NP Exclusive: "Zimbabwe, my country, collapsed a long time ago"
By Miriam Mannak
"Zimbabwe is on the brink of collapse." How often haven't we heard this phrase over the past two to three years? Too often, I'd say. From politicians to journalists, from analysts to the ordinary person walking down the street. Well, I have got news for you all. Zimbabwe has plunged from the cliff quite a few years back, but managed to cling onto the edge - preventing itself from tumbling into a dark, never-ending ravine.
"Zimbabwe, my country, has collapsed a long time ago," said Maria*, a young Zimbabwean woman who currently resides in a small township close to Cape Town. "My family hardly has food. Bread is very expensive. Thank God for the mango season. If it were not for that, they would have practically nothing to eat."
Maria has a five-year old daughter, whom she has not seen in years. "She lives with my sister. It was too dangerous to take her with me to South Africa," Maria explained with an emptiness in her eyes that made my heart bleed.
"It has been three years and four months today since I left Zimbabwe," she added while bouncing on her knee a young boy of whom she is the nanny. "I miss my daughter so much. Every day, every hour. But I hope that I can take her with when I go visit in January next year. My employer is wanting to help me to get her here."
Like millions of Zimbabweans, Maria left her country simply because she could not afford to support herself and her child. "What I earned in back in Zim was not enough to support her. So I left her with my sister. I send money home as often as I can to help her out."
Despite the grave problems in Zimbabwe, Maria has not lost hope yet. "One day Zimbabwe will be better. But when that will be? We can only hope and pray that day comes soon."
* Not her real name, to protect her privacy