Sunday, 18 December 2011

Zed's Top 10 Facebook Groups of 2011

                Well if you are on Facebook then you must have come across something called groups. There are almost like online clubs for people with the same interests. However, the truth of the matter is not every group is worth joining, some groups are senseless and not worth your precious time, then there are those groups that are just plain stupid. Nonetheless in the midst of this chuff of groups which are in their thousands there are a few gems out there and this is my top 10 Zed Facebook Groups of 2011.

10. Last Minute Gifts – This is a brilliant group which befits its name, Last Minute Gifts. It is for those people who realise at the last minute that is was someone’s birthday, graduation or their anniversary. There is no time to go into town to shop for a present, therefore this group provides you the opportunity to look through their gifts and order one. It is mainly watches and jewelry which are reasonably priced.

9. Election Updates-  2011 was the year of the elections and this was one of the most exciting groups during the period. It had it all updates, conspiracy theories of rigging and false rumours wrapped up. It seemed like every person on this group had turned into a reporter dishing out the latest information on the election whether verified or not we did not care. If it was interesting it was posted. However, this group seems to be dead after the elections and is most likely to surface again in 2016 and I will be waiting.

8. iZambia- iZambia launched early 2011 and immediately it was able to carve a niche for itself as a platform for different types of information from current affairs, job opening and entertainment. It is always up to date and the summary of the news is not too overwhelming and the link to their site is easy access. This site is helpful if you want to know what is in the papers and did not have the opportunity to look at one.

7. BitterSweet Poetry Zambia- Zambia is a country with a lot of talent that is waiting to be exposed. This group provides a platform for some of the talented poets in the country to share their gift with the rest of us. The poetry on this group is imaginative, brilliant and incredibly toxic. It is one group that you keep going to in order to delve into the minds of the imaginative treasures this country has.

6. Job Market and Opportunities in Zambia- This is a group for the job seeker. This group takes job adverts from the daily papers and pastes them on their wall. Therefore, this group is a great resource group for people who are looking for employment.

5.  Q FM- This is more of a page rather than a group but it still serves the same purpose. QFM have done a tremendous job in keeping this group very interactive with its listeners. It allows you to interact with the DJs, request for songs, vote for songs and they also update the group with the latest current affairs.

4. EZM Magazine- There have been a number of Zambian entertainment oriented groups. However, some of the stories on the groups are rather questionable. This is where EM Magazine group is different. They do their fair share of research and most of the dish on the celebrities appears to be accurate and not something someone dreamed up.

3. Growing Up in Zambia- Now this group takes you down memory lane. People born in the 70s and 80s will definitely relate to this group. This group brings the nostalgia of childhood in Zambia before the playstation age. People share their experiences growing up in the neighbourhoods where imagination was the source of entertainment.

2. Zambian Watchdog- This current affairs/news group is a breath of fresh air. With the rest of the media publications singing praises of the current governments the watchdog has been providing checks and balances. It provides a critical look at the current affairs of the country that are deliberately ignored in the media.

1. Let’s Talk Ama Sampo- This is definitely the breakout group of the year. It can be considered as Zambia’s version of eBay. This group is more like an online market place, where deals are made, items sold and bought. It has become a platform where people can sell their products and services. It also enables people to find items at bargain prices. Without doubt Let’s Talk Ama Sampo is deserving of the number 1 spot.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Born & Bred Awards 2011 Sucked, Sucked and Sucked!

The 2011 Born and Bred Awards definitely lived up to the hype. Almost everyone was tuning in to see if last years mediocrity of falling wigs and JK’s love affair with R-Kelly could be exceeded. Oh exceed our expectations they did. The Born and Bred awards which are supposed to be Zambia’s flagship awards for music videos was highly anticipated indeed. One would have thought that the organisers would have learnt from last year’s failure and put up a half decent enough show worthy of the airwaves.
The moment the so-called celebrities stepped onto the red carpet I could sense that this was going to be one night to remember for all the wrong reasons. There were celebrities with their entourages talking to the hosts in some slang that did not come out well and the boring hosts who kept asking the same questions.
In typical Zambian style the show began late, we the viewers were left watching the auditorium as the organisers attempted to get the sound system working. When the show finally did get underway we were bombarded with miming performers one after the other with their uncoordinated choreography and dancers. Then during Ozzy’s performance the CD was skipping as he tried to muscle his way through his performance.
Then there was Afunika and his dancing queens who must have borrowed some dance moves from a strip joint or something. They were gyrating on the poles with all manner of obscene dancing that was definitely inappropriate for the family oriented ZNBC TV programming. The shock on some of the elderly people in the audience could clearly be seen as they could not believe what was being flashed before their faces. Our artists then do not even have the decency of coming up with something original. Then some chick whatever her name is comes onto the stage and does a lousy attempt at a dance routine in Beyonce’s ‘Run This World’. It was so pathetic that I think if Beyonce could have seen it done that way she would have shed a tear.
Then somewhere in between some of the audience became unruly it took Innocent Kalaluka the mastermind behind the Born and Bred Awards to come and threaten the crowd by claiming he would cancel the show. The crowd only booed at him. As this was not enough drama for one night the sound system went dead and it took them a good 20 minutes to get the sound back.
It was approaching midnight and still not a single award was given out. We were still being tortured by miming artists who even failed to put a good enough show. When they finally did get to the purpose of the night, the presenters of awards were another dose of boredom. Instead of doing what they were on stage to do they were trying to give the audience a Hip Hop lesson. The audience was definitely not impressed and booed at them. Then the presenters struggled to open the envelope with the name of the winner in it. The winners came with a lot of people on stage that had no business being up there.
In the end I had enough of this mediocrity and decided not to waste any more of my time that I would never get back by watching the Born and Bred Awards. I would definitely suggest to the organisers to take sometime and watch award shows like the Grammys, American Music Awards or even Channel O awards and see how professional they are. The concert/comedy show that we were being shown only demeans the hard work that the artists put into their music videos and makes winning the award itself a joke. By and large, the 2011 Born and Bred Awards did live up to our expectations. They sucked.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Why Do I Have to Beg for Service When I am Paying?

A few weeks ago I went to my usual barbershop to have a haircut and a shave. This in my opinion is one the best barbershops I have been to. However, on this particular day I walked into the shop and sat on the chair to have the shave. For some reason none of the barber men came to attend to me. One was relaxing outside, the other was playing music and the others should have been talking about something.  Initially I thought they did not see me or I had become invisible so I asked one of the barber men who was attending to someone if they were cutting hair that day. He responded by calling out to one of them, “Guys kuli customer!” They seemed to ignore his shout. I waited for like another five minutes and walked out in protest and disgusted at the customer service really.

I have noticed that in Zambia there is a trend of lacklustre customer service whether it is in the barbershop or bus, the grocery store or restaurant. It appears that we really have to beg just to be served forgetting the fact that we are actually paying for the service. I have occasionally gone to a restaurant where the waiter takes their sweet time to get your order, the cashier in a grocery store is on the phone before finally punching your purchase and the bank teller is gossiping with the neighbour before attending to you. Now in my opinion this is absolutely pathetic in whatever language and it should not be accepted.

Initially I used to believe that maybe that is the best our customer service can do. However, in my few travels abroad the customer service I have received, Zambia embarrassingly pales in comparison. A customer is valued and when you are served you are not forced to leave a tip but you actually want to leave the tip. I have been to restaurants where the waiters are always close by to ensure that all your needs are catered to, they ask how the food is if you need anything else. I have been to lodges where the staff are friendly and are ever helpful with all your needs from calling the cab for you to ensuring that you have a fantastic stay. If I say the food was not well cooked they take if back and give me a fresh plate with tons of apologies as if their life depended on it.

I have come to the conclusion that the reason that the customer service is so pathetic is because we allow it. We do not demand it. If we are going to be paying for a service we ought to demand that we get the best service that is value for our money. Unless it is a free service then we cannot complain much. However, in a case where we are parting away with our hard earned cash it is important that we demand good if not excellent customer service. It has been too much of this notion that if you speak up then you are rude. I am now learning to forget the passiveness and demand quality customer service, it is time you demand it too. As a result of my protest walk out, when I returned to the barbershop, I must say I was served promptly.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Dear Mr. President

Let me begin by joining the chorus of congratulatory messages you are already receiving. I am sure you have amassed a pile of them, I am sure one more won’t make a difference. So here goes “Many congratulations to his Excellency President Michael Chilufya Sata.” Now that we have gotten that out of the way, I can now move on to more important issues, my expectations.
Indeed I have a lot of expectations from this new government, even though they are too many to write here, I will write some of my most important. First on my list of expectation is MONEY! MONEY! MONEY! I am not ambitious asking for a sack of money to be delivered by my place in the next 60 days or so. All I am asking for is that I pay less PAYE than I am currently paying. I think that the zero-tax band should be increased from the current K1, 000, 000 to maybe K2, 500, 000. That way it would definitely put more money in my pockets. So I am hoping that you will grant me this wish.
My next wish Mr. President, please do something about the street vendors in the street. Each time I am supposed to go into town I dread the thought. It is such a hussle to move in the streets as the roads have been turned into Bend-Down Boutiques (Salaula). I always have to move at an angle to avoid bumping into someone’s merchandise. Kindly build more markets and let these people move there. Make sure that the markets are near to the town centre so that they can be easily accessible. It is the only way that the excuse that vendors are following the customers will not be used.
Please Mr. President do something about this Zambian Time that is slowly crippling this nation. It is unfair for someone to go places like the passport office on time and yet the doors rarely open on time. However, when it is time to go for lunch they are so quick to leave. We would request that the government officials lead by example by being on time for meetings. It is what we call leading by example.
My other wish is that let ZNBC look into its programming. It is painful to watch ZNBC these days. The only time I ever watch is if I need assistance to sleep and I do not have my sleeping pill. Indeed some decent programming can be televised even if the shows were made in the 1990s they are still far more interesting than what is currently shown. Right now there are just too many discussions programmes and very little entertainment. I am desperately hoping that you will have a word with the people at ZNBC.
As a budding youth entrepreneur I am hoping to receive some of the incentives that foreign investors are getting i.e. tax holidays. My main concern is the amount of tax that is paid on imported goods. The duty on some of the goods is just too high; therefore I propose that the threshold should be increased K10, 000, 000 if it is not too much to ask. Then try your best to lower the exchange rate against the dollar. The K4, 900 to USD 1 is really killing us eish.  I wish for the days when it is K3500 this amount would make things cheaper for some of us.
We for now that is all Mr. President, should I think of more things I will drop you a line.
Yours faithfully,
Frustrated Brotha

Friday, 23 September 2011

Zambia Defies The Odds

20 September 2011 came and went and in the next couple of days the nation was gripped with tension of a thriller movie. Everyone clung to every word, rumour or speculation that could satisfy the appetite for the results. And there were plenty sources to satisfy this need from Facebook to the rumours kept rolling. Finally the results that everyone was waiting for were announced on 23 September 2011 at exactly 00:34hours that Michael Chilufya Sata would take the helm as the next president. A nation breathed a sigh of relief.
Prior to the election there were conspiracy theories of vote rigging by the MMD that even the legendary author Robert Ludlum would have been proud of.  From the disappearing ink to the right way to fold the paper it was something that got a nation hyped. Whether the conspiracy theories were true or not there is no disputing that it created election monitors of everyone. Every person was so alert at anything and anyone that was fishy and investigated everything that looked suspicious. This played a critical role in ensuring that it made it very difficult for would-be riggers. However, this also had negative implications for the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) in that they had ballot papers burnt and the election process delayed in some areas due to the heightened suspicion. 
It was this distrust in the electoral process that led many to believe that the delay in announcing the results was a plot by the MMD to rig the elections. This led to pockets of riots in Kitwe, Ndola and Mufulira.  In all fairness the ECZ must be applauded for doing a commendable job despite the hurdles. They were able to give us the results only a few hours later than promised. Other African countries take weeks before a winner is announced. We must note that we are developing our electoral process and we are making progress in the right direction. They tried their best to be transparent and they have definitely learnt something from these elections.
After the announcement was made by Chief Justice Ernest L. Sakala, the jubilation that swept across the nation was increased. It is as if people were in their beds and woke up in disbelief at the announcement. Vuvuzelas, honking, singing, boom blasting music and dancing all characterised the celebrations. These are pictures that I have envisioned when Zambia we win the Africa Cup. People were thinking there was one more trick that had yet to be played but there was none. It was finally over ‘Donchi Kubeba’ had worked.
Now I am not a PF supporter but somewhere at the back of my mind I wanted Michael C. Sata to win. I wanted to know whether it was possible that we could defy the odds and write a new chapter in African history by the opposition winning an election. To me it was also going to symbolise that the electoral process does work in Zambia. It would also be a warning to current and aspiring politicians that if they do not perform we have the power to book them out.
These elections besides showing that there can be a smooth transition of power of which Rupiah Banda should be commended for they have also proved a point. They have proved that this young country of Zambia is at a different level of democracy than most African countries. The Western media is so quick to make headlines of African countries whose election processes fail and the nations erupt in civil wars and chaos i.e. Ivory Cost.  Hardly will they put a real success story like Zambia’s a headline story. It has barely even made international news, how pathetic it. However, should we have been killing each other and burning up the town you would have seen how they would have sent all manner of camera men and reporters. We have shamed them, something good can come out of Africa and we have shown it.
Finally the reason for the ecstatic jubilation is that people have very enourmous if not gigantic expectations of the PF government. People are expecting more money in their pockets, lower taxes, reduced poverty and a fight on corruption. Therefore, the biggest challenge that PF now has is to manage people’s expectations. They need to explain to the people of Zambia that this is a process and it may take time to do certain things. They may not have the chance to do everything but they can get the ball rolling. It is also our responsibility as Zambians to get involved in the development process; it is the duty of every individual and not just the government alone. I look forward to this new chapter we have entered.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Rise of the Alcoholic Pandemic

Today in our Zambian society to mention you had a great weekend without intoxicating yourself would be treated as a joke or attending a wedding without alcohol is utterly boring. The classroom talk on Monday morning is who got ‘high’ with the strongest ‘dope’ and in the office the champion is the one who arrived at dawn after a night of booze and more booze. The perception of a person who does not drink is either they are a born-again Pentecostal fanatic or there is some loose screw in their head. Of course, the breweries and COMESA markets have continued to thrive. Regardless of the economic situation, recession or depression as long as the Zambian is alive they can never go bankrupt. Even though we have not yet realised there is a pandemic that is brewing in our country.
Everyday there are more bars, taverns, pubs and nightclubs opening than there are schools, parks, recreation facilities or sporting clubs. Our society is so consumed with the intake of alcohol that someone does not have to walk a few metres before they come across an opportunity to purchase alcohol. What was once an activity reserved for adults has been stripped of its respect and anyone regardless of age can partake. The restriction that ‘Do Not Sale to Anyone under 18’ are hardly enforced. With children now starting to drink as young as 10 years there is a serious time bomb in our back yard that is going to explode if we do not take a critical look at it. We are likely to face a generation of alcoholics in the near future.
In recent years alcohol has been made more accessible and consumable with the introduction of the infamous Tujilijili, how I loathe those bloody things. This deadly liquor is now sold side by side with groceries and can easily be stored into the pockets. The alcohol levels in Tujilijlis are north of 40% which is way more than your average lager at 5%. These Tujilijilis are so cheap that all that someone needs is K2, 000 to get high; this is an amount even a child can afford. If we thought we had an alcohol problem with the lagers we have seen nothing yet with the rising phenomenon of the Tujilijilis.
Zambia is already suffering for the effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and to add a population of alcoholics on top of that is likely to cripple this nation and bring it down to its knees. According to the World Health Organisation, “There are 2.5 million alcohol related deaths every year.” Sadly, Zambia does not even have statistics in regard to the gravity of the matter of alcoholism in this country. All we know is that we are renowned for our drinking and honestly this is nothing that we should be proud about. Besides the deaths alcoholism has led to road accidents, contracting of STIs and HIV, breakdown of families, psychological trauma in children, health problems and many other related issues.
                All of us perhaps know a friend, family member or relative who has or has had alcohol problems. We have experienced the effects it has had on the people around them and pain such an addiction have caused. We may have witnessed them throw bright futures away, drink away all their money, physically and verbally abuse their families and abandon their children for the company of the bars. We have made people with alcohol problems the discussion of gossip, the laughing stocks of the town and believing that they are just weak. We then hope that it is a phase that they will grow out of and their addiction to alcohol can be solved as simple as 1, 2, 3.  It is this rather passive attitude towards this social issue that is slowly cultivating the crisis that is being foreseen.
                The first thing we need to do is realise and admit that we do have a problem in this country. We should not be living in denial and sweeping things under the carpet or sugar coating them as a hobby someone will get bored of. Let us call it for what it is whether it is alcoholism or an alcohol addiction that is what it should be called. Then only can we begin to look for solutions towards this.
                Like everything else in this country we are blaming everything on the government and claiming that they are not providing jobs or that they are not building recreation facilities for the young people. The question is what are you doing about it. Why aren’t you building a recreation facility instead of the bars? Why isn’t the community complaining about the bars that are opening next to their houses? All we do is complain in silence and hope that someone will hear our quietness. We need to be more proactive in addressing this issue. Challenge the councils, Members of Parliament, councilors and any person who makes the decisions. The more we all begin to speak about it the more people will begin to hear.
                The sad part is that there are few places where the addictions that some people already have can be treated. There are no rehabilitation centres in Zambia where these people can go to get help. The only one that I am aware of is Chainama Hills Hospital. Even this one it is difficult to get people to go there for fear of being labeled crazy, mad, psycho or a lunatic.  The churches as well are not really doing enough to address the problem as well. We can preach that give your life to Jesus and boom the addiction will go away but that is not true. For some that miracle can happen but for others it does not happen that way. It is a daily struggle that they need to be helped through and guided to come out of this addiction.
                To wind this up it is high time that we realise that this current generation is digging a deep hole for itself than it will be able to come out of. With a junior secondary school kid to be able to advise you what to drink between a Mosi or Castle and what the side effects of each are is a tragedy. We are not building a country of beer tasters.  It is time we took a stand and began to take notice of the crisis we are in. Finally as I always say where there is a problem there is always money to be made. I reckon setting up a rehab clinic will be a booming business in the near future.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Political One Night Stand

            On 20 September 2011 the nation will not only go to the polls to vote for a president, we shall also be choosing Members of Parliament popularly known as MPs or honourables. It is in this light that I have taken a keen interest in the debates on radio and television among our potential MPs. I honestly wish that I had something good to report, alas from the debates I have heard thus far my heart cringes at the thought of the MPs that would possibly represent us. As I sit down to hear them speak all I can do is say a prayer up to heaven, “Oh Lord, help us.”
            MPs are people who are supposed to represent the people of their constituencies. They are supposed to be our go to guys and ladies. People we can count on who are fearless to take on the world for their constituency. They are supposed to be our voice. However, what I hear is far from any representation of the constituencies they desire to stand on. It is almost as if they are attempting to redefine the meaning of what an MP is supposed to be. It nearly feels like the people who are vying for parliamentary seats are seeing an opportunity that they cannot just seem to let it pass by. Some are seeing it as a golden jackpot and another a way out of poverty. It is such type of leaders who we only get to notice every 5 years when it is time to collect votes and once they have won that is the last of them until 5 years later.
            I am amazed at how some of the candidates who wish to stand are naïve and shallow about what their constituencies need. They have too much talk with no substance. Some seem to forget the fact that Zambia is a developing country. The reality is we do not have enough money to tar every single road, to build high schools at will or to bring Manda Hill to every area. In our current state that is just not possible.
Therefore, when I hear the candidates say, “I will bring development to this constituency,” it clearly shows that they do not know what they are talking about. Reading the Post Newspaper or Times of Zambia for the trials and tribulations of people in the constituency and believing that you can change these with words is a lie.
The way they plan to bring about development is self-centred; it is always about ‘I’ instead of “WE’. Development is not an individual task it is a collective effort. It is the efforts of the people in the communities together with the policy makers that bring about development. Development is a gradual process it cannot be done in 5 years nor can it be done in 10 years. It does not have to take you to be an MP to go and clean the drainages in your area, to advocate for better sanitation or support a local women’s group. It takes a person with a heart for the constituency to do that. This is the caliber of an MP I am looking for, unfortunately there are very few around with this nature. Hence, I will have to make do with whatever better evil is around when I go to cast my vote on 20 September.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Zambian Time My Foot

                 There is a common saying that, “Late comers always eat bones”, in the literal sense Zambians have been eating bones for a very long time. I know this is a farfetched assumption but realistically speaking if there is anything that Zambians are good at it is being late. We have created a culture around it which sadly we are passing on to generations to come. The fact of the matter is that most Zambians just fail to keep time. The million dollar question then is why on earth don’t most Zambians keep time?
                When visitors from Europe or Asia visit Zambia the first thing that they come to realize is that when a Zambian says that they will meet you at 14 hours, 14 hours could mean anything from 14:15hrs - 15:00hrs and that is if you are lucky. There is no manner of respect for other people’s time whatsoever.  We have even foolishly yes I have said it foolishly developed a phrase for it which we use so casually to explain why we are late that, “It is Zambian time.” How pathetic.
                You may have a lot of time on your hands to waste but not everyone has that luxury of time. I mean really is keeping time that very hard to do? The excuse that you did not have a watch does not apply. In this modern day and age you get the time from almost anywhere. The watch on your hand that clearly people do not seem to utilize, the mobile phones, even flipping channels on DSTV will give you the time. So it is time to think of much more valid reasons. The only one that I can think of at the moment is that we just do not care.
                For example how possible is it that you are supposed to meet someone in town at 12hrs and you stay in Kabulonga. You want to leave for town on a bus at 11:45 hrs and expect to make it in time for the meeting. When the person asks you why you were held up you blame it on the bus. Honestly this even fails logical thought. We are all aware of the inconveniences of getting on public transport with all the traffic and bus stops in Lusaka. Why is it so hard to start off at 11:15 hrs instead? Some people do not even have the decency to inform the people waiting that they will be late. Instead they expect them to be telepathic, psyche or something to guess that they will be late. A text message or a call will not kill you.
                I have come to realize that the failure to keep time is more of a deliberate attitude than anything. People are rarely late when they need to collect money, attend a job interview or have to catch a flight abroad. People are always conscious of the time when it comes to these issues. Therefore, it shouldn’t be too difficult to translate this same awareness to other time issues. I must admit that I am also to blame in pushing the late culture. I have tolerated friends and family that have wasted my time one too many times. I say, “No more! I will not allow myself to be abused in this manner anymore”. So this is my resolution for the year, four months is still long enough to make a difference.
                Therefore, allow me to take this opportunity to send out a warning to would be late-comers. I will only be giving an allowance of 5 minutes. After which I will not be waiting for you. And should you have the audacity to call me to find out why I left, I am arranging some good French for you as a response. I challenge the rest of you to follow suit. Abash Time Wasting!!!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

To the Graduating Class of 2011

Dear Graduate,
I know this message is a little belated, but let me take this opportunity to be the first to congratulate you on your great achievement. It is another milestone in your life that must be carved in stone with the words, “We Came, We Toiled, We Graduated”. The road was definitely not easy at times the journey was rough, the humps were too high and the potholes too deep yet you tarried on. Finally you can forget about the books for a while, never sit through the lecturers you loathed and bury the Fs because this is your moment to savour.
When you held that coveted degree and raised that cap high, you declared to the world that you are ready and all we can do is await your greatness. We welcome you into another world of opportunities and for many of you the unwelcome title of Job Seeker has been bestowed upon you. This is a truth that many will deny. It is every graduates dream to find a job immediately after graduating and the very fortunate few actually do. Sadly, the majority will have to send tonnes of applications, attend to tens of interviews and continue to wait for that prized call. Therefore, this is my advice and encouragement to you.
The reality of being a job seeker will probably sink into you about a month after graduation when you have not received a call for an interview. The daily newspapers are a job seeker’s best friend. No other day has more jobs than a Monday. Try by all means to look at all three daily newspapers namely The Post, Daily Mail and Times of Zambia. The reason is that some employers only chose to advertise in one newspaper and not all three. Do not rely on your friends to tell you about jobs in the papers if they too are looking for jobs. They will probably tell you about it after the deadline has passed, so it is your own duty.
When you look at job advertisements apply for positions that you think are close to your qualification or think you can do. Do not fall into the trap of disqualifying yourself before the recruiters do it. The bottom line is that you have nothing to loose and everything to gain. My rule of thumb is as long as it does not exceed three years work experience, go ahead and apply for it. Send, send and send.
                There are some of you who are going to be offered jobs that you believe are not worth taking. Think twice before you turn it down. Many have done that and have roamed the streets far longer than they anticipated. So what if you are taken to the rural areas, so what if you don’t get to go to Manda Hill or the position is lower than what you expected. It is always easier to change jobs when you are working than the other way around. If you know that your CV is not strong enough to enable you to get another opportunity do not make the mistake of being too choosy. Acquire the experience any way you can and then you may have the luxury to selecting where you work.
                One of the most challenging times is when you begin to hear you friends getting employed while nothing seems to be coming your way. You begin to question whether you studied the right programme, is there a curse on you? Is there some sin you committed or it is time for corruption. Whatever, you do do not lose hope. I advise you to keep busy volunteer, start a business, network, ignite a talent, or study a short course. Try to keep doing something no matter how small. Eventually you will get there; it is only a matter of time.
                Finally, to every graduate the world is full of opportunities that wait to be taken. Opportunities will not come shouting your name, it is for you to seek them out and grab them. Find your own path and follow it. The road your friend travels is not yours to follow but theirs. Take chances, do not be afraid of risks, always learn and build your networks. When your stories are told of how you became CEOs, Entrepreneurs, Consultants, Inventors, Innovators, Philanthropists, Directors and every position in between, we shall always say, “They belong to the Graduating class of 2011.” We await you.

Yours Faithfully,
Former Job Seeker.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Who Let The Presidents Out?

By now you should have known that presidential nominations for the forthcoming 20 September 2011 elections were filed last week. You should have known this unless you have been living in a cave for the last couple of months or you care less about what happens in this nation. At which point your ignorance can be excused. There were 10 presidential candidates who successfully filed in their nominations even though I was only expecting three. I am still wondering where on earth the excess baggage come from.

The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) had earlier announced that there were 17 candidates who were going to file in nominations. I thought to myself what manner of madness am I bearing witness to. I know this is a democratic nation and it is their right to stand for presidency but some of them needed to be slapped back to their senses. There were parties of all kind of names and manifestos. Some had manifestos that they were a youth party, so what? While some borrowed ideas from their grade 12 history class of Karl Marx. I thought the ECZ did an injustice by lowering the nomination fee from K20 million to K10 million. In fact I had hoped that they would have actually increased it to some colossal sum like K50 million to get rid of the chaff.

When the filing in of nominations was drawing to a close I breathed a sigh of relief when I learnt that seven candidates had dropped out. Even though they gave pathetic excuses that they had decided to support another particular party instead or that they opted to stand not in these elections but the next ones. Duh so you only realised this on the day you were supposed to lodge in your nominations get serious? The fact of the matter is that some where just plain broke, could not salvage the necessary 200 supporters not even relatives were willing and some just wanted free publicity. Therefore, we were left with the inconvenience of only seven others.

I mean let’s be honest here there are only 3 candidates with a realistic chance of winning the elections. I would bet my arm on that one. My question to the other candidates is mwenze kuti? When the other three candidates were busy campaigning and talking about each other only falling short of ‘Yo Momma’ jokes where were you? I did not see any rallies, I did not hear you on radio, apart from the occasional short appearance in The Post Newspaper you were nowhere. In fact you would have gone to Russia for 10 years and I wouldn’t have noticed you were missing.

My point is that it is time some of our presidential candidates realised that they are just not popular enough, or they were not blessed with the charisma to get people like me voting for them. The sooner they put down those motivational books with clichéd titles like ‘It Is Always Possible,’ ‘Dream Big,’ or ‘You Are A Winner’ the better it will be for the rest of us. There may be some genuine high caliber candidates among the excess seven but these as well need to get dirty and work for the presidency. The eloquent rhetoric bombardilistic words are not for this bloke. Get back to the grind and let us enjoy the real 3 presidential candidates talk about national issues and each other as I wait for a ‘Yo Momma’ joke to come out of one of them.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Why We Love Investing in Houses

Over the last couple of years I have had chats with my fellow friends and family about their future plans. There is one thing that I have come to discover, regardless of what point in their life they are at whether student, job seeker, or employed the majority aspire to be entrepreneurs one day. When I decided to probe further about what sort of investments they would make I can safely say that over 90% of them stated “To buy houses and put them on rent.” Now this default response has somehow always baffled me. How is it that over 90% of young people have the same investment plans for the future?
                I have often pondered how this almost universal investment plan came to be. Is purchasing a house the right investment plan? Is buying houses for investment in our syllabus and I just missed that class? Or can we blame it on the enticing sky rocketing rental prices? I have done by own research even though I should admit it is not scientific and I have come up with certain theories to explain this phenomenon among us.
                The one logical theory that seems to stick out plainly in all this chain of thought is that we are LAZY. We are a lazy bunch that fails to think of innovative business ideas, write a business plan, jump into the deep end and take the risk and lazy to break sweat or a nail. The reason we want to buy houses in Kabulonga, Roma, Ibex Hill and all the suburbs so we can put on rent is because collecting rent is very easy. All you have to do is wait for the month end and expect the cash to hit your account. There is nothing easier than that except for a few tenants who do not seem to obey this simple rule. This laziness has crippled the brilliant minds that fail to see beyond putting houses on rent as a way to earn a living. Why can’t we think of developing software to rival Windows 7, a gadget to surpass the iPad, the next Subway or a hospital with the luxury of Sun Hotel? Perhaps such ideas require someone to actually sit down and think, I guess that is too much work for most of us.
                The Me-Too Syndrome is really killing us. We are becoming carbon-copies of the next person. Simply because you saw an Altezza on the road you also want one, just because your neighbour is selling chickens you also want to do the same, if your cousin goes to South Africa to buy clothes you are also going to hop onto a bus to do the same. This Me-Too syndrome has also sadly sipped into the investment plans of our generation. Just because we heard from someone somewhere that they are making money by renting out their houses so we figured there is enough space to jump onto that band wagon. Whenever, I attempt to state that buying houses and putting them on rent may not be the best investment plan the responses I get only cement this theory. Many of the responses I receive go something like this, “My uncle/aunt has houses in Kabulonga, Chudleigh, and Olympia. Each tenant pays K3, 000, 000. That is K9, 000, 000 per month by 12 months you calculate. There is no better investment than that boi.” It is at this point that I realise I am dealing with someone who has the Me-Too Syndrome.  Maybe we simply just too afraid to take any risks.
                My final theory is that we fail to do our ground work. We are unable to do the research to get our facts right and to substantiate what we are told. As long as it sounds good to be true, that is exactly what we are going to believe. We need to get to a point where we are asking enough whats, whys, whens, wheres and hows in order to get concrete evidence about the things were hear. This is because even if many of us state that my uncle, aunt or whatever the relation is making money from renting out houses that is only half the truth. If we are to take a step back and look closer we shall see that they do not just rent out houses and sit on the beach in this case the lake sipping champagne. They probably have other businesses going for them. It might be a school, restaurant, construction company, salon or guest houses, in simple language they are doing something else. This means that we need to see both sides of the ball before we can come up with any conclusion that we hold dear like principles not to be broken.
                By and large, the theories I have come up with are of my own thinking. You may not agree with them or like those with the Me-Too Syndrome we simply say, “I concur” without stating exactly why. For those that may wish to rubbish my theories. Do not just dispute them for the sake of disputing, bring up your theories and let’s see if you actually sat down to think or like many young people it was too much sweat than you could sacrifice.