The Alps and Zimbabwe

A couple of years ago Sig, Dean and I rode up Mont Ventoux in France. It was great fun, and we also raised some money for a noble cause, Warchild. Our friends from around the world were remarkably generous, donating  a tidy sum.

Photo from the fantastic cycling blog of Will Davies. flickr stream here.

This year,in August, I’m being even more of an idiot.  I’m doing  a week long Alpine ride with a bunch of cycling mates, all of whom are leaner and meaner than me.  This time the money will go to the Zimbabwe Benefit Foundation. It is a very reputable charity, and has Desmond Tutu as its patron.

Violent and sustained attacks against civilian voters in Zimbabwe are leaving behind hundreds of mutilated and injured men, women and children. Many of them have also had their homes burned and their possessions destroyed. ZBF has launched an emergency response to support victims with medical supplies, blankets, food packs and basic building materials throughout the country. We appeal for your help now.

I discovered the charity via the Sokwanele blog, which provides brilliant but harrowing coverage of  the goings on in Zimbabwe.

The donations page over on the justgiving.com site, here. It would be great if you could head on over there with your credit card handy.

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Here’s hoping that by the time I’m back from the Alps, Bob is no longer in charge.

I’ll post a cyclogeek post soon, with the route, altitudes and so on.

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Mash it up-a in-a Zimbabwe Blogging an election.

Zimbabwe is a place near to my heart. My best friends at University were from Harare. We went to Zim on honeymoon. I will take my kids there to visit the falls, the lake and the highlands. One day it will recover, its people will no longer be hungry and the economy will thrive. The people of Zimbabwe will make this happen, sooner or later.

Today is election day. Jeff mentions the election history of Zim. It is not pleasant reading.

This time aoround the blogosphere is highlighting the corruption, fraud and intimidation in ways that the government can’t control. I wrote some weeks ago about blogging and social media in Kenya, and it fabulous to see Zim bloggers doing what most of the press stopped doing ages ago.

Have a look at Kubatana for instance, live blogging election exit polls.

Have a look at Sokwanele’s google mashup.

Or this video on youtube.

I have been following Sokwanele for some time, but reading that blog today, I’m filled with a sense that Zim is on the edge of change. I hope Mugabe goes quietly, and that there is little violence, but I believe the people of Zimbabwe are Sokwanele, which means Enough is Enough.

“The unconfirmed reports (or rumours) are flying crazily. Just heard that Robert Mugabe has apparently left for Mozambique (this morning it was Mauritius).

We also heard that Chiweshe (ZEC Chairman) fled the Meikles Hotel in Harare where the press are gathered waiting to hear results. The story goes that he refused to deliver the news.

Another unconfirmed report is that Elliot Manyike has shot someone in anger, seriously angry because he lost his seat.

But the oddest news of the morning so far is the story that Sabina Mugabe has died of a heart attack and Bob is using this as an excuse to delay the news.

I laughed at this last, because it sounds like such Zimbo grapevine stuff, but the story is coming in from a variety of sources.

It’s hard to filter fact from fiction at this stage. But what it tells me is that the nation is desperate for news and starting to share everything they have as fast as they can.

Oh, and last bit of confirmed news – this is fact fact – via the ZBC is that they are still “verifying” the results. We all know what “verifying” has meant in previous years.

… as I finished writing and was just about to post, one more snippet of news came in: the police have apparently been put on high alert commencing 2pm and the MDC planning to do a press announcement this afternoon – no time given yet.

Suddenly it turns ominous. But I’m still buzzing, BUZZING!

OH….. and another flash of info just in (this is what it’s like today) news that people are starting to celebrate everywhere.

Blogging and the web is playing a small but important role in undermining Bob. To the guys and gals behind the Sokwanele blog, respect. You are the A-list bloggers.
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Sokwanele has just posted this

Let’s hope the people of Zimbabwe, who have seen the results outside the polling station doors with their own eyes, will not let this happen! Let’s also hope the army and security forces will refuse to participate in the oppression of their own people.

I hope so to.

I will leave you with Bob Marley’s Zimbabwe.

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Perhaps his record company could re-release this one.

Natty Dread it in-a (Zimbabwe); Set it up in (Zimbabwe);
Mash it up-a in-a Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe);
Africans a-liberate (Zimbabwe), yeah