Tshigomboza, a Zimbabwean born artist, staying in Muledane,
The resignation of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe last Monday has brought new hope for Zimbabweans scattered throughout the world.
On November 15 military forces took control of the country, effectively placing Mugabe and his wife, Grace, under house arrest. Five days later the president of the past 37 years resigned. His axed deputy, Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa, was sworn-in as an acting president to serve until the elections scheduled to be held next year.
During the last 17 years of Mugabe’s rule, many Zimbabweans fled the country amid economic challenges that were followed by political violence, especially against people supporting opposition parties.
In their desperate attempt to escape the unbearable challenges that they were facing at home, many of the Zimbabweans illegally jumped the Limpopo River and settled in different parts of South Africa, especially Musina, Mutale, the Makhado Municipal area and in Thohoyandou where they tried to build a new life.
Here are the views of some of the Zimbabweans staying in the Vhembe district.
Mr Peter Chirobe, better known as Tshigomboza, says he was only 11 when Mugabe became Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister in 1980. Tshigomboza, who became a popular artist since he relocated to South Africa, is now staying in Muledane with his family. He says he was forced to leave because of the economic challenges.
Like many Zimbabweans, Tshigomboza says he was happy to hear that Mugabe has resigned. “It was not good for one person to lead the country for close to four decades. Now that he is out, I am looking forward to see Zimbabwe back to what it used to be in the early 80’s. Now that Mnangagwa is the new president, I hope he will focus on the reconstruction of the country instead of taking care of party politics,” says Tshigomboza.
Tshigomboza, who has been visiting home twice a year, hopes that his country will have its own currency soon. “Zimbabwe is a very peaceful country, but there was no cash. When visiting home, from Beit Bridge to Harare, you will meet twenty road-blocks where police officers will be demanding bribes. Now that there is a new president, I believe there will be positive changes,” says Tshigomboza.
Asked if he was planning to go back home, Tshigomboza says he has settled in South Africa where he is running his own musical studio.
Meanwhile, another established Zimbabwean artist, Michael Jambo (55), says he is expecting a lot from Mnangagwa’s rule. “This is the beginning of a new era. We are looking for big changes. Mugabe will remain our father. He did a lot of good things like establishing a high educational level in our country, which is all well-done to him. Regardless of the challenges, the situation forced us to think hard and find a way to survive, which is a good thing,” says Jambo who came in South Africa in 2011, where he settled in Muledane.
Jambo, a married man with four children, says he is not planning to relocate back home since his family is able to visit him every now and then.
Ms Evelisa Maruti, who has been working as a domestic worker at Makwarela Ext 3 since she arrived three years ago, says she is also hopeful that the situation will return to normal.
“When I came here, I was suffering. Since I found this job, I am happy. The challenge was the time when I was visiting home where I could not withdraw money because there was no cash. I hope all these challenges will come to an end so that we can live a normal life,” says Maruti.
Mr Life Keremba (29) says he left his home village of Mindoro in 2010 and crossed the border to Musina where he stayed for a while before he settled in Thohoyandou. He is a renting a room for R800 per month, where he is staying with his unemployed wife and two children. He has been making end meets by locking dread-locks since last year. He believes there is no difference between Mnangagwa and Mugabe. “I believe these people are the same. Mnangagwa is the new man, but I doubt if there will be positive changes for us. If there are changes, I will go back home, and I will be happy to be there,” says Keremba.
Keremba, however, stresses that he will only be happy if he could vote for his own leader. “I don’t want a president who has been imposed on me. I want to be allowed to make my own choice and I hope that a platform will be provided during next year’s elections,” says Keremba.