Another broken family

BY A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT The message via e-mail was simple and clear: Dear Patrick, I hope you are fine. Just dropping you a note to say goodbye. Goodbye forever. Love. Former wife, Sandra, UK. This was one of her rare communications since she had left for the UK to look for a better life. P

atrick was expecting it but the way she wrote did not sound right. Not to someone who she had kids with.

“I will work for a few years and come back,” she had said. Years were now decades and now forever.

Recent stringent travel requirements imposed on Zimbabweans have left one route open: Border jumping with serious repercussions.

Many have landed at the notorious Lindela prison. The hopes of reunification with loved ones are slim or shattered. If they get through, they resort to sending money to show their family commitment.

Patrick’s reason of marriage was to stay together as one happy family in sickness and in health. The money and the goodies were secondary – his family came first.

Of the three or four million Zimbabweans estimated to have left the country many have vowed not to come back.

These have created a new family structure, which socializes and interacts through the phone, Internet and photos – all things alien to the Africa culture.

Rarely do many of these directly participate in family matters. Their absence is felt at important functions but they can extend cash gifts, which are welcome by everyone.

Family members abroad can only shed tears of joy or grief as they view recorded videos sent via the plane.

The thought of beneficiaries misusing funds while they toil for hours has led other to ignore responsibilities.

Cases of illnesses due to home fever have been witnessed and recorded.

While optimism or lack of resources have kept others at home, the economy has continued to dwindle rapidly – forcing many to leave the country.

The UK has embarked on deportations of would-be asylum seekers. While the Zimbabwean government has said it welcomes its citizens home, many would rather live in camps than return home.

The harassment of Zimbabweans in South Africa and Botswana is well documented and many believe Lindela was created precisely for them.

Given the choice between her family and country or a better life abroad Sandra chose the latter. She could see no future in Zimbabwe. Another lost figure, another broken family.

Post published in: Opinions

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