The people in Zimbabwe are hurting right now because we love this place so much and we can’t bear to see it like this… writes entrepreneur Anton Bhana. People are tempted to leave and some are leaving, but to be honest nobody really wants to leave. We love this place. Even those who have left would choose to come back if things were different.
We have accepted everything that has been dealt to us and we have been taking the hits and moving forward. This last punch when the minister announced that USD is illegal in Zimbabwe has left a feeling of despair and despondency in many.
I drove through Barham Green the other day, the suburb where I grew up. I remember there was such a strong sense of community in those days. We would play soccer and cricket on the streets and walk in and out of friends’ houses in the neighbourhood, playing video games (Golden Chinas) and watching movies.
We’d play basketball at Isinga on Sundays or go to Waterworld. We knew where everyone stayed and called everyone’s uncle and auntie even if we weren’t related. Sadly, many families have gone away and that sense around our city has changed.
I hate seeing families splitting up because of economic hardships and moving away. I have seen many families separated with one spouse working abroad to support his/her family here at home and there is a tremendous strain on the family structure. It is tough seeing families scattered around the globe, especially after having experienced good times of joy in the past.
We, the people of Zimbabwe have been through so much. When will the madness end? We use humour to cope but the reality is that many things are not funny. Especially when someone needs help in a hospital and there’s no medicine to help the patient or payment is needed before any treatment is done.
So much has transpired in the last year. This year alone started with a shutdown and we were teargassed at our offices.
It’s difficult to think that not so long ago people were singing and rejoicing in the streets because of the hope of a brighter future and now we are queuing for fuel, getting extreme power and water cuts, can’t afford astronomical prices in the shops, schools wanting top ups on fees, people scrambling to the bank to withdraw any USD before it gets converted to Zim Dollar at the interbank rate.
Navigating a business in times like this is extremely difficult. If a sale happens in RTGS Bonds, it loses replacement value almost immediately and now it is illegal to trade in USD or any foreign currency.
But we as Zimbabweans keep moving forward. One day at a time. Encouraging one another in the car park when we pick up our kids from school or when we bump in to friends at the shops in front of shelves, looking at ridiculous prices with eyes of disbelief. But by God’s grace, our spirit keeps fighting. We continue praying every day for a breakthrough for our beautiful nation.
Our sense of community is being restored in a not so obvious way. We can chat to absolute strangers and talk about our struggles and be able to vent our frustrations and concerns about the nation because we are all in the same boat. Somehow the situation feels a little bit better when I know someone else also had a 10 hour power cut and I wasn’t the only one.
We keep believing that tomorrow will be better. That the difficulties we’ve experienced in the past does not reflect the future. That there is hope for us who remain in this beautiful land. We may have moaned and complained about our country for a long time but deep down we believe that things will change and that despite a difficult past, and a difficult present, the future is still HOPEFUL. Hope deferred makes the heart sick but desire fulfilled is a tree of life (Proverbs 13:12). Yes, I am an eternal optimist. Yes, I will continue to encourage even when I need encouragement because I believe that we have persevered for too long without reward. Yes, I will remain joyful in the midst of chaos. Never lose hope Zimbabwe. Our time is coming. Righteousness exalts a nation. Let us keep declaring the righteousness word of God over our beloved country.
The fact that we are hurting is evidence enough that our roots are deep in the soil of our nation. We cannot be removed and be put elsewhere. We know that. And that’s why we have put up with the Zesa cuts, Fuel shortages, Expensive prices, water cuts, forex bans, shutdowns. We just know deep down that God is taking us through to the other side. We don’t understand the method of this transition but we know it will happen and all things will work together for good. When? I don’t know. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they will run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31). We must continue to be positive and praise Him in the waiting.
Psalm 37:9-10 For evildoers shall be cut off; But those that wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
God will restore the weary soul and replenish the weak (Jeremiah 31:25) and we shall be like a tree that is planted by the river (Psalm 1). The people of OUR nation will be healed from these trying times and rise up and prosper and declare the goodness of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.