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Cry, the beloved great country




TODAY was another heart-breaking day for me.

Many young people who came to greet me at the airport in Harare and on the plane were mainly young and with university degrees, but destined to be caregivers in Britain.

When I lived in England, care work was for those without tertiary education and was only used as a stepping stone to bigger things, but today we have Zimbabweans with Master of Arts or Science degrees setting off to do care work out of desperation.

This has been caused by two things, the tragic failure to govern by Zanu PF in Zimbabwe, and Brexit which opened up these vacancies for people from the former colonies, people who speak English.

The guy sitting next to me from Harare to Addis Ababa regretted that he will not be able to vote, he wanted the satisfaction of voting out a corrupt and incompetent government!

But desperate circumstances stole that opportunity from him. I consider myself extremely lucky, I come from a generation where one would study towards a particular profession, and then pursue that as a career after graduating from a polytechnic or university.

Nowadays a lot of young people are sitting at home doing nothing, so working as a care assistant in Britain is a welcome opportunity to this generation of educated but unemployed youths.

As I always remind the young who follow me on social media, I bought my first property in Zimbabwe when I was 29 in Colne Valley, Harare; there were no shady deals involved or favours.

Strictly biz. I just walked into CABS (Building Society) and got a mortgage, just like that.

Today we have generations that might never own even a two-bedroom home in the townships unless Zimbabwe’s political fortunes change, or unless they leave Zimbabwe.

For Zimbabwe’s fortunes to change, you need more than a people’s will and desire to vote; you need alternative political thinking with ideas and a plan for how to capture power and change Zimbabwe.

But until that happens, I and many others will keep saying goodbye to Zimbabwe’s young, bright and its future which is being absorbed to develop mainly Britain and South Africa.

When these young people go away, they will not escape Zanu PF’s corrupt and failed rule; they have to send money back home.

Their lives in Britain would not be of a standard that corresponds with their earnings because they have to send siblings to school in Zimbabwe, and pay hospital bills for their elderly parents whose pensions were looted twice by the Zanu PF government.

The political alternative should pay attention to this aspect and get the Zimbabwean diaspora into a structured powerful group as opposed to sporadic groupings.

If Zanu PF were removed from power today, Zimbabwe will not be able to rise again quickly without the diaspora skills, and they are in their millions.

We do not know how to make things anymore, because we stopped making things a long time ago.

How do you become a diligent town planner when there has been no town planning taking place in Zimbabwe for decades?

How do you have people who have never worked their whole life leading your councils and Parliament?

Some professionals in the diaspora will have to take Patriotic Leave from work to come back home and help rebuild the country, without which we are doomed.

So as many young people leave Zimbabwe to do these care jobs, I urge them to continue studying whilst there because a day will come when their skills that they would have gotten become highly needed back home.

To all the young people who came to greet me at the airport and on the plane, thank you for sharing your stories. If it helps, I started off as a cleaner in Planet Hollywood in London.

But I found my way up faster because of my desire to do better for myself, and an upbringing that put hard work at the centre of everything you do.

I said care work was a stepping stone during my time; make it a stepping stone for yourselves, too!

Travel well, my compatriots. My tears are flowing as I type this, God will protect you; protect yourselves, too.

About the writer: Chin’ono is an award-winning Zimbabwean journalist and documentary filmmaker currently engaged in fighting corruption, demanding accountability and service delivery using social media.

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