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Zimbabwean police beat opposition supporters after rally ban

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Zimbabwean riot police fired tear gas and beat opposition supporters on Wednesday after barring a planned address by the main opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa, AFP journalists said.

Zimbabwean riot police fired tear gas and beat opposition supporters on Wednesday after barring a planned address by the main opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa, AFP journalists said.

Hundreds of supporters had gathered outside the Harare headquarters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) after the party was denied permission to hold a rally in the city’s Africa Unity Square.

Chamisa had been expected to make the address from the office balcony instead, but he later spoke to a few party members in a room inside the offices.

As the crowd danced to party songs blaring from speakers on the balcony, baton-wielding police surrounded them.

An AFP correspondent saw a man with a bleeding gash on his head and a swollen arm after being hit with a truncheon as he left a food outlet.

Several shops, eateries and banks pulled down their shutters. “Many people were beaten up and injured,” MDC spokesman Daniel Molokele told AFP. “We condemn the police brutality in the strongest terms.”

The violence came as Zimbabweans grow more frustrated over their country’s shattered economy and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s failure to deliver on promises of change two years after the ouster of long-time autocrat Robert Mugabe.

Critics say Mnangagwa’s government has increasingly cracked down on dissent as protests have erupted this year over triple-digit inflation, power cuts and shortages of food and fuel.

“It’s the same old regime. Worse than Smith,” Molokele said referring to Ian Smith, the white-minority prime minister of the 1960s and 70s, who declared independence in defiance of Britain, the country’s colonial power.

“Maybe they are afraid that what they did to Mugabe in November 2017 will repeat itself,” said a man wearing a red MDC beret who identified himself as Terry T, referring to the military-led ouster of Mugabe two years ago.

Human rights lawyers said eight people, some of them bystanders, were arrested, including a mother with a 10-year-old baby strapped to her back.

“The 10 month-old baby is currently detained at Harare Central police station together with her mother, who was arbitrarily arrested by officers,” said the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights group.

The United States, which has voiced doubts over how much Zimbabwe has changed since Mugabe, called on authorities to allow non-violent protests.

“We are concerned by the police’s unprovoked use of force against peaceably assembled Zimbabweans today and call on the government of Zimbabwe to cease such violence against its own population,” Tibor Nagy, the top US diplomat for Africa, wrote on Twitter.

‘Same old regime’

Chamisa later addressed a few party members threatening unspecified action to force Mnangagwa to the negotiating table and predicting that the Zanu-PF leader’s rule could end before Christmas.

“If you see the police behave the way they have been, it means the end is nigh. Christmas may not even come,” Chamisa said.

“Brutality and repression is not sustainable, it cannot last forever,” he declared.

“When you see a regime …scared of its own people you know that the end is nigh, when you see a regime that uses forces against its own people you must know that legitimacy has evaporated.”

“Mugabe is now looking like a small boy when it comes to dictatorship,” Chamisa said.

On Wednesday prosecutors dropped treason charges against leading civil rights activist and priest Evan Mawarire, who was arrested in January for calling on Zimbabweans to miss work for a day in protest at the doubling of fuel prices.

Mawarire told AFP he was happy to be free but said it was “also disheartening” that the state was “willing to run with such futility and try to inflict the most pain as much as they can”.

“They knew their case had no legs. It’s a mockery of the judiciary,” he said in a phone interview.

After his arrest Mawarire was incarcerated for 12 days at a maximum security prison outside Harare.

Zimbabwe is in the grips of an entrenched economic crisis, corruption and a crumbling health system.

The economy, crippled by decades of mismanagement under Mugabe, has failed to rebound under Mnangagwa, and many Zimbabweans say the situation has got worse.

Hyperinflation is wiping out savings; unemployment is estimated at around 90 percent; fuel, medicine and other essentials are in short supply; and doctors and some public-sector workers have stopped going to work as they cannot afford the cost of commuting.

– AFP/RELAXNEWS

Trevor Noah bags a Grammy nomination

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by TANKISO KOMANE

It’s another week of celebration in South Africa as son of the soil, comedian Trevor Noah, bags the prestigious Grammy nomination.

The New York based SA born and raised entertainer is nominated for the Best Comedy Album for the stand-up special, Trevor NoahSon of Patricia.

Noah is competing against Hollywood megastars, Ellen DeGeneres, Dave Chappelle, Aziz Ansari and Jim Gaffigan. 

The awards are scheduled to take on January 26, 2020.

Taking to social media, Noah shared his  excitement at the news, saying: “Today I woke up to the news that I’ve been nominated for a Grammy award. A GRAMMY AWARD! … What a life I’ve been blessed enough to live. Thank you, mom❤️.”

He also thanked and paid tribute to his fellow nominees, stating: “Just when I thought the feeling couldn’t get any better I saw the other names in my category and I almost cried. Dave Chappelle: my mentor and friend. A legend who pushes me to be funnier every time I’m on stage.

“Ellen DeGeneres: my watch buddy and talk show/stand up idol. Aziz Ansari: My comedy cellar comrade. Where we would work our ideas every night. Jim Gaffigan: A comedy genius who has made me cry laughing every time I’ve watched him on stage and every time we’ve hung out off stage!”

2019 has turned out to be another good for the Emmy winning comedian, who recently made history as the first African comedian to sell out the Madison Square Garden Arena in New York, for his Loud and Clear Tour.

– ZONK NEWS WIRES

Mourinho appointed Spurs boss after Pochettino sacking

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Jose Mourinho was on Wednesday appointed Tottenham’s new manager to replace the sacked Mauricio Pochettino, with the club languishing 14th in the Premier League.

Jose Mourinho was on Wednesday appointed Tottenham’s new manager to replace the sacked Mauricio Pochettino, with the club languishing 14th in the Premier League.

The Portuguese former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United manager signed a contract until the end of the 2022/23 season, the north London club said in a statement.

Pochettino, 47, transformed Spurs’ fortunes after arriving from Southampton in 2014 and although he failed to win a trophy he took the club to the Champions League final for the first time in their history just six months ago.

But the Argentine was sacked on Tuesday, with Tottenham struggling in the league after picking up just three wins from their opening 12 games.

This season they were knocked out of the League Cup by fourth-tier Colchester United and suffered an embarrassing 7-2 defeat at home to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

“I am excited to be joining a club with such a great heritage and such passionate supporters,” said Mourinho, who has won domestic titles in a record four different countries.

“The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me. Working with these players is what has attracted me.”

Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy said: “In Jose we have one of the most successful managers in football. He has a wealth of experience, can inspire teams and is a great tactician.

“He has won honours at every club he has coached. We believe he will bring energy and belief to the dressing room.”

Spurs hailed their new boss, saying in their statement: “Jose is one of the world’s most accomplished managers having won 25 senior trophies.”

He won Champions League titles with Porto and Inter Milan.

The 56-year-old Portuguese won three Premier League titles over two spells in charge of Chelsea and returned to England to manage Manchester United in 2016.

Mourinho was sacked last December following a poor run of results and has been out of work since, most recently working as a TV pundit.

His first match in charge will be the London derby away to West Ham on Saturday. – AFP/RELAXNEWS

Sho Madjozi weighs in on the cancelation of ‘Africa Unite’ anti-xenophobia concert 

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by TANKISO KOMANE

Mzansi superstar Sho Madjozi is convinced the issue of xenophobia in South Africa was being used more as a marketing ploy by ‘Africa Unite’ organisers than as a way to effect real change. 

“That was my worry when I declined to perform. Just from the headline act they chose, it was clear that they wanted a controversial figure more than someone, eg Wizkid, who was engaged in the issue in a constructive way,” she shared in a series of tweets on Wednesday. 

She said the organisers’ “ill-intensions” became apparent as “we got closer” to the day.  “The concert was generating even more hostility than unity and the organisers were doing nothing about it,” she added. 

For the BET award winning music sensation, that was further proof that xenophobia was just a way for them to make money, she said. “Which is disheartening for those of us who genuinely believe in a united Africa.”

While she acknowledged that xenophobia is a widespread problem in South Africa, she took exception of a claim by Burna Boy – who was billed to headline the now defunct concert – that Nigerians were being killed during the recent height of xenophobic attacks, a point which was strongly refuted by the powers that be in SA.

Nigerian superstar Burna Boy was forced to withdraw from the ‘Africa Unite’ concert due to public pressure

As a matter-of-fact, ten of the 12 people killed were South Africans, while two were foreign nationals, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula confirmed.

“Xenophobic attitudes are too widespread in SA and it is a problem. However it is also a problem to say people were murdered when they were not. Truth does matter,” the ‘John Cena‘ hitmaker further wrote.

She further took a swipe at Burno Boy for threatening to beat up rapper AKA during their recent Twitter spat.

On Wednesday, organisers of the anti-xenophobia ‘Africa Unite’ concert announced the event has been canceled following Burna Boy’s withdrawal, this as the result of the public’s outcry over his inclusion in the line-up.

“We decided to cancel the concert. The safety of all attendees, artists and crew comes first,” an official statement from Phambili Media read.

The two-city event was set to take place on November 23 and 24 at the Hillcrest Quarry, Cape Town, and Pretoria Sun Arena respectively. – ZONK NEWS WIRES

Old Mutual apologises for humiliating ‘dead body’ incident 

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by ZONK NEWS WIRES

Old Mutual has come under fire for allegedly refusing to pay a funeral claim to a KwaZulu-Natal family. 

The National Funeral Practitioners Association of South Africa (NAFUPA) has threatened to take legal action against the insurance giant for humiliating a KwaZulu-Natal family after “refusing to pay out a funeral claim to a family – until a relative showed up with a body as evidence,” it’s alleged. 

This after a disturbing video has gone viral showing a family – in a desperate move stripping them of their dignity – carrying a bag containing what is understood to be a dead body of their deceased relative to Old Mutual premises.


“When the body was taken from the mortuary to Old Mutual, it was all out of anger. So, all the rituals that were conducted to move the body from one place to another were not done. The soul of that man is still left at Old Mutual, so they will have to cover the costs of performing these rituals,” NAFUPA president Muzi Hlengwa said. 

In a series of tweets, Old Mutual has since apologized, calling the incident regrettable.  “Good evening, this has been most unsettling and we are sympathetic towards the family during this difficult time. We can confirm that the claim was paid. Due to the sensitive nature of this matter, we will continue engaging directly with the family.” 


What people say

‘Trackers’ outshines ‘Game of Thrones’ to become M-Net’s most popular show for 2019

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by TANKISO KOMANE

Deon Meyer’s mind-blowing book-to-screen adaptation, ‘Trackers‘, has shattered local viewership records to become the most watched show on M-Net for 2019.

Trackers‘, the five-part adaptation of SA’s #1 best selling novel, has already shattered viewership records before even completing its run on Sunday, November 24.

Average viewer numbers per episode have outperformed not only local shows in all genres on M-Net (DStv 101). According to M-Ner, the series has outshone international favourites including, ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Big Little Lies’, and ‘The Big Bang Theory’. 

Furthermore, ‘Trackers’ is currently trending at the top of the charts on both DStv Now and Showmax.

“We are over the moon about Trackers’ phenomenal performance to date,” says Multichoice CEO of general entertainment, Yolisa Phahla.

“With this first co-production between M-Net, HBO’s sister channel Cinemax and Germany’s ZDF, we set out to create a trailblazing, high-end production that would enthral our MultiChoice customers as well as global audiences.”

Shining the spotlight on some of South Africa’s leading acting talent, the series is led by Sisanda Henna, whose chilling performance as ruthless villain Inkunzi has already landed him a leading role opposite Megan Fox in the forthcoming film Rogue.

To find out what local audiences are saying about ‘Trackers’, go to mnet.tv/trackers. 

– ZONK NEWS WIRES

Maradona quits as coach of Argentina’s Gimnasia

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Diego Maradona has quit as coach of Argentinian Superliga side Gimnasia, less than three months after taking over, the club announced on Tuesday.

Diego Maradona has quit as coach of Argentinian Superliga side Gimnasia, less than three months after taking over, the club announced on Tuesday.

“Maradona is no longer the Gimnasia coach,” club president Gabriel Pellegrino said on Argentina’s Radio La Red.

“He said he was here to add to things, not to divide,” was Pellegrino’s explanation for the World Cup-winner’s decision.

Reports in Argentina suggested Maradona’s departure was linked to an imminent management shake-up at the club in La Plata, 50 kilometres from Buenos Aires.

Maradona was no longer keen on remaining at the club after Pellegrino, the man who brought him back to Argentine football, pulled out of running for re-election as the side’s president next Saturday.

Before his last match in charge, he tied his future to Pellegrino’s: “I talked to the president and told him that I would continue if he continues.”

The 59-year-old former Argentina captain and coach took over at Gimnasia in early September, when it was bottom of the 24-club Superliga.

Hailed as a hero on his return to Argentine football after years coaching abroad, Maradona had a limited impact in La Plata.

Gimnasia won three of its eight matches with him in charge, all of them away from home. His team shipped five losses, four of them at home.

His last match in charge was the 3-0 win over second-bottom Aldosivi last weekend which lifted Gimnasia to 22nd in the 24-team league.

The former Argentina coach quit Mexican second division outfit Dorados in June for health reasons after just nine months in charge.

Maradona’s appointment at Dorados the previous September had been a surprise, despite his inglorious coaching history since leaving the Argentine national team post following the 2010 World Cup.

He has also coached second division Emirati sides Al-Wasi and Fujairah.

The former Barcelona and Napoli forward guided his country to victory at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico and to the final in Italy four years later.

Rocio Oliva, Maradona’s girlfriend, said on Fox Sports he had already received offers from two other Superliga clubs.

One of the clubs rumoured to be interested, Argentinos Juniors, denied the reports. Media reports identified the other club as Mendoza side Godoy Cruz. – AFP / RELAXNEWS

Relief for SA job seekers as government extends validity of certified copies 

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by ZONK NEWS REPORTER

Good news for South African job seekers. The government has reduced the financial burden on public service job applicants in relation to the 3-month certification requirement for documents that accompany applications for employment. 

Certified document will now be valid for six months for government job applications, the presidency has announced.

“Effective immediately, all national departments, provincial departments and government components are to stop the practice of requiring certified copies of documents not older than 3 months to accompany applications for employment,” thus read a statement from the Presidency

After much consultation, the government had recognised that the practice to date impacts negatively on job seekers “in the current economic climate in South Africa, and that there is a need to reduce the burden on job seekers to submit – with each separate job application – certified copies of supporting docs,” it further said.

The unemployment rate in South Africa climbed to 29.1 percent in the third quarter of 2019, its highest in over 16 years.

As part of addressing the urgent need to expand employment, the presidency urged the private sector to similarly assess processes that may negatively impact the chances for South Africans being offered employment.

ZONK NEWS WIRES

Khune off the market and expecting his first child?

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Kaizer Chiefs goal keeper Itumeleng Khune is believed to have paid lobola for his girlfriend, Sphelele Makhunga, and also appear to be expecting their first child. 

The couple send the social media into a frenzy after they each posted pictures on Twitter suggesting they have taken things to the next level.

It all started with Makhunga sharing a picture of herself, clad in a typical makoti (attire) – a doek covering her head and traditional shawl (tjale) around her shoulder – on Instagram on Sunday.

She added a simple and short captioned “thank you @itukhune32” which was accompabied by a ring and cows emojis. Khune The replied to the post with the comment, “My wifey bear”.

On Tuesday the couple added more fuel as Khune posted a picture of his lady love in the same attire with a sweet caption “hey #MrsK” with champagne emojis.

Another pictured of the couple, which was posted by the footballer himself before deleting it hours later, shows both of them rubbing what seems to be a visible tiny baby bump.

– ZONK NEWS WIRES

Mi Casa joins Sun City’s Big 40 power line-up

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by ZONK NEWS REPORTER

South African house music outfit Mi Casa is the latest power act to join Sun City Big 40 at the Valley of Waves on Saturday, December 7. 

Also on the bill are Sho Madjozi, Shekhinah, Dr Victor & The Rasta Rebels and Kurt Darren. A lively production showcasing the resort’s history, culminating with a dazzling fireworks display is also on the cards.

Local band, Soulmajestik, and Sun City’s very own Segaetsho Dynasty will share the stage with these South African music power houses. 

Renowned for creating unmatched energy on stage, Mi Casa is ready to thrill revelers with songs like “Jika”, “Heavenly sent”, “These streets”, “Turn you on” and countless other mega hits. 

The band, comprising producer and beat-maker, Dr Duda, vocalist and guitarist, J’s Something, and trumpeter, Mo T, has hosted countless sold out shows in 31 African countries as well as in Portugal, the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, and Canada.

Sho Madjozi is also on the bill for the Sun City Big 40

While 2020 sees Mi Casa turn 10 years-old, before their celebrations begin, they will brace Africa’s leading resort and its guests with some excellent celebratory vibes first.

Performing at The Big 40 after party at the Sun Arena are Kwesta, Goodluck, Prince Kaybee, DJ Christos, Vinny da Vinci and DJ Tira, with Somizi in the driver’s seat as MC.

Tickets to the Big 40th Birthday Party at the Valley of Waves are sold out. However, guests booking accommodation at Sun City over the birthday weekend (6 to 8 December) will receive two tickets to the party as part of the package.

Tickets to the Big 40th after party are still available and can be bought at the Sun Arena and Computicket at a cost of R250. 

Special packages for accommodation and party tickets are available at www.suninternational.com.

– ZONK NEWS WIRES