I was born in what was then Rhodesia and from the time I was old enough to read, I was reading about turmoil in my country. I'll never forget sitting across from my father one morning before school, in the days when everyone still had the daily newspaper delivered to their homes before breakfast, and reading on the front page the horrors of the war. There, in bold technicolour, was the photograph of a man who had been tortured and mutilated in the most horrific way... and I was so distraught I couldn't eat my breakfast and cried all the way to school.
That was in the 70s. In the 80s it was another form of civil struggle which, at one time, became so bad that we all went back to the bad old war days when everyone drove in convoy if leaving the city limits. My father worked in sales during much of that volatile time and traveled deep into the areas affected. He doesn't talk much about it but I know that every time he drove through the gates of our home after a trip, my mother almost cried with relief.
The 90s brought about a temporary peace.. and then the start of a steady economic decline.
Within the next decade Zimbabwe would reach international notoriety, for a myriad of reasons: hyper-inflation, murky election processes, the emergence of the first meaningful opposition and, without making this a political commentary, questionable political policies.
And yet I stayed.
I've often been asked why.
One reason is the difficulty in gaining residence in most countries when you hold a Zimbabwean passport, but that's actually just pedantics. If I truly wanted to leave I know I would have by now.
I stayed because Zimbabwe, afflicted though it is, runs through my veins like the very blood that keeps me alive. Because I'm afraid that if I can't smell the scent of rain on African soil, I may not be able to breathe. I stayed because, despite it all, I believe in this country.
Throughout it all and although I trained as a journalist, I've always shunned politics. And I still do now. But at some point the lines between politics and social consciousness become blurred; without sound politics, society flounders: the elderly are robbed of their past, and the youth of their future. Which is exactly what is happening in Zimbabwe today.
Frankly I don't give a damn who's in charge, as long as that person - and his or her government - is looking after the interests of its people, as well as their own; as long as they care about me and the future of my children..and everyone else's, regardless of race, tribe, economic status. .
So in the last couple of weeks, that little glimmer of hope I've been feeling as Zimbabweans have been boldly calling for change, has had nothing to do with hate and everything to do with love..love of my family and Zimbabwe and its people. Yes, we've made mistakes and are still trying to figure out our convoluted racial hangovers and hang-ups. But recent weeks have shown we can put aside our fractured past and work together. At the end of the day we are all Zimbabweans, a truth that has haunted and eluded us our entire tortured history.
Previous generations have tried and failed to bring about a country which offers equity for all, and maybe now it's in the hands of the young: the custodians of social media who can get our message across in the simplest form to the rest of the world.
And that message is that we just want to live. We don't want wealth beyond our wildest dreams, but we do want the assurance that we can earn a living wage and educate and feed our children. We want peace, and the opportunity to be rewarded for our hard work and enterprise. We want a future we can hand over to our children.
Surely it's not too much to ask.
Violette Sohaili Kee-Tui
From the blog site, Transitions:
Just found the first jacaranda bloom I've seen this year.
Tree on the right, just before the railway flyover on the airport road....
The same one as last year!!