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Zimbabwe's inflationary plague of doctorates

Jul 7, 2015


“Zimbabwe is the most literate nation in Africa,” you will often hear it boasted.  While we instinctively reject not-so-flattering measures of our national performance as ‘machinations of the imperialists,’ this one we eagerly, unquestioningly embrace as obviously true. To ask how much we have used that high literacy to improve our national condition is to risk being accused of being unpatriotic  and counter-revolutionary.
So prized has become the generalised notion of ‘being educated,’ or at least being perceived to be so, that it now matters little whether we seek education as a means to live better lives or to be more productive and innovative citizens. In Zimbabwe the idea of ‘education’ now is to a great extent another means to satisfy our national obsession with ‘status;’ or convincing ourselves that we have more intrinsic human worth than the people next door. 
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The real origins of the ZIFA soccer cheating scandal

Oct 23, 2012

Chido Makunike

There is a huge, terrible new 'crisis' in Zimbabwe that is causing much public gnashing of teeth and weeping and wailing. It threatened to eclipse this week's Harare constitutional conference. It diverted media and public attention away from the sexscapades of the randy prime minister. What new calamity has befallen hapless Zimbabwe? The national soccer team lost a match in Angola under what are widely considered to be disgraceful circumstances, meaning they are out of competition for the 2013 African Cup of Nations. As a result there were brief fears of a soccer insurrection in parts of the country last week. This came just a few days after a lengthy corruption investigation of officials of the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) and many prominent players. Several big sports-linked personalities have been banned from football for life for throwing games in foreign lands for money. What is the fundamental problem?
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The strange collaboration between religious fundamentalism and Zimbabwe's media

Oct 22, 2012

Chido Makunike

Alongside Zimbabwe's great economic and political challenges, another big social phenomenon of the last decade or so has been the astonishing rise of an aggressive form of religious fundamentalism. Still to be well-studied and explained, it is perhaps not surprising that when a society is under deep stress, fundamentalist thinking and answers including the religious have huge appeal. There are now signs that the gradual 'normalization' of Zimbabwean society from its 'crisis decade' has also began to create the conditions for more people to question many of the more outlandish claims and practices of the religious fundamentalist wave. But if that fundamentalist wave has finally peaked and is now waning, it is in spite of rather than because of the role of the media in this strange period in Zimbabwe's development.
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Alarming disconnect between Zimbabwe banking sector and its customers

Chido Makunike

Zimbabwean banks and their customers might as well be on different planets about their ideas about what is minimally acceptable service. While banks have previously been firmly in the driver's seat in this regard, recent and growing political and public pressure on them is shifting the power dynamics somewhat, with the customers' concerns at least getting more of a public airing than before. However, the banks remain largely tone-deaf to the reasons for so much public disgruntlement with their levels of service.
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Irish Aid-funded UN volunteer programme sends 'development worker' on one year holiday to Zimbabwe

Oct 17, 2012

The Irish Times carried an opinion piece in 2011 by one of its then most prominent columnists with the heading, 'Africa is giving nothing to anyone — apart from AIDS'. It was a screed against the giving of aid by western countries to Africa, but it was much more than that as well. To cut a very long story short, and to give an indication of the reaction, that article is no longer on that paper's website, nor does the writer still pen articles for it. So 'aid' is as controversial in the 'donor' countries as it increasingly is in Africa and elsewhere, mainly over its effectiveness versus its cost. Why then is Irish Aid sending a young Irishwoman with no particular 'development' skills on an effective one-year holiday in Zimbabwe?
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