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Old Aug 24th 2015, 4:31 pm   #16
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Default Re: from Zimbabawe, to Zimbabwe...

For anyone interested in an alternative to the stale anti-Mugabe/anti-Zimbabwe narrative, you could do worse than to read "Zimbabwe - Challenging Stereotypes" by Robert Mshengu Kavanagh. I am not halfway through this book yet but it's nicely written & offers some fascinating insights into the country, post independence. The author is not afraid to criticise Mugabe but makes more effort to explain his short-comings rather than just pointing them out.

Zimbabwe: Challenging the stereotypes: Amazon.co.uk: Robert Mshengu Kavanagh: 9781500186241: Books Zimbabwe: Challenging the stereotypes: Amazon.co.uk: Robert Mshengu Kavanagh: 9781500186241: Books


For those with a shorter attention span or no money (like me) this article on the installation of solar powered street lights suggests that the UK, EU & US reticence to invest in Zimbabwe is not matched elsewhere in the world. China, for instance, is being criticised for how much it involves itself in the internal politics & economics of African countries but I wonder how the west expects countries like Zimbabwe to get outside investment if they will not offer it...

Zimbabwe capital turns to solar streetlights to cut costs, crime: TRFN | Reuters

This next article appeared in the BBC business section in the same week that Cecil the Lion was murdered by a rich, stupid American dentist. Yes, it's a rare thing, a positive sounding piece by the BBC about Zimbabwe! Who'd have thought such a thing would exist!

Zimbabwe's booming restaurant scene - BBC News

This, from left-wing socialist rag Counterpunch offers a different view of Harare life than you're likely to read on mainstream online media. It's got a great title, "Harare - Is It Really The Worst City on Earth?"

Harare: Is It Really the Worst City on Earth?

I found this place that takes economic data from various cities on earth & distils the data into a comprehensive "cost-of-living" comparison. I've added two links here, the one below is the page for the UK.

Cost of Living in Harare. Prices in Harare. Updated Aug 2015
Cost of Living in London. Prices in London. Updated Aug 2015

Finally, there's also a string of documentaries on Youtube by a dutch film-maker, who travelled Southern Africa in recent years. Many are in English but those that are not are subtitled. The two episodes based in Zimbabwe are below. These offer your more traditional media angle of Africans screwing up their economies & whites being disenfranchised by land reform.

Back to Africa Episode 3 - www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMiU-CUWEPY
Back to Africa Episode 4 - www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgDcUT17DjU

Last edited by Sid Read; Aug 24th 2015 at 4:34 pm.
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Old Aug 24th 2015, 6:38 pm   #17
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Default Re: from Zimbabawe, to Zimbabwe...

Is it possible to murder a lion? And if so, does that chicken pie on my table contain murdered chickens?
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Old Aug 24th 2015, 11:16 pm   #18
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Default Re: from Zimbabawe, to Zimbabwe...

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Is it possible to murder a lion? And if so, does that chicken pie on my table contain murdered chickens?
Not if it contains chicken wings. Chickens clearly have no use whatsoever for them & I've always wondered how long it'll be before they evolve to shed them, like African house lizards drop their tales to survive... If chickens would just learn to play along, I'm sure a new era of ethical meat eating might be ushered in!

I grew up in Zim & along with every other kid I received plenty of education on conservation of the abundant & valuable natural resources of the country & how to manage wildlife with an ever increasing human burden on land! I am well aware of the need to cull animals to enable their continued survival, especially elephants who spend a huge amount of time destroying their own environment. But I will never condone the sale of culling rights to those who would engage in that activity for pleasure no matter how much they paid for it. Those who cull animals must be doing it out of love for them & not for pleasure.

I take no pleasure in knowing where my chicken comes from & how it's treated before I eat it, but I do try to buy good chicken in the hope that that might mean it didn't have a shit life.

Apparently, investment opportunities around Harare at the moment include offers to run intensive Poultry farms. Strange that in a land of so much space intensive farming should be considered.
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Old Aug 24th 2015, 11:42 pm   #19
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Default Re: from Zimbabawe, to Zimbabwe...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sid Read View Post
Although missing a question mark & clearly of limited value to the purpose of this thread, this looks like a question. I might reply with one of my own. What "bull" is that I have bought into so much that you feel the need to post something so worthless?

Fortunately, I have found an a great deal of positive stuff from Zimbabwe, to counteract the well established paranoid whiteboy bullshit. I may collate some of it for you all when I have the time. Yes, of course there's a lot of bad press from Zim, you aren't a particularly clever or resourceful person if that's all you can find though. If you make a little effort you find that there in fact lots of positive news stories coming from Zimbabwe to counteract the negativity of mainstream media, & most of the folk who use places like this.

We get plenty of negative media in places like Iran, would it be fair to assume that seeing most Iranians think the west is the devil that they are all right? Just because you all think Zimbabwe is hell on earth does not make you all right.

Perhaps Pablo has never even been to Zimbabwe, hence the post that's heavy on the condescension & light on information.
At the risk of leaping to Pablo's defence (something he neither needs or wants, I'm sure), he has posted many times on BE in the Africa forum over the years. If you'd done half of the research you accuse him of not doing, you'd know exactly what his history is and how ironic it is to accuse him of being heavy on condensation.

Go back through some threads, learn about the posters and contributors before making sweeping generalizations about them.

As ever, things in Africa are never as they first appear.
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Old Aug 25th 2015, 8:48 am   #20
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Default Re: from Zimbabawe, to Zimbabwe...

Other than what's written in this thread & perhaps one or two others I have not done the slightest bit of research on other posters in this forum. I'm researching Zimbabwe as a destination for travel, business & investment & not individual members of a forum.

I'm inviting folk who are on the ground in Zim right now to offer first-hand, day-to-day life details of life there, preferably with a more positive slant than is common & taking this piss a little out of anyone who for whatever reason can't seem to do it. Pablo might well be an valuable contributor to your forum but his contribution here is pretty worthless.

I apologise to Pablo & everyone else for any offence. You make a perfectly fair point, if I can find the time between the research I am actually interested in, I'll spend some delving into the backgrounds of people who have posted in here.
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Old Aug 25th 2015, 10:33 am   #21
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I don't see anyone queuing up to give you your positive slant on things....
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Old Aug 25th 2015, 11:01 am   #22
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Default Re: from Zimbabawe, to Zimbabwe...

Sid's right, everything is fine in Zim. I mean, have a read of this. From today, so it's pretty relevant. I'm relieved, I was worried for a while.

Mugabe: Zimbabweans aren't suffering... we gave them land | News24

And the reason you won't get many responses from people in Zimbabwe right now is they're either without electricity and Internet, emigrated, or dead.
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Old Aug 25th 2015, 8:34 pm   #23
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Default Re: from Zimbabawe, to Zimbabwe...

I'm not certain that everything's fine in Zim, I'm quite certain in fact that there are problems. But I've got problems here, I think I made it quite clear, & I'm still quite able to discuss & describe day-to-day life here in London to anyone in Zimbabwe who happened to be interested.

Is the problem here perhaps the "British" part of this website. The British slant on Mugabe has been negative since long before Zim independence. Perhaps the relentless negativity has rubbed off on normal people.

Lucky this is the not the only resource. I've found a website dedicated to African holidays & I find a great deal of interest in Zimbabwe as a tourist destination. It's clear that things are on the up for tourism in Zimbabwe now that the economy is stabilising.

I've also found people through social media who have recently been able to give me brief updates on life in Zim. Brief because they are busy living normal lives, going to work etc not because they are trapped indoors by raging mobs of starving Africans rampaging through the blacked out streets murdering any whites who aren't struggling to get online... Sorry, just exaggerating for effect & humour.

Nothing that's been said here would dissuade me in the slightest from visiting the country. I'm not afraid of going home. I remember back in the early 90's when I was planning to back-pack round Zimbabwe. The country was safe as houses & jammed with tourists (I know, I was there, I saw it!) & still I had people going white with shock at the "risk" I was taking. When I had to convince my Irish girlfriends dad that taking his daughter to Zimbabwe was a good idea all I had to do was remind him that I had met his daughter because he had permitted her to move to London on her own. After only 2 years living in London & some 17 years in Harare, I considered London far more dangerous than Harare!
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Old Aug 26th 2015, 9:14 pm   #24
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Default Re: from Zimbabawe, to Zimbabwe...

Hi Sid

I can't give you first hand recent experience, but I do have a couple of friends who are living and working here in the Western Cape and sending money back to their children in Zimbabwe. They are Matabele men, and very anti Mugabe. They left Zimbabwe ±5 years ago, mainly due to financial reasons, but also for fear of their lives.

Considering that living in shacks in Hermanus is preferable to what is available in Zim should be an indication of what general life is like for the less affluent Zimbabwean. BUT one of them left his daughter there as he is of the opinion that Zim education is better.

A couple of years ago, they moved several truck loads of furniture and appliances up there to sell as these things were just not available there. Their experience on the roads included several road blocks where you were cleared and waved through depending on the amount of cash you had available.

A friend who emigrated to SA ±20 years ago tried to convince her elderly mother to move to SA. Mother was adamant that she was staying put. She lived through the war, independence, the Mugabe regime but was settled and happy in her country. And that is not the only positive story - there are many of them. Somebody that I met here about 6 months ago was looking into setting up a business in Harare. I have not heard anything more, but can try and follow up if you like.

But you cannot deny the negatives either. The country is poor. Mugabe is very firmly in control (no positives on him from my side). Day to day things are not always readily available.

I haven't been back for 20+ years, but I can still spot a true Matabele in a crowd.

We lived in Zim (then Rhodesia) for a few years back in the 70s. The country really stole my heart. There was just something there that I have not found in South Africa. The nearest I have come to it is the village life in the Western Cape.

From your post regarding your visit to Cape Town, you obviously embrace the Africa way (I do much the same). IMO you should move back to Zimbabwe, or if you can, at least spend a few months living in Harare and judge for yourself.

Good luck
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Old Aug 27th 2015, 4:30 pm   #25
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Question Re: from Zimbabawe, to Zimbabwe...

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I have not heard anything more, but can try and follow up if you like.

But you cannot deny the negatives either. The country is poor. Mugabe is very firmly in control (no positives on him from my side). Day to day things are not always readily available.

From your post regarding your visit to Cape Town, you obviously embrace the Africa way (I do much the same). IMO you should move back to Zimbabwe, or if you can, at least spend a few months living in Harare and judge for yourself.

Good luck
Mandy
Hi Mandy,

Thanks so much for a considered reply. You are the winner.

I would love an update from your friend with business plans for Zim...

I am in no way trying to hide or deny the negative side to Zimbabwe life. I just think more than enough is known & written about the negative side to life in Zimbabwe. They may even be significant negatives, but they certainly are not hard to discover. Positive news from Zimbabwe is out there & that's main focus of my being here, to hear it & spread it.

Yes I am quite happy embracing local life-styles. I do this even when I visit Spain!

Thanks again for an excellent reply
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Old Oct 18th 2015, 1:37 pm   #26
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There is very little news of any kind in the Mainstream Media about Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries.
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Old Oct 27th 2015, 9:35 am   #27
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Great Zimbabwe - Contemporary political implications
reminds me of the many discussions I have had on this subject.
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Old Jan 1st 2016, 7:40 am   #28
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Default Re: from Zimbabawe, to Zimbabwe...

Discussion at L S E

Public lectures and events: media player - Public lectures and events - Channels - Video and audio - News and media - Home
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Old Jun 8th 2016, 9:13 am   #29
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Default Re: from Zimbabawe, to Zimbabwe...

Thanks folks.

I'm back. Spent a month in Zimbabwe, about 20 days in Harare & 10 driving round the country. There are many changes since my last visit in the late 90's. Harare's CBD caters to the local market almost entirely now, there are no tourist shops or western style department stores, they've almost all been broken up into smaller lots. The city was very lively with all sorts of commerce going on all the time. There is a serious cash crisis & the locals spend the most disgusting, filthy single dollar bills. This has gotten worse since I left & I recommend anyone planning to visit the country take plenty of small denomination US dollars. Don't bother with rand & who knows what will happen to the £ as we approach the EU referendum. Buy dollars, & remember, lots & lots of small denominations. You can spend with your Credit Card or Debit Card all over Harare & Zimbabwe. The city suffered no power cuts while we were there. The internet was excellent & we found wi-fi, even at the campsite in Bulawayo where our nights accomodation was extremely good value! Because I was able to connect to the internet high speed pretty much anywhere in the country (except Matopos, where it was too peaceful to care!) I was able to continue working with my mates business in the UK, meaning I actually earned money whilst travelling in Zimbabwe. This is encouraging to me because I still have longer term plans to return to live there.

There are a lot of problems. Not many of them put me off returning to live provided I have an income in hard currency. Despite the problems the people are always smiling, even the police at the road-blocks & homeless, hungry Hararians. There is a lot of political unhappiness, & I'm sure there'll be some changes there soon. Zimbabwe will have sanctions lifted & the wests re-engagement once it has a new leader. The country is still beautiful from top to bottom. The roads are mostly quiet & only the one from Harare to Masvingo (& presumably onward) is in serious need of work with pot-holes encroaching from the lost verge! Road-blocks litter every main road & are a drag! But there is much less dangerous driving than there was in my day & although there are still often bus crashes that kill dozens, the roads are quieter & safe than they were in the old days. Anyone with a properly equipped vehicle & a good attitude (a smile) & plenty of time can breeze through the road-blocks.

Harare is where the biggest changes over the last 30 years or so have occured. I was not hugely surprised because I was expecting changes but I was surprised by how little everywhere else had changed! Bulawayo is exactly as it was the last time I was there in 1991! There are still white women walking around in Bulawayo with their school-kids, it's like a time-warp. All the other small towns & even Vic Falls, again, little change.

I'm already planning another trip down there, my girlfriend loved the country & the people.
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Old Jun 8th 2016, 9:38 am   #30
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Default Re: from Zimbabawe, to Zimbabwe...

Nice post Sid, glad you had a good time, and thanks for the update.

I'm not convinced a change of leader will turn Zim into the land of milk and honey, I guess it depends on who follows Mad Bob. If it's his widow (as some are predicting) then I think things could actually get worse. It also seemed to me that Zimbabwean's general "niceness" as you describe above contributed to the ease with which the government were able to stamp on any revolutionary talk. Zimbabweans are possibly the friendliest people I've ever met.
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