Photography and Psychology.

I don’t really classify myself as a great photographer, not even remotely average but I like to dabble, I guess I’m just one of those stereotypical hobbyists who dreams but never really accomplishes anything great. I use my iPhone and recently downloaded a great app called ProCam which all you elite iPhone photography experts and photographers who use your iPhone as a trusty companion to your Canon or Nikon will either know or know of. The closest I’ve got to owning a pretty decent DSLR was a Nikon D3200 which a friend bought me with the standard VRII lens kit (now discontinued since there are now newer, much more impressive models on the market with better ease of function and other VERY cool functions. I sadly had to let that Nikon go due to something that was going on in my life at the time and had to get rid of it in a long painful story which could have changed my life for the better which seems to have affected me in the long term but they do say time is a healer. But, let’s not dilly dally on that as the focus of this blog is photography and psychology- interesting mix but I am more a photographer than a psychologist, still an interesting over-lap between the two though.

I have a number of friends who are much more talented than I am, we are mostly Nikon fans but another friend of mine who is a well established, successful wedding photographer is a Canon man (I know, we all can’t be perfect, right. I jest) but anyway, when it comes to photography I like landscape photography but we all have different interests in what our eye catches. Some it’s landscape, others it’s people, buildings etc. Another friend of mine from Hungary is also a fan of landscape photography and yesterday he took a photo and his caption in Hungarian was “current mood”. It was a stunning photo — Black & white of a fallen tree across the river where I live. It pictured the mood brilliantly where there was only solitude and a single tree.

That then made me think of one of my photos that I took in February, was a fairly warm winters day, a few weeks  prior to the “Beast from the East”

So with all this in mind isn’t it incredible how our love of photography can reflect our mood, it can reflect our mood perfectly, or terribly – depending on how you see it?

I haven’t blogged for a while now as my MacBook Pro’s charger blew and with it being an old MBP (early 2011 15inch) so as I’ve been financially struggling it’s been best to hold off on paying the £79.99 for a new MagSafe1 charger from Apple but as my mates photo yesterday made me think about it I decided to write this blog on my trusty iPhone 6. So note to self for next time, don’t do it.

Anyway folks – here’s an excercise for all you who love photography, whether just looking at photos or shooting. The next time you see a friends or family members photo, caption or not attached to that photo try engage with the piece of work, note every detail down – the sky, the objects, the colour and then try gauge the mood that photo was taken under. I’m not particularly in the best of moods today so my photos would probably all be darkish but I sure think that would be a great exercise for us all.

Writers block, What Is It?

So I have decided to tackle the ever asking question “what is writers block?” In the dictionary writers block is defined as “the condition of being unable to write or how to proceed with writing:

However, in my opinion and as a writer who has been suffering from writers block for quite some time and unable to tend to the books I have started writing in the past I am not sure its as simple as that. And so, that definition is wrong, either that or it has not been defined properly. Most people who suffer from writers block are already accomplished writers and even authors but something has triggered that block. Many of us know how to proceed but the will to proceed is what counts.

A few nights ago I went out with two friends of mine and one of them said to me that he didn’t understand writers block, now with the other two of us who write fairly consistently, me in the term of blogging, more so than tending to my books and the other being a content writer for his business both understand writers block in our definition. I personally do not believe that writers block can be defined as one thing. I think it is a phrase that depends very much on the writer, their definition of it and how they may be blocked. For instance, me, myself and I…

I have inherited my fathers writing genes and the first creative piece which was read in assembly at my primary school in Zimbabwe was from a dream I had had and at school I turned that dream into a mini-story and enhanced on it and added twists…then that was that. A few years later into my teens I started writing a novel which starts off in the Belgian-Congo during the uprising between 1960 – 1964. Some time later I lost what I had started of that manuscript but in all that time I kept the beginning in my mind. But not only that, I started another book which is set in modern day Montana in the United States which starts in Seattle in Washington State for that I have done comprehensive research from  agricultural, meteorological, historical, geographical and legal research. Sadly though, I do feel I am at a point where I need hands on research. I have also fairly recently started writing another novel which is set in modern day Zimbabwe of which I won’t discuss the ins and outs of as this piece I might definitely shelve as the future of Zimbabwe now looks like it might just be a very different and better future than the one I had in my mind when I started writing it. However, when it comes to writing I cannot proceed, I know what I want to write and how I want to write it but the motivation and the imagination I cannot muster. Now those who know me know I have a passion for equestrianism, they know I have a passion for horses and believe in the bond between man and horse, I have always got inspiration while on horseback or just spending time with horses – riding through the bush pretending I am in the Wild West and being a regular African cowboy and putting my horse in full gallop or herding cattle. Or just an easy moonlight ride where there is nothing but you, the horse, the sounds of the night, the stars, the moon. That to me enhances the imagination and was often inspired to write while riding.

So anyway, my one friend asks me how or why am I blocked. A question of the ages, yet quite simply answered – for me there is no imagination. I feel like I have no one or anything to share my heart with and that is where I believe writers block starts. It starts in the heart because that is where your creativity comes from, whatever you are writing or painting that is where it comes from – it starts in your heart, it starts with your passion and then it moves to your mind. One thing I have always believed is that if you do not write with your heart you will not produce anything of substance. And so when you feel no heart what you usually tend to write is not there – thus if you have no heart, there is no mind. Nothing in the heart, there can be nothing in the mind. For instance, the best poems I have ever written were a couple of years ago, material I have destroyed but the words are inside me because I was inspired by how I felt and how I was feeling.

But what is ones person of writers block is not the definition – the definition is defined by the writer. I for one feel empty, I feel like I have nothing inside to write for and so as such my stories sit in my cloud storage facility gathering cyber-dust and this to me is what writers block is. There is nothing to write for from the heart.

What I have found works for me in the past is reading what I have written and then taking it from there. Although there was once a time when I could sit and write and write without any disturbance. Perhaps one day I will find that part again but it is definitely all about your heart and it being in the right place.

And so, if you are suffering from writers block don’t push it, don’t try and force it but have a look see whats in your heart and take it from there…

Zimbabwe: So Wrong Yet So Right.

As most of the world is aware now Zimbabwe finally got its freedom from Robert Mugabe. We look at the overall freedom of Zimbabwe and where it is at and where its going. Is it a bright future and what does it mean for the future of the living jewel of Africa.

But, first before I continue I want to explain my initial excitement to those who would have read the previous blog which may have caused some confusion,The Happiness of Being…Wrong (on Zimbabwean Political Analysis)– you see, I have never been a ZANU-PF man, nor a Mugabe supporter and as I said in the afore mentioned piece I had always believed and analysed that Emmerson Mnangagwa was going to take the presidency with hostility and bloodshed. However, when the time came it was done professionally with minor bloodshed. My analysis as to why Mnangagwa would take it with extreme violence was because of his history, especially that of the Gukurahundi between 1983 – 1984 (Click Here) and so when the coup happened on the morning of 14 November (Click Here) I analysed that it would go horribly wrong and that Mugabe’s allies would then regroup thus ensuing a full on civil war. But then what happened in the following days surprised me and made me one of the happiest self styled Zimbabwean political analysts ever, especially with the march of solidarity on the 18th of November (Click Here) where the people of Zimbabwe stood shoulder to shoulder with the Army to demand Robert Mugabe’s resignation. This ultimately made me extremely happy because never in the history of Zimbabwe had every single race, creed and religion come together with the Army, shoulder-to-shoulder. This, whichever way we want to look at is an unprecedented move and an incredible action. This then made me believe that the entire time of analysing Mnangagwa’s rise to power was wrong, this made me an extremely happy man. For once in all my years of analysing the situation back home I was wrong on and I held back tears of joy, the entire day after the march and seeing how well it went and seeing photos of civilians and ZNA soldiers standing as one I was holding back the tears – at the time it felt like accumulated tears over the years that had been suppressed and as I don’t cry easily any more (for various personal reasons) it felt like I needed to go somewhere and let them come out (as there has only ever been one person in my adult years that I am comfortable to let her see my tears). But I didn’t, I kept them in, I didn’t go anywhere and I found something else to put my mind on. At that point I genuinely believed and wanted to believe that Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa had changed. It was obvious that this was all him through his strongest ally, General Chiwenga, Head of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. This indeed was a time to celebrate, or…so I thought and so did many others and sadly, so do many others. The euphoria of Mugabe’s departure has not died for many Zimbabweans, across the globe – but not only Zimbabweans, those in the West. It is only the few that have been forced to see the reality of the situation.

Now reality has sunk in many of us have been able to see Mnangagwa in his true image, the real Emmerson Mnangagwa, His Excellency, President of Zimbabwe Emmerson D. Mnangagwa who has not changed whatsoever. A man who has the blood of over 20, 000 Ndebele women, men and children on his hands, lives snuffed out, massacred and pitted in mass graves stretching across the Matabeleland Province of Zimbabwe, lifeless bodies thrown down misused mine shafts. Now, thinking about that doesn’t really aspire much confidence does it? To me it originally did as I genuinely thought that despite that evil he had possibly changed, especially after all his positive speeches. I was naive and I was hoping for a better future, a better beginning for every Zimbabwean regardless of race, creed, religion, the same future dreamt of by the late Josiah Tongogara, one of Robert Mugabe’s commanders during the war against Rhodesia and white minority rule. A man who had no trust in Mugabe’s leadership of Zimbabwe and he himself is on record as having said that if Mugabe were to take over Zimbabwe he would ruin the country. I was hoping for a new Zimbabwe in which all could thrive, in which democracy would be born, in which there was inclusiveness and progression. But, sadly this has been a dream short lived, a dream we could all stand as one Zimbabwe; one people, once voice, one nation. A dream where we became the shining beacon of hope for not only the Southern African region but for the entire continent where tears of blood were all finally dried up, we were one people – No tribal division, no racial division – we were one. A perfect dream, a dream one would hope for…that is until we learn the truth of the situation and that nothing has actually changed. It is like public transport – change the conductor but the system remains in place

Josiah Tongogara’s dream was similar to mine and who I thought would now finally be able to rest in peace as the man who ordered his assassination was finally gone and the man who he fought side by side with was now in charge and seemed to have come around. Sadly though this has not been the case.

I have, from contacts, including in the ZNA military intelligence received word that all is not as well as should be, people are still going missing, people are still being tortured. Below is a screen shot of a message I received from a contact of mine back home and a political analyst. For his protection I have annotated his identity:

And then yesterday I found an interesting analysis (Click Here) of which brought home some home truths of how it was done, again…bringing another analysis of mine to bear. Mugabe, in a sick, twisted way was holding Zimbabwe together, despite the poverty, despite the political and racial tension. There is however no doubt in my mind though that when the Army took over that night that when they said they deemed it necessary or else it would lead to a bloody war they had it right. However, this now does lead us to the question, where does this leave us now?

Here we have a man who has an extremely bloody and evil history who now wields exceptional power of one of continents most powerful and professional armies (all we have to do to see how professional they are is to see how they carried out the coup and the message they sent to the world to see that)

Soooooo, now…where does this leave the current and future generation? Scarily in a more precarious situation than under Mugabe. After so much hope from Zimbabweans all across the world, those, who, like myself believed that he HAD changed. His succession to power will in the future bring more bloodshed to the table, this is clear and this is happening as we speak. He has already stated in his inauguration speech that ZANU PF is here to stay, there will be no change. War veterans with NO political qualifications or experience are being given top administrative posts.

So, all so wrong but so right, in the end. My analysis was originally wrong but is slowly and surely….and very sadly coming true. For once in my life before I get to my forties I would like to stop analysing the wrong thing right and finally analyse the right thing wrong. This is weighing heavy on my mind and my heart, other than other personal stuff. These are very much broken dreams which will lead to an even darker Zimbabwe whereas not too long ago it looked like it was finally stepping into the light. My ending question now is. What is to happen to the tears of blood I dreamt would dry up? What now for the future generations of Zimbabwe, what now for the thousands of Zimbabweans that were dreaming of a brighter future, a future without Mugabe – but now almost a future where Mugabism is operating with all clogs turning…


The Happiness of Being…Wrong (on Zimbabwean Political Analysis)

So anyone who knows me and has known me for some time knows that for years I have analysed the situation in my home country (Zimbabwe), I have been skeptical of every situation and whenever I have analysed a situation it has come true. Over time I have self-styled myself as an independent researcher (for think tank purposes) and a political analyst, due to the fact that I have, most of the time analysed the situation in Zim, correctly. A friend of mine in Zimbabwe, a political analyst by the name of Allan Wenyika and I were talking once and we both came to the conclusion that analysing situations rightly was a bit depressing. Its not a nice feeling when you analyse something of that magnitude and the analysis becomes right. Its always a kick in the gut to be honest, being an analyst can come with cost.

On the 15th of November the Army took unprecedented action and placed Robert Mugabe under arrest and took over the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. My analysis was that this was going to turn into a civil war and that Robert and Grace Mugabe’s allies would come to their assistance and there would be an ensuing upheaval. I was however, and rather pleasantly surprised and extremely excited when the ZNA and the people of Zimbabwe, regardless of race, creed, religion took to the streets in what was dubbed a solidarity march. For once in Zimbabwean history, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) and the people stood shoulder to shoulder to demand Robert Mugabe’s resignation, which, at the time he said he would after being sacked by his party, ZANU PF, later that evening he unfortunately, and at the surprise of not only the people but also the Army, Mugabe refused to resign. His party then gave him an ultimatum, resign or be impeached. His deadline to walk out was yesterday. And so today the process to impeach him has begun where the Army has vowed to unseat him by force, should he not go. Of course, the Army thus far have been patient and generally professional and peaceful and there has only been one casualty throughout this whole process where a security guard, loyal to one of Mugabe’s cronies open fired on the Army who returned fire, killing the security guard in the exchange, whether this is true or not I am not sure but was part of the military brief I received from a trusted source.

What is my opinion on how it will go?

One thing I have come to realise is that we, as a country cannot afford to be fussy, we cannot get rid of Mugabe and then say its time for ZANU PF to go, which is what I have been seeing people saying. Let me just get things straight here before I start being accused of things. I have never been a ZANU PF supporter, I have never tolerated Mugabe. However, one thing I am thinking is that perhaps, for now we need to hold onto ZANU – it just requires new management, it requires management with maturity, the country needs a leader who can lead us back to prosperity, we need a leader who has charisma, we need a leader who has the people of Zimbabwe at heart. We need a leader who is energetic and wants a way forward. We want a leader who accepts that Zimbabwe’s unity stretches beyond tribes – Zimbabwe’s unity stretches across the divide to all those born and bred in Zimbabwe, no matter your creed, race, religion. I have, in another post posted Emmerson Mnangagwa’s latest press statement.

It needs to be mindful that we cannot start thinking about other things, we cannot afford to be distracted and we need to accept that this IS the way forward. The way forward is NOT the Movement for Democratic Change (not under its current administration anyway) or Morgan Tsvangirai. This is change that the country needs now.

I would like to wish every Zimbabwean the very best of luck, lets remain hopeful.