My Zimbabwe

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My Zimbabwe

Imagine for a moment what comes to mind when I mention the country known as Zimbabwe. If wheelbarrows of paper money and starving people come to mind, you’re not the exception. Thanks to their former tyrannical ruler and an uninspiring transition to a new government, Zimbabweans have a lot of work to do if they wish to fix what Mugabe and his cohorts broke.

Despite their tumbling infrastructure and weak economic growth made all the worse thanks to the virus, many Zimbabweans refuse to give up on their home country.

In My Zimbabwe, we introduce you to four individuals who have made it their mission to help Zimbabwe prosper. May their unrelenting efforts through impossible odds inspire you to do more for your country.

Petina Gappah – Out of Darkness (from 7 July)

Born from her love of reading as a child, Petina Gappah writes about life as a Zimbabwean from an African perspective. Petina is optimistic about Zimbabwe’s future but knows how important it is to stay vigilant during times of change. By writing about Zimbabwe’s failings and injustices, Petina hopes to nudge her beloved country in the right direction and prevent it from repeating the same mistakes it made in the past.

When she’s not writing, Petina rehearses plays and takes part in community projects, one of which aims to save Harare’s central library.

Elias Libombo – Riding with Elias (from 14 July)

A vital pillar of conservation is gaining the support of locals. Educational programs alone aren’t enough to achieve this support. The roles which elephants play in tourism and the future health of the ecosystem ceases to matter if a stampede of the lumbering things flattened your crops the other day. As community liaison for the Gonarezhou National Park, Elias Libombo’s job is to ensure that the locals, and the local wildlife, live together harmoniously.

Thanks to Elias’ perseverance and charisma, the local community does less accidental damage to the environment in their day to day lives. They also help prevent poaching by keeping an eye on strangers and reporting suspicious activities.

Precious Marange – In the Game (from 21 July)                                                                                                                                                                         

Hardship has been a constant throughout Precious Marange’s life, but she’s never let it deter her. Instead of quitting school when her parents could no longer afford it, she graduated high school while working part-time as a maid. During these difficult times, Precious found an outlet that became her passion: cricket.

In 2019, Precious made her debut for the Zimbabwean women’s national cricket team. Impressive as the accomplishment is, the gig doesn’t pay well enough to sustain her and her son. To make up the difference, she works in a factory when she isn’t on the field. The story of Precious Marange is one of inspiring strength of will and stubborn refusal to quit despite life’s difficulties.

Hector Mugani – Music Man (from 28 July)

Making a living in the music industry is a mountainous task even in the most developed of countries. Despite having to quit college because COVID-19 ruins everything, Hector Mugani thinks he might have found a way to pursue his love of music without starving. Part-time macadamia-nut farmer, part-time promotor of music, Hector hopes to revitalize the traditional Zimbabwean musical arts while still putting food on the table.

Between toiling the soil, finding new talent, and launching a music festival under the banner: “Heart of the Mountain”, he’s hard at work developing an electric mbira. By modernizing this thousand-year-old musical instrument, Hector hopes to bring traditional Zimbabwean music into the modern era.

Catch the stories of these resilient people on Wednesday mornings at 12:30 AM on Aljazeera. For a more civilized hour, catch the repeat at 6:30 PM every Friday.

Wednesdays at 12:30 AM on Aljazeera (ch 257) from Wednesday, 07 July
Also on: July 7 at 11:30 AM; July 8 at 5:30 AM; July 9 at 6:30 PM & 4:30 AM; 10 July at 7:30 AM

Author: Jan Hendrik Harmse