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#EndSARS – A Reflection By Rorisang Moyo

Many report being stopped at random and being harassed for owning iPhones, as that is an indicator that they may be engaging in criminal activities.

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#EndSARS - A Reflection By Rorisang Moyo Asante Afrika Magazine
#ENDSARS Protests in Nigeria. Image Source - https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/25/africa/nigeria-end-sars-protests-analysis-intl/index.html
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Imagine telling a waiter that there is something wrong with the food, and instead of changing it, they spit in it! That is the summary of the Nigerian experience at the hands of the police. 

#ENDSARS is a decentralised social movement against police brutality in Nigeria. The purpose of SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) was to curb criminal activity including robbery, motor vehicle theft, kidnapping, cattle rustling and firearms. I say ‘was’, because their behaviour is contrary to their intended purpose. 

SARS operate while dressed in civilian clothing. They are notorious for harassment of civilians and abducting them.

The first question one asks is that, “If the goal of these law enforcement agents is to protect civilians from themselves by regulating their behaviour and making sure that they comply with the law, why is their method one where they have to ambush them?” If something is a crime in a country, surely it is not a secret, and everyone must know the consequences of crime. The role of law enforcement systems in any functional country, is to regulate people’s behaviour. It is a fact that people are inherently animalistic, but even the jungle has rules.

The work of SARS, while it sounds ridiculous, appears very intentional in its execution. It is heavy-handed towards young people and women. When a young man is seen in designer clothing, he is sure to be harassed, and has to explain how he can afford what he is wearing. Many report being stopped at random and being harassed for owning iPhones, as that is an indicator that they may be engaging in criminal activities. One woman reported being slut-shamed for owning a car. SARS asked how she can afford a car, and accused her of being a sex worker.  

In a world where we are still actively trying to be politically correct by respecting all professions without imposing conventional morality, slut-shaming a financially independent woman is an insult in this modern age. It reveals the rot in our system, where a man is seen as a woman’s door to success. Furthermore, is a person supposed to dress badly to fit in the role of being poor? 

No self-respecting criminal uses an iPhone because there is too much admin that is involved in using an iPhone. One needs a phone that they can actually get rid of, a phone with the basic functions of just calling and texting. No internet. No camera. No fingerprint what-what.  There is a reason why experienced criminals use burner phones guys!  

When Nigerians eventually protested against the violent manner in which the law was being enforced, the response was… even more police brutality!

#EndSARS - A Reflection By Rorisang Moyo Asante Afrika Magazine
Bloodied Nigerian flag from after the Lekki Tollgate massacre at the #ENDSARS Protests.

Is it an African thing; must the person of colour’s relationship with law enforcement be one characterised by tyranny and fear? The police are not your friends. #ZimbabweanLivesMatter was about the same thing. It was a whole country begging law enforcement to protect them. Unarmed citizens begged to be respected. What did they get in return? They were thoroughly harassed, and some prominent figures, particularly journalists like Hopewell Chin’ono, were arrested. Charges like incitement of violence were fabricated. Chin’ono was asked to stop speaking out about the reality of his country as he saw it, and he was arrested again.

#EndSARS - A Reflection By Rorisang Moyo Asante Afrika Magazine
Hopewell Chin’ono in prison garb.

It is public knowledge that the laws we have today are an aberration of the same laws that came to us on a ship and were used to oppress us.  Now, our African police, in their Gestapo-like manner, are recreating the same oppressive atmosphere of colonial times.

The law during colonial times was a symbol of where one existed on the social ladder. The white man up to today can even shout at the same policeman who thoroughly beats up Tapiwa, and makes him apologise to them. The black man who experiences true justice under the law, is a black man with money, or the black man with friends who can engineer their own justice.

#BlackLivesMatter was trending, and our African presidents, in their true audacious fashion, called out police brutality in the United States. Once again we had to sit in our living rooms and bite our tongues, as we watched our African fathers beating us up at home, then going on to preach about violence to strangers. 

#EndSARS - A Reflection By Rorisang Moyo Asante Afrika Magazine
#BlackLivesMatter Protests: Image Source – ft.com.

Are these the growing pains of a relatively young democracy? Is there a country that can truly stand up and say that they have a perfect democracy? The US, which had a head start at democracy, is still suffering from systemic racism, which manifests itself through the way justice treats the person of colour. Justice and the courts do not operate in a vacuum; they operate in a system of prejudices and misconceptions, that find their home in how we make assumptions about other people. 

There is a reason why when one is assessed to be an attorney, a fit and proper test is carried out – to check if their morals and lifestyle are consistent with the expectations of law-abiding citizens. However, this test is not enough when free will comes into play, because we all come from different backgrounds, which may inform our prejudices.

Lastly, the profession of a policeman or a law enforcement agent, requires a system which encourages people to see serving in it as an honour, and not just an opportunity for glorified bullies to play with guns. It is imperative that people go into law enforcement, not as people who are trying to sneak up on civilians, but rather to foster a judicial system of accountability.  A law enforcement agent has to understand that, it is through them that we learn to respect the law, not because we are scared, but because we understand why the law exists in the first place!

Connect with Rori via her Blog and LinkedIn:

https://rorisangmoyo2.wixsite.com/website/blog

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rorisang-moyo-2a8731193/

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Features

NOVEMBER EDITOR’S NOTE

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NOVEMBER EDITOR'S NOTE Asante Afrika Magazine
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HAZEL LIFA

Hello Asante Fam

I know it’s been a minute and to be honest it was a trying time between several day jobs and burnout with no end in sight. But like all things it had to come to an end or is it the occurrences of this past weekend’s drama that have ignited my pen once more. As I tried to enjoy my weekend with an old friend I was confronted, rudely if I might add by a key pillar of patriarchy, misogyny and some good old fashion girl on girl hate.

So my old friend was in town for an event her significant other (SO) would be performing at, by association I was also invited and boy were we excited to hang out. After spending about 5hours give or take with the couple amongst other company, where my friend’s SO was hardly seen due to rehearsals I was called a slut and uninvited with immediate effect from the event. Now I know you must be asking, “damn, Hazel what did you do?” to which I will truthfully answer, “I have no idea.”

Naturally, my friend and I were blind-sighted, there was some tension and for the sake of my friend, I kindly excused myself and went about my night. I was offended of course but as a woman that’s not the first nor would it be the last time the world came at me in this way. Two things really bothered me about the altercation:

  1. The first was that an essential stranger who I had spoken to for ten minutes in total felt he had the right to make such a judgment about me. Okay, let’s say it was true, who gave this man the right to police and punish me for my alleged sexual escapades. It’s the audacity in the misogyny that kills me and will forever blow my mind. 
  2. The second thing came the next day when I was informed this all started with another girl. The girl in question I had been nothing but nice to and had interacted with well to my knowledge.  She had even asked for some help setting up her social media for her music and I was down to introduce her to other artists that I knew. So what had compelled this woman to slut-shame me?

There is no grand lesson behind this editor’s note or whatever. My experience moved me to write, it saddens me as it speaks to the gap between men and women. Still after so much effort put into gender studies such mindsets still prevail. As for the young lady who slandered me, her actions speak more to her character rather than anything else.

It’s the month of November and we all know what that means, the festive season is around the corner and we made it through another 365 spin cycle. Around this time we get that pressure of what have I done this year and maybe even minimise our progress on account of comparison with the next person. Life goes on and if you haven’t achieved what you aimed for this year know you are not alone, but you know what we are still alive and can still keep at it. Happy Universal Children’s Day on the 20th and Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare on the 30th.

Stay Safe.

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Art

Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume

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Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
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I am sure we all can agree that the beginning of the year 2020 was a rude awakening wrapped in a global event for the books due to the Covid19 pandemic. Zimbabwean sculptor slash Lawyer, David Chengetai Ngwerume, took to his creative outlet to not only process but provide a map for future generations in the form of his work, ‘The COVID-19 Pandemic Collection’ that has taken the world by storm.

According to Ngwerume, art “…is a duty and calling…”

The 40-year old’s sculpting journey started in the humble communal lands of Musana in 1995 under the instruction of revered fellow sculptor Cosmas Muchenje. He continued to excel in his academic studies as well which led him to an LLB (Bachelor of Laws, Honours) in 2006 from the University of Zimbabwe.  

Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
One of Ngwerume’s pieces

According to Ngwerume, “Art is a duty and calling that I persistently continue using various forms mainly in Stone Sculpture in invoking thought into Humanity, share awareness with the contemptuous world.” Ngwerume’s sculptures have been exhibited all over the world from Hong Kong (China), Canada to the United States of America, and locally in Zimbabwe at the Hebert Chitepo Memorial. 

“My ambitions are global so I am in for it; it’s not always about where you are but where you are going.”

The sculptor’s ‘The COVID-19 Pandemic Collection’ comprises of pieces such as ‘MJ’ inspired by the pop icon Michael Jackson, encouraging people to mask up and get vaccinated. Another piece in the collection is called, ‘We are Torn’ which encourages people to sneeze into their elbows.

He is currently working on two other collections:

  • ‘Thy Next World Collection’ which addresses concerns pertaining to humanity as we move into the future;
  • And ‘Taking the Reins Collection’ which looks at the advancement of the world through the relationship between people and horses and their loyalty to humanity.

Ngwerume’s art is a reflection of the times and he is not stopping any time soon. He is also responsible for the iconic ‘Scales of Justice’ sculptures situated in front of the High Court in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare and the second capital, Bulawayo. We got to chat with the sculptor.

Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
  • The first question is probably something you get a lot, but I just have to ask; how did you manage to find yourself in the world of law and sculpting? To us laymen, the fields look so vastly different.

I am a hard worker and I believe staying in work in both professions has made me invincible. The modern-day world is driven by skill and knowledge and it is acquired by putting in more effort.

“As a creative I also can tell you inspiration is everywhere, everyday life is filled with endless sources of influence.”

  • Have you ever found yourself in a position to choose between the two (law and sculpting) or a situation where one had to suffer for the benefit of the other?

Never! My ambition has always been to do more and I believe amongst the many I do I can manage both. If anything my professions feed off each other in a way.

  • What is the intention of your art?

To influence change in this world and make it a better place through various mediums from Stone Sculpture, paintings, installations and various other mediums in portraying contemporary messages that invoke thoughts into humanity towards shaping their moment in times and make this world move towards positive thinking. 

  • In a past article, it is mentioned that you draw inspiration from your experience practising law; can you remember the first case that inspired an exhibit? Why did you find the case worthy of being your muse?

The first case I got inspired by was a Domestic Violence case. It motivated me to do a painting titled, WOMEN – STRUGGLE from the CRADLE. It was the extent of damage this particular domestic abuse case had inflicted on those involved that moved me to create.

Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
Ngwerume with more of his work.
  • In another article it is mentioned that you mostly use serpentine stone, why is that?

I use various types of stones in my sculpting, like Spring stone, Opal, Lepidolite and Granite. It all depends on the message I intend to portray.

  • Would you say you have any sculptors who either they personally or their work influences your work?

I am inspired by many sculptors like Michael Angelo, Gustav Vigeland and Dominic Benhura to name a few. As a creative I also can tell you inspiration is everywhere, everyday life is filled with endless sources of influence.

Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
  • Sculpting isn’t really popular in Zimbabwe, how can you say the sculpting scene is in Zimbabwe? Is there a support structure from fellow sculptors or it’s more of finding your own way?

Zimbabwe in a nutshell is about finding your way, but the upside of today’s world is that it’s a global village. In this global village, if you do your best, the world will always notice. My ambitions are global so I am in for it; it’s not always about where you are but where you are going.

  • Could you please try explaining to us the creative journey you took in creating your popular COVID 19 Gallery?

The COVID-19 Pandemic is a global event affecting us all, and as an artist, I found it prudent to play my part in capturing the moments and share my views on Awareness and Vaccination.

Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
Ngwerume’s piece ‘MJ’
  • In making the exhibit MJ, how did you hone in on making the sculpture about the U.S pop star Michael Jackson?

MJ was the first public figure to move around wearing a mask, and his actions were early warnings of our reality, where the air we breathe is not safe as before because of COVID-19. His messages then were foretelling.

  • According to New York-based art dealer Shingirai Mafara, your pieces are going to be part of the United Nations World Health Organisation permanent collection. Such an achievement, congratulations! How does knowing your work will live on long after you are gone feel? One could call it time travel of sorts, conversing with future generations.

I believe art is a reflection of perception and I am grateful for such higher strides being attained through my ingenuity. It is humbling to know that my work will inform, maybe even inspire future generations all over the world.

  • How has it been coming into contact with big art dealers like Shingirai Mafara and do you think that has or will affect your style or subject matter moving forward?

Such dealers inspire my work and further my will to create and give me higher hopes that my art will be seen globally.

Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
Ngwerume’s piece, ‘Halt Child Marriages’
  • Your most recent exhibit, “Halt Child Marriages” is definitely one for the times. As a man, where do you think the root problem lies in Zimbabwe’s child-bride pandemic?   

The issue when it comes to child marriages is pure ugly GREED. The greediness in those men is uncalled for, it’s dirty, it’s illegal and it is immoral to view the young Girl Child as an object. We need to right such wrongs, and I am more than happy to lend my artistry to the cause.

(All pictures used are courtesy of David Ngwerume’s Facebook)

Interviewed by Hazel Lifa

hazel@asanteafrika.net

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Features

My Work Is My Passion – Zim Rugby Guru Nelson Madida

A chat with Zimbabwean professional rugby player Nelson Madida.

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Image: Zimbabwean Professional Rugby Player Nelson Madida
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Hazel Lifa

For Nelson ‘Terminator’ Madida, a simple day at the office is light years from what many of us envision as a job. The professional rugby player, coach and trainer is one of the lucky few who get to do what they love on a daily, and he couldn’t be happier.  Madida’s sporting career has come with a slew of awards like the 2015 Best Forward Player in Matabeleland, and the 2017 7’s Player of the Year. These awards ultimately led him to play for Zimbabwe’s national rugby team.

“The world finds itself in a difficult position due to this pandemic… I have come up with a fitness and health programme meant to keep people focused on something other than the coronavirus.”

Once he had dominated the player aspect, Madida shifted to training others and making bold moves in the world of rugby. Dubbed a ‘rugby guru’, Madida’s experience playing internationally highlighted how opportunities in spaces like the rugby world were closed off to women. This realisation steered Madida’s involvement with the Nyambose Girls Academy through the programme, HOPE. The programme was aimed at using the sport of rugby as a tool to empower the girl child and encourage gender equality in the game of rugby. The Nyambose team went on to win the 2017 Bulawayo Women’s Club League.

My Work Is My Passion - Zim Rugby Guru Nelson Madida Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Madida on the field.

The Covid19 pandemic was a huge disrupter for many and the father of one is no exception. Never one to be short of ideas, Madida started an online fitness and health programme in 2020 to keep people’s bodies and minds in shape. The programme has Zimbabwean and South African participants who have benefited from the self-crafted training regimes and free medical advice on muscle issues and injuries Madida provides. 

Madida stated, “The world finds itself in a difficult position due to this pandemic. The sporting world has suffered severely from the consequences of the virus… I have come up with a fitness and health programme meant to keep people focused on something other than the coronavirus.”

“My work is my passion.”

nelson madida

Madida is also the Sports Director at Christian Brothers College (CBC) in the city of Bulawayo. We caught up with the sportsman/mentor/ trainer/coach/community leader for a chat.

Zimbabwe participated in the Tokyo Olympics Sevens rugby qualifying trials in Monaco, how was the trip?

It was fun and inspiring. It’s always a great time when I get to meet and play with players from other countries/teams.   

Any highlights from the experience?

I got to see the growth of rugby in Zim through the new crop of players on the Zim team and other new players from other teams.

Being a trainer as well, could you say rugby influenced your fitness level or has the game just been an added advantage?

I have always been a fitness fanatic, but rugby as a sport naturally pushes you beyond the boundaries to become a better and supreme competitor.

From the field to the community; what inspires your involvement as a community leader in the Bulawayo community of Pumula?

To help and motivate the younger generation to be the best they can be, and that starts NOW! People often think this happens overnight, but no, we should start in the immediate communities we live in.

Could you give us a basic breakdown of the community activities you are involved in?

1. I run a rugby academy that helps kids with Depression (suicidal risk).

2. Mentorship through rugby.

3. Keeping old people / senior citizens healthy and happy through fitness.

My Work Is My Passion - Zim Rugby Guru Nelson Madida Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Madida and fellow teammates celebrate winning the Rugby Africa Cup 2018

You started an online fitness and health training program right about the time the pandemic started, how has that been?

It has been progressive and a challenge at the same time, adapting to the new normal has its growing pains but I am optimistic.

When you started training a girls team at Nyambose Girls Academy did you experience any push back from stakeholders seeing as rugby has long been seen as a boys-only sport?

No, we had a lot of support for the girls’ rugby team. It was heart-warming to see how people could see what we were trying to achieve.

Any new projects or programs in the near future?

YES, definitely; but I won’t spill the beans just as yet.

Having played rugby this long any regrets or advice you can give to rookie players you wish you had known sooner?

Regrets none, advice? If you love something never give up but always know that failing is a part of a learning curve.

Any sportsperson who has influenced your career and why?

Myself, (laughs) I think it’s important to always give yourself more credit for how far you have come and what you have achieved. I saw what I wanted and went for it, I didn’t have all the answers but I kept pushing even when others didn’t have faith in my vision.

If you weren’t doing what you do today what would you be doing?

(A pause followed by a nervous laugh) Honestly, l don’t know… this is all l have ever known. My work is my passion.

Any noteworthy differences between being a player and a coach?

Not differences really but similarities rather, you are always learning on both ends which ensures I am never bored.

Interviewed By Hazel Lifa

hazel@asanteafrika.net

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