An interview with Tafadzwa Sharuanga the New Media Officer at Magamba Network.

When did Magamba get off the ground?
Magamba Network was formed in November 2007. It was an idea that basically started from home at Tudor Gardens when Samuel Monroe aka Cde Fatso teamed up Tongai Makawa aka Outspoken to create Magamba Network.

What circumstances created Magamba?
From what I gather from the founders of the organization they viewed 2007 as a period that lacked necessary platforms for freedom of expression. So this necessitated the need to create an organization that caters for the creation of spaces for freedom of expression or alternative ideas.

Who plays the leading roles?
Since 2007 the Magamba Network has expanded from being a small organisation run by two people, to an organisation with nine people all filling different roles. The founders of the organisation still play the leading role in this set-up.

And your vision?
Magamba Network has a vision for a free Zimbabwe where citizens are liberated to express themselves artistically through different media. Also I would say creating platforms for expression and raising awareness across the nation.

What kind of programmes are you currently implementing?
Magamba Network we can now describe itself as a technology, new media, activist and art organisation. Within that definition I would start off with Zambezi News a satirical comedy show on politics, sex, social and economic life in Zimbabwe. It is structured as a parody of ZBC TV and since we only have one television station in the country the show is creating an alternative voice to the national broadcaster.

On the other side we have B.theMedia which is a community journalism project focusing on social media, training of citizen journalists and the creation of online platforms. The project has resulted in the creation of Kalabash Media with now over 15 contributors from B.theMedia training. Under the same project we have Izwi blog for young school going kids from the High Glen district. The project has been expanding into other towns like Gweru and Bulawoyo through mini Hub Unconferences that have been recently hosted in those towns. We also have community events and concerts project, which give emerging artists an opportunity to showcase their socially relevant messages. Due to the polarisation of the media sometimes artists with socially relevant messages are not given enough coverage so the project creates an alternative platform for them. Magamba Network also facilitates networking and collaborations between local and international artists through the artist agency programme.
We also organise the Shoko Festival, which is a celebration of all the aspects that are under the Magamba Network in one event. The four-day event comprises debates, comedy, art and music concerts. This year’s theme for Shoko Festival is: Re-Inspire Re-Imagine.

Highlights?
Through our artists agency programme we have managed to link up with Agencia from the UK and the partnership has created a network between local and international artists. We have also managed to send some local artists to Senegal for an event. The upcoming Shoko Festival we will be a major highlight for the year as expect to expand our programmes and partnerships.

Are you fulfilled by your work?
Artists created Magamba Network and most of the people I work with here are artistically inclined.  So we are very much fulfilled with our work. Our passion for art drives us.

magamba_shoko_1409

Abortion rights in Africa

The Guardian reports …

Abortion is allowed to save a woman’s life in all African countries for which we have data (there are no figures for South Sudan). Only 20 states allow abortion in cases of rape or incest, although this is up from 13 in 1996. Ethiopia, Mali, Uganda and Togo are among the countries that have amended their laws since then. Thirty-three countries allow abortion to preserve a woman’s physical health, and 30 for mental health. Twenty-one countries allow abortion for foetal impairment, four for economic or social reasons, and three allow abortion on request. South Africa and Tunisia have the most liberal abortion laws on the continent.

Zimbabwe doesn’t allow abortion on request, for mental health reasons or for social/economic reasons.

Check out the map

Event: WUA Public Lecture – Keynote address by Dr Kakenya Ntaiya Founder/Director of Kakenya’s Centre for peace

Date: 2 October 2014
Time: 1100 – 1230 hours
Venue: Women University in Africa

Life for Kakenya Ntaiya was supposed to follow the traditional path. Engaged at age 5, she was to be circumcised by the time she was a teenager, an event that would mark the end of her education and the beginning of her preparations for marriage. But Kakenya had a different plan. First, she negotiated with her father: she would be circumcised only if she could also finish high school.  He agreed. Then she negotiated with the village elders to do what no girl had ever done: leave her Maasai village of Enoosaen in south Kenya to go to college in the United States. She promised that she would use her education to benefit Enoosaen. The entire village collected money to pay for her journey.

Kakenya received a scholarship to Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Virginia. The girl who grew up without electricity wrote papers on international relations and political science on the computers in the university library. She went on to the University of Pittsburgh, where she received her Doctorate in Education in 2011.  While completing her studies in the U.S., she married and had two children.

As an undergraduate, she became the first youth advisor to the United Nations Population Fund. In that capacity, she traveled around the world as a passionate advocate for girls’ education, which she sees as a crucial tool for fighting the practices of female genital mutilation and child marriage.  Kakenya is now fulfilling her promise to her community.

As the founder and president of Kakenya Center for Excellence, a girls’ primary boarding school in Enoosaen, Kenya, Kakenya believes that education will empower and motivate young girls to become agents of change in their community and country. The Center opened its doors in May 2009 and currently has 170 students in grades four through eight. It has become a beacon of hope to the girls and parents in Enoosaen.

Kakenya was honored with a Vital Voices Global Leadership award in 2008 and as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2010. She was named one of Newsweek’s “150 Women Who Shake the World” in 2011 and counted among the Women Deliver 100: The Most Inspiring People Delivering for Girls and Women. She was a featured speaker at TEDx Midatlantic Conference in 2012 and honored as a CNN Hero in 2013. Her story has been the subject of a Washington Post series, a BBC documentary, and many magazine articles.

Here is a recent statement from the National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (NAVUZ) on the harassment of vendors in Harare:

The announcement by the Harare City Council (HCC) this week that they have completed the registration process of vendors and that they are now allocating vending sites should be viewed as a farce and the beginning of a chaotic phase within the vending enterprise in Harare.

There are more than 12 000 vendors in the CBD area of Harare, and the exercise that was completed by HCC only attracted a paltry 4 800. What this simply shows is that vendors have refused to take part in a secretive palaver. Vendors are prepared to take part in the registration process but will shun an exercise that is marred my corruption and political patronage.

As far as NAVUZ is concerned, the entire process was marred by massive irregularities that made it impossible for genuine vendors to get registered and become part of the processes. Corrupt officials at the HCC and emerging ‘Space Barons’ linked to some powerful politicians manipulated the entire process and ensured that their surrogates benefited from the exercise at the expense of genuine vendors who have been operating in the CBD area for the past twenty years or more. Most of the surrogates, who previously were based in Mbare, migrated to Harare’s CBD area because they have connections and aim to take advantage of the same to get strategic vending sites at the expense of the original occupants of the sites.

At the expiry of the vendors registration ultimatum announced by HCC, NAVUZ has witnessed a marked increase in the number of abuses on vendors at the hands of municipal police and thugs sponsored by ‘Space Barons.’ Eight of our members sustained varying degrees of injuries at the hands of these thugs and corrupt HCC officers. This surely cannot go unchallenged and NAVUZ is going to do everything within its capacity to ensure justice to the brutalized eight vendors.

The constitution of Zimbabwe is very graphic in Sections 51 and 53 with regards protection of livelihoods. The aforementioned Sections clearly guarantee protection against cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and the right to human dignity. Actions by the Harare City Council and all its agencies runs contrary to the national objective of promoting private initiative and self-reliance as set out in section 13 (1) of the Constitution.

The sexual exploitation of young girls in Zimbabwe continues to rise at an alarming rate as young girls sell their bodies on the street in order to survive.   A report in the Sunday Mail, 28 September 2014, indicates that children who have lost their parents, or whose parents are unable to care for them find their situation particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Local pimps are recruiting these girls to work in their brothels in return for a few dollars. A combination of economic and social factors is forcing more and more children onto the streets throughout the country as they seek to supplement their families’ income through commercial sex.

Speculation on the fate of Zimbabweans working and studying in South Africa came to an end last week as the South African Minister of Home Affairs; Malusi Gigaba announced that his government will be renewing their permits under the newly established Zimbabwean Special Permit (ZSP) project. According to the statement more than 245 000 Zimbabweans who benefited under the Dispensation for Zimbabweans Project (DZP) are eligible to apply for the ZSP.  The new permits come with an R870 application fee and the application process will be done online. The new permits will see Zimbabwean immigrants extending their stay in South Africa up to 2017.

Further discussion around the $3 per 10,000 litre surcharge now being imposed on bulk water abstraction from boreholes raises some important points.

A blog on Harare’s disappearing water points out, among other things,

  • Groundwater resources are finite.
  • Groundwater is not, and cannot be seen as the panacea to Harare’s water problems.
  • City of Harare needs to make program of rehabilitating the city’s water supply system a priority.
  • Individuals and companies should use water more efficiently. Keeping lawns green should not be a priority.

As one subscriber wrote:

The bulk supplier that I use draws from registered boreholes, with an allocation from the catchment that they follow, and has been paying the gazetted charges. Yet he is being hit by the measures that are supposed to stop water mining. He still has to pay the costs to operate the boreholes and is passing the extra charges on to his customers – I have refused to buy water at this rate, I can’t afford it and I don’t see why I should be paying so much extra for nothing.

What they should be doing is to find unregistered bulk suppliers, make them register, obtain an allocation, pump according to the allocation and pay the gazetted fees. It would be helpful if those using borehole water for non-domestic purposes could be retrained from doing so.

The bottom line is that if we all had municipal water this would not be an issue. In places where there is an aquifer under Harare, the volume stored is insufficient to supply 2.1 million people and water mining is inevitable until we all get municipal supply.

And some #Twimbos also chimed in:

A letter sent last week from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate to catchment councils instructs the catchment councils to take over all boreholes producing bulk water, and to charge $3 per cubic metre (1,000 litres), the proceeds to be split between the Ministry, ZINWA and the catchment councils.

The charge of $3 per cubic metre is 7.5 times the 40 cent per cubic metre charge that the Minister for Local Government has dictated for piped treated water delivered to consumers’ premises.

Water mining – the over abstraction from boreholes for bulk sales – is a serious problem and in many areas has resulted in neighbours’ boreholes going dry, as surrounding boreholes are mined for bulk sales.

However, the measure by the Ministry fails to address the root cause of water mining: Harare Water’s failure to deliver piped, treated water to residents.

According to one concerned observer, some of the issues this directive raise include:

  • It does not say who is to pay the costs to extract water – ie electricity to pump from the borehole and the costs to maintain the borehole. The borehole owners will not allow ZINWA to draw water using the borehole owners’ electricity and are likely to stop abstraction of bulk water from their boreholes. Much of the population in the northern and eastern suburbs relies on bulk purchases from commercial suppliers. The consequence of this instruction is that they will have no water.
  • The logic seems to be to prevent mining of ground water. However the reality is that mining ground water is the only way that a significant portion of Harare’s population gets water.
  • There is a need to control abstraction by bulk water suppliers when they are adversely affecting boreholes on neighbouring properties. There is also a need for people with productive boreholes to stop wasting their water by irrigating street verges and lawns.
  • The bottom line is that if Harare Water were delivering its product, there would be no need for bulk private deliveries.

Full text of the letter:

min_water_catchment_letter

An interview with Plot Mhako, Projects Director, Jibilika Dance Trust

When was Jibilika Dance Trust formed?
Jibilika was formed in March 2007, initially registered as a limited company then in 2009 we registered as a trust. We started Jibilika to promote dance and youth culture for development and engagement purposes

Who plays the leading role in this important work?
The youth play a pivotal role in all our projects. Our target group are young people and all our work is tailored for them and also administered by youths.

And your vision?
Our vision is youth engagement and development through popular culture. The initiative seeks to promote the dance industry, exploit capabilities to alleviate poverty, generate employment, as well as economic, social and cultural growth.

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What kind of programmes are you currently implementing?
We are running Step Up 2 HIV project, a dance and music project that engages young people in promoting an HIV and AIDS free generation. The project uses popular youth culture as a medium to ‘step up’ the fight against HIV and AIDS. Step Up 2 HIV uses mediums that young people are interested in outside of the classroom such as elements of hip hop and dancehall as the bridge to teach them about HIV/AIDS empowering them with the knowledge, tools and opportunity to use their own art, media and ideas to promote and work for an AIDS free generation. The project was launched in 2012 with support from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and is running in schools and communities in five provinces.

We also organise the Jibilika Dance Festival that celebrates its 7th year anniversary as well as other community programs.

Are you fulfilled by the work you do?
We are greatly fulfilled by our work owing to the positive response we get from young people who come in numbers for our community work and outreach programs.

Do you have any activities planned for the rest of the year?
We will produce and present Step up 2 HIV dance and music performances in at least 30 schools and 10 communities in Harare, Mutare, Bulawayo, Masvingo and Gweru. The performances will be on issues around HIV Prevention and Sexual Reproductive Health. School clubs and community peer groups will be established and empowered to replicate the campaign. We are also hosting the national finals of the Jibilika Dance Festival on the 4th of October in Harare.

Zimbabweans are being taxed to the bone

Despite our government’s proud declaration that the Zimbabwean economy will create more than two million jobs, more people continue to fall below the poverty line. Increasing duty on fuel and airtime will have ordinary citizens’ backs against the wall as they brace for a rise in the cost of travel, communication, and basic foodstuffs.

Indications of revenue collections, depressed exports and imports from the 2014 Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review statement presented yesterday in Parliament portray an economy struggling to remain on its feet. Highlights of the fiscal policy review statement offer no joy to an already over taxed society.

Instead of creating the 2 million jobs promised under ZIMASSET what we now have is a desperate government strangling the life out the few remaining businesses. Even the informal sector, which appeared to have helped keep a large number of unemployed youths from crime, has attracted the eyes of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and council authorities. Meanwhile the authorities don’t even have the courtesy to create a conducive environment to run these businesses.