Itai Dzamara Still Missing

Wellington Mahohoma | I greet you with love and hope. I have always had you and Zimbabwe at heart. As a generation, we have endured a lot. I write this letter giving you my reflections as we approach the 2018 general elections.

We have endured the brunt of bad governance, misplaced priorities and corruption. Unemployment is rife. The majority of us have never been employed, despite having skills and knowledge. We do not have a payslip to our names. The fortunate connected few continue to be rewarded and enjoy on our behalf. Tenderprenuers such as the celebrated criminal Chivhayo racked millions of dollars from public funds to build shacks and buy several pairs of designer shoes.

Passing through filthy and makeshift bus ranks you will see able-bodied youths of our generation, ‘mahwindi’, busy at work. The only job they have known is to scream their lungs out, luring passengers to get into commuter omnibuses.

Years of experiencing this denigrating task have turned them against us. Their anger and despair has turned to violence. In the cities, we been harassed at their hands, with life being lost even. Vulgar has become part of their language targeted at even the elderly.

Each day we humbly commute to work, dangerously packed like sardines in small cars. We have many at times been caught in the wars between the corrupt police force and the mushikashika hustlers.

We have been reduced to drug and alcohol addicts. Illicit substances – Bronclear syrup, marijuana and ‘musombodiya’ – make my generation have the courage to see another day. Our society itself is too sick to take care for those who want to be rehabilitated. The health system has since collapsed.

Our parents have suffered too. Pensions have been wiped out by hyperinflation. They worked for decades since independence, yet years of sacrifice, for both the nation and their families, have resulted in nothing. Many still have to accommodate and even fend for their adult children.

Our parents have been denied the expected fruits and privileges of bringing us to this world. The hope they had in bringing us up have turned to pain. We are daily ravaged by curable diseases coupled with a collapsed health system. Many parents have had to bury their children.

This is the only reality that we have known. To many of my generation, even dreams has been shattered. Our dreams for tomorrow have been defined and limited by this Zimbabwe. We became traders of imported second-hand clothes, smalltime poultry breeders, airtime vendors. We desperately grab at every slight opportunity – we tried even ‘zvihuta’ . We have the desire to work. We have proved to be resilient no matter how difficult the situation become. The lucky few who are employed still have to queue for hours to get the little bits of their salaries.

When the government attempts to solve problems it has created, we celebrate and clap hands. That is how desperate we are. Small sachets of rice are traded for our loyalty and votes. For a day’s drink and cigarettes, some of us are even deployed to beat into submission those who dare to dream differently .They are called sellouts.

Many have been killed. Some like Itai Dzamara were abducted in broad daylight never to be seen again. University students, like myself, were expelled from pursuing studies for daring to dream of a better Zimbabwe. With help from well-wishers, few pursued their studies outside Zimbabwe. For them it was a great blessing, an eye-opener. They saw what I saw, how governments should take care of its citizens.

As we approach the 2018 elections, I dare you to reflect and dream big. This is not our best, we can do better. We can do more, we can achieve more. Our peers who took their dreams beyond our borders are excelling. Not because they work more than you, but they live in countries and societies, which reward those who are willing to work. It is our duty to change our situation. This country is beautiful. Let us dare to dream.

Another Zimbabwe is possible.
I love Zimbabwe. I love you my generation.

Wellington Mahohoma