What is independence to a born free Zimbabwean?

Namatai Chipunza is a born free – she was born 14 years after independence. What does independence mean to someone born free?

Born free and ambitious; Namatai Chipunza

Dear Mother Zimbabwe

I woke up today and, while I was preparing for the day, I thought to myself “Oh so today Zimbabwe is celebrating 37 years of independence – more like oppression to me.”

And then suddenly I was overwhelmed with great fear that maybe my generation doesn’t actually have opportunities, just like my father’s generation didn’t have a chance in life.

Maybe we will also fail just like the generation of our parents did – afraid to voice out – so we shrink ourselves and just endure the pain, as long as we are breathing right? (“chero tirivapenyu”).

Education without jobs for a born free

I began university in 2012 and I have watched so many people graduate as “aircraft engineers”. I was one of them. But I have never seen one person, just one, who has made it onto the payroll of the Harare International Airport.

When I tried my luck in applying for a job,they said they haven’t recruited engineers “for years” and even if they take you, there isn’t any money for you. Mind you, this is the same airline that charges US$50 as tax for every person departing.

Lost hope

I have dreams but lately just don’t know if they are worth fighting for as long as I am Zimbabwean because, really, at the end of the tunnel is darkness. I have had to work twice as hard as the average 22 year old, just so I can put food on my table and pay my bills. Did I mention how hard it is to work in a foreign land and the discrimination? But that’s a story for another day.

Back to my current tale. Right now, as a Zimbabwean born free, I feel locked outside the gate while I am at home with my bag of dreams.

“Knock knock, will you please let me in?”

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