A few weeks ago I put out a post asking if anyone would like to share how the Zimbabwean regime has robbed them. A few people got back to me and the platform is still open to those who would like to share their plight.
Below are 3 testimonies by 3 young Zimbabweans who have been robbed of their future.
Anonymous, 23, Zimbabwe.
I am a 23 years old Born and bred in Zimbabwe. Since birth, my parents only wanted me to attend private schools. Private everything really, because the government constitution wasn’t up to standard. I didn’t know, I thought they were ok and my parents were just exaggerating.
I ended up going to a state University. I did not have a good experience, it was a mess. There is nothing to show there, just my “useless” degree and great friendships (which I appreciate but feel I deserve better). Looking for a job seems senseless and it seems the best option is to leave the country. You might/never get the job you studied for because there are people who have been waiting for the same job for years.
Zvinhu zvichanjawo here anhuwe? Takabarwa, vana mhai vedu vakabarwa zvichingonzi zvichanaka. Isu takudawo kuita vana vedu, anhuwoye zvinobudawo here? Kubara mwana munguva yakadai kuti awone nhamo nematambudziko.
My grandmother died because healthcare is expensive. I don’t know half of my family because they are in the diaspora. I am unemployed, yet qualified. I can’t afford a pack of sanitary wear, I still have to ask my mother. I can not even afford thinking of moving out. The thought of independence scares me because I do not know if I can handle it. Honestly, if anyone is to ask me when I am getting married or moving out, not only do I get angry but I am scared it might never happen.
All I can think about is leave Zimbabwe, to find greener pastures, yet I am home where the pastures should always be green. Is there a family that has not split because the diaspora was their only option for survival? It is like a style, if you do not have relatives in the U.K or America, you are behind. I grew up not knowing my father and my brother was born in 2007 when my father was away working. Whilst other people have great bonds with their fathers, mine was always away working.
They robbed us of good family memories. Robbed us of our future, a good Zimbabwe because of their selfishness. They stole our youth, stole our best years and if we do not stand, they will steal from our children too.
Flavian Farainashe Makovere, 26. United Arab Emirates
Growing up, mama taught us of ubuntu, of humanity, being self through others. “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu”, she used to say- I am because you are. See, in the African context, we are all intertwined and related in some way. Well, at least that’s what we believed growing up. On the 29th of July, Perrence Shiri, the retired Air Chief Marshal of the Zimbabwean airforce passed away, and I felt nothing. I felt relieved if anything. I felt like death had done justice. After all, this is the man who commanded the fifth brigade during the Gukurahundi massacre in the early 1980s and never got to pay for his crimes. I do wonder about my mental health when processing these feelings. Is this who I am? Have I become like the villains I fear?, because living has turned me to nothing- the longer I have lived, the more lost I feel inside. I do not carry in me the Ubuntu my mother taught, just emptiness and worthlessness.
I was thirteen years old when I became a statistic. My mother and father had both migrated to South African search for better opportunities leaving my seventeen-year-old brother to take care of us. That is what the Zimbabwean government stole from us- our childhood, our innocence. Thirteen years later, I can not remember the last time our family of six celebrated Christmas together. We live in three different countries and unfortunately, mine is not a unique set up. Sadly, it is something most Zimbabweans can relate to. I was 18 when the government knocked on my door in the middle of the night and stole my ability to dream.
They robbed us of normal functional families, stole our chance of me having a meaningful relationship with my father who raised me over the phone. They robbed us of our loved ones who died because there was no sufficient health care. They robbed us of a chance to grieve our relatives properly, leaving us holding burials on Facebook.
I was 20 years old when I bribed a civil servant to get my passport and leave my beloved country. I was 21, the first time I used an ATM machine and went home excited as if it was an achievement. This is what they stole from us, these are the virtues they robbed us.
Anonymous, 25, Scotland.
I left Zimbabwe in my late teenage years, not because I wanted to, but I had to. I thought I was going to greener pastures, as my country could not provide even the most basic things e.g electricity or water. Unfortunately, my experience moving overseas was not a good one. On my arrival, I was taken to detention where I spent months fighting not to go back to Zimbabwe. I was issued a ticket, after ticket and I know this is sad to say, but I was ready to stay in that detention for longer than go back to Zimbabwe.
This is something people in the diaspora do not tell you. It might seem as if we get money easily, but we are depressed. I do not the right to leave or work, but I make ends meet so I can take care of those at home. I work day and night, shift after shift. Facing racism and running from the Home Office at the same time. Each day I yearn to be with my family back home, I have no one to tell my problems. I can not complain to those at home because it always seems they are going through a lot worst than I am.
I can not go back home, I have a pending case and an expired passport. I have to pay so much to get another passport because my country does not have the paper to make passports. My dreams of being doing something with my life have been shattered. Not because I am a failure or incompetent, but my government has robbed me and the people of Zimbabwe. I can not date because I feel someone might find out about my situation and leave me. Even if I am to fall for someone, they might think I want them to secure a visa.
I am nearing my 30’s and I have nothing to show for it. I also want to buy a house, have a trust fund for my children and save for my retirement. Thinking about my future scares me, I am depressed about it. I seclude myself from people my age because I am embarrassed. People ask where you went for University, which degree you have if you are married and I have nothing. I feel I have nothing to offer, in life or in a relationship.
I have pled, questioned and fought with God. What kind of life is this? There are Zimbabweans who have died from fatigue, working day and night. Others have died without the papers they would have waited for, for years. I feel my life has already ended and if I am to go back home, what will I do.
I am a depressed Zimbabwean youth, who was robbed of a future by people who are selfish and who lie. I feel I do not fit in, with those at home and those here. I am an “other”, it hurts me that I might die like this.
Image by Zidlekhaya
The #ZimbabweanLivesMatter movement is not a movement born out of euphoria but pain. Zimbabweans are tired and frustrated. We do not hate our country, but our regime has failed us and will not hear us out. We are literally fighting for our lives.
If you would like to share your story, please email me. You can give your name or remain anonymous.