Zimbabwe – “I think we’ve got the gist of it…”

What next?

What next?

The telephone connection sounds thin. I turn up the volume to catch the reporter’s voice. A few horrific details staccato down the line then stop…suddenly the voice is gone.

There’s an awkward silence, a brief in-between space, and then a curt announcement from the show’s host: I think we’ve got the gist of it…”

Papers shuffle and a new topic fills the air.

Old Zimbabwe dollars from the 2007/8 currency crisis

Old Zimbabwe dollars from the 2007/8 currency crisis

The gist of it…the words drop like pebbles down a well. There is no reconnection. The topic lies smothered in silence.

What is going on in Zimbabwe?

Physically I am thousands of miles away from the country where I was born, but mentally there is a part of me that has never left. It is grown from two decades in that land-locked country, and it refuses to be washed away.

So here I sit on the outside, watching as another wave of trouble unfolds, as another generation cries out for better.

This time the unrest was sparked by a sudden doubling in the price of fuel. Shops and businesses closed across the country in a three-day shutdown. It was supposed to be peaceful but for many the silent withdrawal was not enough. Young demonstrators took to the streets, even though history said that their stand put them at risk of abuse from those with power…followed by denial.

Sure enough the abuse has come.

Now the familiar stain of revenge is spread through whole communities, and the blame shifting has begun.

It’s a deadly turmoil, confused by internet blackouts and an absent President. Horrific snippets of news – “dog attacks“, “shootings“, “beatings“, “abductions” – snag like barbed wire in cyberspace…then flutter down on to the slush pile of global woes.

From the outside it is heartbreaking. From the inside it must be like an old nightmare on repeat.

And this is just “the gist of it”.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2019

4 thoughts on “Zimbabwe – “I think we’ve got the gist of it…”

  1. How beautifully evocative of your homeland, Georgie! Your writing immediately brought back clear memories of my arrival in Harare airport so many years ago, new to Africa, smelling the fragrant-laden breezes of Zims for the very first time. Congratulations on a beautiful piece of writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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