Two chaps from two totally different backgrounds found themselves back in Zimbabwe in the past couple of weeks.
One was a guy who toiled at the once glorious and well paying NRZ but left the misery of unpaid labour and headed for South Africa a couple of years ago. The other, a wise guy who has seen the world as a journalist, public relations guru, university lecturer and everything else in between and went to Botswana looking for a piece of that Khama wealth.
When the NZR guy came through, he had on his mind returning to his former job seeing he was missing home rather too terribly. He has some job in SA and looking at him, I thought he must be better off than he was back in the day as a railwayman.
He looked fit, his skin was “ruddy” and was generally clean, leading me to conclude that the grass sure must be greener on the other side. But here he was saying he had in mind settling back home and living the rest of his life to the fullest.
He made rounds to meet up with erstwhile work colleagues to get the pulse of what has been happening, who died, who got promoted, who left the country, who ran off with somebody else’s wife, you know the usual stuff old friends talk about.
That’s when his dream of a blissful return to the motherland disappeared.
His NRZ buddies told they hadn’t been paid literally for years and were only continuing with the humiliating and tedious trudge to work because they had nowhere else to go. If you quit this job, where the fuck are you going to get another one seeing it is only the streets doing the hiring? Bulawayo industries have become ghost towns, everyone who is unemployed is selling something, what are YOU going to sell? Thus it was decided that it was better to continue going to work for no pay because one day a miracle would happen and the NZR would give them a year’s salaries in back pay!
If only that were not the apotheosis of naivety.
You see, the railwaymen did not have to tell him he was better off in a foreign land: he could tell this himself, and all the dreams of working for the prosperity of his country disappeared. And so it was that as I write, he is buried in his work somewhere in South Africa working for that country’s prosperity!
Now, to the other fella from Francistown, Botswana.
This chap says he wanted to contribute to the growth of the Botswana economy by registering his outfit as a legitimate potential contributor to the GDP, but Batswana red tape got him steaming through the ears.
He says he was told it was difficult to see how his proposed business would contribute to the Botswana economy, and in frustration, he shook the dust off his sandals and returned to Zimbabwe, rather reluctantly it would appear.
And now back to the motherland, he has to start afresh and chase the American greenback by meeting all sorts of characters he never imagined he would ever meet. Because American greed has landed on these shores and claimed permanent residence, this chap has a lot of navigating to do before his fiscally immoral compatriots fleece him of his hard earned cash and get him on the move again, this time: DESTINATION UNKOWN.
Granted, this chap would rather share his skills with our neighbours where the pickings reportedly come in bucketfuls, but as the Fates would have it, he finds himself right where he started. Yet the two chaps present two narrative strands that converge somewhere on the rainbow. These are patriots who, all things being in order, would earn a living here, watch their children grow, watch them bring forth grandkids and just enjoy being sons of the soil.
But yet here they are as grown men running around chasing the Devil’s coin all over the show like horny cockerels chasing after pullets. There is a lesson there. You figure it out.