Miriam was sworn in as a Canadian citizen Monday along with 50 others during a special ceremony downtown.
To the Zimbabwean security guard, who endured violence and persecution in her birth country, holding the ceremony on Flag Day was particularly meaningful. For her, the Maple Leaf stands as a symbol of the peace and dignity she cherishes in her new home.
“To me, it’s about opportunity, freedom of expression, educational choice and a place where people treat each other with respect,” she said.
Though she feels safe in Canada, Miriam said she can’t shake her fear of the Zimbabwean government, which is why she didn’t want her last name published. She still vividly remembers her last few years in the African country, when she ran afoul of President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu (PF) party by openly backing the opposition.
In 1999, militias supporting the government went after her.
“They broke into my home and beat me up,” she said. “They said, ‘You support Zanu (PF) or you’ll get what you deserve.’ “
Miriam said she’d like to return to Zimbabwe for a visit someday when the political situation improves, but Canada is now home.
“This is where I want to be. I love it here, except for the weather.”Post published in: Politics