Wednesday, 13 May 2015

“God could not be everywhere at once, so he gave each child a mother.” Happy Mother’s Day 2015 - By Collin Banda

An early commemoration of Mother’s Day grew out of the pain and heartbreak of the Civil War. Mothers on both sides of this American conflict had lost sons—sons that they had carried for nine months, given birth to in pain, raised with great care and love, only to have them slaughtered on the battlefields. Julia Ward Howe, writer of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” became so distressed by the bloody battles of the Civil War that she called on mothers to band together to protest the senselessness of their sons killing each other. Her “Mother’s Day Proclamation” of 1870 called for an international Mother’s Day promoting peace and motherhood: Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts…arise. After decades of campaigning by many devoted mothers, Mother’s Day was officially signed into national observance in 1914 by Woodrow Wilson, who declared the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

"Dingindaba who is mother?" As we sat in the sports bar affectionately known as the Village in Morningside donning our respective team regalia, l couldn't help but run that question past my friend as we watched the Chelsea-West Ham game. At that moment, my eyes took me to the window and l catch sight of a woman. Seemingly troubled by nothing, she walks with her head held up high, her family the only thing she places higher and before the Lord. She has died to herself, her life seizing the day she got united to her husband. As the burdens and struggles of day-to-day life rape her, she remains steadfast, knowing that she has to live, if not breath for her family. At this sight, the word mother meant fighter to me. The next day as we walked past Bravo Bus terminus, l told Ndaba, the word mother means hope. The sight of many mothers sending off their partners to 'the promised land' in search of jobs, jobs for which they never had qualifications for, made me see hope in the eyes of a mother. As she waits for his return, she is a fighter in hope.

"Rand for two! Rand for two!" Those were the words that immediately quenched my thirst on that hot afternoon. We had spent the greater part of Monday afternoon outdoors. As l dived into my pocket in search of Zuma's coins, l noticed the passion in the eyes of the mother who was selling these super cools. She had a sense of belief, as if she knew that l had these coins in my pocket. As l looked closely at her, her eyes told a story. She had three children and her husband had four years ago, also taken the trip down South in search of a job. Like the women across the street, she had also seen him off, with hope that he would one day return, if not a better man, just return. In the hope that he would one day return, she had set up her small vending stand across the place where she saw him off and everyday as she sold her goods, she had the chance to watch the buses go in and out of the terminus, believing that the one she has seen off would, one day, disembark from one of those coming in. At that moment, the word mother meant believer. And before me sat fighter, in hope and belief.

"You are home this late?" The words of my mother as l walked in the house and said, "Litshonile." I looked at my watch, it was just six-thirty. Caring and concerned. Those two words instantly became synonymous with the word ‘mother.’ Today as we celebrate the life a mother, we celebrate life itself. The essence of life is embodied in this six letter word. Pregnant with meaning, every day the human race is born to their love, their care, their hope. The thought of what we would be without them, dares not cross my mind. The other day l left home and l noticed there was no cooking oil and mealie meal but when l got back home in the evening, l was welcomed by a hot meal by mom and l asked myself, how and from where? It's was at that moment that l concluded that l would never be able to comprehend let alone understand this amazing gift from God- a mother. Restless, sacrificial, an amazing creation. My favorite artist of all time, Sam Mtukudzi described a mother as life. The two are inseparable.

Mothers are not rare to find. Good mothers are. What makes good mothers? It is a pertinent question whose answer cannot be contained within a few words. Mothers comprise of a bundle of emotions that sometimes defy reason. One of my favorite examples of motherhood is found in the Old Testament. Hannah was barren for years but vowed that if she had a son, she would give him back to God. Her wish was finally granted, and even though she must have found it very hard, she kept her promise – she gave Samuel to the priest Eli to raise as a servant of God. Her childlike faith was rewarded not only once, but several more times: in time, she and her husband Elkanah were given five more children. When a woman works for God she cannot be conquered. I mean it! When she is truly working for God she is the strongest force in the world. She may have no authority, but she has something infinitely more important: influence. Authority commands actions. Influence changes your being. That is a woman's mission! Let us not betray it.

Mother’s Day is an opportunity to make life special for them. It is a chance to celebrate family. Mothers are the backbone of our society and the glue that holds a family together-their work is vital but often unseen. We all need to show greater appreciation for them. I pity the man who does not have a good wife to take care of him. A true mother thinks day and night about the well-being of her children, and is the first to praise, comfort and protect them. She is willing to sacrifice her life for them. The pains of pregnancy and childbirth are borne by the mother, and she continues to carry the child in her heart her whole life. I cannot thank God enough for the love of my own mother, and for her deep relationship with my father. And while it was clear that our father was head of the family, he never tolerated the slightest disrespect from us towards our mother.

To the mothers in prison, the mothers on the streets, the mothers going through the toughest and cold times of their life, the abused, the afflicted, those who suffer in silence, know that the world can throw anything at you and take away everything from you, but the one thing that it can never take away is the fact that you are a mother. Nothing that change that and your value lies in that. I am reminded of a single mother who happens to be my best friend. This is just one story but I am sure it is the story of thousands that are similar.  To all those whose lives are similarly playing out, who may wonder if their children will ever appreciate what they are doing or hold it against them, I say never give up. One day your children will appreciate the gift that they have in their mother. It may take years and unfortunately you may never see it, but one day they will appreciate you and take the chance to say what every mother’s child should say: “Thank you, Mom.” Therefore, congratulations to all single mothers and grandmothers who do their best to raise children on their own. They often struggle under the most difficult circumstances. They are the real heroes of the family-and not just on Mother’s Day.

I think often too, of the many stepmothers who are exhausted by trying and having their affection rejected. God sees their love, work, and effort. A stepfamily may never become just like an original family, but does this matter? Through the years, God’s grace kept inextricably gluing my family together in a wonderful way. With his grace as the glue, each family can become as he intended. Many women today resent the idea of motherhood, but they forget that it is a privilege as well as a task. Once regarded as the highest calling of woman, it is now pushed aside by "real" careers and viewed as an inconvenience or even an embarrassment. While this rebellion might be understandable in the case of oppression and abuse, it achieves nothing. How different family life could be if we admitted our confusion over the roles of man and woman; if we sought to rediscover God's plan for both, and regarded one another with respect and love!

So, this is meant for all the young and aged mothers, working mothers and housewives, married mothers and the single mothers, those with money and without and for those without whom life would have been insufferable. Wish you a very Happy Mother's Day!! To all the young people out there, let us love and appreciate our mothers whilst we still have the time and opportunity. May wish they had someone they could call mother but here you are, you are blessed with one. Please l plead with you, honour them whilst you still have the chance too. And to all those that have lost their mothers, know that God is watching and he will bless all those you call mother and respect. May God bless all mothers on this day and every other day to come.

I woke up this morning to a text from Ndaba, and it read,

'Remember the question you posed on Sunday on who is a mother? I have been thinking hard about it and l think l have the answer. A mother is ....'

And with those three dots, he signed off. I figured he could not explain it either.

C.B Ink 2015

Written by Collin Banda

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Sadza and beans

By Ronald Moyo

A plate full of nothing. Why do we have to ingest such a obscure pulp of white liquidated corn powder with the stomach rumbling gas producing tiny kidney shaped source of protein yet again? i ask.

The plate might as well have nothing. but what is nothing?, someone took their time to prepare this, someones body used its glycogen in a factory motion, burning up its resources upon lifting the empty pot and putting the sun enriched white powder in it, in hope of feeding not just its own mouth but the empty mouth, with only saliva as its resident lazing on the comfort of a tongue eager to excite its tastebuds.

 In flows the God given resource necessary for life, heat applied, glycogen further burns stirring the arms already tired from a hard days work in an effort to empty the pockets of its various currencies to purchase the unliked but necessary white starched carbohydrate.

The kidney shaped tiny vegetables boil on the side. the sounds make a symphony that pleases the ear of the body that worked and the scent of the food excites the nostrils of the mouths to be fed. truly there has to be something that is going to empty these pots onto the plate, the mind about to eat it would prefer a fast mass produced meal and view this as nothing. but truly all this being emptied is going to fill something with the result of giving it life, life... the most precious gift one can have.

The solidified white end product is emptied from its otherwise cold plate, warming the heart of the body that worked to make it. so much meaning ingested, the plate is worthless now, it truly is full nothing without this, the stomach is full on meaning. you dont need to eat a 5 star meal, it means nothing when compared to the most basic meal made at home.

The maturity game…

 A choice is made, maturity, closely linked to purity It is ongoing, call it perpetuity. Hard as it is, I have learn to do it with ease Enduring the squeeze, it’s costly, just like my fees. A decision l made when I was nineteen, the day I stopped being a teen A lot have l seen, place, mountains, I have been. My life has never been the same, with strict rules; you swear it’s become a tactical game An insurer’s game they say, one which has no pay, at the end of a particular day Going against the wind is hard, especially if the road you are on is tarred and barred and will only leave you scarred. At 20, my little sister called me baba, and I could do nothing but help my mama And sustain the strain I felt as l watched my mother cry in pain and in vain Writing has become my sole expression as l try to ease the tension The little light in me continues to burn as l take on life, l am not prepared to turn. Where I am going, only God knows Because He’s blessings and mercies are all that shows. Indeed it’s a maturity game Where a choice is made closely linked to purity, It is ongoing, call it perpetuity.

-Collin Banda

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

bulawayo at 120

Bulawayo @ 120

As the sun rises in the morning, I can feel the morning breeze blowing on my face. I have had barely three hours of sleep and I am up again, headed for work. Since realizing that  the salary I got from my main job was not enough to take care of me and my dependents, I was left with no option but to take up a second job to try and increase my earnings. As I step out of the house, I see the city is already busy at 4am. Everyone looks to be on the hunt, optimism written all over their faces, hope the fuel that carries them through. This is the life in my city, the city of Bulawayo.
As Bulawayo has taken time to celebrate its 120 years of firm existence, this is not just a celebration of numbers but there is more to it. A good starting point would be to understand who or what is Bulawayo? From my history books I remember there was a Bulawayo is Zulu land if I am not mistaken. And when Mzilikazi ran away from Tshaka and he came into the top parts of the country, and the first major that they decided to settle down was named kwaBulawayo and it was the stronghold of the Ndebele nation. So this was a symbol of freedom, a celebration that they had managed to escape from Tshaka and his warriors. They had to fight for their independence. So to me Bulawayo means freedom. Its mean we can do all that we can to make sure that we are free as a people.  
Bulawayo is referred to as the city of kings and queens, meaning that it is a separate people that have different cultural and social back grounds who actually come together to ensure that there is a purpose of unity in developing the city. To check if my definition of Bulawayo was true, I had the privilege to catch up with the Bulawayo Junior Mayor, His Worship Mbonisi Ngubeni and asked him about Bulawayo. He responded, and i quote, "Bulawayo is an exception as it is. Basically as the Junior City Council we believe that we will strive to take the ideas of the people out there in building Bulawayo. So at the end of the day we are saying that, Bulawayo is that one city, which a Bulawayo citizen would look at and say that those are my thoughts and views of a Bulawayo i want. And that is what we and the senior council want for this beautiful city."
So is Bulawayo for you. The city of kings and queens, which is driven by its own ideas and views. In as much is this city and its citizens have gone through a lot, the citizens wake up every morning and they have this belief that we are the chosen city, regardless of what they are going through and to me that is also what defines Bulawayo. It is people.
So many people have said that Bulawayo is the city of knives and the hub of crime. As a Bulawayo citizen it has been hard to deny this as it is also backed by statistical evidence. One might then start to wonder and say from the definitions given above where does this side of Bulawayo come in? At one of the Bulawayo @ 120 young leaders discussions held recently in the city, the Director of Dot youth, which is a child led organisation in Bulawayo, said , "I think Bulawayo was born out of violence. Think about it, Mzilikazi and his sons came from down there in Zulu land and the only way they got here was by violence. They had to take everything by force. So we have always had that culture. The issue then becomes how we have used that violence. We are no longer using that violence to fight for economic issues or to take care of our families and to make sure that people don’t take away opportunities from us. We have now started to use that violence to steal, murder, rape and do all sorts of criminal acts." Asked on whether he was endorsing violence is the city, he quickly replied that, "My bible says the kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent shall take it by force. So if we want to make Bulawayo move we have to be violent in our mindset in terms of not settling for anything less that we deserve."
The violence in Bulawayo has mainly been a result of the frustration that has continuously mounted up. Issues like unemployment, opportunities that we are not getting, break up of family units because of the economic situation have all contributed to this frustration. Alot of young people are angry. You find that the rises of teenage drinking, parties, hooliganism are all results of this frustration in the city, not only to the youths but also the fathers and mothers of the city. The problem is that this frustration is been taken out on the wrong people, most of the time its women and children. But what I think is let’s not take it out on the wrong people. We are fighting the wrong war. The war that we are meant to be fighting is an economic battle. We must use that frustration to create vibrant ideas and use that same frustration to be stubborn enough to follow those ideas and see them through and make sure we develop our city at all costs.
As Bulawayo turns 120, many people including Bulawayo citizens might then ask themselves and say, what are we then celebrating at 120 as a city? Basically we are saying that these 120 years have been a period of exceptional prosperity. Bulawayo has developed from back in the day. We are celebrating the unity that has kept us together and going as a city. We look at the father Zimbabwe statue and the effect it has on people. We look at the other commemorations that we have had in the city and how we have manage to keep our values as a city. On this day we do not turn a blind eye to the problems faced in the city but we are saying this day marks a beginning of great things to happen in the city. This is also a day were we celebrate the survival of Bulawayo. Having been burnt to the ground at one point in time, Bulawayo remains one of the few cities that has managed to rebuild itself and stand strong even today.
I also took time to interview a few youths in the city to get their views on the five places that they think defined Bulawayo. Why I done this was because most people have failed to appreciate the beauty in Bulawayo because they do not know Bulawayo and have never visited places. After a long day of walking in the city, I got to compile the five must visit places in Bulawayo that the youth recommended to a visitor.
1.       Babourfields stadium- home stadium of Bulawayo giants Highlanders football club
2.       Egodini terminus
3.       City hall
4.       Centenary park
5.       Joshua Nkomo statue     
As young people it is also important that on this day we also put forward viable solutions for Bulawayo, solutions that we as young people can implement. The biggest of our problems in Bulawayo has been our mindset. Our elders have given up on Bulawayo and view it as a sinking ship, which is not the problem because they have experienced it and come to that conclusion. The problem is when we as young people now also adopt this view. Our job is to change our language and speak to Bulawayo as the hub of progress, the next thing. Our second problem is unemployment. The things that have money are the so called messy things that we as young people do not like. This includes farming and cattle raring. Look at the people at the market place; those are the people actually making money in the city and keeping the city alive. So as young people we must invest in such sectors of the economy on a small scale for starters. This will see us create our own jobs and not depend on seeking jobs.   
Education is also another aspect that we must work on in the city. Education is key and it should be approached with right perspective. Our approach to the education as a city has been wrong whereby young people have depended much on the teacher and on the formal route to follow. This has seen Bulawayo youths fall short when it comes to issues to-do with entrepreneurship and the creation of jobs.
Bulawayo is a city filled with potential and I think it is high time we as young people take the lead in unleashing this potential.

Compiled by Collin Banda

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Celebrating Fathers...

By Collin Banda

He wakes up every day at 4am to the sound of his wife shouting at him. His children greet him every morning with a list of demands. At work, pressure is mounting as he faces the chop of a retrenchment exercise currently at his workplace. He is beginning to feel as if he has failed his family and has lost purpose of life. This is the life of Mr Ncube, a married man, father of three and an employee of a mining company just a few kilometers out of the city.
Today as we take time to honour our fathers, it is situations like these that come to my mind. At the mention of the word father, the following description appears in our minds; provider, protector, strong, emotionless and pillar. Fathers have and continue to be seen as strong people who will never fall down or be defeated by anything in life. Such a standpoint is ok but it has also lead to the ill treatment of fathers in families. Such a perception has made us not appreciate these people we call father and dad.
Because someone is strong, it does not mean that when they fall ill they are not entitled to medication and treatment. Taking this in context, because fathers are known as providers does not mean that even when they are down we have to continue pressuring them which eventually kills their ego, which is literally the engine that keeps all men going. Today as we celebrate Father’s Day let us take time to appreciate all the things, whether big or small that our fathers do for us.  I lost my father when I was in grade 3 and ever since then I have taken it upon myself to make sure that all young people appreciate their parents when they are still alive because that is the greatest earthly gift the Lord can ever giver you.
To all mothers out there, today is your day too. The amount of love shown by children towards their father is directly though not proportionally related to the love you show to your husbands. Treat them with honour so that they can be honoured out there where ever they go. Give them abundant love so that they will always be lovable by all. To all those who have lost a father or have never had the opportunity to see their father in life, do not despair. I love our African community and its culture for it says ‘umntwana kamakhelwane ngowakho’ (a neighbours child is as good as yours) meaning that as children who have also lost our parents, our elders in the community are still there to play the parenting roles in our life. Lets honour them to today.  
Lastly and most importantly to all fathers out there, we love you, we appreciate you and we honour you. Always know that your love for us is not defined by the things you provide for us or the amount of money you give us but it is defined by the time you spend with us and are always there for us when we need you. That is why we honour you and are taking time to celebrate you this day. Happy Fathers Day 2014!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Bulawayo Agenda to hold ideas festival

Ronald Moyo

Bulawayo Agenda has announced that it will hold its sixth annual ideas festival in Bulawayo on from 31 October till 2 November to discuss issues that affect societal development in Zimbabwe.
In a statement released over the weekend, Bulawayo Agenda Executive director Thabani Nyoni said the ideas festival is aimed at providing solutions for the development of Zimbabwe.
“The main aim of the event is to proffer solutions in terms of how we can collectively see and envision a better Zimbabwe,” he said.
“This is a unique opportunity for ordinary citizens to get a closer appreciation of the work done by civic society organisations and how they can take part in the campaign for a democratic society.”
Nyoni added that the event will also highlight the challenges faced by rural communities and traditional leaders in accessing justice
Bulawayo Agenda Head of Research and Information, Mmeli Dube said the festival running under the theme, “Re – imagining a Republic of ideas” will also bring together the Civic Society, Government, Business, Church and ordinary citizens around Zimbabwe and in the SADC region to share ideas and find solutions to governance and social challenges.
“The festival is a unique and hybrid platform established by Bulawayo Agenda on the firm belief that ‘ideas run the world’ and if given space, they could resolve a lot of our governance and social problems,” he said.
“The festival will feature more than six activities over the two days which include leaders conferences, arts performances, film festival and exhibition at the Bulawayo City Hall car park.”
Last year the Bulawayo Agenda ideas festival ran under the theme, “battle of Ideas” with guest speakers such as the then Minister of Water Resources Development and Management Samuel Sipepa – Nkomo, MDC secretary general Priscilla Misihairabwi – Mushonga, former Bulawayo Mayor Thaba Moyo and a number of Members of Parliament and Civil society organisations featuring in the event.