I love my country… I’m sure my previous rant about my Zim pride shows that enough. However, I find myself feeling terribly helpless when news from home reaches me or when I am deeply disturbed by images of poverty and strife. And yet, here I am self-professed humanitarian and human rights activists deciding that I’d rather another year here in South Africa than face the vagaries of home. I wish there was something I could do, but all my parents have taught me is the “flight” before “fight”…. How you ask?
When ESAP hit my beautiful country… our family moved to Switzerland, we stayed there until – it only makes sense to me now – the drought years seemed over.. And then in 2000, there was a Constitutional Referndum and white commercial farmers were dispossessed of their land… my family moved to France. I am not using my own parents cowardice as a veil from which to hide behind, but I am suggesting that they have inculcated in me a chicken run mentality. For can I really love Zimbabwe if subconsciously I am planning to emigrate back to my adoptive country of Switzerland upon completion of my post-graduate studies? Or am I one of those arm-chair commentators who pretend to grieve but would rather someone else sort out the problem? Am I not part of THAT generation of people that the world claims will make a change? Or have I been made to run away from that too?
I feel like a feral child where Zimbabwe is concerned, I look at it through rose tinted glasses and as it whithers I somehow see it grow. I constantly tell people what a beautiful country it is and yet I fail to understand how such a country can be filled with such complacent borderline despondent people.. Almost as if all the masochists were born to live in Zimbabwe. For how can all the action we do be signing online petitions that clearly go nowhere?
I have a nephew, poor sod was born in 2001 and thus doesn’t really know the vibrant Zimbabwe of yesteryear…. who upon his first visit to what I consider the dirtiest, ugliest city in South Africa (Johannesburg), called me and said: “Aunty OT, their lights don’t go off all the time here!”… It was then, that I realised I couldn’t just run away from my country without some sort of a fight. I can’t just sit back and watch the next generation be engulfed in the rot that is the economic and political situation of my homeland. Zimbabwe remains a beautiful country, slowly being made to decay by people whose only concern is themself.
I still feel helpless, but I shan’t be for much longer… my tunnel has light at its end and I have started to run towards it, for crawling will get me there too late and bruise my knees and my ego… I am running, running back to the Zimbabwe my parents made me return to for those brief two years in 1998.