Saturday 6 June 2020


Tariro Makamba recalled clearly how the nightmare started when Kudzai her husband sat her in the car and announced he had a surprise.

He then drove one-and-a-half hours from their apartment in Norton to Chikwaka Hills. Sheep, goats and picturesque thatched huts; Chikwaka’s golden valley was a bucolic vision. Kudzai stopped the car at the top of a drive.

This, he stated, was Great Mavaza Village. At the end of the drive stood a large residence. The sun gilded its charming – slightly run-down fa├žade.

“It’s beautiful!” Tariro enchanted. “I was hoping you would say that,” he replied with a twinkle in his eye. “I’ve just bought it.”

I felt a cold chill running down my spine. He really had. He is – among other things – an antiques dealer, a hotelier and a distiller, and he enthused about the great deal he had struck and the vision he had. 

We would renovate the house and stay there. We would move to the countryside to enjoy a quieter, more meaningful and healthier life.

However, I, the city girl who had lived in England for 20 years would find true happiness in Highlands or back in London.

Two years on, he has realised his dream but I have noticed that living in the country is very nice in theory but not in practice. The countryside is a theme park without opt-out clauses.

Our children refused to join us and they remained in England. They said Zimbabwe was a naughty corner and they had not misbehaved in any way as to be flown to Zimbabwe.

I was surrounded by sheep, cows and chickens, but for human contact I had to learn the culture to chat to the folks. I had been away for too long and even when I was in Zimbabwe, I was a town girl. The village was viewed as a punishment corner and the cinema was 70 km away.

When I sought a bit of culture, a neighbour suggested going to the grinding mill on Monday and  to the cattle dip tank on Wednesdays. The notable exception was of course Christmas Day which came once a year.

The first year was bearable. The renovation of the house took up a great deal of time and building the round hut was immensely rewarding. We started taking guests and were inundated with all kinds of requests.

I realised that I had never been in a rural setting even though we had a rural home. I missed my children so much but they all refused to come home to settle. They called it “your home”.

I realised the fatal error we committed. We always used going to Zimbabwe as a punishment and a disciplinary measure. Little did we know how we had alienated our children from their home.

As we were growing up, my father would always remind us that if we misbehaved, we would be sent to the rural areas as a punishment. This made us fear the rural areas. They became places where you were banished to as a punishment.

Towards every holiday, you would be praying that you were not going to be punished by being sent “home”. This is the treatment we introduced our children to. No wonder why they call Zimbabwe, “your land” and our relatives “your relatives”. We made our own thorn beds and we had to sleep on them.

Zimbabwe became a serious punishment and as a result, it defined our children’s future. Our friends were rewarded by being taken to town during holidays.

The attitude of our parents made village life to be that bad.  This is the same attitude Diaspora parents exhibit.

Looking at the scenario now, our generation; the generation 40 downwards, have a serious phobia for village life.

This fear was inherited from our parents. We now have passed it on to our children in foreign lands.

This idea of making the Zimbabwe a Siberia of some sort detaches children from their roots.

Most parents still warn their children that if they misbehave they will be sent home.  Children now make it clear that their home is not Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is a place where parents take you for discipline and punishment.

The pride and self identification is removed by the parents who use Zimbabwe as a punishment.

Many parents have nothing good to say about their country. They bad mouth the only country they call theirs in front of children and the children have no love for their country.

We have made our kids hate our country and we will relocate to Zimbabwe on our own without our children. Herald


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