Dear Family and Friends

There is something unique about Zimbabwe. People who have never been here or lived here do not understand it; do not understand what it is that makes us want to keep living here when nothing about our lives is normal. My letter today is for the millions of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, people who do get it, do understand. Most have left, not by choice but by necessity. They have left their families, their homes, their communities, their lifestyles and the very essence of themselves.

When I took to one social media site (Facebook) this week and asked people in the Diaspora to identify the things that they most love and miss about ‘home,’ the responses were overwhelming. This wasn’t one of those social media posts where you can just click an emoji indicating like, love, happy or sad. This was a post where I was asking people to open their hearts and actually type a few words.

A huge outpouring of love and emotion and the most heartfelt comments followed. I spent hours reading hundreds of comments about why people love Zimbabwe and what they miss the most. I smiled, laughed and cried and commented on as many as I could.

The overwhelming comments on what people love and miss the most, probably slotted into three categories: There are the Zimbabwean people: warm, smiling, friendly, welcoming and generous, always sharing meals, stories and memories and always finding humour regardless of their hardships. Then there is the Natural Zimbabwe, the wild and everything about it from the landscape to the bright blue sky in the day and the star-studded sky at night. The birds, the animals, the places, the climate, the rain, the purple clouds building before the thunder storms. The third category is the Zimbabwean lifestyle, a feeling of belonging and togetherness; the slow pace and the realness of life.

We are so proud of all of you Zimbabweans out there scattered around the world. So many left with nothing. So many had lost everything, were traumatized, broken and brutalized and now you do us so proud, all over the world. We see you and we recognize your amazing skills in the medical and health fields, in education, sport, finance, science, technology, the arts, writers, singers, dancers, actors, legal professionals, architects, designers, engineers and so many more. Thank you for flying our flag high. Thank you for never forgetting us. We know that you are as frustrated as we are at the ugly things that keep hitting us behind the knees – the politics, greed, corruption, selfish, cruel, brutal, oppressive things. We know how much you miss home, and we know also how much we miss you.

 There are so many Zimbabweans in the Diaspora who are quietly, without any publicity or headlines, helping us. They are maintaining, building or upgrading schools, clinics, hospitals and maternity units. Others are involved with orphanages and children’s homes, projects with girls and youngsters, with conservation programmes, charities and sports. There are millions who are sending money home for family members, friends and for former employees. In 2023 money sent by Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to their families here reached an astounding US$1.8 billion, an amount equaling 25% of our annual export earnings.

I leave you with these images from our beautiful Zimbabwe this week: In the early evening the Southern Cross and two pointers are spectacular in the winter sky; at 03:00am Scorpius is blazed across the night sky, stinger up, claws down and if you are out before dawn then Mars is there guiding your way. Dawn is peach and apricot, the spotted eagle owl humm- humming from high in the Masasa tree branches. Children laugh and sing as they walk past on their way to school. Heuglins Robins, Hoopoes, Babblers, Thrushes, Blue Waxbills and Doves are endlessly pecking for food in dry crackly gardens. The ladies at the markets are selling huge avocados, bananas and tangerines. The air is dusty and smoky and it all subsides into the most glorious sunsets and as you stand in the caramel glow of twilight, the nightjars swirl and chase each other, singing their beautiful song “Good Lord Deliver Us.”

To all our Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, thank you; Zimbabwe would be so much worse off than it is without you. You are part of us, we are part of you. 

There is no charge for this Letter From Zimbabwe but if you would like to donate please visit my website. Until next time, thanks for reading this Letter From Zimbabwe now in its 24th year, and my books about life in Zimbabwe, a country in waiting.

Ndini shamwari yenyu (I am your friend)

Love Cathy 11th July 2024. Copyright © Cathy Buckle

All my books are now available on Amazon and Kindle  and on LULU Please visit my website for further details, to link into my social media sites, to contact me or to see pictures that accompany these letters