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Activism and Outrage in the Digital Age

When First Lady Grace Mugabe allegedly assaulted a young South African model a few weeks ago she probably thought nothing of it. She is, after all, a First lady and such small things cannot inconvenience anyone of her stature- or so she thought.

What happened, instead, is that the girl took to Twitter and her outrage became the outrage of thousands of people. The South African Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, who loves Twitter, had no option but to act.

A matter that twenty years ago would have been quietly settled became a global affair that complicated diplomatic relations between Zimbabwe and South Africa as the South African government tried to protect Grace Mugabe while at the same time keeping in the public’s good books.

In the end Grace Mugabe got diplomatic immunity and left South Africa unscathed but no doubt deeply shaken. And not before she became an internationally notorious figure giving rise to plenty of articles and hundreds of memes.

Even now there are some in South Africa still pursuing the matter, and in the aftermath her two sons had to leave the country and come back to Zim.

The political and legal consequences aside, this case highlighted, again, the power of social media.

Social media is cheap, instant and vast and the consequences of messages on social networks can be monumental. The Arab Spring, Fees Must Fall and other movements show what social media can achieve.

And closer to home the likes of Fadzayi Mahere and Evan Mawarire rode on social media popularity to launch political careers. At the same time the same social media takes the likes of Grace Mugabe to unprecedented infamy.

In the digital age there are no small crimes, no “big fish” and no small causes.

The death of compassion and ethics in the age of selfies

The Herald reports a horrific accident that occurred a few days ago when two cars collided and more than 10 people were burnt beyond recognition in the resulting inferno. 

An unlikely hero of that terrible event is a guy who was herding cattle. He pulled a number of people to safety from the burning vehicles. 
Says the Herald:

“We spent almost 30 minutes before any car passed-by and when the first car arrived, most of the motorists were interested in taking photos and videos.
“If many of us were helping people from the wreckage all of them would not have been burnt. Some people were burnt while they were still alive. Maybe they would not have died”

– Herald 

This is such a heartwrenching story and kudos to this guy, a real hero. He deserves a medal. 

But what struck me was the fact that some people chose to take pictures instead of assisting in the rescue efforts. 
So instead of more lives saved, we got horrific images of burnt bodies on WhatsApp and Twitter. Isn’t it enough that families have lost loved ones, must they see their corpses on chain messages as well? 

Where’s the compassion? The ethics? 

That is what technology has made us; callous automatons, always eager to snap a photo, to tweet, never that quick to help. 

GOT Season 7 Episode 2 Brings Back Game of Thrones

Today I watched the second episode of the seventh season of the great time killer of our time- Game of Thrones- and I wasn’t disappointed.

For starters, Tyrion Lannister finally spoke. And Arya changed her mind while John Snow made up his.

There were some who complained (or were relieved) that Game of Thrones had lost its love for  bloody  scenes after last week’s relatively calm episode. I’m sure their blood lust will be satiated by a sudden twist in the tale. 

This second episode brought back the Game of Thrones of old, characterized by sudden turns of events, unexpected deaths and  insouciant nudity.

It’s really back. The blood, the sex, the violence. The Game of Thrones continues. 

I now have a “now” profile

My now profile is now up.

After I created my “now page”, I notified Derek Sivers via email and he sent me a questionnaire to complete which I did.

The questionnaire was really short and asked what I do and my favorite book and quote and stuff. Finished it in like 5 minutes.

After answering the questions I was told that the now profile would take some time to be added to the site. Today I say a tweet about my new now page which is now available on the nownownow website.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”in” dir=”ltr”>Tawanda Moyo profile: <a href=”https://t.co/6cwkMElpcI”>https://t.co/6cwkMElpcI</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/tbmoyo”>@tbmoyo</a></p>&mdash; sites with /now (@NowNowNow) <a href=”https://twitter.com/NowNowNow/status/888428362145742849″>July 21, 2017</a></blockquote>
<script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

Awesome. Do check it out.

On Xanda the Lion and First World Problems 

A son of Cecil the lion has been killed by trophy hunters in Zimbabwe, meeting the same fate as his father whose death in 2015 caused a global outcry.

Xanda was six years old and had fathered a number of cubs himself. He was shot on 7 July just outside the Hwange National Park, not far from where Cecil died, but news of the death only became public on Thursday.

The trophy hunt was organised by Zimbabwean private hunter Richard Cooke but his clients, who may have paid tens of thousands of dollars, have not been revealed. Xanda was wearing a GPS tracking collar, fitted by scientists led by Andrew Loveridge at Oxford University, who have studied the Hwange lions for many years.

“Xanda was one of these gorgeous Kalahari lions, with a big mane, big body, beautiful condition – a very, very lovely animal,” Loveridge told the Guardian. “Personally, I think it is sad that anyone wants to shoot a lion, but there are people who will pay money to do that.”

That’s from The Guardian concerning a lion that’s been shot in Zimbabwe. 

Found it rather amusing that I’ve not heard a single Zimbabwean talk of this lion. In fact I’m quite certain very few Zimbabweans even heard about this. 

Even the death of Cecil was a non Zimbabwean affair with protests in Europe and the US.

With unemployment in the 80s and a dying economy and other maladies including an upcoming election that looks likely to be violent, I don’t think many Zimbabweans have time to think about lions. 

I do find it strange, however, that some people make a sport of killing animals. It just does not make sense to me at all. 

As an African, born and raised in the village, I can only think of two reasons to kill any animal – for food or when that animal threatens you. 

The killing of animals for fun  is a strange sport for which I can find no reasons. So is the grieving for animals. 

First World problems I’d say. 

Looks like I’ve found the right laptop

A few posts ago I wrote about getting a new portable laptop and it seems like I may just have found myself one. Yesterday while running some errands in town I came across the Dell Latitude E7470, a 14” beauty.

As is normal, I promptly googled it and found some positive reviews. The unit costs upwards f $1000 though the vendor in town has it for much cheaper. Had to triple check for genuineness and it looks fine. Still don’t understand how the guys here price their gadgets though.

The e7470 has 4 Gig Ram, a 128 Gig SSD drive and a core i5 processor. The processor is fine and the Ram should be enough, though I think I can easily upgrade that to 8 Gig or even 16.

My main worry is the storage. I have never had a computer with less than 320 Gig of storage and I’m worried I’ll fill the thing up quickly. However I can probably manage if I keep all my other files in the desktop I intend to build and in the other external drives I own. In that case the 128 Gig SSD should be normal for books, some music, software and the coding that I will mainly use it for.

I will search for a little bit longer though, to see if I can’t get a better deal- which is highly unlikely- or perhaps try to get something else entirely.

 

38 Years of Crime

A 55-year-old Harare man convicted of armed robbery last week together with 11 others, started stealing in 1979 and never looked back, resulting in him being convicted on several occasions between then and now, it emerged in court yesterday.
Charles Nyandoro began living a life of crime when he was only 17-years- old. After the 1979 conviction, Nyandoro was back in the courts after independence in 1980, 1982 and twice in 1984 for assault and rape.
He was arrested in 1988, 1991 and 2006 for robbery. Nyandoro told Harare regional magistrate Mr Hoseah Mujaya yesterday that his first conviction in 1979 was his way of celebrating the country’s imminent independence.

– The Herald

38 years of crime.

As The Herald reports, the dude above has been a criminal for almost 40 decades. Quite a long time and about time he goes behind bars, perhaps this time for good.

Despite his attempts at humour by saying he committed his first crime to celebrate Independence, this is a vile character that should be removed from society.

But I couldn’t help thinking of the other criminals esp politicians who’ve stolen and looted for just as long with no punishment.

Indeed, as Swift wrote: ‘Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.’

Winter has Come

So today I watched the long awaited first episode of Game of Thrones Season 7 and it was good. It is good. 

Arya Stark is badass as expected of a faceless man, (woman?) and she gets opens the season in a totally unexpected but very much Game of Thrones way. 

Oh and there’s an archmaester Marwyn, who delivers a great line. Maesters, he says are a repository. “We are the world’s memory- without us men would be little more than dogs”. 

It’s a good start and there’s even a singing, rabbit eating Ed Sheeran in there too. The Hound  finds his whole beliefs turned on their head after mocking Lord Beric. 

Excellent I’d say. Except the smartest guy in Westeros, who happens to talk a lot, doesn’t even say a word. That’s totally unTryion. 
The Mother of Dragons herself only utters three :  “Shall we begin?” 

Yes Daenerys Storm born, Mother of Dragons, let us begin. 

Fitness and all that

Around February I rejoined the gym and then stopped going soon afterwards. For some reason I never stick to my fitness goals.

And then today I noticed I’ve gained some weight, which made me panic a little. So I decided, for the umpteenth time, to start working out again.

I know, of course, that eating well is better than exercise for losing weight so I will have to make some adjustments in my eating habits. I think now is a good time to cut down on carbs and try one the in vogue diets like Keto, Paleo or the Slow Carb popularised by the maverick Tim Ferris in his book The Four Hour Diet.

A good diet is the best hope I have of losing a few kilos in the shortest possible time but exercise still has plenty of other benefits. So I have to start working out again

The challenge is that I’ve recently moved and there doesn’t seem to be a gym close to where I now stay. Which means I will have to take up calisthenics. Also I’ve realised I don’t like gyms anyway, and even if I move to where there are gyms close by, hopefully soon, I don’t think I’ll ever go to a gym again. My plan is to just buy my own weights, rack, benches and bars and workout at home.

Or I might take up running again. Last time I did I tried running I went from only managing a minute to running five km by following the Couch to 5k program.

Either way, I have new fitness goals.

Game of Thrones is Back

Tomorrow Game of Thrones returns for the seventh season and I have to say I don’t think there’s ever been a more anticipated TV show in history. Everyone is writing about it, making predictions, analyzing past seasons and lamenting the death of Hodor.

I was initially not a big fan of the TV series but since Martin has seemingly forgotten that he’s in the middle of writing a fantasy series, I have resigned myself to the fact that I have to watch it.

It’s been over six years since he released the fifth book and in that time the TV series started and overtook the books. Used to be fun back when the TV series was just starting to threaten to drop some spoilers but it now looks like I’ll have to watch the spoilers myself.

Still, it’s a pretty good series and, like millions of other people, I can’t wait to hear Tyrion Lannister’s latest quip.