Ranga Mataire Writing Back
JUST like thousands of the Caribbean people who migrated to the United Kingdom as subjects of the British Empire between 1948 and 1971 and were later referred to as “the Windrush generation”, Zimbabwe has of late since the 1980s and 1990s experienced a similar migration of citizens to Britain and the United States.
Most who left the country in the 1980s did so to pursue further education through scholarships as literacy and the technical know-how were desperately in demand in a newly independent Zimbabwe.
In later years, thousands have left the country in search of greener pastures abroad and have made such places their new homes.
However, like a Sankofa Bird that flies looking backwards, many have not forgotten their roots and have defied the odds to rise to prominence in their various fields.
A case in point is that of Tafadzwa “Taffy” Chikoto who became the first black mayor of Corby Town Council. He was also Corby’s first black deputy mayor.
Councillor Chikoto (45) was born in Zimbabwe and has lived in Corby for nearly 17 years.
According to the Corby Town Council website he “comes from a Christian background” and has “a passion for empowering youth from underprivileged backgrounds.”
In his comments after being elected first black mayor, Councillor Chikoto said, “It’s an honour being elected mayor in a foreign land and it’s a huge honour being able to represent the community. It means a lot being elected as the first every black mayor in Corby.
“People are moving on and times are changing, which is great. It’s exciting for the community. Everyone can feel included, this is not just for me.”
What is humbling about Clr Chikoto’s comments is his realisation that Corby is a foreign land and that things appear to be changing.
Indeed, the narrative that fuelled slavery and colonisation can no longer stick in modern times. The tired Joseph Conrad’s tropes of blacks being subhuman are no longer applicable. In both metaphorical and literal terms, the Empire is striking back.
In recent times, many Zimbabweans have proudly raised the country’s flag high by excelling in their various fields.
It is always heartening to see fellow countrymen and women being recognised in foreign lands. That in itself says a lot about the Zimbabwean spirit of resilience and the virtues of a good education.
It is thus important that this week’s “Writing Back” is dedicated to these sons and daughters of Zimbabwe who continue to raise the Zimbabwean flag high in foreign lands. People say one cannot choose his nationality or descent, it is God’s design and destiny.
Born on 29 December 1983 in Mbare, Chisora is a professional boxer based in London who competes in the heavyweight division.
He has challenged once for the WBC heavyweight title against Vitali Klitschiko in 2012. At the regional level, he has held multiple heavyweight titles including the British and Commonwealth titles from 2010 to 2021, and the European title from 2013 to 2914.
As of January 2022, Chisora is ranked as the world’s seventh-best active heavyweight boxer by BoxRec. Despite representing Britain in his sporting career, Chisora is a proud Zimbabwean never ashamed to talk about his roots in Mbare, Harare.
Simukai Chigudu is Associate Professor of African Politics at the Oxford Department of International Development and Fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford University.
Chigudu was born in Zimbabwe and attended St George’s College and moved to England in 2003 to pursue further studies. He is broadly interested in the politics of global health and epidemics, race and identity, citizenship and activist movements, with a regional focus on Africa and the African diaspora.
Chigudu is the author of the “Political Life of an Epidemic: Cholera, Crisis and Citizenship in Zimbabwe.”
He has conducted research in Zimbabwe, Uganda, The Gambia and Tanzania and has published in several leading social science and medical journals.
Chigudu is currently writing his first book: When Will We Be Free? Living in the Shadow of Empire and the Struggle for Decolonisation. He has been a medical doctor under the National Health Service (NHS).
He holds a DPhil in International Development from the Oxford University for which he was awarded the biennial Audrey Richards Prize for the best doctoral thesis in African Studies examined at a UK university.
Gurira is an award-winning playwright and actor. She featured in Marvel’s blockbuster “Black Panther” as General Okoye and reprised the role in the film “Avengers: Infinity War”.
Both films are among the top highest grossing movies of all time. She stars as Michonne on AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and is currently adapting Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book “Americanah” into a miniseries.
Born in the United States to Zimbabwean parents and raised in Zimbabwe, Gurira is the founder of the LOGpledge.org (Love Our Girls), an awareness-building campaign focused on the plight of women and girls.
Thando, whose full name is Thandolwethu Emily Nomvula Sikwila, is a Zimbabwean born Melbourne based singer-songwriter and actor, gracing audiences around Australia with her music.
Born in April 1993 to Nokuthula and Victor Sikwila, she is most recognised for her participation in Season 3 of The Voice Australia and her outstanding role in Effie White in StageArt’s maiden professional production of Dreamgirls in Australia.
Thando is proud of her Zimbabwean roots. She went to England when she was 17-years-old on her own to pursue a career in music. She holds a Diploma in Popular Music and Performance from JMC Academy.
There are many Zimbabwean nationals dotted across the globe excelling in various fields.
It will be good if the media continue to profile and extol their achievements and contributions to the well-being of humanity.