Welcome home to Africa: Covid, me and Zimbabwe.

Taruvinga Magwiroto

To those who have been following the evolution of this blog, you will know that I started it when I was based at the University of Reading in the UK. Well, time moveth. I duly graduated with my MSc. Communication for Development. Congratulations yea yea!

The UK experience was something else altogether. I’ll certainly write more about it. But first things first.

I’m home at last, Covid or no Covid. And why did I have to mention Covid? Because Covid is everything at the moment. It’s the ubiquitous enemy, poised to strike a deadly blow on all and sundry.

Though come to think of it, I was a bit lucky. I was not marooned in a foreign country with no job, unsure of the future. I know a friend who suffered just such a fate.

But in a way I have suffered from the pandemic. I came back with quiet hope that one of my many traps may catch a fat kudu. But lo and behold… Along came Covid and put spanners in the works, practically wrecking everything. “Because of the Covid pandemic, the institution has come to a sad but inevitable decision to withdraw…”. Ha, Covid!

And as I write, I’ve just finished an angry exchange with the guy who has just given me a lift home. He’s telling me that certain notes are no longer accepted as legal tender. By whom I ask? He gives me a stare which is a mishmash of pity, anger and contempt. Which country do you live in, he asks.

Well, I certainly live in Zimbabwe. But it does not mean I understand it’s ways, yet. Why do the poor inflict self harm, I wonder? Who decides that a 2 bond note is no longer legal tender when I have a sackful of those home?

Worse was to come. A few days later, there was an announcement that mobile money platforms have been banned from transacting… with immediate effect. No notice, no nothing. What happens to all my “money” stashed in the mobile wallet?

So, lm staring at the sad reality that all my high level UK education may not work after all in Zimbabwe. It’s easy to forget that Zim is a right jungle.

I spend one and half years in a certain island that prides itself on civility, unlearning some of the survival skills honed from years of survival in a hostile environment. Now I’m finding that I’ve to relearn the ways of the jungle.

And the first law of the jungle is: don’t ask questions. Just follow the queue. Or: when you hear a loud bang, just run. Don’t ask questions, because there are no answers. There’s just survival.

I’m back. I’ll survive, and God willing, thrive again. Meantime, here’s my prayer: Covid, please go away. Amen.

See you in the next installment!

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