Challenge to Diaspora parents

African-American woman talks with male inside home

TARIRO MAKAMBA narrated how parents in the UK are alienating their children from the motherland.
She narrates her experience: “I recall clearly how the ‘nightmare’ started. Kudzai, my husband, sat me in the car and announced: ‘I have a surprise.’
He then proceeded to drive one-and-half hours from our flat in Norton to Chikwaka: Rolling hills, sheep, goats and picturesque thatched huts — Chikwaka’s golden valley is a bucolic vision!
He stopped the car at the top of a drive: ‘This,’ he announced, ‘is the great Mavaza village.’
At the end of the drive stood a large regency residence. The sun gilded its charming, if slightly run-down façade.
‘It’s beautiful!’ I trilled, enchanted.
‘I was hoping you’d say that’. He had a twinkle in his eye: ‘I’ve just bought it’. I felt a cold chill running down my spine
He really had. He is — among other things — an antique dealer, a hotelier and a distiller. He enthused about the great deal he’d struck, the vision he had.
We would renovate the house and stay there. We would move to the countryside to enjoy a quieter, more meaningful and healthier life.
I, the city girl, who had lived in England for 20 years could only find true happiness in Greendale or back in London.
Two years on, he has realised his dream!
But I’ve realised that living in the country is like forcing myself to take a nine-year-old to a funeral and expect the child to behave all day.
The countryside is a theme park without opt-out clauses. Our children refused to join us, they remained in England.
They said Zimbabwe is a ‘naughty corner’ and they had not misbehaved to the extent of being flown to Zimbabwe.
I am surrounded by sheep, cows and chickens, but for human contact I have to learn the culture, to chat to the folks.
I have been away for too long and even when I was in Zimbabwe, I was a town girl.
We viewed the village as a ‘punishment corner’.
The cinema is 70km away. When I sought a bit of culture, a neighbour suggested that I go to the grinding mill on Monday and cattle dip tank on Wednesdays.
The notable exception is of course Christmas Day, although that comes but once a year.
The first year was bearable — the renovation of the house took up a great deal of time while building the round hut was immensely rewarding.
We started taking in guests and were inundated with requests during the festival seasons.
But I missed my children who all refused to come home to settle.
They called it ‘your home.’
I realised the error we had committed.
We always came to Zimbabwe as a punishment and a disciplinary measure.
Little did we know how we were alienating our children from their home.
As we were growing up, my father would always remind us that if we misbehaved we will be sent to the rural areas as a punishment.
This made us fear the rural areas.
The rural area became a place where you were banished to as a form of punishment.
As holidays approached, we would pray not to be sent to the rural areas.
This is the same treatment that we, parents in the Diaspora, have introduced to our children.
No wonder they call Zimbabwe ‘your land’ and our relatives ‘your relatives.’ We made our own thorn bed we now have to lie on it.
Zimbabwe became a serious punishment and, as a result, it defined our children’s future and their negative perception of the motherland.
The attitude of our parents made village life to appear bad. This is the same attitude Diaspora parents exhibit.
My generation has a serious phobia of village life. This fear was infused in us by our parents.
We now have passed it on to our children in the foreign land.
This idea of making Zimbabwe an awful place detaches our children from their roots.
Children now make it clear that their home is not Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is a place where parents take you for discipline and punishment.
The pride and self-identification is removed by the parents who use Zimbabwe as a punishment.”
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