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28 February 2011

Windows Is Shutting Down...

So, there is this huge influx of strange cell phones into the country which is threatening the monopoly of our trusty and dearly loved Nokias. They are loud, they are flashy, they are huge (I mistook one for an iPad) and they carry multiple sim cards so you can simultaneously receive calls from your NetOne, Telecel, Econet lines as well as an MTN one on roam.

Think its a Nokia? Look closer...
We call them all G-tides down here in Zimbabwe, probably because that particular brand seems to have pioneered the invasion spirit.

Doubtless, it’s a completely new breed of phones the likes Zimbabwe has never seen before. And this, being a country endowed with its fair share of quirky individuals, has challenged my sentiments that Zimbabweans are really great guys. They are not taking the invasion lying down: they are saying some not very nice things about the phones.

For instance, some people are calling these phones ‘radios with sim cards’, and one guy went as far as saying that ZBH should start collecting licence fees from all owners. Well, I admit they do tend to get a little loud…aw okay, VERY loud, but c’mon: radio with sim? Not very nice.

Another popular legend doing the rounds says that one particular phone fell into a plate of good ole sadza. Immediately, they say, the phone sprang up from stand-bye mode and started flashing on the screen: ‘Phone charging’. Lame shot, really.

Then there is the other one, which can’t possibly be true but can only be an obvious stab at the linguistic dexterities of the phone makers. It was related to me with a straight face, a face which insisted that when he sent a message on an acquaintance’s cell, it  indicated simply ‘Message Went.’ And a minute later, when the message was replied to on the same phone, the notification read simply: ‘Message Brought.’ Very funny guys, cut it out.

Them phones, according to another tale, must surely spot what should be the strongest and most sensitive antennas in the world. As the story goes, one phone, just after a gonyet drove by, dutifully recorded ‘One Missed Call’ on the screen.
Antennas so strong, went the explanation, that any type of wave (cosmic ray, gamma ray, sound wave) gets translated into a cell phone signal.

The last is my personal fav...I mean…the one I personally dislike the most. It was a conversation (reportedly) captured between a lady and a cell phone repair guy. Now this guy had just had a god-awful time trying to resuscitate a dead phone. It went something like this…

“…you are sure you never dropped the phone?”

“No, I never did mukwasha,” the lady answers.

“Or immerse it in water?”


“You didn’t leave it near a huge magnet, like your home theatre speakers or something?” The guy is getting desperate, of course, because he knows this to be a highly unlikely cause for cell phone damage.

“I do not have a home theatre,” The lady points out.

“Okay.” The guy scratches his head, “What was displayed on the phone screen just before it blacked out?”

The lady has it written down, she read, “Saving your settings, Windows is shutting down.”

The phone never made it.

See, not some very nice things them Zimbos are saying about these phones. It gets worse…much worse: something I discovered when I stumbled on an I Hate G-TIDE Cell Phones Facebook page when I was concluding this post. If you are a G-Tide fan, please stay away, unless you have a exceptionally thick hide.

03 February 2011

Very Much Alive...And Still Apolitical

Thought I should pop in and assure my loyal readers that I am still alive and kicking, like I’ve never lived and kicked before! Its been awhile since I posted anything, and considering the contents of my previous post, the place I am located these days (Chipinge!) and the season we are going through (Summer = lotsa rain = LIGHTNING!), some could have been inevitably led to some erroneous, if not startling, conclusions.

Stop the contemplations, I’m here. Alive.

And you can thank the guy who dared attack and ridicule my neutral stance on politics for this comeback as well. I am not so good with spoken words, so the best reply I could come up with at the time of the attack was “Read my blog.”

So, here I am.

In politics, you are most probably the dirt being stamped on.
Lest I insult a crowd larger than the anti-Mubarak protestors in Cairo, let me first point out that I do not despise anyone delving in politics (unless you beat me up for my neutral stance, of course). What I do hate is the whole wretched system. It is a gross failure. I mean, lets be honest here, man has been trying to rule man for some freaking 6000 years and no one has been able to do a good job of it so far. Or ever. It all goes round and round in circles.

It reminds me of an analog I recently heard. It goes something like this:-

You are travelling on a long distance bus, right, when this guy stands up from a front seat and tells everybody to surrender their prized possessions to him, or risk being thrown out the speeding bus. No one complains, seeing he is a monya...and the bus really was speeding. So he starts moving from seat to seat collecting cash, maG-tide cellphones, jewellery (nah, this is Zimbabwe, slash out jewellery)…and lots of other stuff.

But then there is a much stronger monya, you know, a real Great Khali, relaxing on the back seat. The passengers wait expectantly for the robber to get to the back seat. See, they hope this strong monya will challenge the robber monya and save them?

And it happens! A fight erupts between the two. They tumble together, fists fly, they throw each other onto the ground. They grunt, they groan until finally, the back seat monya wins and throws the robber out! Salvation: the passengers cheer; sigh with relief; pats on the back for the hero and all.

The backseat monya then slowly walks to front of the bus, gestures for silence and calmly announces, “Vabereki, ngoma ndiyo ndiyo: give me all your stuff, or I’m throwing you out!”

Maybe you have heard the story – but you have never thought of applying it to politics - have you? To me, it neatly describes why I do not like placing my hopes of a better life on mere mortal man. It’s all the same: an endless cycle of hoping, deferred hopes and eventually, certain disappointment. if anything,  that is one thing I have learnt from history.