Why I am no longer Zimbabwean…
By Jean Gasho
I have finally left Zimbabwe, its been a long journey, but like how Ruth left Moab, I did it, and will never look back. As a writer, I have not only left the country physically, but I have left the country emotionally too. During my time off Facebook, this was something I had to reflect on.
I had got myself too involved with the political situation and other social, spiritual and economic issues facing Zimbabwe, which saw me leave Facebook after some cyber bullying. But my time off Facebook was worthwhile. I chose to go a completely different path and follow my heart and my dreams. Black British Entertainment Network was born.
Today my heart sings a new song, and my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Some may be offended by my song of praise, but it is my song and I will sing it loud the way I want.
I just love the bible, I love it more because of its controversial verses. It is a mysterious book filled with so much pearls of wisdom that even Christians find offensive. This scripture especially has been my guide as a writer in my journey of leaving Zimbabwe.
Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention:
Forget your people and your father’s house.
Let the king be enthralled by your beauty;
honor him, for he is your lord.
The city of Tyre will come with a gift,
people of wealth will seek your favor, Psalm 45
In my previous life, the one I was 12 years a slave in marriage, I had the same passions I have today. I loved photography, especially. But my ex-husband used to mock me each time I asked him to take pictures. I would never have a picture of myself taken without being laughed at or being told what a ridiculous person I was. So I stopped asking for pictures.
Today I have to say to my Boaz, ‘please stop taking pictures’. He carries the camera wherever we go and captures the most beautiful defining moments. Today my 8-year-old son also loves photography. He takes most of my pictures. My daughter too, she always has her phone out, taking selfies and videos of the family. We capture these beautiful moments because we are just happy.
Today I do not have a husband who laughs at me when I have a picture taken.
When I look back at Zimbabwe I see nothing but rejection, pain and sorrow. As a result I have chosen to be the master of my destiny and made a decision to leave my people who always did nothing but pull me down.
I was last in Zimbabwe in 2011, during my 6 weeks stay there, I remember saying to myself, ‘I will never come back to this country again. This is not my home. These are not my people.’
My heart was in the right place, because I never truly belonged there. Even my children have nothing but grim memories of our last trip to Zimbabwe.
Last week, when we took our latest family pictures, my Boaz sent the pictures to his family in Ghana. They were all beyond blessed with the pictures. They always say the most touching words to me. They love all my children as their blood.
But my eldest brother-in-law (my Boaz’s eldest brother) was especially moved by the family pictures.
He picked 5 of his favorite pictures, and made a touching tribute, sharing them on his status on his social media for the world to see. He said things which melted my heart. One was that as a mother I do all, and he also said I was the true definition of a woman.
For me I consider this my first official tribute and recognition not only as a mother but as a woman too.
Where I was married before, never once was I acknowledged as a mother.
Each time I would give birth my children would be called derogatory names. I was constantly called a bad useless mother among other names.
So allow me when I say I am no longer a Zimbabwean.
I am a Ruth to a people who are not my people. Even though to them I am a foreign woman, they see me with the eyes God see me. When I saw the tribute that my brother-in-law did for me, I cried. It meant a lot to me.
For me, as a woman of African origin, that place where I feel belonging is Ghana. The people have nothing but mad love for me. Even when they come to my house, my Ghanaian people shower me with so much love they make my ribs crack with laughter. For a woman who never used to laugh, I treasure their infectious sense of humour. Even Reggie n Bollie who are originally from Ghana said I was their sister.
Since the launch of Black British Entertainment Network (BBE) 3 weeks ago, I have had mad support from Ghana. They just love and support my work. They see me as a Ruth, on the threshing floor.
I see myself belonging to two of the most powerful empires in the world, Ghana and Great Britain.
My Boaz calls me his Ashanti Queen.
So when I say I am no longer Zimbabwean, understand where I am coming from. You don’t know the road I walked as a Zimbabwean woman.
Ps: For the Zimbabweans who find my articles annoying and want me to stop writing, my advise is simple…stop reading.
You can follow Jean Gasho on her blog Just Jean