Monthly Archives: June 2016


This is an article making rounds on whatsapp  at the present on some phones in Zimbabwe ..You make your own mind up all im doing is Sharing !

(Not written by me, but so well written I had to share this) One thing Rhodesians could be trusted on, was doing that which their country – even no matter how bizarre – wanted done. The Rhodesians would do it, no lip service, something that Zimbabweans find hard – if not impossible altogether – to do. Zimbabweans behave like visitors or passers-by, who cannot make definite decisions and implement them. If anything, they can only do that which they cannot avoid doing because if they can avoid do it, it would never be done. Of late the most euphonious tune “illegal sanctions imposed by the West” has made it so easy for one mandarin after the other to escape responsibility and accountability. Yet it can be remembered that towards the end of the settler colonial rule in this country, Rhodesians were under real – not imagined – economic sanctions. Instead of being cry-babies, they made sure they displayed the best of themselves to the world. After the future leader of Mozambique Samora Machel closed his country’s border with Rhodesia, in 1974 Rhodesians decided to open another export route to South Africa, by building a railway line linking Rutenga and Beitbridge. Although engineering experts put the timeline for the construction of the 145 km railway line to take 24 months to complete, such was the commitment of the Rhodesians that the project was completed in a world record time of just 93 days, 21 months ahead of schedule. In cruel comparison, it has taken the people’s Government of Zimbabwe nearly 20 years just to plan the construction of a 30 km railway line linking Harare and its dormitory town of Chitungwiza. Many people marvel at the engineering feat displayed at the Victoria Falls Bridge. For anyone to believe it took the Rhodesians just 14 months to construct the 198-metre long steel structure across the might Zambezi River would appear like a real miracle. Another jaw-dropping project, the Birchenough Bridge across Save River, at 329 metres, was the third longest single-arch suspension bridge in the world when it was completed in 1935. In comparison, it took about 12-years for the Government’s ever-changing contractors to dualise the 40 km road between Harare and Norton at an unknown cost. At this rate, one can only wonder how many centuries the dualisation of the 900 km Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway could take. It took the Rhodesians in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland just four years (from 1955-1959) to construct Lake Kariba – the world’s largest man-made water body which is four times bigger than China’s Three Gorges Dam – but it has taken Zimbabweans several decades to construct a few dams in the country such as the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam (since 1997), the Gwayi Shangani Dam, Kunzvi Dam, Manyuchi Dam, and Semwa Dam among others. Such was the indefatigable fighting spirit of the Rhodesians that it was said everything that they put their hands on turned to gold. The real reason why Rhodesia had to remain the last of the British colonies was simply because the British public lionised (if not out rightly feared) Ian Smith, the Rhodesian fighter pilot, who had narrowly missed death thrice while defending the King during the Second World War. In fact, Rhodesians had earned their stripes by being more British than the British themselves during both WW1 and WW2. While Britain and all her other colonies had to resort to the desperate measure of conscription and gang-pressing to raise armies to send to the war front, Salisbury – in contrast – had to put in place laws to stop its citizens from abandoning the country in order to sacrifice their lives in defence of the British King. As their contribution to the WW2 effort, Southern Rhodesians single-handedly trained a third of the British, Commonwealth and Allied fighter pilots at their flight schools under the Empire Air Training Scheme… and contributed (on a pro rata basis) more men than any of the British colonies – which prompted the British Royal family, in April 1947, to travel to Salisbury to thank the Rhodesians in person for this spirit of selflessness. In Zimbabwe today, people are busy shouting patriotic slogans in the day, while at night they are busy doing everything to advance their personal and very selfish interests. If there is anything that is never in short supply in this world, is a cheap commodity called excuse. It is unlike the sands of the seas or the stars of the sky, this one is found almost everywhere for anyone who wants to cling onto it to do so happily, but surely no excuse – no matter how valid it sounds – has ever taken anyone anywhere. Let us wait and see where barren patriotism and excuses will take Zimbabwe     [truncated by WhatsApp]


Return of the Zimbabwe dollar

Zimbabwe Absurdity

There was a demonstration against the rule of Robert Mugabe recently. That’s not news by most country’s standards but it most certainly is news here. It was small, about 2000 participants, but noisy and although the police originally refused permission the High Court granted permission. So what exactly is happening here? Is this the beginning of the end of the Mugabe regime?

I was in town for my French lesson with Shelton. He was late, comme d’habitude, as he has to rely on the notoriously erratic minibuses. While I was waiting a call came through from an unknown number.

“Hello, is that Mr Roberts?”

“Yes it is”.

“I am name given from  ZANU-PF Gomba District at your office. I am requesting a donation for Monday”.

“What’s happening on Monday?”

“It’s Independence Day”.

I’d genuinely forgotten this most sacred of Zimbabwean holidays. There aren’t a lot of reasons to…

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Getting more for less (or preferably nothing at all)

Zimbabwe Absurdity

The workers’ committee representing my labour force requested a meeting yesterday. They were asking for a wage increase. That most of Zimbabwe is unemployed swayed them not a bit. Neither did the fact that most prices are not going up and rents are, in some cases, going down. The pharmacist where I most frequently get scripts has taken a 20% reduction in salary and is struggling to pay her children’s school fees. That I would have to increase prices to offset the wage increase and probably drive customers elsewhere also failed to move them. So in the end I just said no, it was not going to happen (I already pay substantially more than I am required to by law). They were more than a little bemused but at least they are actually working for a living unlike a lot of the “haves” in our society.

Currently there is…

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The drought of ’92

Zimbabwe Absurdity

Watsomba area of eastern Zimbabwe 1992 Watsomba area of eastern Zimbabwe 1992

Zimbabweans have a curious attitude to the rainy season; they almost think it’s a right and are somewhat puzzled or even hurt when I say no, I don’t think the rains are going to come this year. Of course we will get some rain but it’s almost certain there will be a drought.

In 1992 we had a drought. At the time I was working in Penhalonga in the high rainfall eastern area of Zimbabwe. I was doing freelance programming; there was plenty of work but it did not pay well as people were not convinced of the value of it so I left and in 1995 (another drought year) started an agricultural job near Harare.

The photo above was taken north of Mutare in a high rainfall area called Watsomba. I don’t recall the actual date but you can see there is hardly…

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