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Surviving in Africa

Surviving in the African wilderness is a challenge for the various species that call Africa home. Each species preys on the other and they each develop different survival tactics. I was watching a programme about wildebeest and was amazed to see that their young learn how to walk and run in less than ten minutes. What takes a human baby years to learn, wildebeest and many young of the wild learn in a matter of days or hours. There is no time to take baby steps and adapt to the surroundings because hyenas are out waiting to prey on the young. I watched in wonder as four minutes after birth the little wildebeest was racing for its life with a hyena on its tail. This instant, the little wildebeest made it. Talk about a crash programme, if it were human, it would retell this story of its survival spirit for generations to come.

Africa is generally a challenging place to live in whether it be the animals and vegetation or the humans. The business environment is harsh and the continent is characterized by poverty from the tip down South coast to the coast up North. How do Africans survive in this harsh climate many may wonder. The truth is that Africans have thick skin, don’t mind the pun. The world as a whole is difficult place to live in this side of 2000, but Africa is in a world of its own. Recessions come and go and forecasts are rarely ever positive, but the African populace keeps their heads high and keep on plodding on.  I’ll admit that Africa has got its challenges, but the positive things far outweigh the challenges.

 

Ask the beast and they will teach you.

Ask the birds of the air and they will tell you.

Speak to the earth and it will tech you.

The fish of the sea will explain to you.*

I’ve been back in Africa for five years now and I love it. Many diasporians give in a few months after getting scorched by Africa. Having lived in the diaspora, where the challenges seem a little softer, many cannot reintegrate into society. Zimbabwe tops the bill, with few job opportunities and a hostile business environments many choose to go back to the foreign land they had chosen to leave. In my humble opinion, you just have to ride the waves and see where they take you. I may not have the financial security I would like, but money is not everything. My grandma passed away a few months after my arrival and my little world fell apart. She had been my inspiration to move back, I wanted to spend more time with her because she was growing older. I only had three months with her before she was painfully taken away from me. I could only comfort myself with the thought that I’d seen her in the last few months of her journey. I was able to travel for the funeral, the memorial and the unveiling of the tombstone. Had I been in Europe, I would have sent remittance home and missed on actually being there mourning with the rest of the family.

There are happy occasions as well and I cherish those times and they are priceless in my view. My sister got married a few weeks ago and I was able to help her plan, go shopping for dresses and choose décor and all sorts of things, things I would never have experienced had I been in Europe. I would have paid for most of the stuff, but I would have missed out on the human aspect of the wedding. It was nice being there to plan the kitchen party and to bake cakes for the guys doing masteps.

At the end of it all, home is where the heart is. My heart is etched on the African soil. I’m a daughter of the soil and I love Africa with my heart. I hate the corruption, the crooked ways, deception, trickery, the lack of integrity of some of its people. I hate the lack of development,  the fact that in some cases Africa seems to be regressing backwards. A road that can be built in a few weeks can take up to years in Africa as funding is diverted into personal bank accounts. I don’t like the fact that politicians think they must die in power and that they have the right to use and abuse the people they have been voted in to serve. I’m appalled by professionals who abuse their offices and milk and take advantage of people. Fortunately there are always a few who bring back my confidence that this continent is not a continent forgotten, but a continent that has great potential. I thank God for the men of integrity who walk the talk, the Mandela the Thabo Mbeki, Joshua Nkomo, Kenneth Kaunda,Nkosazana Zuma, Wangari Maathai,  Graca Machel, Strive Masiiwa, Albertina Sisulu, Yvonne ChakaChaka and Ezekiel Guti without whom Africa would have no hope. As I write this list, I’m scratching my head, wondering who we can call great in Zimbabwe, and which women we would call great, people whose work has gone beyond the borders of our nation.

I may not reach such heights of greatness, but my life and my work in Africa may change the lives of a few. This is my greatest reward. While living in Europe, I realized that my remittance was never going to touch as many people as I would if I was on the ground myself.  My remittances always let me down, because the money I sent to Africa, never really did I what I wanted it to do. If I sent a remittance to Africa, it reached only my immediate family, what bugged me the most, was the people around my family, that I could not reach. I always think about my grannies friend amai Simba who was widowed at a young age and was taking care of her family alone, she had no family abroad and only had income from the little cabins she rented out to people. I always wished I could help her, but the money didn’t stretch that far. Every now and again, I would send her something, but it was never enough for her to make a living. After Muramba tsvina, my heart was sore because I knew that amai Simba’s only source of income was the little cabins that had just been cruelly destroyed by the authorities. How was she going to fend for her family when her sole source of income had just been ripped apart. Somehow God has  a way of taking care of his own. In that harsh economic climate of 2008, she made it through. That is why I think to live in Africa you need a thick skin so you can whether whatever storms are thrust at you.

Like the young wildebeest, there is no time to learn the ropes, you have to think on your feet and act while you move. Like the young wildebeest that faced its first attacker four minutes after birth and rose up to the challenge, so are we required to respond to the changes that face us in such a way that we rise above and surf every wave that comes. The only thing that is constant is change and we have to be aware that we need to adapt and change to the environment we live in.

 

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Categories: Development, General
  1. August 3, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    The Greatest Show on Earth is still mesmerising guests in the Serengeti! Over one million wildebeest and zebra are peacefully grazing the central Serengeti plains and Seronera region. The rains have stopped and we are witnessing the most breathtaking sunrises – what a truly unforgettable sight to see the sun rise over the vast herds of the Great Migration. The young wildebeest calves are now four months old and are coping well, slowly learning how to fend for themselves. The tail end of the Migration seems to be taking the ‘scenic’ route and has yet to arrive in the central plains. A few herds were briefly seen approximately two hours away from Grumeti, however, these herds, being as elusive as they are, had disappeared the next day! Meanwhile other herds are slowly taking the North Route and are grazing near Mbuzi Mawe. Stay tuned for the highly anticipated Grumeti crossing.

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