Fear In Zimbabwe

Last weekend i decided to go back home to see my family. One thing stood out from the very moment i landed in Harare, FEAR. I expected people to talk about what had gone wrong in the country but i was disappointed. Besides fear i also realised some were just indifferent about the whole situation probably due to opportunities these people were enjoying from Zanu PF patronage, diamonds in Marange and the thriving forex black market.

Despite the fear and the indifference i was determined to get the “June 27 period” story first hand from the people on the ground. What i heard was shocking to say the least. I have heard a lot say western media led by CNN, BBC and others exaggerate about the situation in Zimbabwe. On the contrary I now am convinced that western media understate the gravity of the situation in Zimbabwe. I was told, by a victim of the regime in Zimbabwe, how they were forced to take some papers to write serial numbers to verify who they voted for and how they were almost beaten up at a pungwe. And i am not talking of someone in Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe, this victim was abused in Harare of all places. From this victim and several others i talked to i could feel a feeling beyond fear, it was more like trauma.

What makes the situation, worse in my view is the ‘indifferent’ lot who are benefitting from this misguided exercise of abusing ordinary people by these so-called militia. To me the indifferent lot is no worse than the militia themselves, they are accomplices. I talked to one such accomplice and gave me all sorts of excuses as to why the whole circus is a blessing in disguise. This is not a blessing in disguise but a recipe for murder and possibly a war.

During the same weekend i had a chance to watch an excellent movie by the BBC entitled “Shooting Dogs”. Its a real life story of how the Tutsis were abused by the extremist Hutus during the Rwandese Genocide in 1994. I just couldnt help by draw parallels with the stories i had heard about the election period in Zimbabwe. Thats why I am convinced that its not too late to prevent such consequences as the Rwandese killings and beatings.

google, einstein & answers

larry and sergey

I’m now certain that my favourite company, Google, literally has all the answers. Yes literally all the answers! “…if this Google monster has all the answers then why submit wrong assignments, why are there so many inaccurate writingsa out there, design terrible sites/systems, why so many misconceptions on nature and generally everything?”, i can here the critics moan.  I think the answer lies in the fact that only quality questions get quality answers.

Time Magazine’s man of the century Albert Einstein is famous for having said “I possess no special talents, i am passionately curious”. His “thought experiments” involved a lot of quality questions and thus quality answers like the law of relativity.

The same applies to Google you just have to give it correct questions or queries and it will give you excellent answers. Here’s a link to guide you on how you can provide Google with quality questions in order to get quality answers from the-best-company-to-work-for in my view, Google Guide. Enjoy your day.

Social Investment Defined

To my readers i must start by apologising for my lengthy absence. I guess i just ran out of steam because I really had not found a specific area I wanted to devote my writing to.  I just knew i had a lot to write about but I just wasnt sure of the subject. But a few hours ago, before I woke up, I realised I have always known what I passionately what to write about, i just hadnt found the right word or classification for it. This right word is what i choose to call Social Investment. I dont know if this term exists or not but I figured it captures exactly what i want to write about.

As a term i subconsciously think i coined, Social Investment to me means putting or investing money or time or anything useful for that matter into certain individuals or communities or societies for the sake of giving and not accepting an monetary or material return as direct or an indirect benefit for the effort. This definition automatically rules out Social Responsibility that almost every company is engaged in nowadays because if the truth be told Social Responsibility, (i will devote a future post to this subject later on) is usually a marketing gimmick meant to generate “Publicity”. Wikipedia defines “Publicity” as “the deliberate attempt to manage the public’s perception of a subject”. So the indirect benefit here is managing the perception of a subject be it a company, product or service.

Unlike the goal of Capital Invsestment whose goal is profit, recognition, prestige etc the motive of Social Investment is simply PERSONAL FULFILMENT and nothing else. Unfortunately personal fulfillment is a feeling that only the person who feels it is aware of, it cannot be seen or be felt by anyone else. According to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the fifth level which is Self-Actualisation is the level where personal fulfillment is attained.

Hierarchy Of Needs

Hierarchy Of Needs

One way in which real Social Investment is manifested in an organisation is investment in employees. I am not talking of being sent to school and being bonded to the firm for three years. Am talking of no strings attached giveaways like offering a bursary to an employee’s child and allowing the child to join a company of choice. To me this is micro-social investment which embodies “charity begins at home”. At the macro level you have individuals, companies or governments investing in building of schools, universities, hospitals or any social facility and not forcing beneficiaries to brand the facility.

In future i will write about a number of  entrepreneurs who have been at the fore front of true Social Investment or what others call Philanthropy, the likes of Andrew Carnegie whom i consider the father of Social Investment, Bill Gates, Richard Branson  etc.

Be blessed with more passion.

Bill Gates, a modern-day Robin Hood?

steve jobsBeing a hero-worshipper of Steve Jobs as i am, i am bound to be an antagonist of Bill Gates and his Mocrosoft outfit. Perhaps my hatred for Microsoft’s ways is not blind if you consider a number of dirty business tactics these guys are famous for: the Halloween Letters, forcing Internet Explorer on costumers and using apple’s protoypes to create Windows.

However nomatter how much a Microsoft-hater one might be, one cannot but look with awe at how Bill Gates and his Bill and Mellinda Gates Foundation have made “a dent in the universe” as his rival Jobs is famous of having said. bill and mellinda gates and warren buffetGates, the philanthropist, has really changed the lives of many people especially in africa through donating funds to help cure diseases such as AIDS, malaria etc.

These noble contributions have led me to see Bill Gates, the software pirater, in another positive light: a Robin Hood who steals from the rich(at least those who can afford Microsft’s licences) and giving to the poor. I say steal because most of Microsoft’s products are arguably shody and hardly work without crashing. As a web developer i am sure many others in my profession will vindicate me in that in that, for example, internet explorer, microsoft’s web browser is sure to cause you headaches when designing websites due to its disregard for web standards (with the exception of the new internet explorer 8).

So there you are, whether you like him or not Bill Gates is obvously playing a big part in wealth redistribution through selling microsoft’s products and giving away some of the money to the underprivileged communities.bill gatesrobin hood

Will Smith’s iRobot

Just the other day i was watching the movie, iRobot by Will Smith.  It is a movie on two divergent perspectives on the use of robots. On the supportive side of the argument were ‘sceptics’, led by detective Spooner(Will Smith) who felt robots granted artificial intelligence posed a serious threat to humanity. On the other side were the technologists led by the designer of the robots who felt robots were tools that could be used to make life more bearable for human beings (if controlled by the three laws).

The movie is quite funny and pulsating. Naturally viwers are provoked into turning sides in such conflicting situations; for or against robots?. Well the truth be told robots, or anything for that matter can be used to beautify or endanger humanity. Anything. Steel is used to aeroplanes to fly, houses for shelter. It can used be used to make guns to kill. Money can be used to set up philanthropic groups that alliviate poverty like like Carnegie Foundation, Kellog, Bill Gates Foundation etc, it can also be used to lure young girls(and even women), create conflicts and terrorism etc. The bottomline is anything that was created in this universe has the potential to be whatever one whats it to be. So rather than wasting time proving whether robots are a threat or not wherther to embrace socialism or capitalism we ought to find the opportunities for beauty and service for anything in this planet. Be blessed. 

Scary Goals

I have always known that the road to greatness is in having clear, specific goals that at first seem impossible and scary, but are realistic. My experience has shown me that unmet goals can really frustrate and lead to stress and quitting. I have been guilt of this all my life.

I had stopped making ambitious goals last year, 2007, as a result of a bagful of unmet goals because reflecting on them made me realise i was going nowhere and only served to stress me more. So i stopped setting goals. However when i went back to my roots i.e. Zimbabwe, last week, i reflected on my experiences with goals and i realised i had met most of my goals albeit not in the planned time frame.

This reflection revealed to me the real nature of goals and set me up to come up with goal-setting theory i would like to share with you. I will use a scenario based on one of my many encounters with goal setting:financial goals.

Lets suppose my goal is to make or earn total of $16 after four weeks through doubling my income at the end of every week as in

week 1:$2,

week 2:$4,

week 3:$8,

week 4:$16.

Whenever i have set such goals in my life, my experiences have mostly been akin to the following scenario:

week 1: -$4(am in debt, had to borrow to start),

week 2: -$2(managed to make $2 and paid off part of the debt),

week 3: -$2(didnt sell/earn anything),

week 4: -$3(didnt sell anything had to borrow $1 to survive).

In most instances after week 4 i would then face reality and do the inevitable:quit. Stress and lose of self-confidence followed. After 4 weeks i was supposed to have $16 in pockets but i had, -$3, a deficit.

However in a FEW occasions where i was stubborn(coz i can be stubborn) here is a probable scenario. After the 4th week as above with a deficit of -$3 i refused to quit but soldiered on and this is what happened:  

week 5:  -$1(i sold $2 to a relative who pitied my seemingly useless business),

week 6: $2(sold $3, am now out of the red!),

week 7: $10(eureka, i got a big order from a real company),

week 8: $90(got three really big orders). I will stop here.

Do you get the picture? I planned for 4 weeks, didnt meet my goal, but i soldiered on and after 8 weeks i was making what i never planned to get. Thats life you dont get what you want, at times, when you really need it, but with faith and persistence you could get more than you never dreamed of. Be blessed.

welcome to zimbabwe

I will take this very first post to introduce myself and the purpose of this blog, i hope this is inline with blogging standards if ever they exist.

My name is Solomon-Hopewell Kembo and i am 28 years old. I am a Zimbabwean webpreneur based in Mozambique. Not exactly a nerd though at times i suspect am becoming one slowly.

I believe that “iron sharpens iron” thats why i hope this blog creates a platform for discussions and debates on this beautiful gift called life, if you have the passion for life. My passions include music, entrepreneurship, soccer, cricket, film, literature, programming etc.

I decided to call the blog the beautiful gift because i believe life is a precious and beautiful gift whose beauty we all ought to expose, preserve and improve all the time. Of late serious challenges have faced our universe from wars, famine, natural diseases, political violence etc. On the other hand some truly amazing positive events continue to show the true beauty of the universe in fields such as sport, research & science, business, charity, family & love, music and even politics. I believe the preservation lies solely in our collective efforts and we still can fight the ills together if only we do heed the words of Edmund Burke that “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” It is my hope that we will discuss pertinent issues on this platform. Be blessed.