Sunday, 25 March 2012

How Zambians Can Shop On Ebay

            Almost every bank in Zambia today has some form of VISA debit card that allows people to transact with. Apparently the extent to which the VISA card is being used is extremely low. The use of the VISA card rarely goes beyond being able to withdraw money across different banks. It can generally be agreed that the use of the VISA card is fairly being under utilised in this country. In a globalised world that we live in, it is time that we get with the programme and begin to harness its full potential. One such potential is shopping online specifically on Ebay.

            Let me be honest, I was quite hesitant to write this blog, simply because I have a vested interest. The fewer people who know how to shop on Ebay the better for me. Then I thought I am all for empowerment and I believe information is power. Lucky you. I am an entrepreneur and usually we make our money doing things cheaper, faster and better. Well for me it is the cheaper that I am involved in. Shopping on Ebay is like going to the whole world to do both your window shopping and actual shopping. However, there is a lot of skepticism around when it comes to buying things online. The number of computer hacking cases on the increase and the amount of fraudsters online is a very valid argument. Then just because there have been plane crashes around the world, it does not mean that we will stop getting on planes.
            The other reason perhaps is that we are just afraid to take risks. Most Zambians are naturally risk averse, they wait for someone to jump into the deep end before they do, wait for some else to break a leg and say how painful it is before they try it out. You can be rest assured that I have taken the plunge on your behalf and can duly inform you that I have been shopping on Ebay for about 8 months now. I have bought books, sneakers, watches, jewelry, hard drive, laptop battery, Chelsea jersey and the list is endless, so I know what I am talking about. Now this is how you shop on Ebay.
1.      Have a VISA debit card- The card is like your passport to online shopping. It is an internationally recognised card that allows you to make transactions online. Like I mentioned earlier you probably have a VISA card. In Zambia most banks provide VISA Electron cards and not simply VISA. Nonetheless, you are still able to use the card. In case you do not have one, open an account with a bank that offers one.
2.      You Need A Post Box- So I am sure you have thought to yourself who needs a post box in this day and age. Frankly if you want to shop online you need one. This is how you going to get your stuff. I reckon this would be an opportune time to pay the post office a visit.
3.      Register for a Paypal Account- For sites such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble you can use your VISA electron card to buy stuff by simply punching in your card numbers. Now, for Ebay it is slightly different. In order to buy things on Ebay you need to open up a PayPal Account. You cannot buy anything on Ebay without a Paypal Account. A Paypal account is a medium of payment more like Western Union. The Paypal account is linked to your VISA electron card. Whereas when buying from sites like Amazon, you have to input the numbers from your card onto the site, when you have a Paypal account what you input is your email address and password. Getting a Paypal account is absolutely free. All you have to do is register on In this registration you will be required to enter your personal details and your VISA card numbers. This is so that the account can be linked to your card. Your account will then be debited with about $2. On your bank statement this debit of $2 by Paypal will be accompanied with a four digit number. You can call this a passcode. In order to complete your Paypal registration you will have to enter this four digit passcode in order to verify that it is your account. Once this is done Paypal will refund the $2 back into your account. Then you are good to go.
4.      Register on Ebay- When you have the first 3 steps sorted out you are now ready to register for an Ebay account on It is when you register that you will be required to put in your Paypal account details as well as your Postal address. The registration is fairly easy and I do not expect it to trouble you. Do not be tempted to provide false information because it might come to bite you when you attempt to resolve problems that may arise.
5.      Shop Till Your Money Runs Out- You are now ready to shop till your money runs out. One thing you need to consider while shopping is that on Ebay there are mainly two ways to buy something. You can either Bid or Buy it Now. When you bid it is more like an auction. You make your best offer and wait for the bid to close before you know whether you have the opportunity to buy the item. Buy it Now means that you can buy the item there and then. You must also be aware of the shipping costs to know what you will ultimately be required to pay. The prices are usually in United States Dollar or British Pound so be sure to convert the amounts accurately. Paypal will only pay out money once the seller has shipped the item. Once you have confirmed to the payment through your Paypal account the money will immediately be debited from your account.
I hope that the information has been beneficial and your shopping is now a click away. I would advise you that just like you would in physical shops looking for the best prices, you should do the same on Ebay and not buy the first thing you see, search around first. For beginners I recommend buying small items initially such as watches or jewelry in order to get comfortable buying on Ebay. Do not go straight ahead and buy a laptop the first time of asking. It is now time to explore the whole world is now your shopping mall.
If you should wish to have a personalised service in helping you get set-up to shop on Ebay you can contact me on 0965-700875 at only K99, 000.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Use A Goat Save The Girl Child

                 This was one of the placards during this year’s International Women’s Day. When I saw this picture on the Lusaka Times, I burst out in laughter. It was probably the funniest thing I had read the whole day. I only had to think back at that line and I found myself once again LMAO. Then I read between the lines and realised the gravity of the problem that Zambia has. These are the suggestions we have been reduced to in an attempt to stop defilement in this country.
                For people who are unfamiliar with the statement, let me give you a brief. A couple of weeks ago a 22 year-old man in Mbala was found having sex with a goat. He was later apprehended by the police because bestiality is a criminal offense in Zambia. As disgusting or absurd as this may sound maybe we should be thankful that at least a child somewhere was spared from being defiled. It is so disheartening and makes for sad reading. Whenever, I open the newspapers I read stories of how a 3 year-old girl child has been defiled by a 55 year-old man. What is even more horrific is that the people who are committing these heinous crimes are the ones who are supposed to protect these girls- fathers, uncles, cousins, or neighbours. It is not like these people are strangers but these are people the girls know and trust. These defilers are giving men a bad name and there is an increasing amount of mistrust in families and the society at large. I cannot dare give my neighbour’s daughter a sweet today for fear that it may be misconstrued for a devious motive behind it. Mothers have to think twice before they leave their daughters at home with a male relative. This is because a few men cannot control their raging hormones. Ala.
It is behind this backdrop that you can get to at least gain some understanding of the placard. To me it illustrated that we are out of solutions and we do not know what to do to stop this. Therefore, the man having sex with a goat was a welcome suggestion. Because let us face it, increasing the jail sentences does not seem to be working much. Despite the reports of the number of years that men who are apprehended go to prison for anything between 15- 20 years, it still seems not to be a deterrent. In fact, the defilement cases have even become more gruesome, with some leading to the murder of the victims. It is so easy to brush aside the gravity of defilement especially if it does not hit close to home. There is also a risk of readers fatigue as there are defilement related articles almost every single day. Perhaps we need to come up with more creative punishments or preventative measures to arrest this situation. Below are some of the suggestions I have come across:
·         Women Mob Justice- Now this suggestion was given by female friends who feel that the law is not doing enough. They think that the defilers get off easily. Therefore, they want to be allowed to carry out mob justice on the defiler. Their suggestion is that whenever, such a culprit is caught all the women in the neighbourhood should pounce on him and hold him down. Then a string should be tied to his private parts and pulled until it drops off. They believe that will send a message loud and clear.
·         Tattoo the Forehead- Men who have been found guilty of defilement should have permanent tattoos on their foreheads. This would then act as a warning wherever they go that care must be taken because a defiler is in the house.
·         Castrate the Burgers- This is a solution that has been debated around the world. However, this debate has not yet taken fold in Zambia. Maybe it is high time that we begin to consider it. The dilemma with castration it has to be proved without reasonable doubt that the defiler actually did commit the crime.
·         Life Sentence- A Kenyan doctor informed that me that defilement is low in Kenya because once the perpetrator is caught, he receives life no questions asked. There is no such thing as I am a first time offender or I have a family to look after. It is a straight life sentence. This has happened to make would be offenders think twice and it seems to be working.
·         Death Penalty- Many will argue that the death penalty is the least that these defilers deserve. This is because the result of their actions on the victim is far much worse than death. When someone dies it is over. The victim on the other hand will be scarred for life, their innocence is stolen, and they may have contracted an STI or even become pregnant.

       Exorcism- Some of the defenses that defilers claim is that they did not want to commit the crimes but some powerful force made them. They blame it on the devil or demons that somehow got over their bodies and minds forcing them to pounce on the girls. Hence the solution to rid them of this ugly force is to line them up and exorcise them one by one.
Whether the punishment suggestions would help prevent defilement is questionable. History has already shown that increasing the jail sentence has not helped and in countries where the death penalty is exercised murders have not stopped. It could be that maybe a new approach needs to be taken besides encouraging the use of a goat. At the moment we are reacting to the situation. Maybe as much attention as is given to the girl child should be given to the boy child too. Let us not forget that boys grow up into men. Boys should be taught to honour and respect girls and women. They are not to be treated as objects of our desire. Maybe it is time that more men become bold enough to speak out on matters of defilement rather than leaving it to the female folk to discuss. Alternatively, we need to get to the root cause of the problem. We have so many defilers locked up that it should be time a research is undertake to try and get an understanding. Psychologists and Sociologists should probably be in the forefront to somehow get the answers we are looking for in order to prevent the situation from getting any worser.
  The bottom line is we must save the girl child and do whatever it takes to protect them. Just because it is not your daughter, sister or niece who is defiled it doesn't mean we should be less concerned. It is our responsibility to care for these children whether they are in our homes or 500 kilometres away. Unless that is done maybe suggesting the use of a goat instead of the girl child is our only option.

Do you agree with the punishments proposed or what are your suggestions?

Monday, 12 March 2012

To Hell With The Wedding


               I know the female folk are going to chew me up after they read this piece while the guys will be thanking me that finally someone had the guts to say it. Whoa, here goes, almost everyone thinks of having a hubby or wifey one day. Ladies begin to imagine their wedding from the time they lay their hands on a Cinderella book. However, life is not that fairytale we read, the reality is always far from it especially if you live in a country called Zambia. Getting married in Zambia almost borders on a nightmarish experience.
                Over the weekend I attended a friend’s wedding and it got me thinking what he and his bride had to go through to put it together. Even though it was a modest wedding one can only imagine the preparations that went behind the scenes. In Zambia, before you consider getting married a guy really has to think twice. It is rarely the question of do I want to get married rather can I afford to get married that guys grapple with. Honestly speaking it costs an arm and a leg to say, “I do.” Let me attempt to break it down.
                Before a guy can consider getting down on his knees to propose, he must be well aware that his decision will come with a little something called lobola (bride price). The lobola that is charged these days is not some pocket change. The amounts that are charged are sometimes too exorbitant as if the parents have found their gold mine. The lobola usually depends on the ladies family and usually the amounts are well above K5 million. Once this hurdle is out of the way then we are in for it. The lady starts to dream and the bills start coming.
                Immediately the lady will announce to the whole world that she is getting married, flash her engagement ring to anyone who dares look at her fingers, change her Facebook status to read engaged, start arranging the dates of the kitchen party, mabeto (if you are entitled to one) and of course the wedding. Regardless of whether you attempt to convince yourselves that you want a modest wedding, you are still going to spend huge amounts of money. 
                Based on my research through inquiry from workmates who have gotten married and from a site called Dear Zambia I have gathered that a decent wedding will probably cost you more than K25 million, this by the way is for an average wedding. There are many things that gobble up the costs such as venue- K5 million, cake- K2 million, decorations- K3 million, catering- K5 million, wedding dress- K4 million, groom’s suit- K1 million, rings K1.5 million and other miscellaneous costs (these are even generous amounts). This is just for the wedding mind you, bear in mind that if there is a kitchen party you will be required to fork out as well. Then there are costs that cannot be quantified such as the stress. In Zambia the bride wants to be the wedding planner, the decorator, dress designer, caterer all wrapped in one. By the time the beautiful day arrives she is exhausted to the bone. The cost is also not only on the couple marrying but the friends and family too. Gone are the days when on a line up you can expect to receive a free suit. The bridesmaids and best men have to buy their own attires. I have no qualms about this but if five close friends invite me on their line up that is a cost I cannot afford.
                Do not get me wrong, I have no problem about having weddings, if we can afford them that is. However, let us be honest about this most of us cannot afford it. The problem is that most of our ladies cannot just understand this and over their dead bodies will they accept it. If a guy needs to rob a bank or get a loan, so be it but deny her a wedding thou shall not do. You are even in trouble if your fiancĂ©e has grand scale plans of a wedding to resemble that of the royal wedding or Kim Kardashian. Ninshi wapya. Weddings are beginning to lose their intimate touch they are more to do with making a statement than celebrating the occasion. It is as if it is a competition to see who will have the designer dress, hire the best venue or whose wedding will be the talk of the town. All this is definitely not worth the cost that will be incurred. Honestly, why have 200 people at the reception when you barely know half of them. Most of them are friends of parents, friends of friends, gate crashers and none of them will be there at your time of need.
                It is definitely not the best way to start a marriage in financial difficulty, paying back debt that you could have avoided. The money spent on the wedding could have been invested to set you up for the future or put into a trust fund for your kids education. There would be no regrets of the money that has been wasted to entertain people you will never see again.
                So I have a simple solution to all this. Instead of a wedding, I would prefer going to civic centre to register the marriage it merely costs K300, 000- K600, 000 depending on how quick you want to register the marriage.  Then jet off to Livingstone, Mauritius or even Paris for the honeymoon. I would not mind making a little junior in Paris or Mauritius.  The cost of this will be far less than the cost of the wedding and it will definitely be money well spent.
                In conclusion, we cannot run away from the fact that a wedding is a very expensive occasion. It requires a lot of financial resources most of which the average Zambian does not have. I think it is time that our ladies understand that sometimes a wedding is not necessary. If a guy can afford it then you have every right to demand one but if he cannot please understand. I brace myself for the backlash of this piece from the ladies and may all the guys agree with me by saying, “Aye.”

Monday, 5 March 2012


            She watched him as he locked the door. Then he turned around and her heart began to beat faster. She could see the lust and passion rising through his eyes. She stood there waiting for him to get closer. Her heart beat faster. The hand reached out and he began to caress the back of her neck. She pretended to resist but eventually succumbed to the gentle strokes of his fingers. She felt his hand move down her back as the breathing got heavy. It loosely fell to the ground. CUT!
            Yaba, my point has been proven, human beings do not take kindly to warnings. If you want a person to do something add a warning. It is as if warning signs do the exact opposite of prohibiting someone from doing something but poses more as an invitation. There appears to be a temptation that drives individuals to do the things that are usually forbidden or prohibited. This then leaves the question, are warning signs or statements effective in our society?
            We can take a classic example of the warning signs on cigarette packets that TOBACCO IS HARMFUL TO HEALTH or on alcohol bottles that it is NOT TO BE SOLD TO PERSONS UNDER THE AGE OF 18. Lo and behold, we continue to see people still puffing away and underage teenagers guzzling the alcohol as if it is juice. It appears that warnings ignite a desire to experience what has been forbidden or prohibited. There is a certain degree of excitement in doing what you have been told not to do.
            In fact something would normally be ignored and not bothered with had it not been for the warning to actually highlight it. Take for instance this same very article, many would not have even bothered to click on the link hadn’t I stated DO NOT READ. You clearly wanted to know what it is that I was preventing you from reading. I remember as a child being told not to watch certain movies because they were for grown-ups. This only led to the temptation to want to know what was in the movies that was only meant for grownups. It is still sad that despite the sentences for defilement being north of 15 years which clearly acts as a warning, there does not seem to be any decrease in defilement cases. This might seem that the message is clearly not getting across effectively.
            We perhaps need to rethink the way we package the warnings, maybe being more graphic would do the trick. Instead of have just the statement maybe having a picture to accompany it. For instance, tobacco is harmful to health could have a picture of worn out lungs. I do not know how effective this would be but am sure a few would definitely be scared. The other alternative would be to make the warning signs subtle. It could be subtle in the context that they do not necessarily highlight the danger so as to attract attention. Then to prevent crimes there could be the old fashioned way of public punishments even though I am quite certain an uproar would arise by such a proposal. It definitely cannot be argued that it would get the message across loud and clear.                         
             Finally, the bottom line is that warnings are rarely adhered to. In fact they can tend to possess a mystery about them that leads to people trying to unlock it. There will of course, be people who will take heed to the warnings but for those who do not maybe we should consider upgrading our warnings. Mere statements no longer seem to be effective in getting the message across. It is time to think of a way of packaging the warning signs or maybe doing away with them altogether.