Mubvumo: A true story

52-loc-3-tSummertime is upon us and the good times are back again, the weather is getting warm, birds are nesting and everywhere is full of life .

I’m so inspired thanks to the good-natured people of this planet.
Big shout goes out to my lovely @sarahatherton, auntie SM , @asorrati ,@mertcoward, ever hard working B and many others you know yourself. Special mention goes to the good folks @Zimbabwe Flora for the hard work and generosity.

So excited for the coming months with projects ranging from graphic art to elementary craft work, experimenting with ceramics in time for the almighty autumn/winter launch, throwing in the mix php coding in the fray.

Yeah! living the dream.
How does that work?

Project X is the crown of the Cassava jewel and will be released for the first time to the public towards the end of the year. This will be a big event not to be missed, but we are still months away.

Can’t contain myself!

IMG_0427Moving on to the launch of Chamba Goto collection for this summer called Mubvumo, with an aim to bring awareness to the plight of our environment. This is a war cry to the eco warriors within us and help our brothers put an end to this man made disasters anywhere in the world.

We are so used to seeing our beloved land polluted, rivers flowing with crude oil in Nigeria, the illegal logging in D.R.C, rivers that used to flow with spring water as pure as nectar and as soothing as morning dew, now they are now flowing with mercury.
This is the state of the little stream I grew up swimming in and now, well, its impossible to enjoy it as before, its water is now hazardous to our health whereas before it was good for you; sad times.
The flora and fauna is being decimated beyond recognition, but now we have to make a stand.

Anywhere I digress.

I was having a Skype session with my Auntie, as you do, the joys of technology!
Like mothers she wanted to know what I have been up to as she lives in Canada and Skype is so convenient to get in touch with the loved ones far away with so much ease.
We started to talk of the upcoming projects from Cassava Designs, especially Chamba Goto, and I showed her one my latest designs and she immediately made a link to the bygone era of her childhood, the artwork took her back to the 60s when a tree called Mubvumo (Borassus palms) was abundant when she was growing up in the Vimba area of Chimanimani.

She is someone far away from home, deep in diaspora, and wished she could fly, however her medical condition prevents her from travelling for long periods without specialist care. She fired up Google earth and zoomed into her homeland of Vimba in Chimanimani,Zimbabwe.
This is the place were she spend all her childhood and she has special memories tied to this special little place in our family history.

One of the images that ranked high in the famed Google algorithm when querying Haroni Forest Reserve in the search engine is an image by photographer Bart Wursten. This image stuck in auntie Sarah’s mind because it spoke volumes to her, as Mubvumo is the subject of this piece of magnificent photography.
So when I showed her the design I was working on it reminded her of the plight of Borassus palms (Mubvumo) because according to the records this image is of one of the last remaining trees of its kind in Zimbabwe yet when auntie was growing up this tree was abundant.
Thus Mubvumo was born although the design already existed before this moving story came to life with Sarah Myambo.
Chamba-Goto’s first installment 9 years ago was very experimental with lots of themes and varied inspiration. I look back to this time and I feel it was one of the most interesting moments of my life. It represents African Renaissance movement’s Afrocentric assimilation to the western world, merely as a reflection.
The project evolved with valued input from dear friends and acquaintances and now the feeling is to let the eagle soar.

Mubvumo is the calling.

This art piece represents the Mubvumo, however sadly; maybe by the time of writing, the tree may not be in existence in its last known habitat in Zimbabwe.
I got wind of all this looming ecological disaster in the Rusitu Valley where environmental disaster is order of the day. Relatives and friends had told me that the beloved Muchira stream that flowed at the bottom of my cousins’ garden where I spent cooling off summer holidays’ heat swimming had dried up.
I immediately froze, shocked! I could not believe it and until today I still have not recovered from the trauma.

There it was! The only land of beauty I had known and loved was being pillaged. This is amargeddon! The little heaven in the mountains now spews rivers of bloody red mud instead of milk and honey.
The conservation spirit evaporated ages ago when I used to spent summer afternoon traversing up and down the stream admiring all the natural treasures this beautiful land had on offer.
Long are the days when everything around was green and lush it’s now tinged with mud and some unknown oxides dangerous to the biodiversity of the area.

Gold panning is now the industry surpassing forestry and agricultural produce.The modus operandi seems to be we will get it anywhere and everywhere and by any means. Collateral damage is order of the day.
Why give the future generations the spoils when we can have it right now!
Understandbly we are so heart broken that we could see the land we love so much being stripped of it riches in the most brutal manner.

Mubvumo tells the story of ecological disasters everywhere on the planet.

We need to save Mubvumo this summer.

Spread the word

Aluta Continua!!!!

Back To Innocence

January blues draw to a close, it’s time to look ahead through the frosty lenses of winter. Life on the High Street returns to some form of normalcy; shop windows scream massive reductions on offer, the jingle bells have fallen silent with the carols long faded into January’s fog.

Money man have retreated to their condos to count the spoils, Rudolph and his friends have long gone into a year long hibernation only to thrown out of the slumber in a year’s time on behest of the capitalist jingle bells.

Mid winter gloom is in full flow, it’s miserable and I’m yearning for the glow of summer. Reality of northern hemisphere frost bite is sinking in, constant reminder of seasonal sniffles that leaves the body in perpetual struggle with the elements. I hate winter and all the horrible stuff it throws at us.

Coming from warmer climate it took a lot to get going, slogging it out in gale force winds with all the marsh, sleet, ice and drizzle, mother nature has to offer. Coupled with the pleasures of top floor apartment, living with howling of the ferocious wind.

Poor Bollo is unsettled by the unrelenting gusts threatening to blow the roof over, not to know what to make of it, he spends most of the time darting from under one couch to the other to escape what he perceives as apocalypse.

It’s muddy, wet and windy as we took Bollo for his walks, poor thing is loving every minute of it. It feels like we have had him for longer than we have, he just turned seven months in dog years he is an adolescent, the tantrums and behavioural problems are what we have come to expect of him. He is a little bundle of fluff full of energy, mischief and guile. His early days are long gone, when trips to the Vets were a weekly occurrence.
Admittedly we have not yet succeeded in the art of house training, progress has been made though at a very slow pace.

Being runt of the litter his early life was full of pain and silent suffering. When we got him he had several ailments that had been neglected, the Vets suggested if we were a bit late he could not have made it . Bollo had bronchitial infection coupled with other diseases associated with puppies of his age.

His condition was deteriorating seemingly without complaint. Getting weaker and with no appetite we first dismissed as fussiness his breed is renowned, but his condition worsened. Drastic action was required we resolved to get him the medical attention needed. He was ours and we could do whatever we could to nurse him to health. Gradually he started to improve and the sleepless nights were easing into the joy we now have with him.

After the drudgery of work life we often come home into Bollo’s world greeted by the Bollo dance ushering us into his domain. Before him , all the evening winding down would be spent reliving the events of the day’s work and the demand required, moaning about all the stress of office life and sleep would be the only respite doing it all over again as soon as the day breaks.
Nowadays our mornings start with a heavy dose of face licking a reminder of the precious life with him. Evenings as we re-enter his world, work life remains just that and will be left outside the door disappearing into the darkness replaced with light and joy he brings. His tail wags in anticipation of the attention he so craves. All is good in his tiny world for his demands and annoyances have become something we treasure .
Every triumph is greeted with cheers and smile however minuscule .

The cute little terror has now made it although he emerged from it all spoilt rotten. Too fussy for a dog, he sniggers at anything he dislikes, the arrogant little thing walks around as if he rules the world , which he might because in his eyes, he is the prince of the hill. We are more than happy having him as life without our Bollo is empty and not fulfilling. A happy puppy is What he has become although the chaos he lives behind is something we had to get used to, for someone like myself with zero experience with pets , I could not help but fall in love with little Bollo.

Its sure is back to innocence, forza 2012 .

Bratwurst And All

Cold wintry air filled with sizzling aroma of the bratwurst, the cold cheers of yesteryear has changed to somber smiles, reflection of the prevailing harsh economic climate foretelling the onset of winter. The high street chaggers up and down the country are now the only reminder of the cheerful season upon us. If it wasn’t for their penchant habit of overstaying their welcome, profusely refusing to vacate from the notion that goodwill is perpetual.
German markets overflowing with mulled wine and other German drinks only reserved for the glorified expensive mock feast in the honour of the Viking gods, reserved precisely for the winter solstice. Jingle bells churning from whatever crevasses the marketing gurus in their plush suites could buy.

It’s hard not to be enticed by the faux experience designed to boost the footfall through the city gates in the name of cultural indulgence. The festival as it has become will leave the pagan gods ashamed at what they unwittingly unleashed to their descendants.
Besides the grim realities of the impending month of January and not to mention the demands this feast thrust upon the worker ants.
I have a love hate relationship with Christmas, it’s partly due to huge expectations inevitably setting myself up to be underwhelmed by the experience, a common theme from childhood. Now I’m older it’s just become a huge financial burden to be carried all year round after it’s long gone only to do it all over again.

Innocence of childhood, I used to spend the year plotting my Christmas wish-list in cahoots with my friends huddled on the street corner in the blazing Savannah heat, we would compile catalogues of items we would like to get as presents, mind full of a very different version of events that will surface. We would boast to each other of the presents we would like to get and score playground points on mere hallow imagination.

Armed with this catalogue we had a weapon to bargain like seasoned politicians, negotiating admittedly ever downwards, until a very watered down version is acceptable to both parties. My mother would throw in a caveat as a matter of seizing the upper hand. She would honour my wish list if I pledge to get into top 5 in my class by the year end. Coincidentally the report card was out just before the season festivities, motivation at its best, but I don’t recall my wish-list ever being honoured .To be fair to my mother I was a very inconsistent performer however when I did hit the jackpot, she could not honor it due to little money available.

These were my formative years’ love affair with Christmas, growing up in Zimbabwe at the time when the economic outlook was beginning look bleak. Christmas time was the time of the year when most kids in my neighborhood would expect to get new clothes, it was simple, the trendier you look the better your festive holiday.
It was difficult for most families, even more so these days, but back then at least families could afford to merry once a year. It was virtually unheard of in our household to get new clothes when it was not Christmas apart from school uniform and I guess that was the same for most of my peers.

Going to such an unforgiving environment as a playground with nothing new to show was a cardinal sin, however the place could be possibly more forgiving by the tail end of January when most families are suffering from the varying cases of January Disease. “JD” as it became to be known in Zimbabwe was the acute financial constrain felt by most families around the beginning of the year after over committing during the festive period.
At that point the schools would have opened and the majority of the parents will be struggling to have money for school fees and the accompanying expenses. Thank the god for JD, the playground was now a more bearable place, everyone has forgotten the stars of the last Christmas onward and forward to the next one.

You might have noticed that religious worship did not feature at all in my fond memories of the by gone era festivities although I was raised Christian. In Africa, for a child in my experience, Christmas is very much a commercial festivity and goes as follows; new clothes, new shoes and lots of food and drink, all in that order.That is not to say religion did not feature at all in my fond memories of gone bye era festivities apart from the customary nativity pIay the last day of school, serving as the only reminder of what the holidays were about. As you get the older naturally that order would change and other priorities take shape.
I grew up going to church and church school therefore Christianity featured a lot in my up bringing. Believers run deep in my family tree but I did not understand the matters of faith growing up, I was more like a casual observer because I was conforming to the
norm, beyond that I was lost and could not comprehend it.

What drove me to question Christianity was a lot of hypocrisy I witnessed when growing up. The pervading pretentiousness although not entirely missing inspirational characters who reignited my faith along the way only to be set back by unsavory personalities. It’s a theme that repeated itself all throughout my adulthood.
The European shores opened the door to ask the really difficult questions about religion, unfathomable to the inhabitants of the formally dark continent , there is not much Africans despises more than heathens .Supported by the fact the it’s the fastest growing business in most sub-Saharan countries.

Religion is a very complicated subject with very big impact in our lives. The European attitude towards religion is a contentious one to the point were it can be scrutinised, demonised and cherished , opening up the debate, much to my delight as I finally could question it without fear or prejudice.
In Africa, like in many deprived societies, religion is mainly propelled by strife as it provides comfort to the millions of people when safety net is torn to shreds, the system that is meant to provide has broken down irreversibly.
Religion is powerful and is on par with the political forces afforded to elected officials. This power has given rise counter culture of atheism that rather advocate for a society free from religion and thrust spiritual needs of humans to oblivion.

Atheism would prefer a society governed on rationality and objectivity that lives no room for organised religion in today’s world. I have listened to Richard Dawkins berating religion and undermine those who practice it and I admit he has some valid points. My belief is religion opens the window into human psyche. Only with religion we could start the auduos journey into the mind .
I’m not sold on the atheism because it characterise society as one-dimensional. The argument that religion is most at fault for all the world woes that is not entirely correct.

My view on the subject, though limited, I will attribute to human nature rather than religion. Many men since the dawn of time has used religion to further political gain, the human quest is about resources and who holds more hence all the wars.
I’m a firm believer that wars are not caused by religion but by our infinity desire to dominate and destruct, we are creatures of habit and have been fighting since the dawn of time.
I can understand the point of atheists and what they regard as outdated practices, I may be wrong but I will argue that without religion civilization would not have been the same or not exist at all. From the Incas to the Buddhism religion is about how we live not what we worship. The deities are irrelevant as much as Santa is to Christmas.

Worker ants working the machine will look up and marvel at the newest creation the almighty empire has thrown at them. The atheism conspiracy perpetuated by the status quo, monopolising the gateway to the mind. As long as we succumb to the commercial entities and embrace the ideas that will keep the machine well oiled all will be good .
I can honestly say for all its flaws religion has done more good than harm to human societies all over the world. Religion is something that speaks to the soul no matter how primitive the society. It galvanizes and when harnessed correctly is a force of good, which we can all attest, for we live in a civilization that is built on religion.

Christmas is the time to be jolly and reflection albeit at great expense. Merry it shall be and merry it will be . We shall drink and eat with no worries of tomorrow with all its snow and cold. Loved ones will be lavished with all the attention we can afford.

Hohoho Santa is in town!!