“Please come back home,” I begged to which she responded, “I wish, but where will I start?
What will I do when I come home? It’s not easy here sometimes but at least I have a job!”
This is the painful conversation I had on Monday with my young sister who is based in Johannesburg.
This was after she was forced to run home from her work place in Jo’burg’s central business district following an outbreak of violence against foreign nationals.
She stays no less than five kilometers from her work place but on this particular day she had no choice but to flee for dear life as the deadly attacks meant there was no time to look for transport.
My sister is a trained agriculture extension officer but like most Zimbos she couldn’t find a job after completing her studies and thus had to cross over to what she thought were greener pastures.
It has however not been all rosy as she, like other foreigners are constantly subjected to these xenophobic attacks.
And sadly, while it would be good for her to be home as home is always best, home has nothing to offer her as we are as good as a failed state.
It has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that the millions of Zimbos scattered all over the globe are economic refugees who were left with no choice but to cross borders or go overseas because of the economic situation.
I remember way back in 2007 when I packed my bags and headed to Gaborone after talking to a friend in the media about the situation back home.
While I was fully employed by the Zimbabwe Newspapers Group and working for The Chronicle, the situation was no longer tenable for me to continue working.
My salary then was not enough to even buy foodstuffs to last a week, thus I decided enough was enough.
I was not alone in this situation as many colleagues and Zimbos also left the country during those years of hyperinflation to lead a better life and support their families back home.
We are back to that era where putting food on the table is a real struggle as food prices are way too steep and beyond the reach of many.
The socio-economic situation is so bad in Zimbabwe such that for those who are outside the country like my sister, coming back home is not a good option as there are no jobs to talk about.
My heart really goes out to her and all other foreign nationals who are in South Africa not by choice but because of the situation in their motherland.
They are now literally stuck between a rock and a hard place as they have to risk their lives for the sake of economic survival.
I have no doubt that if the economic situation improved in Zimbabwe, many Zimbos would consider coming home because, like they say, there is no place like home.
I can only imagine how painful it is to sleep with one eye open fearing that you could be the next victim of xenophobia.
On a different note, we finally got back electricity at our farming area on Monday after 19 days of total darkness and dryness.
While life has to go on, we are still counting our losses as we had to open our garden for goats to feast on our 2, 000 cabbages which wilted due to lack of water.
Talk about being let down by a government which never acts swiftly to solve problems!