Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Child - Yours to Rent or To Buy

In a joint investigation by Eyewitness News and Carte Blanche it came to light that Zimbabwean women living in the Johannesburg CDB are and have been, for a while, renting out their babies for a grand total of R20 a day to women who then take the kids out on the street to beg for money.

Any motorist will tell you how hard it is to pass a woman at the traffic lights who has with her a child, and not feel the slight tinge of guilt when you see the little body strapped on their backs in the blazing heat with no water or food. And it’s that guilt that’s these women prey on. According to the feedback reporters received, begging while holding a baby is very lucrative and can earn a woman up to R300 – R400 a day!

Elsabe Coetzee, founder of Siphumelele Childrens Home has been on a one-woman crusade to get these children off the streets to a safe haven and according to Occupational therapist Velda Frankim, who treats the babies and toddlers once they are in Coetzee's care, these “mothers" are deliberately harming these children by giving them alcohol, because when you give alcohol to a child they become compliant and “a child who is drunk will not cry when he is hungry because he is passed out," said Frankim. Not only that some of the children show signs of physical abuse with one little girl having had her toenails have been burnt off. She warned of short term life threatening medical effects and long term social implications.
As far as I see it these women are criminals and a disgrace to the nation on Zimbabwe and to women as a whole. Many people came down hard on me when I lashed out at these women. Many felt they had no other option and their actions are as a result of the fact that going back to Bob and Zimbabwe would be a far worse consequence. In my humble opinion, that is utter B/S! There are a lot of people in Zimbabwe who are struggling and yet would never think of resorting to the lows these women have exposed us to. Information that came from Elsabe’s files also show that these beggar women are recipients of care packages from Siphumelele, that they are given every week in-order to keep them and the children off the street and yet they still go back to the streets taking the children with. For a woman to come to the conclusion that putting their own child in harm’s way is a far better prospect than any other option they face is unacceptable. It screams of unfit parenting and a lazy mind. The same argument could be used for hijackers and murderers, that they too were faced with no options, so they resorted to putting others in harm’s way for financial gain.

I have to wonder if these baby-selling and renting women were back home, firstly, would they have been allowed to entertain that kind of thinking? Would anyone have provided them with that kind of opportunity to offer up your child for rent or sell to someone for muti? Is there something about the innate need to survive that has us acting even less than animals or is there something about being in a foreign land that has us lowering our standards? Is it a trait that is brought about by an environment or is there a criminal in all of us that’s just waiting for the right mix of circumstance to bring it out?

In my world these women would be found, jailed and deported back to Zimbabwe – a move that will have more positives than negatives. Let Bob and his band of merry geriatrics deal with the mess they have created. And once these women are there, they should also do time for the damage they have done to their children.

Am I being harsh, maybe. Am I being judgmental, yes. Do I care, absolutely not.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Battle between those that left and those that stayed behind..

The country imploded, things were starting to get tough and life wasn’t as fun as it used to be. So we all found our passports, dusted them off, caught planes, buses, jumped on the back of bakkies and left.

I have been out of Zimbabwe for nearly ten years but I still have family there so I am back there on a regular basis. My daughter spends two months of the year there so I am not removed from the reality of what’s happening in the country.

What irks me and is becoming more apparent is the resentment that’s shown by those that stayed behind towards those that left. Any talk of returning back home is met with comments about how we now want to come back after they have held it together, and we mustn’t think we will be able to just come back in and take things over. From the sounds of all this it would seem those that stayed have begun to believe they deserve some compensation for not making the choice to leave, like they should somehow be rewarded for being the ones to choose Zimbabwe and not some other far off land. In some instances people make it seem like they did the country a favor by staying.

As I see it we all had the option to stay or go. And whichever choice a person took is neither the right one nor the wrong one. Neither decision makes one anymore Zimbabwean than the other, or gives any one person more rights to what the country has to offer than the other.

Yes, I agree the people that chose to stay in the country played a part in keeping the country afloat but they also contributed to the mess, in a number of instances they were part of the problem – contributing to the corruption and decline of the country. Likewise those that left also had a part to play in keeping it together – the amount of forex that flowed from outside to families in the country allowing for trade and people to eat cannot be overlooked, but they also didn’t help the situation either in the dealings that took advantage of the situation because they had financial advantage.

We all played our parts in the upkeep and degeneration of our country. The way forward is to now play our part in fixing the mess, but we seem to be gearing up to start a fresh squabble based on ones “struggle credentials”. And to be honest I am not sure what we are fighting for. For us to all of a sudden be getting ready to sharpen our knives to fight amongst ourselves over what could very easily be just weeds is ridiculous and extremely worrying in a time when the only hope we have is ourselves. If you start to think you have more right to what OUR country offers than the next person, how different are we from the current government who think they alone have a right to all the wealth of the land.

I am one of those that left, but I will proudly, with as much expectation as someone who stayed, walk back into my country and expect to fairly compete for all I want because I am a Zimbabwean and that’s all I need to qualify me. Everyone has that right, because when it comes down to it there are no victims and there are no martyrs.
Last week our church started the series based on what God would say to a number of celebrities. We started with Oprah. To listen to the podcast go to: www.godfirst.co.za .
I was surprised to hear that Oprah started off very strong in the church and actually used to be teased about her preaching tendencies. Yet somewhere along the way she turned from traditional religion and started following the New Age way of believing. Somewhere along the way Oprah decided that there are many ways to God and the inner truth is inside you. Beliefs that remove Jesus from the equation, for the Bible says He is “the way the truth and the life”.
Oprah’s rise to fame must have been something of a wonder to watch and behold. Nearly overnight she became a worldwide phenomenon, a household name and billionaire. Her influence was so intense USAToday is quoted as saying "a spiritual leader for the new millennium, a moral voice of authority for the nation.".” She became in herself a movement that professes that, "at the “church of Oprah" there is no sin, no need for salvation, no heaven, no hell - YOU are God”
So what happened? Did the church forget about her, or did the church not keep up with her? Why is it that so many celebrities walk the journey of their lives WITH the church but heavily IN the world? They attempt to find solace in the church but look for answers and some form of healing in the world? Why are Christian celebrities the exception and not the norm?
The cry we hear from many people is that the church has lost relevance and is out of touch with the needs and situations facing celebrities (and singles). This may be true but are we expecting too much from the church or has the church, as a body, hyped itself up to such an extent that people believe it has the answers to all life’s issues? And if it does, why does it lose so many along the way?
As I see it celebs (much like single people) find themselves a little bit out of their element when it comes to traditional churches. Their lives are not the norm, they face different set of circumstances that sometimes people in the church are unable to relate to. This can leave people feeling frustrated and in turn out of place when they realize the very place they have turned to for answers has no idea how to handle them.
Another reason could be the church has been criticized to submission and they are no longer assertive enough in their mission. New Age teachers were constantly on Oprah’s door, filling her with their teachings. Shifting her focus. Changing her mind. Where was the church? Sometimes prayer and love isn’t enough. Do as the Jehovah’s Witness do and knock on that door!
There are many questions stemming from all this and I don’t have the answers as yet but hopefully at the end of this Celeb series I will.
Stay tuned!!