Xenophobia-stricken Zimbabweans are saving countries’ dead economies


Workers pictured at a home in Zimbabwe’s rural Mwenezi district, where 44-year-old Davison Chihambakwe, based in neighboring South Africa, has helped upgrade and modernize some of his family’s homes. He uses the money he sends after fleeing the economic problems of this country 15 years ago. Credit: Jeffrey Moyo/IPS
  • by Jeffrey Moyo (hers
  • Inter Press Service

Since the day after his departure, Mahamba (53) has been sending money home as Zimbabwe’s economy faltered by violent land repossessions by commercial white farmers during Zimbabwe’s land reform program.

In neighboring South Africa, 44-year-old Davison Chihambakwe, who left the country in 2007, claims he has built a massive building empire and, he said, has made a difference at home too.

Even in neighboring Botswana, 39-year-old Langton Mawere, who left Zimbabwe in 2008 at the height of the economic crisis, is ‘back home’. He has started a real estate company by sending money for projects managed by others on his behalf.

Mahamba says from the UK that he is sending money to his elderly parents who live in the Zimbabwean capital Harare. The money reaches them through WorldRemit – a money transfer company.

“I have made sure to send about 2000 pounds (sterling) to my ailing parents, who are now in their 80s, without fail, as they also need monthly medical checkups and food,” Mahamba told IPS.

From South Africa, Chihambakwe says his family also benefits.

“None of my close relatives or relatives suffer at home because I make sure I send them money to meet their daily needs.”

He sends the money through another international money transfer company, Western Union, to his relatives, such as 32-year-old Denis Sundire, who is based in Harare.

Sundire says his cousin from SA has supported him since college.

“Davison (Chihambakwe) has supported me since my college days, and even to this day as I struggle to get a job he still sends me money for my maintenance. That is why he is becoming more and more successful. He’s so nice,” Sundire told IPS.

Zimbabwe is fighting 90 percent unemployment, according to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), though the government has downplayed that to 11 percent, claiming people work in the informal sector.

Mahamba, Chihambakwe and Mawere all said they fled this South African country in search of greener pastures when this country was hit by economic difficulties.

As a result, hundreds of Zimbabwean economic migrants who have fled this country over the years have become the panacea for the African nation’s worsening financial problems.

Zimbabwean economic migrants such as Mahamba, Chihambakwe and Mawere are breathing new life into the country’s faltering economy through the remittances they send home.

Chihambakwe prides itself on modernizing its rural village in Masvingo Province in Mwenezi District. He claimed to have helped some of his poor villagers build modern houses and get rid of the thatched huts.

For many, like Chihambakwe, helping his village and loved ones from his South African base has also increased diaspora remittances to the Zimbabwean economy.

According to the Treasury Department, remittances from outside the country are expected to reach $1.4 billion by 2021, up from $1 billion a year earlier.

But even as Zimbabwe’s economic migrants make progress in countries like South Africa, they often face xenophobic sentiment and sometimes attacks.

Many South Africans blame Zimbabwe’s migrants for taking local jobs and rising crime.

In South Africa, the Quarterly Labor Force Survey (QLFS) results for the fourth quarter of last year showed the official unemployment rate to hit more than 35 percent, the highest rate since 2008, when the QLFS began.

Recently, a video went viral of South African Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi launching a devastating attack on illegal aliens.

He (Motsoaledi) made the remarks about foreigners at an ANC regional conference in South Africa’s Eastern Cape.

Referring to migrants he believes have flooded South Africa, Motsoaledi said: “Something is going wrong on our continent, and SA is on the receiving end.

“When people do wrong things in their country, they run here.”

“We are the only country that accepts villains. Even the UN is angry with us that SA has a tendency, because of something called democracy, to accept all the villains of the world,” the South African minister said.

As Zimbabwean migrants breathe life into their country’s struggling economy via remittances, while xenophobia rises to new heights in South Africa, a gardener, 43-year-old Elvis Nyathi from Zimbabwe, was stoned this year by a mob in the neighboring country before he died. was burned to death, ostensibly because he was a foreigner.

Recently, South African Fredson Guilengue, who works for the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung’s (RLS) regional office in Johannesburg, wrote in the Mail & Guardian, saying: “The issue of xenophobic attacks on foreigners has once again reached an alarming level in South Africa. -Africa.

Tensions are also exacerbated by an anti-migrant campaign called Operation Dudula, led by 36-year-old Nhlanhla “Lux” Dlamini.

Dlamini was arrested and now faces burglary, theft and willful damage to property after Dudula members descended on a suspected “drug house” in Soweto in March.

But even within the ruling ANC there are mixed reports of the operation, with some evidence of support, although SA President Cyril Ramaphosa distanced his government from the Dudula machinations.

“The concern that we have is that we have a vigilante organization that is taking illegal actions against the people they target, and these things often get out of hand, they always mutate into willful violence against other people,” Ramaphosa said.

Report of the IPS UN Office

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© Inter Press Service (2022) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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