“We want to come home”, Diaspora Speaks
A Number of Zimbabweans working and living in different parts of the world have expressed their concerns following lock-downs to minimise the spread of the coronavirus causing COVID-19.
Many countries worldwide are on lockdown to curtail the further spread of the virus, which has claimed many lives.
Below are some of the views from the individuals living beyond the borders:
Maxim Murungweni, Child Rights Expert (Zambia): It’s a good move to make sure we stop the spread of the disease and protect every citizen. However, just like any other strategy, it has its own disadvantages e.g. some of us are not able to travel to be with families and are experiencing difficulties in sending remittances etc.
We also hope that the government will be able to reach out and provide assistance to vulnerable families during this lockdown.
Above all, we have to work together in the fight against COVID 19.
Confidence Masvosva, Victoria, Australia: Whenever change comes, it has a positive side as well as negative effects.
As Zimbabwean in Victoria, Australia, I can say lockdowns have affected me in different ways. As a student, everything is now 100 percent online from lectures and research.
We now use e-books. Even our graduation, which was due on 27 March, we had it online. As someone who works, it affected me too because interpersonal relationships were cut.
To put things straight, people are allowed to leave the house for one of five reasons: shopping for food, work and education, are reasons, exercise or other extenuating circumstances. Just a day before yesterday, our lockdown was reviewed.
The State of Emergency has been declared in Victoria from 16 March 2020 until midnight to 11 May 2020 to manage COVID-19). This provides the chief health officer with additional powers to issue directions to help contain the spread of COVID-19) and keep Victorians safe.
I actually cannot travel to visit family and friends. For instance, this Easter I only had access to the family members, my brother and his family and my sister, who stay an hour-drive through video call.
Since we are nurtured in a communal set up back home, it affects the social aspect, prayer life which we are used through Sunday celebrations and communal sports like gym and soccer. Despite all mentioned, I can say it has given me ample time to reflect on my personal life and the need of God in my life.
I realized that money, power and intelligence vanish on a click of a button but the only hope is God. The people going out are essential services workers only.
Failure to comply the fine is AUD$1 652.
Claude, Durban Bluff: Lockdown has affected us especially on money since most of us tozvishandira kana usina kuenda kubasa hapana mari. Manje apa anokupa marl hapana talcangog-ara chikafu ato ma1.
On my side, kwatinoshanda macompany emaIndia hatina mari dzatakapihwa. Takapromiswa maUIF kuti kana yabuda from Government tichakupai, but now 3 weeks hapana. We don’t have rentals. Itori hondo nemalandlords varikudawo mari dzavo and my point is-lockdown yakashatira kuvanhu vasinga shandire Government.
Pastor Ronnie Bete, Pretoria, Gautem; The lockdown has affected most of those in my sphere of influence in four main ways: 1. Being unable to congregate is a challenge and as at such times, people need counseling, words of hope, faith and encouragement.
We are also unable to carry out community work because of the lockdown, yet the community really needs ministers of the gospel to minister unto them physically and spiritually. As a result, we are on the receiving end of harsh critical comments of being inactive yet we have to adhere to government lockdown instructions.
2. We have had to exercise digital migration to communicate with colleagues, congregants and school-related matters.
This means a high expenditure in data costs as not everyone has access to free Win. This is also a disadvantage because when not going to work, money for data is the least of our worries. 3. Most foreigners do menial jobs — vending or work in restaurants.
The lockdown extension means we have no income for a period of five weeks. Unlike our South African brothers and sisters employed by the government and those receiving aid from the recently unveiled UlF (Unem-ployment Insurance Fund) most foreigners have nothing.
They are not sure how they will last until the end of the lockdown, and a number have taken to begging INSIDE supermarkets (they pretend to be shopping but asking for donations from shoppers).
Most highlight the need for food and are worried about where to get money for rentals this month end as landlords need that money too for sustenance. 4. There is also uncertainty as unconfirmed rumors increase that the government is exploring ways to deport illegal foreigners so that the country’s health delivery system is not oversubscribed.
Recent developments have shown lines of truth in such fears. Already announcements have been made for everyone (esp foreigners) to move with their ID documents.
Although I haven’t heard of anyone being detained so far, this can easily be employed as a measure to “screen” illegal immigrants.
Also, free clinics are now suddenly charging R I00 to foreigners, while district public hospital fees shot up to R400 for foreigners. After that, they will tell you to go and buy medicine as they are understocked in medical supplies. It’s unfortunate because those of us in business have created employment and are compliant taxpayers.
I am privileged to have a work and study permit, but the truth is many foreigners do not have these and so getting assistance or health care is a challenge for them.
Government has for some time reiterated that it shall crackdown on foreign owned churches and businesses, and there are fears this could be a reality soon after the lockdown.
There’s nothing interesting about this lockdown especially us who work from hand to mouth. We last had our salary last month, and we are not allowed to move around because if you get caught you will be in big trouble with the soldiers, so this whole thing is really boring and we are stuck.
Tapiwa Choga, Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, China: It was a new experience which made it a bit frightening considering that we did not have enough knowledge about the virus. The number of deaths that increased each day made me feel a bit scared, exposed and worst of all the burden I was to my family during this period.
Lizzinet Ndinvo, Cabin Crew in Qatar: The whole nation was in a panic and as a Muslim country people started praying like never before with some arguing that it was the end of the world.
Looking at the situation, it’s so scary and terrifying considering we have our families back home and we are not allowed to travel.
It is so hard because we won’t know what’s going to happen next. Sometimes I will think about what if I die without seeing them or what if they die but on the other hand I thank God for being in a country with resources because if it happens that I get the virus, I know I am in good hands.
Dr Isabella Nyambayo nee Mavitudzi, University Lecturer of Biochemistry: I am in the West Midlands in the United Kingdom, but my area is not really affected. We are just staying at home and hearing most of the information through the news.
In terms of communicating with family and relatives in Zimbabwe, we have been using video calls and it has helped a lot.
Prince Tinashe, Joburg: When we shut down the people, we shut down the economy. That is the aim and objective of Satan.
The lockdown is affecting the economic world so much. This is what Satan, the author of coronavirus, aims and desires: to cause hunger and destruction. He has come to steal our economy, to destroy our hope and to kill our future.
His aim is to destroy our lives, our finances, and our health. Locking down is only giving Satan the opportunity to achieve his aim and desire. Let us refuse to give him a chance. Well yeah, the major effect is economical. Working from home is not bad but people are refusing to pay to cite financial problems and therefore lockdown has serious negative economic implications on overheads like rent and bills. Student, Cyprus: As a Zimbabwean outside I’m really affected to a greater extent by this lockdown both emotionally and physically I think this is mainly because I’m a student and with everything dosed down.
I mean banks, workplaces, school you name it I literally do not have any way to either get or collect money from and this is affecting my day to day life and if I’m to go out I don’t feel safe at all.
I mean you don’t know who has it and who doesn’t. I feel like masks don’t really do the job. Recently a lady near my apartment tested positive and that has disturbed me this means nowhere is safe at all, you might just get it without knowing. And the other thing is I miss my family back home I feel like it would have been much better-being home that faces this tragic thing in a foreign country not knowing how your lives are doing back home being present beats it all….But staying is the best thing one can do at the moment
Mathew Mawamuka, South Africa: Macomparnies awe kutiti tiise maleave days which is tight kana usina. Some are suspending payment of any allowances you normally get. Worse those who are in informal employment. Even when the Government is talking about compensation though the companies are playing a low key.
These ones don’t qualify for this. Pakatooma worse more the President added two weeks more. Even at that end of April there is a fear of unknown.
What’s going to take place no one knows? Even end of lockdown that’s not the end of corona so I foresee some other conditions being put in place.
Corona will be used as a good excuse I foresee more deportations for those with papers not in order.
Kudakwashe Mangwadza, Kwazulu Natal Province Newcastle, South Africa: This lock-down is hard on us because same us we are living on piece jobs. But ndakatarisa, they are trying to save our lives.
Where I am staying in South Africa it’s a small town in Kwazulu Natal Province, Newcastle.
It’s clean because hapana wandakanzwa anacho in my city. We have friends and brothers in diaspora wakabatwa nacho chirwere ichi wakandiudza kuti this virus is real and it’s gonna take your life so easy and simple.
Samantha Mulcombwe, South Africa: As an illegal immigrant based in SA this lockdown has badly affected me. I earn less than the South African minimum wage and I can’t even save it since I survive from hand to mouth And the South African government is only assisting its citizen during this period, so I don’t know how I am going to pay my bills, buy food and I can’t come home because the border is already closed.
If only I knew this lockdown was going be extended, I would have come back home.
Student, Russia: Well the main issue is getting money from home has become significantly harder but otherwise, we’re still learning online but yea it’s learning harder to focus and be serious in the same place where you sleep and play just need me to have better self-control and be more responsible.
Leobar, Jo’burg, South Africa: There’s nothing interesting about this lockdown especially for those of us who work from hand to mouth…we last have our salary last month, and we are not allowed to move around because if you get caught you will be in big trouble with the soldiers so this whole thing is really boring and we are stuck
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