Humanity lost at Gatwick


I HAVE a friend here in the Diaspora who, for the purposes of this article, I shall call ‘Chamu’.
He came to the UK in 2001 and has a story to tell, a story that’s not so shocking to many Zimbabweans in the Diaspora because that is the reality on the ground – families are ‘dying’ in the UK.
Said Chamu: “In 2001, I travelled to the UK for the first time to seek employment and make a better life for my family.
I worked in Luton at a printing company and my salary was £5 per hour.
At the time, it was a family of five – my brother, sister and my parents .
When I arrived in Luton, I stayed at a friend’s house in Dunstable while my parents and siblings stayed in Luton, renting a house from a notorious racist Asian man.
After our arrival, my father got a job with another agency where he graced each and every industrial location for manual work.
He worked and sent his mother, back home, some money.
He had to also look after my mother and my sister, but travelled every year back home for his vacation.
He brought people back home some clothes and toys.
After he felt established and the laws of immigration granted visas to those who could prove they were employed, the owners of the factory helped him find a lawyer.
He became a permanent resident and was able to bring his family to the UK, particularly his mother and his two brothers – my uncles.
They are now settled in the UK, but hardly visit or even call my father — and it hurts.
I remember how my father suffered to bring them to the UK.
I remember how he could not eat enough or buy any clothes for himself and it’s the treatment his brothers are giving him now which makes me angry.
My father now is in a care home and can do very little for himself, while the brothers he brought to the UK have abandoned him.
None of them look back at him in the time of need.
They all prioritise their own needs and have completely abandoned my father.
In fact, they now actually accuse my father of witchcraft.
It is very painful,” wept Chamu as he narrated his story.
Chamu’s story echoes the reality of those we help here in the UK.
Peter from Leicester City said when he brought his sister to the UK, she was an ‘angel’.
However, a few months down the line, she started complaining that she is was being used as a slave.
One Sunday morning, she left the house, never to be seen again.
All Peter knows is his sister moves in and out with different men and even speaks very badly of her brother.
Patrice from Manchester recounted how he survived on one meal a day, saving money for his brother’s children’s school fees.
He remembers how his children survived on council benefits while his brother’s children attended boarding schools in Zimbabwe.
It was until he went to Zimbabwe for holiday that he had a change of heart and stopped sponsoring his brother.
Patience, who is also here in the UK, narrated a story where she paid school fees and even helped her brother to marry.
When she went back to Zimbabwe, she saw the true colours of those who waved a begging bowl to her while they developed themselves behind the scenes.
I concur the behaviour of some of our relatives makes it difficult to help them, especially in the long run.
No doubt, the UK has made many Zimbabweans heartless.
Humanity, as we know it, lost its meaning at Gatwick or Heathrow Airport.
Brothers have turned against each other, while fathers and mothers have abandoned families.
Ubuntu/hunhu, as we know it, has eluded us.
We have become ‘animals in a foreign jungle.’
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