A Transform Zimbabwe meeting, which was scheduled for Saturday 22 November 214 in Unit D, Chitungwiza was violently disrupted by ZANU-PF youths. Mr. Jacob Ngarivhume the leader of the newly formed political party was also attacked. Members of the party who had gathered to be addressed by the party president were sent scurrying for cover as the “Chipangano” aligned youths pulled down tents and smashed the windows of Mr Ngarivhume’s car. A shop trading in cell phone accessories belonging to one of the party members was also looted during the skirmishes. Speaking at a conference held in Harare yesterday, Transform Zimbabwe party spokesman, Sungai Mazando said that even when the riot police were called to the scene this did not deter the youths from looting, instead they ordered TZ party members to disperse. Mr. Mazando reiterated Transform Zimbabwe’s commitment to constitutionalism, the rule of law and the building of an inclusive and just society. As a values based party, TZ condemns the unlawful disruption of its party meetings and a total disregard of its constitutional privileges such as the right to assemble and freedom of expression. Transform Zimbabwe leader Mr. Ngarivhume will stand trial at the Harare Magistrates court for charges arising from failing to notify the police for holding a public meeting under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) which is one, among many other draconian laws. A year after the harmonized elections in 2013 an oppressive political environment continues to dominate Zimbabwean society.
When Phindile Sithole-Spong tells a gathering of young South Africans at a halfway house for vulnerable teens in a Soweto township to ask her what it’s like to live with HIV, a young woman sitting in the center’s garden, where the teens have gathered for the talk, immediately raises her hand. “Do you have a boyfriend?” she asks. Sithole-Spong, 25, smiles and begins telling her audience how she met her beau. “How did you tell him you have HIV?” asks a lanky young man. The chattering boys and girls quiet with anticipation. So taboo is HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, that even though many of them have friends or family members who are HIV-positive, few of the teens dare to speak about it. To them, hearing Sithole-Spong’s stories about living openly with HIV, in a country where the virus is deeply stigmatized despite the fact that nearly 20% of the population carries the virus, is a revelation.
Sithole-Spong’s life is, deliberately, an open book. She meticulously chronicles her friendships, romances and medical routines on social media as part of her campaign to erase taboo around HIV/AIDS. As the founder and CEO of Rebranding HIV, a consultancy that helps companies such as Shell South Africa and South Africa’s power utility Eskom tailor HIV-education outreach for their employees, she believes she has to be transparent about her life.
“When you contract HIV, you can still be a girlfriend, you can still party with your friends, you can be whatever you want to be,” she says. Her openness is “my public declaration that, ‘Look, I am HIV-positive, but I also have a very normal life.’”
Sithole-Spong only discovered that she had been born HIV-positive at the age of 19, when she developed symptoms of advanced AIDS. She has since recovered, but bitter experiences of coming out as an HIV-positive college student, combined with a dearth of information on how to live a healthy life with the virus, inspired her to work toward developing what she calls an “HIV-aware generation.”
“Sometimes the best advocates are the ones who are brave, strong and empowered to speak from their own experiences,” says Alan Smith, senior adviser on HIV at the International Planned Parenthood Federation, an NGO that promotes sexual health. “Her work to lead organizations to adapt and improve their efforts on HIV interventions is a great step.”
Sithole-Spong has become a sought after and influential speaker. She spoke at New York City’s Black Ball gala event on October 30, in honour of singer Alicia Keys’ Keep a Child Alive charity, which supports children with HIV in Africa. (At that event rapper Kanye West called her “amazing”.)
Back in South Africa, her influence grows every time she hands out her phone number and email address, as she does to the adolescents gathered in the garden of the halfway house. She encourages them to share her contact information with anyone who needs help. Already she has some 600 HIV-positive youths reaching out to her by phone and on Facebook for advice and encouragement. As she continues her advocacy, that number is likely to grow. For Sithole-Spong, one more HIV-positive teen reaching out to her is one less young South African facing the isolation and stigmatization she suffered.
Source: Aryn Baker / Johannesburg for Time
— Simbarashe (@SimbaPasi) November 25, 2014
“Revelations by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa that 92,5% of government’s revenue is recurrent expenditure, with wages gobbling 81,5% of income, is yet further confirmation the Zimbabwean economy remains in dire straits with very little expected to improve after the presentation of the 2015 national budget this month.” says the Zimbabwe Independent
We received this citizen report via WhatsApp:
There is this Adonai Ministries in Budiriro taking arable land from residents, the wetlands between Budiriro 5 & 1. Now they came and upedend our Borehole much to the chargrin of residents. they then installed a pipe and a motor charging us 2-5 rand per bucket. a revolt resulted in masses going to th DA office . then people gathered to witness the reversal which has proven to be a mamoth task.
Story by LM, Resident Budiriro 5
Eye witness report and reflection from a subscriber via WhatsApp:
“Hi guys so today while waiting at Total Samora Machel i witnessed the ridiculous situation of a truck full of riot police descended on the notorious kombis. One got down and was swinging his baton stick to bash a kombis tail light. It was the most absurd thing ever i just couldn’t believe how impassioned the police man was in doing that. And for the first time truly acknowledged the crazy country i love so much. When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes a duty!”
A call to Eng Muparuri at ZINWA’s Gweru office confirmed that ZINWA had reduced water supply to the City of Kwekwe because the city is not paying its debts to ZINWA.
— Oldschoolvalues (@Oldschoolvalue1) November 11, 2014
It is now Day 6 without water. Redcliff has no community boreholes and residents are struggling to access the water they need to flush their toilets, bath, cook, drink and clean. Whilst the City of Kwekwe needs to honour its debts, should the residents of Redcliff (many of whom individually may be paying their water bills) be the ones who suffer the consequences of an account dispute between ZINWA and Kwekwe? Earlier this year, the Constitutional Court ruled that, without a court order, a municipality cannot cut off a resident’s water for non-payment. Surely a similar process should apply if ZINWA wants to cut off a municipality’s water supply?
Get Active! Email ZINWA on pr [at] zinwa [dot] co [dot] zw and let them know what you think.
Did you know that most of Harare’s open spaces are wetlands and are our primary water source? Our water comes from these wetlands, which provide many free benefits to residents. Download this informative poster courtesy of Conservation Society of Monavale Trust (COSMO) and BirdLife Zimbabwe to find out more.
Download poster (7.5MB PDF)