I am a Zimbabwean and I have decided to leave the country! Yes, you heard that right, I have decided to leave the country!
But first things first.
My name is Jimmy, and I am an ICT professional (an Internationally Certified Computer Programmer). I have had my fair share of good fortune in Zimbabwe. I have worked for the financial services industry, from the stock market, asset management, to the banking sector. I have even worked for software houses that are into fulltime software development. Yeah, yeah, one can say I have prospered in the republic.
But why leave the beloved Republic of Zimbabwe?
I can promise you it has nothing to do with my hatred for this country or because I have always wanted to leave, or because some friend or relative has decided to send me a ‘ticket’.
At this point I can only tell you of a few reasons why I decided to leave the beloved republic.
Trust me, I am patriotic to Zimbabwe. I love Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is in my heart.
After all, I have lived for over 30 years in the beloved republic. I was born here. I was raised here. I was educated here. My entire life has been in the republic. In fact, when all my peers and former school mates left I stayed because I was patriotic to the land. I saw a future where others couldn’t see one. I told myself that whatever we were going through as a country would soon come to an end and that in no time things would be better.
For a long time I didn’t even wish to get a passport. I didn’t see the need for one. I wasn’t going anywhere, and no one could convince me to step outside the borders of the republic.
And then most of my cousins started leaving.
Some of my friends left too. Within about two years or so of their leaving, they started sending us pictures of their nice cars, houses, the fancy restaurants, the food they ate … blah blah blah.
But that didn’t bother me. I wasn’t moved. I was a patriot. I loved my country. I was optimistic and very hopeful that in a few years things would change. I told myself that I too would one day, in the republic, drive a Range Rover.
But then things changed for me.
In short, allow me to say I married and along came two children. Life in Zimbabwe is something else once you start having kids and you need to feed them. Suddenly you need a two- or more bedroom house to rent. Of course in the republic we don’t buy houses, they are very expensive, and the banks are not giving mortgage loans.
Then came the 2012 elections. Then came the company closures. Then banks started closing.
Of course the factories have been closed for a while and I sort of winked at that because I worked for a bank. But when my bank started facing the liquidity crisis and closure I knew at once that no one was immune to the environment.
Then I started realising something about the republic.
No one cares for the public. We have dirty water in the taps and no one cares. We have erratic supply of electricity and no one cares. The roads are in shambles and no one is doing anything about it. Fuel prices go up and we can’t do anything about it. New taxes are introduced and we can only comply. Internet is very expensive. The public hospitals, the ones which we can afford, provide crappy service and people are dying because the nurses don’t care. I know because I watched my mother-in-law die at the hands of poor service delivery. And no one cares. Not them, not you, not the minister of health. No one. The company CEOs get treated outside the country now. But what about me? What about my kids?
Become an entrepreneur, they keep telling us. Start your own business. Create your own job.
But not everybody has dreams of owning or running a business. Some of us are just content to be the spanner boys and the foot soldiers. Some of us are content just doing our jobs and getting paid for it.
I don’t know about you but I am tired of the dirty tap water. I am tired of seeing all those potholes in a road. I am tired of sometimes available power supply. I am tired of walking the streets of a capital city that are infested with ‘bhero-stalls’ and cheap, crappy, Chinese products. I am tired of calling the national electricity department for a fault and they come 10 days later. I am tired of poor internet speeds. I am tired of expensive fuel. I am tired of working for ‘hand-to-mouth’ pay-outs. You can’t have savings accounts in the republic. Your bank could just close tomorrow. I am just tired of struggling for everything. Why does it cost me an arm and a leg to buy a flat-screen TV?
And guess what, my children have to grow up in such an environment and go to schools whose teachers don’t even know why they are doing what they do.
I am sick and tired of it all.
Surely I wasn’t born to suffer. I just want a better life, that’s all.
And where am I gonna go?
Anywhere outside Zimbabwe.
Perhaps Botswana? Perhaps South Africa? (Wait, those guys don’t want us anymore). Perhaps Zambia? Perhaps Kenya? Perhaps Namibia? Take me anywhere where the visa application is not a hassle and I’ll gladly go.
Once again, my name is Jimmy and I am a Zimbabwean. I am an ICT professional and I am leaving Zimbabwe!
This post was first published on 263Chat.