20 10 2007

Very occasionally we are treated to some genuine star performers in this little distraught backwater we call home. Angie Nussie is one. I had never heard of her so went along to the outdoor performance last night and was very pleasantly surprised. I guess I should not have been. Reluctantly slotting herself into the folk rock genre, she is an independent Canadian artiste who won Best Female Performer, Best Acoustic Act and Best Songwriter at the Toronto Independent Music Awards. She accompanied herself on piano and acoustic guitar before a small, appreciative audience. It is really nice to hear good lyrics with a good voice AND good music! Three out of three is very rare in modern music! It’s a pity more people were not there, but as is so often the case in Zimbabwe, advertising was poor for what was a worthy charity cause. Thanks to the Canadian Embassy for this one and if you have not heard her yet, you definitely should!

I think I have mentioned Brian before elsewhere in this blog. He’s a soil scientist who works regionally and likes to tell me how poor he is despite earning real money. He’s a genial guy who helps his son out preparing demonstration plots of the vegetables whose seed his son sells and we buy a lot of the seed into the nursery. Brian has a PhD in his field so he is a useful guy to know and I cultivate (pun) our relationship in order to glean information from him. We were chatting yesterday and he mentioned that a cousin of his who own a quarry just down the road was struggling in the current environment. I raised my eyebrows at this as I know that they have done well in the past. Apparently with even the price of quarry stone controlled this is no longer the case. The price that they are allowed to charge covers only the extraction of the rock and transport to the crusher. Thereafter it’s all a loss! Brian also has a partnership in a farm to the south of Harare. On mentioning that I was getting nervous about the power cut we were experiencing (watching the water level falling alarmingly in the main reservoir) he said that this year they were not even bothering to plant tobacco. Three hours a day was not enough time to irrigate anything substantial, and anyway, how would they cure the crop once harvested? Well, so much for Zimbabwe’s much vaunted once most valuable export.

I am writing this offline as the continuing power cuts in town ensure that is the case, so I have not had time this morning to check out my corporate bank account, but I have a confident feeling that I might actually be a billionaire! It’s something of a paradox that in Zimbabwe’s hyper-inflationary environment that electronic banking has become more and more the norm. I do wonder if we were in the older paper driven banking years the economy would actually have collapsed – it’s easier now to move money much faster and thus keep up with the inflationary demands. Anyway, I’m expecting some payments in that will definitely take me to billionaire status. Value in real money? About US$1000.



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