( A ) PRELIMINARY REMARKS!
I'm sure there is no doubt that blogging is recognized world-wide as a very effective means of communication. How blogging started and who offer the facilities for blogging and what they themselves benefit from it is not the subject of my submission.
I do not know the full picture and I may never know. Perhaps, I do not even need to know.
The subject of this submission is to thank God for this avenue calling blogging and to encourage all of you to be part of the community of what are generally referred to as bloggers. I hope that this submission will inspire you and will assist you so that one day I can visit hundreds of blog-sites and say, "This brother/sister was inspired by me to enter this emerging world and feel the joy of blogging."
I have noticed that bloggers are now referred to by a new name. We are called 'citizen journalists.' So we are being more and more recognised as a vital part of Information Dissemination which in itself is a vital part of a vibrant Democracy.
I've opened a new blog www.zimfinalpush10.blogspot.com where we can list all the sites that we have. At that site, each one can send a small message recommending certain sites which they feel should be known by the others. If you need to post your list please send to email@example.com and it will publish after I've seen it (to avoid unsolicited postings.)
In the meantime let me inform you on my experience with blogging. God bless!
Firstly you must have the inspiration. What is is that drives you? What are you passionate about? I was personally driven by the fact that I was disappointed that the Zimbabwean story was being distorted by various important persons like the State President of South Africa, Cde Thabo Mbeki and I was committed to having my own space to fully articulate what I knew and how I saw the events as they unfolded in Zimbabwe from before 1980.
I had sent various contributions to sites like www.zimonline.co.za and I had been disappointed when they edited and removed certain sections that I felt were very important. I could not blame them for that because they have their own Editorial Policies and sometimes they had to shorten my contributions to accommodate more contributions from others.
I was also disappointed that in many cases the line I wanted to take was not being appreciated. In my particular case, I have taken a very suicidal line and I do not expect sympathy or what they call "protection from oneself." If I want to take the suicidal line....let me take it and the role of others is to simply watch and see how I get up the cross and how the story unfolds from there.
What many of you may not know is that some of us know where our strengths are. In Chishona they say "Ndinoziva pandakatsika." I know what would happen if some misfortune befalls me. I know my strategic connections and I'm advised to exploit them to the full to assist in the Zimbabwean Story as it unfolds. So I decided to have a solo journey!
The blog was undoubtedly the perfect route for me. I would have loved to have a proper web-site but I could not afford it. In retrospect, I thank God that I came across this sweet activity called blogging.
Secondly, to have a blog, you must register with a service provider. There are numerous but the most common one is www.blogger.com . If you log on there, you will be asked to create a google account which you will use to access your blogger account eg you may decide to use your present Yahoo address or you may decide to create a new one for that purpose.
The process of getting registered with blogger.com is very simple and Directions on how to have your own blog and even start posting to it are very, very simple. To me the major issues are on how to become an effective and joyful blogger. Lets assume that you now have your own blog-site.
NOW THAT YOU HAVE YOUR OWN BLOG-SITE!
Once you have your own blog-site, you have many options. You will be asked to choose the templet of your liking. There are numerous formats and the good thing is: you can change your templet any time after without losing any of your material. What I mean is: it does not matter what template you begin with.... you may change it after a day or week or after every other day until you get the format that best suits your purposes and liking.
If you check my www.zimgossiper.blogspot.com , you will see that it has a similar format to the www.gukurahundi.blogspot.com , www.tsvangirai.blogspot.com , and about 20 of my first blog-sites.
With the passage of time I discovered that I needed other formats to break the monotony of just postings going from bottom to top, so I created my later blogs with other formats and you can visit www.zimfinalpush8.blogspot.com, www.zimfinalpush7.blogspot.com , www.cdesimbamakoni.blogspot.com , www.thezimbabwedigest.blogspot.com and many others.
There I can post main articles running along-side other smaller referrals etc etc.
Once you have your blog-site, it is important that you inform others of your entry into the world of "publishing." If you do not inform others, you will have very good material but no-one to appreciate and use and surely what's the use of communicating, if the people do not even know that you are communicating?
So you must inform widely.
In my case, www.swradioafrica.com added a link to my blog on their very popular site. They already had links to other sites like www.thebeardedman.blogspot.com , www.makaipa.blogspot.com , www.crybelovedzimbabwe.blogspot.com etc etc.
I also had lists of email addresses of very strategic Zimbabweans and Organisations and I informed them to visit my original www.zimfinalpush.blogspot.com (which today appears as www.zimfinalpush1.blogspot.com )
Sometimes I got "boosts" when by "google-searching" some big sites eg BBC would stumble across one of my sites eg www.radicalzim.blogspot.com . A typical example is when I copied and pasted a debate on whether Britain should invade Zimbabwe. BBC simply said "The Radical Soldier of Zimbabwe" is advocating that Britain should indeed invade Zimbabwe.
Then I was firmly clearly established on the "radar." I was now accepted as an additional blogger on Zimbabwean news. I was taught by someone how to create "google alerts" for my name , for my site etc etc and by following the alerts I discovered that my work was now being quoted in numeous sites across the world and in many of them eg www.africanupdate.com , links had been provided for their visitors to also visit my sites.
But for a couple of months, I had no counters on my sites so I could not see the extent of my "influence" (so to say.)
A lady in the Phillipines who runs www.makaipa.blogspot.com assisted me put the very first counter on my original "ZIMFINALPUSH" site. She got it at www.gostats.com and it was free!
OH THE JOY WHEN I SAW THE VISITORS.........Zimbabwe, United Kingdom, Australia, Arab countries, Asian countries, India, Pakistan and all over the world. I was excited to see the "referrals" and to click on them to see where I had been quoted where these visitors had gotten my sites.
By visiting those "referrals", I then learnt the extent to which I was now being recognised as a source of news about my beloved Zimbabwe.
I was astounded one day when a certain sister journalist in Britain wrote me an e-mail and asked me to clarify something.
I had received an "SMS" from Brother Silas Matamisa the MDC Parliamentary Candidate for Chinhoyi Urban and a National Member. He informed me of the sad passing away of Brother Matongo, the National Chairman of the MDC and he mentioned that it was under rather mysterious circumstances. I immediately put the sad news on my blog and promised to add more news as I received it.
Within minutes of my posting Cde Matongo's photo and the sad news on my site, the sister journalist in Britain then e-mailed me and requested more details. I was flattered. So I'm now a journalist! I have always wanted to be a journalist! So am I one now? Oh the joy of blogging!
With the passage of time I found other sites that offer free counters..... www.sitemeter.com , www.goodcounter.com etc etc . Now on each of my 40 blog-sites, I have four different counters and they each give different perpectives to the visitors I receive.
I can on some see which particular article each visitor dwelt on and for how long. Where did that visitor go after visiting my site ie "the out-click." I can never fully mention the joy I get from studying the info I get from the counters on my sies.
I've discovered, too, that a lot of visitors come to my sites having "google-searched" for certain information. The counters specifically tell you what info it was that they were looking for. As an example, I copied a lot of "Zimdaily" debates especially where they discussed that "Fair Deal" Campaign where they were agitating that children of ZANU-PF emperors should be deported to Zimbabwe.
I posted those debates at www.zimgossiper.blogspot.com and numerous visitors to that site had come there looking for their names and for news about that "Fair Deal" Campaign.
On sites like www.gukurahundi.blogspot.com , many came after "google-searching" for news about those specific areas eg "GUKURAHUNDI" or came to www.tsvangirai.blogspot.com after searching for news about the MDC leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai etc etc.
I would also visit other sites and leave comments and encouraged the readers there to please see what posted on my own sites etc etc. So the "catchment area" grew and grew and grew.
I would also join Forums at various other sites eg www.zimdaily.com, www.nehandaradio.com , www.thezimbabwetimes.com and there I would encourage the Forumites to visit my sites to see certain articles that I will be having that I felt would be relevant to certain debates that they will be engaged in.
OH THE JOY OF BLOGGING!
( B ) HOW AND WHY I STARTED TO BLOG!!
When I was in Zimbabwe, I used to read every newspaper that I could come across. I loved the "Daily News" most and I was one of those that lamented deeply when its printing Presses were bombed and when the Paper was subsequently shut down.
I loved websites like www.newzimbabwe.com, www.zimdaily.com and www.zimonline.co.za . I adored the persons that were running those sites; Mduduzi Mathuthu, Daniel Molokele etc. Those were the brave persons that were keeping the fire of freedom and Democracy alive. I was also a frequent visitor to sites like www.swradioafrica.com . I had already developed some relationship with persons like Tererai Karimakwenda, Mandisa Mundawarara and others.
I was also seeing some sort of fatigue creeping in especially with the MDC split in October, 2005 etc. I was getting fired up! Surely could Robert Mugabe and Thabo Mbeki continue with their lies, hypocricies etc? Was Mugabe getting a freedom to have his way and finally have the last laugh?
I knew a lot about ZANU-PF and I wanted to assist the Democratic Forces. I was wondering where I could fit in. Like I said before, I was sending various articles to various sites but they were either not being published or they were being edited to the extent that I was not happy with the resultant published stuff. The solution was for me to have my own web-site, I was convinced!
I could not afford having a site created for me and one day God brought me a person who taught me how to create my own blog. This gallant woman was operating various blogs and one of them was www.fozc.blogspot.com .( FOZC standing for "Friends of Zimbabwe Coalition".)
So at the ripe old age of 50 in September, 2006, Rev Hove had his very first blog.
I loved the idea of a Final Push against the Mugabe Regime so I naturally called my blog "ZIMFINALPUSH."
Like I explained above, the popularity of "ZIMFINALPUSH" rose and rose. I would get e-mails from such established fighters of Democracy like Tanonoka Joseph Whande and I would publish their articles on my site.
With the passage of time, I found that I was being overwhelmed with material and I decided to open a second page. I called it www.finalpushzim.blogspot.com (a small change from zimfinalpush.)
I discovered that there was too much material on, say, "GUKURAHUNDI" so I opened a site and called it www.gukurahundi.blogspot.com . Then the articles on the MDC President Mr Morgan Tsvangirai deserved a page of their own and I opened www.tsvangirai.blogspot.com . The other sites came naturally: www.dearmrrobertmugabe.blogspot.com, www.dearmrtonyblair.blogspot.com , www.dearmrthabombeki.blogspot.com , www.cosatudemo.blogspot.com etc etc.
When Cde Edgar Tekere launched his book, there was too much arising from it and I opened a page www.tekeretalks.blogspot.com . To accommodate certain matters arising from the MDC especially the persecutions they were suffering at the hands of ZANU-PF and the illegitimate State, I opened a page www.chinja.blogspot.com . Then as more information came in , I opened sites and called them "ZIMFINALPUSH 2,3 4, 5 , 6, 7, etc etc up to the present www.zimfinalpush10.blogspot.com which is the latest creation.
Other sites came naturally www.zimdebate.blogspot.com, www.zimcrisis.blogspot.com , www.zimdiscussions.blogspot.com , www.zimdiasporavote.blogspot.com , www.zimtoughstuff.blogspot.com, www.zimgossiper.blogspot.com etc etc .
When I met with the Revolutionary Youths and agreed to be their Patron, I opened the site www.zimrevyouths.blogspot.com . News of their activities are both there and at www.zimdiasporavote.blogspot.com .
When Dr Simba Makoni announced his intention to enter the race for the Presidency of the Republic of Zimbabwe, I naturally opened a site www.cdesimbamakoni.blogspot.com . I could not call it simply www.simbamakoni.blogspot.com because that site had already been created so I had to make a small adjustment to have mine accepted.
So as we speak, I have 40 sites and the full list is available at www.zimfinalpush9.blogspot.com . At www.zimfinalpush7.blogspot.com , there are numerous articles posted directly by my comrades-in-arms , Garikai Chimuka and Hillary Kundishora. I called this site "SPEAK, THE BELOVED COUNTRY" and I had got this title from Cde Norah who "mans" the Office of the Diaspora Forum in Johannesburg. She said we must not "CRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY" but must "SPEAK, THE BELOVED COUNTRY!"
I encourage all who read this submission to pass it on to others and to also enter the joyful world of blogging. In December 2007, we had a Diaspora Forum Conference where we had delegates from all over the world: New Zealand, Canada, India, Great Britain, Botswana etc etc.
I would casually ask all I greeted if they knew the site "ZIMFINALPUSH". Many said they visited that site every day. Professor Ken Mufuka knew and visited "ZIMFINALPUSH" although he added that it was rather difficult to "navigate." I sadly agreed with him because I'm aware that the "ZIMFINALPUSH" sites can be a headache to "navigate." The reason is because there are too many sites and one wonders where to start etc etc. Perhaps I can explain to a new visitor how to navigate through the "ZIMFINALPUSH MAZE!"
( C ) HOW TO NAVIGATE THROUGH "ZIMFINALPUSH."
If one visits "ZIMFINALPUSH", say today, one will see the present page. The page we call "ZIMFINALPUSH" today is not the original page. The very first page is now at www.zimfinalpush1.blogspot.com But the face you will see there today is not the original face either.
The faces changed over time and the archived faces are available at www.finalpushzim.blogspot.com Please visit the archived faces so that you can see what was being posted from September 2006.
When the first page was "full" (for lack of a better word), I opened other pages which now are available at www.zimfinalpush5.blogspot.com , www.zimfinalpush6.blogspot.com and www.zimfinalpush9.blogspot.com etc etc.
By visiting these sites, you will be able to see what was being posted during those days. There will be links that will lead you to the sites where the articles are posted. For instance, www.zimfinalpush8.blogspot.com is a site where full articles are posted. It was never a basic visitors' site. It operates like www.zimfinalpush7.blogspot.com, www.zimcrisis.blogspot.com in that full postings are posted there.
If you visit www.thezimbabwedigest.blogspot.com, you will discover that it once operated as a "ZIMFINALPUSH" welcome page like "ZIMFINALPUSH1" and the others listed above. If you stumble on any of the 40 sites, there is a message that informs you that the main "ZIMFINALPUSH" site can be got by clicking HERE and you get to the main site.
Very soon, I will have to create another "base site" because the present one looks "full".
The site you see today will have to be called by a new name eg "ZIMFINALPUSH 11."
So perhaps Professor Ken Mufuka is right:..........."ZIMFINALPUSH" is very difficult to "navigate."
PLEASE FORGIVE ME. I will ask my good brother Kuthula Matshazi (of www.kuthula.blogspot.com )to one day put all this numerous stuff in some semblance of "order." I hope this great brother of mine agrees to do uneviable task.
( D ) THE SITES I USUALLY VISIT TO GET INSPIRATION!!!
I can never give a complete list of the sites I visit on a daily basis. Let me try to give a small list off the top of my head.
The very first site I visit is always www.swradioafrica.com . The reason is because I always miss their broadcasts in the evening while listening to "STUDIO 7" of the Voice of America. I, obviously cannot listen to both "SWRADIOAFRICA" and "STUDIO 7" at the same time.
So I listen from the "Archives" every morning and I even put links to certain of their programmes on my blogs esp Violet Gonda's "Hot Seat", Lance Guma's "Behind the Headlines" etc etc.
Believe it or not, I immediately rush to www.herald.co.zw . Here I will obviously not be expecting any inspiration of any kind. I will be wanting to see how the Propaganda "Rag" (as my brother Izzy Mutanhaurwa at www.crybelovedzimbabwe.blogspot.com loves to call it) is doing. To see how my old friends Ceasar Zvayi, Reason Wafawarova (writing from Australia), the masked "Nathaniel Manheru", Dr "Tafakatadii" Mahoso, etc etc are doing.
Then I visit its sister "Sunday Mail" rag. Then I go to Bro Mduduzi Mathuthu's www.newzimbabwe.com . I used to visit their Forums but now I can't because I was banned from their Forums and I will not discuss why I was banned. Don't even ask me!
I miss them, though (if the truth be told.)
Then I go to www.zimdaily.com . Here I may even comment at one or two of their articles then I go to the Forums where I "feature" very regularly. There I find one has to develop a "thick skin" and I'm regarded as a Senior Forumite (believe it or not!)
Then I go to www.nehandaradio.com and I also visit the "Forum" page where I'm also a regular contributor.
I then visit www.talkzimbabwe.com to see what Brother Itayi Garande has for us. I used to visit his blog www.talkzimbabwe.blogspot.com but apparently he ran out of steam ( I stand to be corrected.)
I then visit Bro Geoff Nyarota's www.thezimbabwetimes.com . There I also am a Senior Forumite. I mingle with the common Zimbos there also and we really thrash each other freely as we discuss issues affecting our beloved Mother-land.
If it is a Thursday, I visit Bro Wilf Mbanga's www.thezimbabwean.co.uk. I visit www.fingaz.co.zw to see "The Financial Gazette." If it is a Friday, I visit also "The Zimbabwe Independent" at www.theindependent.co.zw
On Mondays, I never miss "The Sunday Mail" and "The Standard" sites. I also look for "The Herald" to see Nathaniel Manheru's Saturday desperate propaganda.
I also visit numerous sites but I usually visit those sites that are presented to me through "Google Alerts." I can never give the whole list.
But I have my sister bloggers: "Mandebvu" www.thebeardedman.blogspot.com , "Mugabe Makaipa" www.makaipa.blogspot.com , www.crybelovedzimbabwe.blogspot.com , www.chofamba.blogspot.com by a journalist I respect Mr Innocent Chofamba Sithole.
Of course we have www.danielmolokele.blogspot.com and www.gracekwinjeh.blogspot.com and these are self-explanatory. These are my comrade in arms and they must tell you who assisted them to open their blog-sites.
I sometimes visit my brother Kuthula Matshazi's www.kuthula.blogspot.com but I must admit the brother uses high-flown language and simple people like myself end up wondering what he is really trying to say. Why write as if you are writing a Thesis for a Doctrate of This or That?
Matshazi's other problem is that he fails to acknowlege real truths eg The rigging of Elections, the rampant use of State-Sponsored Violence to intimidate and subjugate the people, the stifling of Media space so that only ZANU-PF Propaganda (of which he apparently is a part ) prevails, the assassination of Opposition activists etc etc.
OTHERWISE WELL...AS THEY SAY......"THE MORE THE MERRIER!"
Then www.sherpsherp.blogspot.com by Bro Shepherd Mpofu.
Other bloggers are rather unsociable eg www.zimtoronto.blogspot.com . You leave a message and they never get back to you. Perhaps they are more of private family blogs than National Ones like ours.
My good brother Hillary Kundishora used to send a lot of stuff to be posted at my www.zimfinalpush7.blogspot.com . He has his own blog now at www.zimchaiyo.blogspot.com. I see he posts at both blog-sites.
Some bloggers are either dormant or they passed away...
If I have left any site out its never intentional. The ones I haven't mentioned are actually more than the ones I have mentioned.
Then of late I've come across Makusha Mugabe's www.changezimbabwe.com . Which ones have I ommitted to mention?
PLEASE COME AND JOIN US AND EXPERIENCE THE JOY OF BLOGGING!
I have more I could write about but I prefer that if any of you are either deciding to join the world of bloggers or are already in but would like to go "deeper" like learning how to put adverts and earn a bit of rands etc , please ask specific questions and I will reply them as best I can. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime God bless and again, please come and join the joyful world of bloggers.
Rev Mufaro Stig Hove.
Peace and Tranquility???
Peace and Tranquility???
Cell in RSA: 0791463039