Last week, I discussed the poverty I saw among migrants and refugees as I walked to Johannesburg city (See article: THE POVERTY I SAW THIS AFTERNOON MADE ME SICK). I said that I was going to compile a list of organizations, agencies and institutions providing help to refugees and migrants in South Africa, and distribute it both electronically and physically. I gave hard copies already to someone to distribute them among migrants and refugees in the lawn areas, which I talked about last week.  Now, I am redistributing it through the internet. The  CoRMSA lists these organisations, agencies and institutions.

CoRMSA Guide has a list organisations and other bodies

After searching online, I found that  CoRMSA has an online GUIDE TO SERVICES FOR REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS IN SOUTH AFRICA, which has a detailed list of organisations, agencies, and institutions established to deal with migrants and refugees in South Africa.

NB: Although it has more information for refugees, it did not have much for other types of migrants. I think that they probably can get access to the same services as refugees. It could be the starting point for referrals.

Your Positive  Action

If you know migrants and refugees, who are starving or suffering, refer them to one of the organisations and agencies listed in their area.  Besides,  if you know more organisations dealing with migrants, especially women and children, share it with me, and I would in turn redistribute it.


@ Chipo Muponisi, unedited post







I am still feeling disturbed because of the poverty I saw this afternoon. I could not believe that there is so much poverty in Johannesburg in an area, which is just about 15 minutes walking from where I live. I decided to tell this story in a way that does not show the hard poverty that I saw. The aim is not to move people through words, but to share the information. Perhaps, you might have a suggestion after reading this story.

This afternoon I closed my computer as I rushed into town. I had something urgent to do there. The whole morning I was indoors. I got outside our building around 14:15 hours. Oh! The weather was superb. The sun was shining. It was not too hot to walk although it shone brightly. There was this cool breeze despite the hot sun. I stood outside our entrance and breathed in cool air through my nostrils. What a wonderful feeling to taste the cool air. At that moment, I decided that I was going to walk to and from town, which is a total of about 30-40 minutes. I felt that it would be the best way to keep fit while relaxing from my desk. So, as I strode off our building entrance when the sky was a clear blue. I enjoyed looking up into the sky from time to time to marvel at the spring sky. It’s awesome.

When I was about 10 minutes into my walk, I observed that people lay all over the lawns in Braamfontein. I was struck by the imbalance that I saw between the lawns and the people. The lawns were meticulously great. So green! Yet, the people sleeping on those green lawns caught my attention. I noticed all sorts of things within seconds. I saw hungry faces. I saw people, who have not eaten or drank water in days. I saw ill people without medical help. I saw children, who looked malnourished and sickish. I saw hopelessness in the eyes of some parents. I saw that the people were a mixture of migrants both the local and cross border migrants. I walked to the second and third set of lawns, I found a similar situation. It disturbed me to see kids crying because of hunger. What happened to the government, local municipalities, organisations, religious groups and individuals? How did we get to this level, which turns a blind eye to visible plight like those on the lawns?

I walked past them into town. Yet, when I got there, I realised that I left an important document. So, I walked back to our building the same way to collect the document. Again, I noticed people sleeping flat on the laws. Some had left and were replaced by different people. When I got to my flat, I felt sick to my stomach. The poverty, which I saw on those lawns, was too much to ignore.

Thus, I collected my document and returned to town the same way. This time around I decided to talk to a few people on the lawns. I phrased my question differently because I did not want to create anxiety while I had no solution to their problems. So, I decided that I would find out what they were doing on those lawns. The first response was that most of them were sleeping their hunger off because they ate nothing, since morning up to the time I was talking to some of them. I learnt also that most of them came to the city in search of better lives, but there are no jobs or pieces of work for them to do. When I asked why they were not selling anything to make at least some profit, I learnt that the metro police come to round-up their goods because it is against the South African government policy for small-scale businesses to earn a living on the street. Most of them wanted transportation to return to their rural homes or countries. I did not want to raise false hopes for them. So, I thanked them and proceeded to town.

It feels bad to hear bad news one cannot do anything about. When I got to town, I managed to do all I wanted to do within 5 minutes. When I looked at my watch, it was 16: 20 hours. I thought that I had at least 40 minutes to verify the information the people on the lawns told me. I decided that I was going to talk to the people selling items on the streets. I was surprised to learn deeper information about the poverty of poor people in the city. They confirmed the information those lawn people told me. While we were talking, the metro police came and started collecting goods from vendors. When I asked the woman police, she told me that the vendors know that they are not supposed to sell anything on the streets. Yet, the market stalls cannot accommodate all vendors. Besides, migrants are disadvantaged because they are unable to get investment permits. They do not have that kind of money. I saw one woman crying and rolling on the pavement with her hands behind her head. She wondered how she was going to repay the money, which she borrowed from a neighbour to buy her vegetable goods. Others simply watched as the metro police gathered their goods into a van. I observed that some men offered bribes to secure back their goods. The bribes were almost half the cost of goods. I wondered what growing cities have to offer to poor people.

I learnt that the South African government did not change the business policies after independence in 1994. They carried forward the same apartheid laws against vendors. During apartheid, I learnt that businessmen, who wanted to become rich quickly, developed monopolised businesses. They made sure that vendors never sold anything on the streets so that they would be the only ones selling goods. My informants argued that this worked to enrich businessmen in the apartheid era. They argued further that supermarkets became franchise businesses—having a chain of shops. Today, after independence, the current government has continued with this monopoly policy although it does not help small-scale business owners. The trouble is big businesses are still in the hands of the apartheid owners or their children/grandchildren. Thus, they have continued playing big monopoly games at the expense of poor people.

These people have suffered not far from where I live. Yet, I did not even know about it. It shows how self-centred we become living in Johannesburg. I plan to compile a list of organisations dealing with migrants and/or small-scale businesses so that I give out referral information.

If you have any suggestions, let me know!


@ Chipo Muponisi, unedited Post



Art in paintings


The Zebra Painting

I went visiting blogs. I found an interesting blog about a wonderful art work on Zebra (http://zeebradesigns.wordpress.com/about/). It made me think how different talents exist in diverse areas  and how isolated we are from each other. I looked at this Zebra work. It is a marvelous piece of work. I imagined doing that zebra art in tie-dye, using a needle and dye on a fabric.I wish I had enough time. If you want to see a sample of how I play with dyes and fabrics to create art, CLICK below:


By the way, did you know that in 2010 I painted some  fabrics, which were used to make some of the attires that Jenifer Hudson wore in her movie on Winnie Mandela? I have not yet watched the movie. Thus, I do not know how many of those fabrics appeared in the final cut. My role was simply tie dying some fabrics. Then, a man designed them into outfits. It was great working with that man. He is talented also. He designed also the outfit for the movie black diamonds. It was a crazy moment, but it was great for me to leave my professional/academic life and live a simple life of dyes, threads and fabrics. That was really a wonderful time in my life.

————————————————–I love art—————————————————————




SNOW in JOZI AUG.7, 2012


Is there a difference between USA and South Africa?


Not only does it snow there, but it does here too…

Yesterday, we woke up in Johannesburg to a happy tune of snow flakes, which progressed into visible snow. We were excited. I shot a video to keep this day a special one. Trust me! It snows in many parts of South Africa such as Eastern cape, Capetown, etc. Yet, it rarely snows in Johannesburg, a city preferably called Msanzi/JOZI. So, for those living in the Eastern cape for example, they might laugh at the drops of snow in Msanzi, but we are still happy to receive some.


Click the  link (snow in Jozi) below:



This link (snow in Jozi) above would take you to MediaFire, where you would download a file called SNOW IN JOZI…


I Hope that you would enjoy it…


@Chipo Muponisi, unedited Post



A lot of us sit on our knowledge wealth. We have internal mines full of valuable information. We are walking archives. Yet, we do not know how much we are worth because we have not done enough exploration of our knowledge reserves. We realise often our value only when someone steals our information right under our noses and translates it into tangible wealth. Yet, we see how these information hackers struggle daily to steal our information. They try to make sure that we do not publish that information. They make sure that we have no resources to pursue our dreams so that when we leave our premises, they would stay behind to publish our information under their names. Let’s face it! These are often people that we know very well, and might trust with our knowledge resources. We interact with these hackers in diverse ways. They listen attentively to our conversations on our experiences. They get these experiences without our consent, and translate them into real wealth, which they own solely. The question is whether we are doing something to protect our knowledge wealth. We must learn to protect  our information from knowledge hackers. Most importantly, let us learn to transform our information into tangible, but valuable assets. Otherwise, what good is our knowledge if we cannot benefit from it!


@Chipo Muponisi, unedited Post

Can You treat a Face with this particular Chocolate? Find out in the short story below…

Laugh with me…

A friend came to see me this evening just after I finished having a bath. She was bubbling with joy, but I don’t know what the occasion was all about. She said, “Chipo! I brought you something special, and I know you would love it.” Before I said anything, she brought it out of her handbag, and tossed it towards me. Voila! I saw this creamy chocolate, sprinkled with hazelnuts,  just the way I like it.  By the way, it had ice-cream at the centre with a vanilla-strawberry aroma. Just imagine that! Thank you, I kept saying. Then she said in a strict voice, “Here is your facial remedy!” I wondered whether my face needed treatment. She went on, “This chocolate cures anything.” I was lost in a moment, but she continued lecturing me, “I mean anything. If you are having pimples, you just rub this chocolate  into your palms and apply it evenly onto your face, and wash it off the next morning.” I was very sure that she picked the wrong chocolate because the sugar in the ice-cream would certainly increase the pimples. I know the type of chocolate that some people use for facial treatment, but certainly not the one she brought. Yet, I didn’t care about her lecture because my mind was rolling onto that chocolate. So, while she was talking excitedly about her facial remedy, I curled quietly onto my bed, opened the chocolate, and put it chunk by chunk into the right place.  There it was,  in between my teeth, and above my tongue. I gobbled up that chocolate with my eyes closed, feeling its sweetness and its chill as it gushed down my throat. Suddenly, I got lost in that mouth-happiness.  When I returned to reality, I heard her screaming, “Do you understand? If you want to use chocolate as a facial remedy, you must be very strong.” I found this dialogue hilarious because I think that most people would eat this particular chocolate instead of using it to treat the facial skin. I had a wonderful-hilarious time with my friend.

NB: Unedited
@ Chipo May 2012


Is every writer an artist?

My friend and I discussed art this afternoon. She argued that I am a well-rounded artist. Not only do I write, but also do other art-work like fabric-painting, fashion design, knitting , cooking, gardening, etc. She argued further, “Any writer is an artist of another thing in life.” I think that she was right to a large extent. Art develops creativity. It is possible for a writer to do other activities perfectly well, and for another artists to write well. Art  increases the ability to engage critically and clearly with life in its various forms. It is not surprising that artists have several skills.



A diary & a notebook for writing

It is wise for  a writer to always keep a pencil, pen, hardcopy diary, and a small note-book, which can fit easily into a handbag, etc. My note-book is so small that it fits also into my pockets. I make notes in my note-book as soon as something appeals to my writing senses. Thus, I carry my note-book wherever I go. It is a lifestyle for me to carry a note-book. Besides, I write my personal quotes into my  note-book as often as I can.

I also think that keeping a hard copy diary makes it easy to have access to a writing tool when possible. Each time I want to write something immediately, I simply do so without using my laptop or struggling to reach one. If you have an Ipad, or a mini laptop, you can keep a diary for easy access. I have two systems of keeping a diary:  the electronically generated diaries and hardcopy diaries…

Next Month, we are taking a different route, we shall begin writing a story…a short story for both adults and children…





I argue that, at the core of writing, is the art of engaging with other authors through reading. This means that it is very important not only to practice our writing skills, but also to get out of our writing-comfort zones, and explore other people’s written material through reading. This grants us the opportunity to interact with pieces of well written work, care-free written materials, etc. We get to a level, where we improve on our writing, when we are able to find gaps and weaknesses in written material, including our own written pieces of work. There is so much we learn from other writers, and other writing genres such as creative writing in narratives. This is about flexibility, which is also necessary for us to experience the diverse in writing skills that helps to polish one’s writing abilities.



No one is a born-writer

No one was born a writer. I have never ever heard of childbirth comprising a baby with a computer or paper and pens. Writing is an invention of the mind. People figured out how to keep their thoughts into media formats. Writing is one of the many media formats. It means anyone can write as long as one has the ability and passion to do so. Some are really great authors, but environment favours others. However, this should not discourage anyone from enjoying the gift of writing. Start by writing short stories for children in orphanages lacking reading materials. Your writing skills are likely to improve.

@ Chipo Feb. 2012