With her magical spiritual powers (full marks to Zimbabwe’s top university for spotting this so quickly) Amai Grace Mugabe PhD miraculously manifested herself at the Vigil in London to mark her 50th birthday.
Asked how she had transported herself here while simultaneously gracing a glittering dinner / dance at her Borrowdale Brook mansion, the First Lady simply pointed to the full-colour advertisement sponsored by Air Zimbabwe in a 14-page birthday supplement in the Herald. We understood immediately what she meant as we all know that the bankrupt airline is capable of miracles or it would have stopped flapping its wings a long time ago.
State-owned organisations and government ministries paid megabucks to advertise their praise of the philanthropy of the ‘mother of the nation’. They included Hwange Colliery, which has not paid its workers’ salaries for years, the Premier Service Medical Aid Society, which can’t pay providers. And the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, which declared Amai to be ‘Our Saving Grace’. Its advertisement said ‘Like water on parched ground, you give life to everything you touch’ – something it has signally failed to do itself.
But the tribute that mattered most was from the University of Zimbabwe which last year awarded her a doctorate after a few weeks’ study. The University said: ‘Your Excellency, the university admires your tremendous skills of intellectual intelligence, spiritual intelligence and emotional intelligency, including empathy, compassion, love and grace.’
The Vigil apologised to Dr Grace for our failure to match the lavish hospitality of the Borrowdale Brook shindig where guests stumped up $2,000 each to enjoy unlimited food and drink on the house ‘including expensive whiskeys and wines’.
Dr Amai Grace Mugabe PhD graciously accepted our apologies, saying she understood the straitened circumstances of the exploited Zimbabwean bottom wipers in the UK. And with a typically generous gift of a 100 trillion Zimbabwean dollars, she ascended majestically into the sky to be teleported by Air Zimbabwe back to the more comfortable environment of Borrowdale Brook.
· Thanks to Deborah Harry for donning our Mugabe mask to play Amai Grace (or am I not) in her impressive academic gown.
· Lazarus Matiyenga caused much amusement with his declamation: ‘Ndinotenda mese mawungana, kubva kucentral committee, maprovince, women’s league vakuru vedu kusanganisa maservice chiefs edu nemi imi veyouth league. Tatenda zvikuru nekuwungana kwamaita mukupembera zuva guru ranhasi raamai, kusvitsa makore makumi mashanu. Tino daira mwari vanoramba vachiti chengeta tigokwanisa kucherechedza zvakare, this 25th movement mugore rinowuya neachatevera zvekare ndatenda.’
· The Vigil is sorry to hear from our friends in Itai Dzamara’s Occupy Africa Unity Square movement that – instead of investigating his abduction – the authorities are arresting their members.
· Our supporter Martin Chinyanga is calling for a protest for Dzamara and against the second Murambatsvina outside the Embassy at 10,30 on Friday 7th August. Please join him if you can. The Vigil will be observing 5 months since Itai Dzamara was abducted on Saturday 8th August.
· Thanks to those who came early to help: Patricia Masamba, Henrietta Mlambo, Pearl Shambare, Netsayi Elizabeth, Madzadzavara and Charity Jere. Thanks to Patricia, Henrietta and Esther Nyambi for looking after the front table. Thanks also to Nqobizitha Moyo for his gift of useful stationery for the Vigil
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.
FOR THE RECORD: 51 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
· Exiled Writers Ink – ‘Sounds of Africa’. Monday 3rd August at 7.30 pm. Venue: Poetry Place, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX. Featuring Zimbabwean writers Bart Wolffe and Blessing Mamvura and will be hosted by Handsen Chikowore. Tickets £5 or £3 for asylum seekers.
· Itai Dzamara and Second Murambatsvina Protest. Friday 7th August at 10.30 am outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London.
· Vigil’s Itai Dzamara Protest. Saturday 8th August from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is to mark 5 months since Dzamara’s abduction by the CIO.
· ROHR Reading branch hosts the Afro Cultural Fundraiser Southern Region. Saturday 8th August from 1 – 11 pm. Venue: Pakistan Community Centre, London Road, Reading RG1 3PA. Theme: Afro cultural event interacting with other people from all corners of the world. We will be donating food purchased through our fundraising to local foodbanks. The Mayor of Reading will attend as well as other local leaders, performing groups from different parts of Africa and a well-known DJ. Prizes: tablet, digital camera, gift vouchers and many more. African food. For further information contact: Charles D Ndlovu 07413879590, Eric Eluwasi 07888310582, Nicodimus Muganhu 07877386792, Deborah Harry 07748723974 and Shylette Chipangura 07828929806.
· The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
· Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 8th August from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
· Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 29th August July at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.
· Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
· Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Date of next meeting to be advised. ZAF meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
· Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2014 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/642-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2014. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2014 Highlights page.
· Facebook pages:
· SW Radio Africa’s website and sound archive is being hosted on www.archive.org. Go to the site and type in swradioafrica which will link you to snapshots of their site over the years and at the top of that page a link to their website where, under podcasts, you will find the audio.