Zimbabweans in Diaspora uncertain about future


Next month it will be 16 years since I left Zimbabwe to come and live in the UK.
I came in February 2000, at the age of 30. I had just gotten married and I had only one child, who was just 13 years old, when I came. I thought I would just be in the UK for a few months and at most, a couple of years.
Now 16 years later, I am still in the UK, have had three more children (15, 10 and 8) and in addition to that, I now have a granddaughter from my eldest son.
Although occasionally I like to visit my siblings and mother in Zimbabwe, I have since realised that my life will be here for good, not because I do not want to go back and live in Zimbabwe, but because of my own family ties now with the UK. If I go to Zimbabwe in my old age, who will look after me, as I would have left all my family here (children and grandchildren)?
These are some of the complications of migration. This is how humankind has migrated from one country to another. This is how Europeans are in Africa and Africans in Europe, or Asians in Africa or Europe or Canada. This is why we have third and fourth generation Caribbean people in the UK. The world is now one village.
And it is also complicated by the fact that people are marrying and having children across cultures.
But despite this, part of me still lives in Zimbabwe. I have to realise and accept that physically I live in the UK and emotionally, I live in Zimbabwe.
This is the confusion that is confronting many Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. Many people, like me, have recognised that returning to live in Zimbabwe is an illusion.
However, there are others who will go to live in Zimbabwe and some who will not go back to live in Zimbabwe for different reasons.
This week I managed to talk to a few Zimbabweans about their future. Is it here (Diaspora) or there (Zimbabwe)?
Gertrude (Nottingham):“Kana ndanyanya kuchemberesa I will consider going back home, kana ndakwegura. Because I hate seeing elderly black people in this country. They look lonely, they look terrified and miserable. Of course I have my daughter here, my only child is here and I guess this will complicate my situation. If she is here with my grandchildren, and I have no one else in Zimbabwe, then it will be difficult to go back. I never thought about it though. It looks like tichatomupinda chete muma nursing home emuno. Zvakaoma.”
Thomas (London): “Ini ndinoda kudzokera kumusha wena. Nyika ino ndeye vamwe, haisi yedu. I love my home. I am very much attached to that country. I joined the war when I was very young. I fought for Zimbabwe. I know things are tough at the moment in Zimbabwe, but zvinhu zvikasa improver ndinongogara muno. I am a few years from my pension in this country so I will wait for my pension before I go to Zimbabwe. Vana vanozosara zvavo muno. I don’t see them coming with me to live in Zimbabwe. I will be visiting them. I will be living between here and Zimbabwe. My children see UK differently. My last child was born in Zimbabwe but he sees the UK as his home. So it’s obvious he will live here. But ini nemudzimai wangu we will go back.”
Catherine (Coventry):“I would definitely love to go back home. I have children here, yes, but I will come and visit them. When I die I would like to be buried in Zimbabwe. I can’t tell when I will go home. I am not sure. I can’t say when the time will be ripe but zvemuno izvi zvekuswera uchitenderera I don’t like it. Zvinhu zvikaita zvakanaka I will go. Ndikaunganidza mari I will go. My sister went back, she had very little money when she decided to leave and go back home, but she is doing well in Zimbabwe. She is running her businesses. I wouldn’t want to be put in a nursing home when I am older, but if I remain here, that’s where I will end up. The children will dump you there and move on with their lives. I would rather they come to visit me in Zimbabwe than to be dumped in a nursing home. However, when I do my nursing degree I may go and work in Australia before going back to Zimbabwe to retire there.”
Zanele(Leeds): “I came to the UK in 2002 intending to go back to Zimbabwe after a few years, but my circumstances changed when I started a family and now I am studying. I would like to return to Zimbabwe to live there, though, at some point. But not now. I am still young and have many years ahead of me (God willing) to consider going to Zimbabwe now. It will be just a retirement place, but not a place to go and work. I am building a house in Bulawayo, preparing for my retirement. So I am still here.”


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