Indignity of being Zimbabwean exposed


I don’t know how many of you face what I face on a daily basis; the ever-mounting bills, payment plans for water, electricity, schools fees.

At the end of the month what remains of the payment plan is the plan, with the payment still outstanding.

The indignity of being a Zimbabwean is the indignity of working so hard but still at the end of the month there would be more month that money.

I am not arguing for quick fix solutions, miracle money, or yes, even miracle degrees, or miracle PHDs which are finished in record breaking time. I am just a simple fellow who wants to work hard to feed my family, have a roof over my family’s heads and be able to live a reasonable and enjoyable life.

When our relatives left Zimbabwe in droves for the United States, the United Kingdom and South Africa many of us thought they were unpatriotic and did not have the will to challenge the obscenities of a one man, one party political system which reduced us to latter day serfs.

I have to admit a lot of those people were right because up to now the majority of Zimbabweans face the plight of joblessness, hopelessness and moneylessness. Pardon the use of that non-existent word, but it is a Zimbabwean reality.

How many Zimbabweans have to bear the spectre of debt at personal level?

How many people have their phones on silent all in the hope of expelling a sense of conscience when people they owe money call and they choose to ignore them in the hope that their money problems would also be on silent?

This is not a normal life, and for how long will we continue accept being passive victims of fate when our future has literally been stolen from us in broad daylight?

I don’t know why people chose to vote the way they did and go on complaining about the state of the economy when is was so crystal clear that the Zanu PF government had reduced the economy to a shell over 34 years.

It does not matter whether you are a teacher, a doctor, a scorchcart or a till operator, the reality we face on a day to day basis is that of abject poverty which has decimated the middle class and traumatised the poor (the whole lot of us).

How can we be expected to be proud of our independence when it is only a few that have enjoyed its fruits?

To those who say they have the land, what else do they have? They too face the indignity of begging for inputs and capital from a bankrupt government which monthly struggles to pay civil servants on time.

I am a proud Zimbabwean, but I am not proud of the fact that 34 years after independence building a house for my children is a pipe dream when during the evil days of Ian Smith blacks, could afford at least basic housing in Mpopoma, Njube and Magwegwe.

Today, we are black, proud, and broke, dead broke. Is that an achievement? Is it an achievement to change the colour of the oppressor or to have a cabal or coterie of privileged blacks eating on behalf of all of us in the name of indigenisation?

Why have we come to accept poverty, debt and lack as part of the of the post independence package? Are we not ashamed that as blacks we have wrecked the economy of a country which was once able to feed all its population, provide jobs and housing (albeit in a racial setting)?

We cannot be blaming whites, colonialism and sanctions 34 years after independence.

It is a national scandal of gigantic proportions that a country as rich as Zimbabwe can be so poor that unemployment has become an occupation and survival strategies are now celebrated as business enterprises.

A lot of people who are involved in informal businesses are just trying to survive and that is the truth and Zanu PF cannot claim that informalisation of the economy is a success when it is a clear indication of the collapse of the economy.

I am tired of this endless cycle of debt and to be honest, at times I get tired of being a glorified beggar in a suit and holding a laptop masquerading as a civil society leader.

I want to live in a Zimbabwe where my hard work, my skills and innovation are rewarded, not so in this current Zimbabwe which abounds with thief executives.

I just want a decent life, good pay and a good standard of living for my family. Is that too much to ask for? What do you want?


Dumisani Nkomo is an activist, social entrepreneur and chief executive officer of Habakkuk Trust. He writes in his personal capacity.