For me and my mum, Belfast was a sanctuary. And we have the Good Friday Agreement to thank for that

Last night, as I sat with my fellow council colleagues listening to President Clinton and Senator Mitchell being awarded the Freedom of the City for their part in bringing peace to Northern Ireland, I thought of my mum. Seventeen years ago in Zimbabwe, we were down to just two (my brother, sister and father all living in different countries) and I was at boarding school. My mum had heard rumours that after weeks of shortages there was petrol arriving in … Read more

Gerry Adams and Robert Mugabe have something in common

How ironic that the eras of Mugabe and Adams are drawing to a close at roughly the same time. Both are men of blood. Both remained in office for unhealthily long periods of time, reflecting the essentially undemocratic nature of their political machines and their origins in armed insurgency. It now turns out that neither is departing immediately. Of course  there are significant differences. Adams will go with the adulation of his followers and  continuing influence. Mugabe led  the majority … Read more

Going back to Zimbabwe

The drive way was exactly as I remembered – albeit a bit overgrown. There was a hut by the gate and a woman emerged, rubbing her eyes. It was the holidays but the dilapidated buildings gave the impression the school had been closed for many years. The driver spoke to her in Shona, gesturing at me – she used to be a student here and wants to have a look. She looked at me suspiciously and the gate was opened. … Read more

What Cecil says about us

The tragic death of Cecil the Lion has been making headlines around the world this week, writing for us, Zimbabwean born, Kate Nicholl argues that the event tells us a lot about how modern society reacts to tragedy  If social media has taught us anything in the past few days it’s that Trophy hunting is awful, paying $50,000 to shoot an animal is obscene and Walter Palmer, the dentist who killed a Zimbabwean lion called Cecil is the worst person … Read more

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Ireland v Zimbabwe

It’s a busy, and potentially significant, night/day for the Group B teams at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.  At around 3.30am [GMT] on Saturday Ireland will look to put the heavy defeat to South Africa behind them when they face Zimbabwe, in a rare ODI match-up, at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart, Australia. And with India having done both teams a favour by, just, holding off the West Indies challenge last night to seal qualification for the quarter-finals, it’s all to play for. Ireland’s cricketers … Read more

Sex Ed: Just Ask Oprah

Sex Education is a topic that is hotly debated in Northern Ireland. Writing about her experiences the former Alliance party candidate, Kate Nicholl argues for a different approach to the issue. I went to a conservative, religious, rural Zimbabwean primary school, where extra-curricular classes for girls included Young Ladies Club – a place where you learnt to embroider, match your clothes and talk about what sort of wife you hoped to be. So it was perhaps surprising that on one … Read more

ICC T20 World Cup 2014: Ireland v Zimbabwe

Ireland’s cricketers have opened their ICC World Twenty20 2014 campaign in Bangladesh with a win over the nominal test-playing Zimbabwe.  But it nearly didn’t happen. Batting first, Zimbabwe set a daunting total of 163 for 5 wickets from their 20 overs.  As the ICC match report noted, Ireland had never scored more than 156 to win a T20 International.  But it could have been worse. Needing 164 runs to win, Stirling and Porterfield set about the Zimbabwe bowlers to make an opening … Read more