemic corruption in the
country and described it as evil.
by Ashly Sibanda
This comes in the wake of the release of a report by Afrobarometer that puts
Zimbabwe among four African countries worst affected by fraud and
The churches made the statement after being selected by the Zimbabwe
Anti-Corruption Commission to lead this year’s United Nations International
Anti Corruption Day commemorations slated for 9 December.
“The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, in recognising the church as the
most significant moral influence in our nation, has requested the Church to
lead the Nation in the proceedings of this day.
“All Zimbabweans have become too familiar with corruption in almost every
sphere of life. Corruption has become particularly endemic in service
delivery. The Bible depicts and condemns this level of corruption,” heads of
churches said in a joint statement.
The statement was signed by Goodwill Shana (President of the Evangelical
Fellowship of Zimbabwe), Ishmael Mukuwanda (Zimbabwe Council of Churches)
and Alexio Muchabaiwa (Vice President of the Catholic Bishops Conference).
‘Corruption has been on the increase and the Church has not been salty
enough to stop it. As a result life has lost the flavour it should have for
many people especially the poor and vulnerable.
“The light of the Church must now shine to expose and dispel the darkness
and evil of corruption. The Church can do this by raising its voice and
outcry against the source of corruption.
“Churches are invited to raise their concerns against corruption in their
congregations,” the church leaders added.
Corruption in the country is so widespread that surveys have cited the
nation as one of the most corrupt in the world.
Analysts say corruption was fuelled by the 2008 economic crisis which was
characterized by scarcity of most basic commodities as well as the temporary
suspension of the rule of law at the height of the land grab.
Sunday, 25 November 2012 11:57
Last week, it was widely reported that good, old Sir Bob, he of the
Zimbabwean presidency, had provided $20 million – yes, million – some of
which could be his own money, for use by his government, to serve his
Reporting for The Independent in Harare, Brian Chitemba covered the
president’s gift to the Zimbabwean people in an article he named, ‘Vote
buying: Zanu-PF’s age old survival strategy’.
“As the next elections loom, Mugabe last week unveiled a $20 million farming
package for the 2012-13 summer cropping season in which Zanu PF supporters
are expected to receive seed maize, bags of ammonium nitrate fertiliser and
seed cotton, while Matabeleland farmers will get dipping chemicals and
livestock supplements,” Chitemba wrote.
“Mugabe’s critics were quick to question the source of the money given that
Zanu PF and the government are supposedly bankrupt,” he added.
Yawn, right? Another day, another blow to the African electoral process?
Maybe. But whatever the case, Sir Bob sure knows how to make fraud fun. $20
million is nothing to scoff at. But where did the money come from? Some say
that the octogenarian shopped around a presidential ‘begging bowl’ to
collect mchango from his wealthy friends, and also asked for money from
donors that are friendly to Zimbabwe, e.g. China. How true that is, I don’t
Others are not so forgiving. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai went on a
predictable rampage, questioning the president’s motives and the shadowy
sources of his 20 million dollar bounty. According to the Zimbabwe Mail, the
Prime Minister was scathing in his scepticism.
“Mugabe put $20 million on inputs. First of all, where did he get that
money? Secondly, I have never heard of a President who becomes a donor in
his country,” Tsvangirai said, reportedly.
As I say, if anyone can give corruption a happy face, it has to be the grand
old man of Zimbabwean politics. When it comes to winning elections on a
platform constructed purely from cash, Mugabe clearly brings his ‘A’ game.
Obviously, Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) are not
happy, probably because they can’t get their hands on the loot. To that
effect, he was extremely vocal about his displeasure.
“Stop playing with people’s minds, this is diamond money. We are having
problems in Cabinet where the minister for mines says we sold diamonds worth
billions of dollars, but where is the money going? This country is so
wealthy, if only we had transparency,” Tsvangirai raged.
“It’s now an election and I want to tell you that when the inputs come, take
them, because it’s diamond money that is being used,” Tsvangirai is reported
to have told party supporters during a memorial service for victims of
politically-motivated violence. MDC-T has been part of the ruling coalition
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, State owned media were praising the gallant
efforts of their president.
“Thousands of peri-urban farmers from Hatcliffe, Harare, received farming
inputs from the Presidential Well-Wishers’ Inputs Scheme launched in the
area recently. The scheme is meant to benefit vulnerable people like
orphans, widows and child-headed families,” read a report in The Herald. I
guess for Zanu-PF and its tried and tested campaign methods, it is business
Julie Masiga is Features Editor, The Citizen. email@example.com
For the second time this week we braved winter rain to gather outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. On Wednesday a valiant group (Arnold Magwanyata, Bridget Mupotsa, Cephas Maswoswa, Constance Matobela, Dennis Benton, Lindiwe Bare, Loveness Chikwanje, Michelle Dube, Molly Ngavaimbe, Nobuhle Mazula, Penina Mashiri, Rosemary Maponga, Sihle Sibanda) had gone to the Embassy to deliver a petition demanding transparency in Zimbabwe’s diamond sales. It was part of ‘Operation Take Back Zimbabwe’ organized by the 21st Movement which has been holding monthly demonstrations by the diaspora since January.
Although Wednesday was a working day, the Embassy’s front doors were firmly closed. As the Embassy has no post box we slipped our petition under the door. Our comrades in Washington DC had a similar experience. Den Moyo, Co-ordinator of the 21st Movement, wrote ‘In the US we also had a successful demo at the Zimbabwe Embassy. Despite Ambassador Mapuranga's official Mercedes Benz being parked in front of the building, there was no response to our knocks on the door. We had to slide the petition under the door. We find it appalling that these diplomats are reneging on their duty to serve the Zimbabwean communities abroad.’
It is clear that Zimbabwe’s embassies fear the diaspora. They are typical of diplomatic outposts of a rogue state led by an African ‘Big Man’ as the former UN Secretary-General Koffi Annan of Ghana described Mugabe this week. He said it was time Africa looked beyond the continent’s colonial past. ‘The support for the Big Man system – Robert Mugabe is an example – created a political culture that simply encourages autocrats and dictatorships’ (see: Mugabe a dictator – Annan – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/old/nov22_2012.html#Z17).
A ‘Big Man’ such as Mugabe needs big money to keep in power and this is why the Vigil and the rest of the Zimbabwean diaspora is demanding transparency in Zimbabwe’s diamond revenues. The MDC-T MP Eddie Cross told a conference in Harare that if the diamond fields in Zimbabwe had been exploited on the lines proposed by the original company, as a joint venture with the government like in Botswana, Zimbabwe’s economy would have been transformed. As much as five and a half billion dollars could have gone to the state in the past four years. ‘In Botswana . . . the state receives two-thirds of gross sales. Education is free and the people do not pay personal taxes. Botswana has an income per capita today of nearly $9,000 and is rated a middle-income country. Zimbabwe has an income per capita of just $390 in 2012 and is rated one of the poorest countries in the world.’
Mr Cross cited the following points as indicating the colossal scale of diamond looting:
· A deficit on imports of nearly 50 per cent or in excess of $4 billion this year;
· Imports of $1,4 billion in motor vehicles in 2012;
· The construction of large, luxury homes in many parts of the country;
· Visible evidence of a high standard of living for a significant number of people whose positions do not justify such life styles;
· Significant expenditure by individuals and firms linked to Marange including luxury apartments and houses, even high rise buildings in South Africa;
· Substantial investments by certain individuals connected to the Marange operations in many areas of Zimbabwe, including the purchase of buildings and companies;
· The expenditure of perhaps $300 million via the President’s Fund on free crop inputs, scholarships and bursaries;
· The purchase of two new long range Airbus Aircraft;
· Expenditures on military equipment and facilities that are not provided for in the State budget.
Mr Cross said that those who have benefitted so visibly from the illicit sales of Marange diamonds over the past 5 years should be required to pay compensation. (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/old/nov24_2012.html#Z24 – Eddie Cross paper to Diamond Conference).
The Vigil is confident that Mines Minister Obert M’puffed-up will eventually have to explain how he acquired his enormous wealth. We were glad to see the detailed exposure of his financial dealings by Nehanda Radio (see: From Rags to Riches, the Obert Mpofu Story – http://nehandaradio.com/2012/11/16/from-rags-to-riches-the-obert-mpofu-story/). It sounds as if he will be joined in the dock by his MDC-T Mines deputy minister Gift Chimanikire (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/old/nov23_2012.html#Z14 - MDC man backs Mpofu). Mr Chimanikire’s boot-licking is not doing MDC-T a service, feeding the impression that it is part of the gravy train. We noted a report on Morgan Tsvangirai’s rally in Buhera which said ‘The vast difference between the villagers, desperately eking out a hand-to-mouth existence, and the lavish lifestyles of top MDC-T officials and ministers who rolled into Tsvangirai’s home area of Humanikwa village – about 200km away from their posh houses in Harare – in top-of-the-range vehicles and swanky attire, was all too visible.’ (See: Tsvangirai rally betrays widening affluence gap – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/old/nov24a_2012.html#Z6).
· Mr M’puffed-up’s largesse with diamonds knows no bounds. He has proposed buying off civil society organisations with a share of diamond revenue so they will stop criticizing him. ‘One who pays the piper calls the tune,’ he said (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/old/nov23_2012.html#Z2 – Civil Society angered by Mpofu diamond ‘bribe’).
· Thanks to Arnold Magwanyata of Zimbabwe We Can for making placards for the Wednesday demo.
· As we sheltered from the rain under our green tarpaulin today, we were approached by a passer-by in a yellow floral caftan pulling a bright pink shopping trolley adorned with yellow flowers. She said she was a Catholic missionary who had travelled widely in Africa. She said how wonderful the people are and how totally corrupt the politicians.
· A CD of Vigil songs is to be launched next week. It features Co-ordinator Dumi Tutani and Zimbabwean musician Farai Marema.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.
FOR THE RECORD: 42 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
· Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 1st December from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB. Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.
· ROHR Conference and Election of Substantive ROHR UK Executive. Saturday 8th December. Further details as they become available.
· Film ‘Robert Mugabe: Villain or Hero’. Saturday 15th December at 2 pm. Venue: British Film Institute, BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London SE1 8XT. There will be a panel / audience discussion. For full details: http://tinyurl.com/mugabe-villain-or-hero.
· Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2011 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/363-vigil-highlights-2011. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2011 Highlights page.
· The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.
· ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.
· The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani). To download the band’s theme song Vigil Yedu visit: www.imusicafrica.com and to watch the video check: http://ourvigil.notlong.com. To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: http://Shungurudza.notlong.com and http://blooddiamonds.notlong.com.
· Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.
· Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
· To sponsor the Mike Campbell Foundation expedition ‘Sailing across the Makgadikgadi Pans’ which will raise money for the work of the Foundation, go to www.justgiving.com/Mike-Campbell-Foundation.
· Useful websites: www.zanupfcrime.com which reports on Zanu PF abuses and www.ipaidabribe.org.zw where people can report corruption in Zimbabwe.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.
November 25th, 2012
A stone's throw from my luxury tent at "The Hide" safari camp near Harare, Zimbabwe, over two dozen elephants squirt water into their mouths and splash in the lake.
The night is so clear and moonless that the Milky Way looks painted in the heavens with whitewash and the Southern Cross hangs from above as in a celestial cathedral. Then, a male lion roars, cutting the air with its guttural voice. Sleep can wait until I return home. At this moment, the circle of life is chasing its tail right off my deck.
Unlike in many African countries, the wild animals in Zimbabwe are not held in by fences. The herds of wildebeest and kudu, impala and warthog, elephants and lions run free. They can often be seen munching on the golf course or roaming the lodges' back yards.
I have come to Zimbabwe partly for the animals, like nearly everyone who comes to Africa, and I found them at nearby Hwange National Park and this unique safari camp where guests can observe game from concealed "hides" by the animals' watering holes.
I've also come to see magnificent Victoria Falls, but while the cataract is a breathtaking sight to behold and shouldn't be missed, what I really want to learn about is the Zimbabwean people, for many consider them to be the friendliest on the continent. So to understand who they are today, I have to learn where they came from and so I pay a visit to Great Zimbabwe Monument, a World Heritage Site in Masvingo Province.
The Monument Complex
To access the ancient trail up to the rock fortress at the Great Zimbabwe ruins, one has to pass through the extremely narrow "Blood Passage." Long ago, to keep the riff raff out of the emperor's headquarters on the hilltop, a trick question was asked. If you weren't privy to the correct answer, a boulder was dropped on you from above, smashing your brains and bones to smithereens. Fortunately for us, our Zimbabwe historical guide, laughs; he's letting that part slide before we begin to ascend the stone steps.
There are three complexes to the Great Zimbabwe National Monument, the Hill Ruins, the Valley Ruins and the Great Enclosure, which the Shona people built back in 12-1500 AD. Over 150 sites of dry stone wall construction were made without mortar, encompassing huge granite boulders into the construction design. They built fires along the rock's crevasses and made the stone fracture into smaller pieces for use as stones in the construction. "Zimbabwe" means "house of stone" and it is the only country to glean its name from a cultural site.
The medieval palace perched on the acropolis was the "royal city"' The king of the Shona people lived here, who ruled all of south Africa at the time.
From these lofty heights, we can see into the Valley Ruins, where more than 25,000 people lived. This city was a great trading center, that once sent emissaries all the way to China. The Great Enclosure in the valley below is 200 meters in circumference and 7 meters in diameter. The king's wives lived within these walls, an entourage of more than 200, and ran a type of pre-marital school for young women. Here important lessons were shared on how to keep the King and Shona men, in general, happy. By 1450, the civilization had declined; the land could not support all the people and the colossal settlement was seemingly abandoned.
While we gaze out over the ancient settlement, we learn from our guide that the symbol of Zimbabwe is the fish eagle (hungwe) or osprey. This raptor knits the world of the sky together with the earth, as he dives into the rivers for his nourishment and rises back into the heavens.
The Zimbabwean People
As we descend the trail, I chat with my guide on what local foods would have been harvested back then, and also what he enjoys eating today.
"Mopane worms, I love them," he exclaims. The insect is really a caterpillar picked from the trees, their guts hand-squeezed out and then dried in the sun. "Throughout the year, we soak them, then stir fry them in oil. They are so very delicious. I eat them for supper 3 times a week but wish I could eat them every single day."
When I make a face, he's reminded that we Americans do not share their joy of insect eating, but he eggs me on by sharing his recipe for "Baked Baboon Head."
"You take the head, tie the jaw shut -- stuff tomatoes and chilies in its cavity, boil it and when the tomatoes ooze out the eyes, it's ready to eat!"
Once we walk through the Great Enclosure, we arrive at the Shona village where the local women dance with their gourds tied around their ankles. Loose seeds shake inside as they shuffle in the sandy dirt to the rhythm of the drummer. They come to my friends and take our hands, inviting us to join the circle and dance.
Tonight we are capping off our day of history by spending the night at the Great Zimbabwe Hotel (African Sun Hotels) located only minutes from the park. It was built as a replica of the national site, and as I walk its stone halls and community rooms, reminiscent of the stacked masonry at the Monument, it is a perfect fit for today's experience.
When I first told my friends and family I was coming to Zimbabwe, they asked if it was safe. But today the country is working hard to promote tourism. Disregarding politics, the people are focusing on sharing their land, their animals, their music and dance, their hearts with you. My guide and I laugh and share our lives over a dinner whose buffet does not contain mopane worms, I'm happy to say.