We will never choose a six pack over six cars…

By Getrude Chigerwe

When my friend, Julius, asked me to write a piece on the late, R.G Mugabe, I said, “I try to avoid writing about politics and it’s so hard to separate the two, Mugabe and Politics”.

For me the first thing that comes to mind at the mention of his name is Zimbabwe, Zanu Pf, presidency, coup and the likes hence the blurry line between him as a “just” Robert Mugabe and the politician. His name is linked with politics and we can’t dodge that. I fully and only know him to that length, but I will try to think of him away from Zanu Pf slogans and politics. I will look at him from a positive vantage point.

Picture source- NYpost

Just as Julius challenged , I will try to talk about what he stood for, with no regards to politics.
I am the nineties’ kid and all he publicly stood for since my birth seem to be black and white politics, and nothing else, so excuse my lack of his individualized profile. I never looked at the guy with any other lenses or angle besides the civilian to Zanu PF-presidency and Grace’s husband.

 Can someone help me.

I just remembered, he once threw a shade on our boyfriends who spend more hours in gyms than in the hustling streets. I think he knew it was such a luxury for a man especially in Zimbabwe to subscribe for gym, just saying.
 Oh yes, those boyfriends we fight with for the mirror. He was on point when he said African sisters will never choose a six pack over six cars. On behalf of all my African sisters and girlfriends, we do agree on that. I am not sure if he really said that but this meme suggests exactly the freedom of expression and speech the guy had and how provocative his speeches were.

Man, the guy had a way with words. He could turn a bitter cruelest truth into the joke of the year but at the same time striking the nerve. I bet, most of us, laughed about his speeches as a crowd, but when at home, alone, he absently and indirectly spoke to us forcing us to introspect and reflect.

Truth, he was such a good advisor to those who cared to listen and understand him.

 Damn, it’s difficult to look at the man outside the political context and seat he is famously known for. He loved education, but can we separate it from his political influence. I think we can, mainly because he was an educator way before becoming a politician. He championed education on his personal capacity, teaching for several years in Southern Africa without being involved in politics.

Picture source- Globalpartnership.com

 He only started politics by joining the ANC while studying at an Eastern Cape university, Fort Hare in South Africa, which he described this as the turning point of his life and his political career. That’s the first time he was directly involved in politics but not proactively visible in that arena.

 Upon his return after graduating with a BA, he became a teacher in Mvuma at Driefontein Mission, then later moved to Highfields government school, Harare, Mambo government school in Gweru and Ghana where he taught for two years before resigning to fully concentrate on his political career.

His love for education did not die in detention, he acquired degrees from well recognized universities while incarcerated.
After the independence, his government made education one of its top priorities. He encouraged equal education for all. A year after independence, the number of students enrolled doubled in primary and secondary schools. This resulted in a high demand of teachers.

His government brought teachers from Australia, England and Canada. The number of schools increased with 73% between 1979 and 1984 and UNICEF declared the country’s education system the most developed in the continent then. He declared primary and secondary education as a fundamental right which resulted in Zimbabwe becoming one of the most literate state with a staggering 86,4 percent in 2015, ranked ninth place in Africa.

Picture source-Zimfact.com

The World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Information Technology Report here ranks Zimbabwe fourth in Africa, in terms of the quality of maths and science education. The country is only ranked behind Ivory Coast (number 1), Mauritius (2), and Tunisia in the quality of maths and science education.  The country has the highest text book availability ratio in Africa, according to the UNDP (2018). A legacy he left.

Currently Zimbabwe has 13 state universities and 7 private ones.

He had a passion to empower black people, giving them back the land. He spearheaded the 2000 controversial land reform program, dubbed Hondo Yeminda. I remember much about this one, I was a little older. Couple of my family friends were affected and a few benefited from it. Some call it a legacy he left and some still haven’t recovered from it. I wont touch on this one because it is almost impossible to talk about it without leaving politics racial discrimination, violation of human rights and other sensitive issues untouched.

I am done thinking,

Can you separate Mugabe from politics? Do you remember him outside the political arena? Please share your memories of him outside the political seat.

My African Family.

🇳🇬 🇿🇦🇿🇼🇹🇿 🇲🇼 This is not just a pic this is my family pic perfect. As I drove from work today, I reminisced my stay out of the country, especially my stay in SA. I was home away from home.

I have a family there, not biological but a family I chose myself for myself. I think the fact that I chose them myself make me love them even deeper. My family is dynamic, different very dearly close to my heart. The beauty of it:-is an #african family with each member of it coming from a different “nation.” Those close to me know @dirkempa , he is my Tanzanian brother, SA @athenkosi_maloy , @officialembaff ,he is Nigerian.

 Come to think of it, not even a single day have we ever asked each other about our passports I remember oftentimes I talked or texted all of them in my native language. We ended up sometimes teaching each other our home languages. Athy taught us xhosa and I am ok with xhosa now. We ate jolofu rice time and again.
We cried, laughed and celebrated together. To me there is no Nigerian, South African, Tanzanian or Zimbabwean in my family, they are my family, period. After all its just a passport or an ID card that labels me Zimbabwean. 

How I wish we didn’t have these borders. Imagine if I could head north to have a weekend with my brother without worrying about passport or visa. It’s so sad seeing Africans being so discriminating to each other, if its not race then we pull the nationality card just to justify our hate for each other. I don’t wanna be called Zimbabwean, if that separates me from my family.

Does that make me a bad person?? I am very patriotic, but because of the love I have for my family I want to be identified as African. My point is there is really NOTHING that a Kenyan can take away from a South African because s/he is in Joburg. I mean does being a Zimbo in Cape Town make me less important, a get crasher, a risk,criminal?Does it make my life valueless. Does a heart know border posts & passport colors.

Hate is individual based. Hate is a decision, it cant be imposed on anyone. Hate reflects more on the culprit than the victim.



The ending line of the Edgars Fashions last summer advert. It features two of my favourite powerful showbiz personalities, Jonathan Boynton-Lee from Top Billing and Sho Madjozi. It says a lot about fashion and most importantly style.   Assertion, self-expression, individuality and identification are the powerful words that came to mind after watching the advert. Fashion is one thing, but style carries so much more than just a one would think.

Fashion and style, they often go side by side complementing each other, but their meanings are different.

Fashion refers to the now trends. The “it thing” of the moment while style reflects more on personal authenticity and identity. Fashion sets the pace for consumers, trendy today outdated tomorrow. It’s like, “everyone has it, I want it too” and after a short while, “I can’t wear this anymore, it is so last year”

Wrapping up my three year stay in a city full of diversity, multi cultures and religions, Cape Town. I am beginning to understand that style reflects one’s individuality like any other form of art is used for self- expression. I have begun to understand the essence of self-representation, who I am and what I represent. Style can represent a person and introduce them without saying a single word. I guess it is a choice of understanding another person based on what you see at first glance and the rest is up to the person to prove you right or wrong.

Growing up, I wanted to dress so differently from everyone else. I often thought I was different, boring to be precise, but very comfortable and confident. I didn’t realize that was my style, a boring style that reflected how boring I was I guess, but I was very confident, and I still extend myself. When I am boring and confident, I push barriers effectively when everyone least expects and after, I keep myself to myself and from distance I watch and learn. I take important lessons like weighting my hems so that they don’t blow up in breeze or how to match my mum’s twenty-year-old red skirt with a viscose blouse.

More often people get judged by what they choose to put on, called names and sometimes confronted yet the disclosure of those throwing punches are no better and often a good deal worse. You got to keep up with people and their uniqueness, but they must keep up with yours too. The best way to rock it is to. We are all different in many ways, so is our styles and expressions.

Style differentiates us from one another, we all wear jeans, but we wear them differently. That’s style right there. It can be seen in multiple layers of identities suggesting one’s religion, culture, nationality, gender, social class and age. The choice of dressing can be influenced by one’s affiliations such as the mentioned above, but a style is an individual choice. Ever seen a group of people wearing the same uniform but wearing it differently

Identity is one of the most significant human attributes we all have. Our identities are sometimes linked to how we represent ourselves both in private and public spaces. Through appearance and how we represent ourselves, style is an interpretation and expression of who we are.

The emerging fashion diversity is very empowering especial to girls and women. Gone are the days when women were expected to dress in a certain way. Freedom of expression is here, and it is big enough for everyone to grab a piece and own it. Being free to be yourself is quite empowering in so many levels and being able to let your chosen style speak for your is even better.

I have had a close on the subject with my colleagues whose styles I admire. I always watch and observe and sometimes gather courage, pass a compliment.

A friend and colleague of mine, Vicki is one of the few people whose style is calmly vibrant. Not trending but everything authentic and unique. She doesn’t dress like other young women her age, neither does she dress like an old auntie, she dresses uniquely in between not to be noticed or to be invisible. I would say her style is impressively subtle and very comfy.

I am not a fan of fashion trends myself. I guess my pockets restrict me from changing my wardrobe time to time that’s why I don’t follow or pay attention to fashion trends. I also love the idea of being unique. Vicki’s style is none trendy, she isn’t a fashion trends follower. While others are speeding to grab a piece of the new fashion in the shops, she is very much OK in being different and being herself.

“My style is inspired by the 90s. I feel like they were the days when the freedom of expression emerged. I don’t follow fashion trends. I love rocking my 90s if I feel comfortable in them. My mood plays a role in choosing what to wear on daily basis”, said Vicki.

It left me wondering how many people would trade comfort for trends. Is it still a style if it makes you feel uncomfortable? Couple of times I have seen people dressed up to kill but looked uncomfortable, but then again looks can be deceiving. Or probably uncomfortable is part of self-expression on a day or maybe brave enough to suffer just to dress the part C. Joy Bell C once said “Glamour only radiates if there is a sublime courage and bravery within”. Food for thought.

Does style have anything to do with brands? What do brands reflect on about one’s style? I guess it goes back to the social class identification. I mean one jacket can cost a few hundreds from another brand and the same jacket with the same design and material can cost thousands from the next brand. “there is no word cheap when it comes to style, anyone can look chic in inexpensive clothes, even the rich buy inexpensive clothes too but their style makes them look expensive”- C. Joy Bell C. That’s how powerful style can be. It takes the price tag off and make it look priceless.  So, what is really the relationship between brands and style?.

I know a few people who are very specific about brands. A friend of mine is very specific about the brands he wears and/or the shops he buys from. His reasons being that some of the brands have guarantees. The durability of some brands’ products is uncontested. Well I guess he is one fellow who doesn’t follow fashion trends as well, I think durability and trends are two strong things to critically think of when buying. Why would he care about the durability of something he will reshuffle in a few months later?.

Vicky is on the other hand isn’t specific about brands. When she sees what she likes she buys regardless of the name of the brand. “I don’t really pay attention to brands hey, I can buy anything in any shop or designer as long as it compliments and accommodates my style. My style represents who I am. It is my personal brand. It is me expressing who I am and what I represent. The fact that it represents me makes me feel so confident’, she said unapologetically.

Meeting someone for the first time. Their style gives a glimpse of who they are and what they represent, but I heard, “the book shouldn’t be judged by its cover”.

I guess style is style, and it’s a transparent cover that reveals the font type and size before you open it.

“Style is never wrong or right, it’s a matter of being yourself intentionally’

Your style is your identity.  DON’T LET ANYONE TELL YOU WHAT TO DO. Own it.