HIFA Week 2014 : ‘ Switch on’

Moonwalking With My Muse


As one of the 140 characters on Twitter cheekily put it, it’s officially HIFA week a.k.a. “White people’s annual pilgrimage into the Harare CBD.” It’s a funny if not crude observation of part of the craziness that is HIFA week. Only on Twitter.

HIFA is so much more that just that though. The Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA ) is the premier arts and culture event on the Zimbabwean social calendar.

HIFA was recently listed by CNN as one of the top 7 festivals on the African continent. CNN refers to HIFA as the “Glastonbury” of African festivals. Other festivals on the list include the Cape Town International Jazz Festival (South Africa), Marrakesh Popular Festival of the Arts (Morocco), Sauti Za Busara…

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Death of Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I have read ‘100 Years of Solitude’. It’s meant to be one of the great classics of our times but I found it really hard going. Perhaps I might have appreciated it better if I had read it in Spanish? Will I try and read it in Spanish…probably not. There can be no doubt, however, that Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez made a huge impact on the world of literature and brought Latin American writers out into the open.

It seems appropriate therefore to allow a Chilean writer friend to talk about the author’s life in more detail. Follow the link here


Commonwealth Games 2014: Demolition plans cancelled

If you clicked on the link in my last post, you will have seen that a decision had been made to include the demolition of five tower blocks, known as the Red Road flats, as part of the opening ceremony. Following major protests, including petition of more than 17,000 signatures, the demolition has been cancelled.

To find out more about why the plans have been changed, follow this link.

Red Road flats in Glasgow

Red Road flats in Glasgow

Commonwealth Games 2014: Opening ceremony

The city of Glasgow will be hosting the Commonwealth Games this summer. The organisers have come up with a very unusual way to get the opening ceremony off with a bang. Read all about it here.

Would be very interested to hear your opinions on this. Is it a good or a bad way of showcasing Glasgow?



Spain searches for the body of Miguel de Cervantes


A search has been started to identify the final resting place of Spain’s best known author, Miguel de Cervantes whose most famous work ‘Don Quixote’ has been translated into 60 languages.

I Am A Ukrainian, This Needs To Go Viral

Thought Catalog

I am not a Ukrainian. But, the creator of this video is and it should make us all feel like we are. Watch it. Share it. Send it to your representatives. It’s not your problem. True. But all of our collective voices might be part of the solution.

[tc-related post=”289768″ align=”right”]

If our shows of support as Europeans and Americans are weaker than Russia’s desire for control, the political ramifications of that will be felt. This simple, but powerful message has not gone viral the way videos of cats and laughing babies do — and it probably won’t, unless we do our best to make sure as many people as possible see it pop up on their news feeds.

This woman is brave and her message is clear. I dare you not to be moved by it. [tc-mark]

image – YouTube

Peek inside the real post-soviet Russia here.TC Site


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A different side to St Valentine

February 14 is supposed to be all about love. Flowers and chocolates. Romantic propositions on the banks of the Seine. Cosy night in with a rom-com and a bottle of wine. Candle lit dinners and violins. Right?

Yesterday, I discovered that St Valentine is not only the patron saint of lovers but also of epilepsy. I’ve had epilepsy for over five years now following a stroke and it’s not very well controlled. I’ve had seizures at work, where they know how to cope with them, seizures at home and a seizure in a supermarket where a friend was with me. My biggest nightmare has been that I would have a seizure in the street when I was on my own.

I live in Glasgow and work in a call centre as a customer services agent for a well known department store. I only work part time but I enjoy the job and the fact that I can have a laugh with my work mates. So, there I am on the bus and I start getting an ‘aura’. This varies from person to person among epilepsy sufferers and some don’t get any warning at all. We were just getting to my stop, right opposite Central Station on Hope Street. Somehow, I managed to get off the bus.

I came round lying on the damp pavement with a lovely young woman, who I discovered was called Claire (Clare?) kneeling beside me and talking on the phone to the emergency services. Several other people were offering their help. As I became more aware of my situation, I felt really embarrassed that I had made an exhibition of myself in the street but then I suddenly realised that actually no one was staring or laughing. Everyone was genuinely concerned and it seemed as if every second person stopped to offer help.

The ambulance arrived and I was taken to hospital where some checks were done and I was sent home to sleep off the effects of the seizure. Apart from a few bruises, no damage done.

It was only later that I had time to really think about what had happened. Glasgow is a big city and it was the morning rush hour, yet all those people took a moment to check I was ok, to offer their help, to offer support to Claire who stayed with me until the ambulance arrived. My worst nightmare had happened and it hadn’t been nearly as bad as I thought.

Love isn’t about a ridiculously expensive bunch of red roses, or a heart shaped box of chocolates. True love is about caring for your fellow man, about seeing a woman lying in the street and stopping to do something about it.

Next year, though, St Valentine, please can I have the chocolate and flowers instead?

To find out more about epilepsy and what you should do if you see someone having a seizure, visit Epilepsy Scotland or search epilepsy on the internet to find out about epilepsy services in your area

Tale of the wild haggis


Tale of the wild haggis

Any foreigner who has visited Scotland will have been regaled with tales of the Loch Ness monster, the kelpies and the haggis, supposedly a ‘wee beastie’ with two short legs and two long legs to aid it in walking on mountains. Here’s a fun video about the haggis.