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A fading hope for Zimbabweans living in South Africa

29 Apr 2020 at 10:46hrs | Views
South Africa went into a lockdown four weeks ago in order to flatten the global pandemic Covid19 -Coronavirus curve and the lockdown has positively exposed some of the hardships faced by foreigners who are employed in the retail industry.

During the lockdown, I had time to interact with fellow countrymen surrounding the old township of Langa.

Langa is one of the oldest town in Cape Town situated about 15 kilometers from the city centre.

It is a township and suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. Its name in Xhosa means the 'sun' and it was established in 1927 in terms of the 1923 Urban Areas Act. Similar to Nyanga, Langa is one of the many areas in South Africa that were designated for Black Africans before the apartheid era and it has a population of around 58 401.

I have been living in this township for more than two years now, and had the privilege to interact with many Zimbabweans and South Africans living in this oldest township.

I discovered that most of these young South Africans do not go to work and was wondering how they eke out a living, serve for a few typically educated ones who are employed and like  driving their posh cars with very beautiful ladies.

These young man don't socialise with some of their fellow countrymen neither do they socialise with foreigners like Zimbabweans, Malawians or Nigerians for their own reasons. They look down on them. The only interaction is when hiring foreigners for menial jobs.

Some do not feel comfortable to hang out for a drink with foreigners but I had always wanted to tell them that people from Zimbabwe were very warm, very accomodative and wonderful, that was my mission to tell my Zimbabwean story. A lot would agree with me that very few Zimbabweans go down to South Africa for criminal reasons but come to work for their well being and some are economic refugees.

It is well known that Zimbabweans are so resilient ,hard working and peace loving people. Wherever Zimbabweans are they do not hide away their ubuntu and always  want to open a new chapter of their lives and love sharing their stories of suffering with others in the world.

They are always ready to show others the right way of thinking to their fellow Africans and have a sense of belonging to the African continent and a world of belonging to one global world.

Most Zimbabweans are eager to let their fellow Africans know that they are more calm, reserved, have a listening ear and soft heart.

However it is sad that most Zimbabweans will face a daunting task in the Covid19 post era. Unfortunately a sharp statement from Tito Mboweni has sent cold shivers to the spine of most Zimbabweans living in South Africa and working as tailers,waiters, gardeners, security guards maids, taxi driveds, cleaners just to mention a few.

The finance minister openly stated that businesses in the restaurant industry must employ more South African staff members. That means most foreigners will ne laid off and lose their jobs. The Cabinet member has argued that "life after lockdown" must put the workforce of this country first.

His views are much appreciated and welcome by the unemployed young people in Mzansi but how many of such young South Africans are ready to go for such menial jobs?

Most of them love clubbing and one cannot successfully separate them from their love of the brown bottle. They are fond of sinking their social ills through alcohol.  However, it has been his remarks on restaurants that raised eyebrows as thousands of young qualified Zimbabweans are employed in that sector.

I am not going to be tempted to put much of the blame on the South African Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni's sentiments but would be tempted to put much of the blame on our Zimbabwean government which has failed to implement political reforms to chart a new way to economic revival.

Political reforms are a catalyst to economic revival and have the potential to create ways for strong economic ties with local, regional and foreign investment, thereby creating employment for thousands of unemployed people.

Life for most young Zimbabwean people have been jeopardised and their futures are in a limbo hanging in a balance. Some of these people are as young as 18 years and of school going age. They are not here not because they wanted to be here but they have been pushed by harsh and the biting economic environment in the country. The future is so bleak.

If Zimbabwe government was providing such jobs where the youths are getting here, surely most of these youths would not bother to jump the borders.

I challenge the Zimbabwean government to positively look into this serious matter where its educated young people are being tossed around in foreign lands whilst politicians back home are siphoning and embezzling government funds through corruption and living lavishly.

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Source - Leonard Koni
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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