Home PodcastAshraf Garda Zimbabwe at 43: Reflecting on Independence and Anticipating Future Challenges

Zimbabwe at 43: Reflecting on Independence and Anticipating Future Challenges

by Luqmaan Rawat
Zimbabwe celebrates 43 years of its independence Photo Pexels

Zimbabwe – On Tuesday, 18 April, Zimbabwe celebrated 43 years of independence from British colonial rule. Since then, the country has gone through many turbulent times and with the general elections around the corner, one wonders what is next in store for this beautiful country.

While there may be a negative connotation attached to Zimbabwe, the country has a lot to celebrate, explained Rutendo Matinyarare, from Zimbabwean anti-sanctions. The country has prospered since gaining independence and the future looks bright.

“There is a lot to celebrate in Zimbabwe. We look at the aspects that Zimbabweans have become the most literate Africans on the African continent. Zimbabwe has been under sanctions for 23 years. We’re still standing. The Apartheid government fell after six years of sanctions. The Rhodesian government fell after 13 years. We continue to grow because we’ve learned to use our land. We’ve learned to use our mineral resources.”

Zimbabwe has been in the spotlight recently after a documentary series by Al-Jazeera’s Investigative Unit called Gold Mafia was released. It revealed a money laundering network in which gold smuggling gangs share links with top officials in Zimbabwe’s government. However, Matinyarare alluded to the fact that this was nothing more than a ploy of the West and Europe to try and stop Zimbabwe from succeeding.

“The mineral resources and the boom that we’re having from the gold rush is making a lot of Europeans and Westerners uncomfortable that they began to call it a Gold Mafia in a hope to try and ban our gold. In the hope to try and close our financial system because they don’t want Zimbabwe to succeed but Zimbabwe is succeeding.”


Challenges of Zimbabwe are less than they appear to be

There are many challenges in Zimbabwe. One of which being hyperinflation. In March, its annual consumer price inflation was 87.6%, down from the prior month’s 92.3%. However, its unemployment rate is almost 6%, a stark contrast to South Africa. While the country has challenges Matinyarare believes the media over exaggerates it.

“We’ve got challenges like every other country on Earth. There are a number of Zimbabweans that also try to make it out to be what it is not. Zimbabwe is a country where if you’re willing to wear an overall, in order for your children to wear suits, you can actually make it. We are seeing a lot of people with no education, brought up in poverty, with absolutely no amenities making it from the bottom to the top. The biggest gold buyer in Zimbabwe today is an uneducated young man who rose from being a gardener and actually overtook his boss who was the biggest buyer of gold in Zimbabwe. He is actually a multi-billionaire who delivers $1.2 dollars worth of gold to the refineries in Zimbabwe every single year after starting off as a gardener just 15 years ago.”

On the whole Zimbabwe has less poverty than South Africa which is “probably the most advanced country in Africa” while also managing HIV better. If you look at these figures and statistics, it is clear to see that Zimbabweans are living a better life.

“When we look at aspects like the number of people who own houses, the number of people in debt, Zimbabwe has got a less household debt ratio compared to South Africa where almost everybody is indebted and most people can’t even pay their debts … When we look at every technical aspect of the mining Industry … black, native Zimbabweans are the ones that are running those Industries. Banks, insurance companies are owned by natives. This is the big transformation that Zimbabwe has gone through and why it has become an enemy of the Western world.”

SMread: Extending the life of coal power plants is the right move for SA


The government of Zimbabwe

Zanu PF has been criticised over the years for their brutality towards Zimbabweans who opposed them, opposition leaders and even white farmers. Matinyarare does not see it like this. He credits the current government for the life in Zimbabwe. He also reiterated that the media has made mountains out of mole hills with what has happened in the past.

“When you look at a country like Zimbabwe, all our urban metros are actually run by the opposition … In South Africa we have had three politicians that are murdered every single month for the past seven years. In Zimbabwe we don’t have any political killings. It is just the media reporting that tends to portray Zimbabwe in a much more negative light … Our farm killings, less than 13 white farmers were killed in the past 43 years of Zimbabwe’s Independence but in South Africa how many white farmers are killed on a daily basis … We’ve always said that there was violence that happened in 2008 and it was violence between political factions. It was not sanctioned by the government of Zimbabwe.”


Zimbabweans in South Africa    

Matinyarare painted Zimbabwe to be a country that is far better than South Africa in every way. Many will then be wondering that if the country is so great, why are so many Zimbabweans in South Africa? For him, it is simply because South Africa is an economic powerhouse and nothing more.

“South Africa is the biggest economy on the African continent so if people are going to try and look for economic opportunity they would likely come to a country like South Africa. A lot of the capital that was externalised out of Zimbabwe, illegally, has come to South Africa. So a lot of times there’s been a gravitation towards where the capital has run to and there’s also people seeking opportunities in South Africa.”

Even though Matinyarare called South Africa the “Wild Wild West” he believes Zimbabweans flock to the country because it is easier for them to make a life here than it is in Zimbabwe. Many people don’t want “to do the hard work” and would much rather come to a country where the economy is already working.

While Matinyarare believes Zimbabwe is better, he also believes it is easier to make it in South Africa. The struggles for Zimbabwe come in the forms of sanctions but Matinyarare feels that the country has done well to survive through it and will see itself to a better future.


To hear more from Rutendo Matinyarare on Zimbabwe and why Zimbabweans migrate to South Africa, listen to the podcast here: 

Related Videos