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Public apology

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It takes some form of courage for one to admit having done something wrong especially in the face of the wronged. In religious circles, it is believed that it is difficult to please God, yet what he only needs is a mere admittance of having sinned followed by repentance. People are prepared to forego Heaven for the reason that they cannot admit having made a mistake. Today on behalf of all Zimbabweans, I have chosen to be different.

My memory sends me back to times when people from Malawi and Zambia were flocking to Zimbabwe in search of employment. They worked in mines and farms for a living. Most local Zimbabweans looked down upon these people and started calling them names, “mabwidi”, “mabudya”, “maburanyuchi” etc. All these names depicted a people who did not have much wisdom or property. Those who came from Malawi were called maBhurandaya, a term derived from the largest Malawian city called Blantyre. The word as nice as it is was used in contexts, which were usually demeaning and humiliating. Yes it was a source of pride to be Zimbabwean, we were glad to be us and some people envied us.

Then came the era that many people from Mozambique, usually men, illegally crossed through the Tete province into the Northern parts of Zimbabwe. Most of them had no documentation so they sought refuge in the communalities of Rushinga, Mr. Darwin and some came as far as Bindura on foot. They were looking for employment and all they could get were domestic jobs, looking after cattle and goats mostly in exchange for food, shelter and a little money. Many of them have gone back with accusations of theft and rape among other sins. The few fortunate ones got married in Zimbabwe and stayed as our sons in-law. Even though that was legal, the perception with which we looked at these in-laws was demeaning, as depicted in the novel “Akada wekure” where locals would apparently be against the foreigner. These people from distant, usually unknown places were not easily defined as part of our communities. Our sisters who chose to be married to them suffered the same fate. The resilient ones are now part of our communities even though some have since returned to Mozambique.

As events started to unfold, the wheel turned against the Zimbabwean locals. Because of their urban type of lifestyle, without communal homes and usually being employees of big companies, people from Malawi and Zambia are the majority of the first African urban house owners in Zimbabwe. Most of the time we knock on their doors looking for one or two rooms to rent.

The Zimbabwe we all loved turned sour. We started to look for exits out of our motherland to assume the same status that we used to afford our fellow neighbors. In what part of the world don’t you find us? Many of us have crossed to Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa in search of basic food commodities. Some have gone to work as housemaids, and farm laborers in neighboring countries. The word Zimbo has become popular to refer to Zimbabweans that are all over the world today. In South Africa, the term Makwerekwere is used to refer to foreigners, coincidentally the northern part of Zimbabwe comprises a Shona tribe called the Korekore tribe. It sounds like South Africans hate the Shona more than any other foreigners. Zimbabweans living in other countries face the fear of xenophobia.

I am really against the ill treatment of foreigners in countries. In that light I wish to publicly apologize for the demeaning perception that we had of our neighbors during our better days, apologize for the ill treatment that we might have done to some people who were in need. I hope the apology reaches the mailbox of the highest God and blessings will befall my country Zimbabwe.

2 comments to “Public apology”

  1. Comment by aKabweza:

    by me, you brother are forgiven. by God I’m sure u also are. I guess with the Xenophobia on in SA, it’s easier for everyone to picture how hard it was for us growing up tiri ‘mabwidi’ in Zim.

  2. Comment by johnmutumburanzou:

    This is a well thought out piece and unique topic. Thank you for being brave. Your apology is already in the inbox and read nekuti wawataurira haana nzeve noremerwa.