UN reports 3,600 cases of sexual violence over four years in Congo

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefKMasimba| April 15, 2014

Rape and sexual violence remain widespread in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with more than 3,600 victims registered between January 2010 and December 2013, according to a new report by the UN Joint Human Rights Office in the DRC (UNJHRO) . Continue reading

Why I’m Fed Up With Politics in Zimbabwe

By Masimba Biriwasha | Open Editorial | @ChiefKMasimba | February 20, 2014

Growing up in Zimbabwe, the country seemed like a magical place, filled with hope and possibility. There was a sense that you could be anything that you wanted, that you could work hard and turn yourself into whatever you wanted to be. That – if anything – we were a blessed people.

Granted, Zimbabwe had its fair share of problems. At Independence from British rule in 1980, the Government of Zimbabwe inherited some of the most serious socio-economic inequalities in the world in terms of income, assets and access to education, housing and healthcare. Continue reading

A Nightout With Afropolitans

By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefKMasimba | February 13, 2014

On a recent Friday, I joined a group of so-called Afropolitans in Washington DC, curious to find out who exactly identified as Afropolitan. I also secretly wanted to find out whether I fit the bill. The gathering was at Rosebar, a Bhuddhist-themed nightclub in the heart of DC, a highly cosmopolitan city. I am aware that labels such as Afropolitan evoke images, fantasies and archetypes which can all be either limiting or liberating but that did not deter my curiosity.

Earlier that week I had responded affirmatively to a call that the organizers put up on Meetup.com, an online social networking portal that facilitates offline group meetings in various localities around the world. That in itself is telling: Afropolitans are supposed to be a tech savvy, hyper-connected, internationally mobile lot, at least in my conceptualization. Continue reading

In Search of Africa’s Beautiful Ones

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefKMasimba | January 30, 2014

Africa makes me mad.

No matter how much I try to root for it, it always finds cause to fall short. And it does so in a myriad of ways that inject a sense of hopelessness in every part of my being.

All my life I have rejected being pessimistic about the fate of Africa but, now, I feel rather worn out – shredded, as it were, by the gazillion misfortunes bedeviling the continent, from war to disease. Continue reading

Central African Republic: The Hope, The Dream

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefKMasimba | January 28, 2013

Expectations for peace and reconciliation in Central African Republic (CAR) shot up after the appointment of Catherine Samba-Panza as the new interim president, the first female leader of the CAR, and the third in Africa on January 23.

Symbolically, the appointment of Mrs Samba-Panza is a powerful statement of CAR’s intention to stop the bloodshed which has torn apart the country. Part of Mrs Samba-Panza appeal is that she did not abandoned Bangui, the country’s capital city, at the height of the violence. As a result, she has been dubbed “mother-courage” and the days ahead will tell whether she is up to the huge task of fostering much needed hope in CAR to stop it from descending into an “anarchy, a non-state” as surmised by its former Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye. Continue reading

Political and Civil Liberties Plummet in Sub Saharan Africa

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefKMasimba | January 23, 2014

Political liberties and civil rights have fallen in sub Saharan Africa, with the largest decreases in freedoms of expression and association, according to a report issued by Freedom House. The report also notes that there has been a growth in authoritarian rule for the eighth year around the world.

“For the eight consecutive year, we have recorded declines in freedoms around the world, and in the past year’s findings we have discovered 54 countries that have registered declines compared to 40 countries that have recorded gains,” said David Kramer, Freedom House’s Executive Director. Continue reading

I Am African

By Masimba Biriwasha | Op Ed | January 03, 2013 | @ChiefKMasimba

I am African. And if you listen to the winds of Africa, you’ll hear them whisper my name. Not in vain. Nor sorrow. But in full, firm acknowledgement of my being. Within my bosom I carry an eternal flame and with it I blaze my path into a future untold my held high and shoulders thrown back.

I can feel the thrill of expectation hanging in the air as I navigate my way through cobwebs that have held me back in limbo for so long. My soul’s eyes are aglow: I’m now journeying into new frontier. I’ll collapse all my worlds, seek out my image and carve a new name.

I refuse to be bowed down by past and present shackles. Instead, I’ll amalgamate all those experiences to build myself anew. I am the flame-lily, born out of hard rock – my desire to rise and bloom is unstoppable. Out of the dark, bloody and soggy soils from which I am fashioned lies the seed of my rebirth.

My soul sinks deep to find that seed so that I can be one with it. I crave no sympathy. Neither do I need handouts. I am my own whole. I carry no hate nor fear. Only a passion to make a fresh cut of myself. In fact, all my failed hopes and false starts lumped together will make the operating system for the redesign of my sonic reality.

Out of my sinews, I will weave a new song. That song of many worlds traversed and journeys travelled will be the footnote to my resolve to be one with myself again. Uncluttered. Unchained. Only determined to leave footprints along a new path that will make my ancestors gape in awe.

I refuse to be hamstrung in old, worn-out legacies. I’ll stand on the pedestal of all that transpired to bring me to today and I’ll frame myself in my own terms.

I am African. And if you listen to the winds of Africa, you’ll hear them whisper my name. As I connect with my present being, I’ll release my sails toward outward bound. Gently, with grave, I’ll give voice to the cataclysm brewing within. The monkey whispers are going now. Within me are kingdoms of queens and kings reviving. Drumrolls nudging me to excavate the beauty of my soul.

I’m the African you’ve never seen before. Born of stars in the milky way. Non refurbished. True to the core and connected. With a singular aim to sing a lullaby to the seed rising within. Fashioned out of dark soils to dream and dance and be one with the moon.

I am African. I’m coming into my own now. My destiny prepared me from the beginning. I’m old and new now, yet distinct, mutating on my path to perpetuity. Writing my own future. A thousand lights of sun will guide my path.

I am African. Toying with moments of freedom in my palms. I thrums in tune to the drumbeat call of generations of soul, of pain and joy rising above the spontaneous eruption of life, uncontrollable, unbounded, free of constriction or constraint in its purest form. Beyond those hills and balanced rocks. Beyond those vineyards and gardens if you listen just a little close you’ll hear the winds of Africa whisper my name.