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The 10 or more things I love about Zimbabwe

03 Jul 2012 at 20:50hrs | Views
When Zimbabwe gets it right and opens up, you are going to wish you were here

It's in the middle of winter in Harare, and the temperature is above 20 degrees Celsius outside. No need to wear heavy clothing or drink loads of coffee just to keep warm. It only gets chilly early mornings or early evenings and that is when the fire places crackle accompanied by laughter and warm soup. That's one thing I love about Zimbabwe, its weather is awesome throughout the year and thank goodness no politician can change that.

I went to a make shift church in the township the other day and you cannot help but feel the genuine welcome, kindness and warmth that ordinary folk have. They are humble, loving, kind and patient. I love the way they warmly greet each other and always laugh at themselves even when the power is off and there is no water. They always make a plan and life must go on. I am amazed at how one man has been allowed to single handedly try to destroy my mother's church, the Anglican Church, but I know that our God is faithful and just. It hasn't worked anyway because the church is not the building.

I love the GMO-free food they eat, it is so wholesome. Most Zimbabweans grow their own vegetables at home and now everyone eats free range chicken because it's cheaper than beef. It's roaring business now with everyone being in the chicken business. Homemade peanut butter is plenty and no one buys mealie meal from the supermarket because everyone has patch of mealies somewhere. It's a pity the "chefs" plunder the fertilizer when it comes, but Zimbos have become creative and will always make a plan.

I love the street vendors, so kind and willing to make a bargain on anything. Times are hard I guess but they always have a smile and change. Most are very educated and very articulate but they must battle it in the streets to make a living. So much for indigenization but they haven't lost hope at all. God bless them!

I love the peace and quiet, no child abuse cases, no rapes and hardly any violent crimes. The police don't even have to be armed but they are mean and you meet them almost every 10kms in the roads, I don't like that. You don't have to have high walls, alarms, armed response and any anxiety about crime in Zimbabwe. No road rage or cash heists. It's peaceful and you can sit back and relax. The holiday resorts are stunning and I just wish the politicians would sort their issues out so more tourists would come. The sooner they do that, the better for everyone.

Education is sacrosanct in Zimbabwe. You see, some kids travel long distances each day just to go to school, no excuses. In addition, almost every second person you meet is studying further on something or other. Despite the current hardships, people are looking forward to that day they will be free. Free from economic hardships and boring television. Free from low wages, unemployment, inconsistent electricity and the ridiculous prices of cell phone calls and imported basic goods. Monopolies suck.

I love the vast spaces in Harare suburbs. The yards are so huge and you can feel the fresh air on your face in the mornings. Not too much pollution is going on since industry is operating at low capacity. Did you know that the whites never allowed us blacks to be seen in the suburbs after 6pm and my father had to get a certificate to drink whiskey? That was mean hey and I guess some among us will never forgive them for that. I appreciate where they are coming from.

The farms are just so huge and some of them even have secret gold or diamond mines that nobody else knew about. It's never fair to take something away from others forcefully, but I wish whites in Zims had been willing to share some of the best land with us from the beginning; we would not have had this land issue haunting us even to this today and everyone would be happy. I am sure they will come back anyway, some have already done so, but at least this time they will respect our needs too.

I love the fact that Zimbabwe now uses the US dollar. Although it is rather undervalued, a loaf bread cost one dollar so do most basic goods otherwise you would end up with bubble gum for change. The beauty about the US dollar is the fact Reserve Bank can no longer print worthless money on impulse and cause hardships through hyperinflation .You can also now transfer money in and out of the country with no hassle. The "externalization" of foreign currency is no longer treated as treason. Music to my ears.

I love the reading culture of Zimbabweans in general. The newspapers get sold out often, even the ones that haven't much to say and also those that are negative about everything.  I have stopped reading them. There is however, such a shortage of decent book stores in Harare it's such a pity but everyone here is always reading something. The legend that if you want to hide something from a black you put it in a book does not work in Zims. Thanks to Zanu-PF policy of free education for all immediately after independence, that's one thing they got right.

I love, for once; to hear deep Shona spoken and the modern Shona slang will leave you in stitches.  The now popular Shona rap music is so creative! Our  Shona language is so concise, deep with such meaning and humor unfortunately most Zimbos, especially the younger generation, think it is so cool to speak English with an American accent and wear hip hop clothes. Even the radio announcers here think they are in America. Hmmm, I guess they will need some political education about imperialism and its ills.

Finally I love the investment opportunities everywhere. All we need is a bit of cash and everyone will be scrambling for a piece of the action. Those in the Diaspora will come back soon I am sure and for once, we will get better service, better prices and more competition in business. Companies here are a bit complacent when it comes to offering good value for money and good customer service. New companies will surely clean up if they are smart.

One last good thing is that almost every Zimbo owns an asset you know, the cars they drive are paid for, most own fully paid for homes and they hate debt and no longer trust the indigenous banks with their money.  That's a sad story. Almost everyone is building a property somewhere and owns a piece of land somewhere. Land is the economy, the economy is land! Mugabe is right. The beauty here is that Zimbabweans have no high personal debt like in Mzansi and that is something good that has come out of the economic hardship. If only we could all focus on the good that has come out of our past and move on!

The irony of this all is that Mugabe is right on the issue of the need to empower Zimbabweans and Tsvangirai is right to insist on the need for democracy. An empowered and democratic Zimbabwe is all we want. Our land and its people are beautiful so gentlemen let's put aside our "differences" and let's make it happen.

Mark my sober words, when Zimbabwe gets this right and opens up, you are going to wish you were here!

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Vince Musewe is an independent economist currently in Harare. You may contact him on vtmusewe@gmail.com

Source - Vince Musewe
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