A week doesn’t usually go by without someone within my social circle asking me this question. My response is usually the same i.e. Zim’s interesting in some many ways, I see some much potential and yet we have so much work to do but I’m definitely glad to be home. Most people are shocked at my seemingly optimist view. I tend to be an optimistic person in general so this attitude shouldn’t come as a surprise especially for those who know me well. So in tackling this question, I’ve decided to break down the discussion into various sections.
This first volume deals with the somewhat emotional side of ‘How am I finding Zim’ so far? I’m simply referring to family and that sense of community which I had missed for many years. Without appearing to boast, the short answer is ‘I’m finally at peace’. Yes of course I struggle with this or that but overall I’m in a good place. I’m surrounded by family and just having them close by brings such calmness to my life. For too long I lived ‘out there’ beyond the borders of my beloved country. Most things I did out there focused on self. It is quite humbling, actually it is extremely humbling to realise and experience my new ‘sense of community’. I’ve been reminded many times that no longer do I have to worry about things on my own. There’s some uncle, some aunt worrying with you celebrating or crying with you. I’ve learnt and continue to learn to slow down and incorporate people in the various facets of my life. If I’m thinking of having a ‘braai’ or barbeque I’m automatically thinking about the various people to invite taking into account the dynamics and so forth. In short, a deep sense of community has been renewed since moving back home.
However throughout all this, many things have changed. Growing up I didn’t really have a political view but the youngsters out there nowadays do. I don’t want to claim that they’ve lost their youth in that Michael Jackson kind of way. It’s not as dramatic as that, but they are simply more aware of their environment than we were growing up. With social media tools like Facebook et al, it has made it is so much easier to share and exchange ideas amongst the youth. In this respect, especially given that Africa has a very youthful population already, I do predict many changes both culturally and otherwise. I also believe that governments and political parties have already picked up on the power of the youth and are keen to engage with them. It’s clear to see that Zanu has recognised this and it seems like they have or are in the process of making strides to reach out to the youth in this respect.
I want to use a cliché to discuss the next issue: Opportunity. Zimbabwe in my view is FULL of many business opportunities. I want to stay clear from discussing opportunities in mining and farming simply because these issues have been discussed via other media sources and I also want to dissect this pertinent issue in the next blog instalments. I will say this though; those opportunities do exist in some form or another. I’m not suggesting that everyone with a few quid get involved in mining, farming and so forth. I’m simply suggesting that is another way to look at mining or farming in Zimbabwe. You see, I don’t have ‘Rio Tinto kind of capital’ but I do or can source sufficient capital to supply a small mine with the nuts and bolts for their machinery. The point I’m making is too often we look at the massive investment opportunities and simply ignore the fact that local mines (and there are many) still require fuel, general hardware products such as the nuts & bolts, IT services and so forth. Many of us don’t have that ‘Rio Tinto cash’ but some may have an IT services background and right there in the mining sector of my beloved country lies a business opportunity for someone like you.
There are of course many other issues I wish to discuss and trust me, I will elaborate and share my thoughts on these many issues. I am particularly interested in the infamous land reform and this ‘new issue’ regarding empowerment and indigenisation. I am particularly interested in sharing how it has and continues to affect or influence the Zimbabwean people I come into contact with and indeed their daily reality. Till the next instalment.