Lockdown: ‘Zimbos hit hard times in diaspora, a number of them turn to begging inside supermarkets’

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A NUMBER of Zimbabweans working and living in different parts of the world have expressed their concerns following lockdowns to minimise the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Different countries world-wide are on lockdown to curtail further the spread of the lethal virus which has claimed many lives.

The scenario has seen many companies closing and leaving only essential staff operating and Zimbabweans outside cannot be spared from the effects.

President Mnangagwa also declared a 21-day lockdown which has entered its third and final week.

Below are some of the views from the individuals living beyond the borders:

Maxim Murungweni, Child Rights Expert (Zambia) – It’s a good move to make sure we stop the spread of the disease and protect every citizen.

However, just like any other strategy it has its own disadvantages e.g some of us are not able to travel to be with families, difficulties in sending remittances etc.

We also hope that government will be able to reach out and provide assistance to vulnerable families during this lockdown. Above all we have to work together in the fight against Covid 19.

Confidence Masvosva – Victoria, Australia: Whenever change comes, it has positive side as well as negative effects.

As Zimbabwean in Victoria, Australia I can say lockdown has affected me in different ways as a student everything is now 100 percent online from lectures, research we now use ebooks.

Even or graduation which was due on 27 March we had it online.

As someone who works, it affected me too because interpersonal relationships were cut.

To put things straight, people are allowed to leave the house for one of five reasons: shopping for food, work and education, care reasons, exercise or other extenuating circumstances.

Just a day before yesterday our lockdown was reviewed.

A State of Emergency has been declared in Victoria from 16 March 2020 until midnight to 11 May 2020 to manage coronavirus (COVID-19).

This provides the Chief Health Officer with additional powers to issue directions to help contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and keep Victorians safe.

I actually cannot travel to visit family and friends.

For instance, this Easter I only had access to the family members my brother and his family and my sister who stay one hour drive through video call.

Since we are nurtured in a communal set up back home, it affects the social aspect, prayer life which we are used through Sunday celebrations and communal sports like gym and soccer.

Despite all mentioned I can say it has given me ample time to reflect about my personal life and the need of God in my life.

I realised that money, power and intelligence can vanish on a click of a button but the only hope is God.

The people to go out are essential services workers only. Failure to comply the fine is AUD $1652

Claude, Durban, Bluff – Lockdown has affected us especially on money since most of us tozvishandira kana usina kuenda kubasa hapana mari.

Manje apa anokupa mari hapana takangogara chikafu ato ma1.

To my side kwatinoshanda macompany emaIndia hatina mari dzatakapihwa takapromiswa maUIF kuti kana yabuda from Government tichakupai but now 3weeks hapana.

We don’t have rentals itori hondo nemaLandlords varikudawo mari dzavo and my point is- lockdown yakashatira kuvanhu vasinga shandire Government.

Pastor Ronnie Bere, Pretoria, Gauteng – The lockdown has affected most of those in my sphere of influence in four main ways:

Being unable to congregate is a challenge and as at such times, people need counselling, words of hope, faith and encouragement.

We are also unable to carry out community work because of the lockdown, yet the community really needs ministers of the gospel to minister unto them physically and spiritually.

As a result, we are on the receiving end of harsh critical comments of being inactive yet we have to adhere to government lockdown instructions.

We have had to exercise digital migration to communicate with colleagues, congregants and school related matters.

This means a high expenditure in data costs as not everyone has access to WiFi.

This is also a disadvantage because when not going to work, money for data is the least of our worries.

Most foreigners do menial jobs, vending or work in restaurants. The lockdown extension means we have no income for a period of five weeks.

Unlike our South African brothers and sisters employed by government and those receiving aid from the recently unveiled UIF (unemployment insurance fund), most foreigners have nothing.

They are not sure how they will last until the end of the lockdown, and a number have taken to begging INSIDE supermarkets (they pretend to be shopping but asking for donations from shoppers). Most highlight the need for food and are worried about where to get money for rentals this month end as landlords need that money too for sustenance.

There is also uncertainty as unconfirmed rumours increase that the government is exploring ways to deport illegal foreigners so that the country’s health delivery system is not oversubscribed. Recent developments have shown lines of truth in such fears. Already announcements have been made for everyone (esp foreigners) to move with their ID documents. Although I haven’t heard of anyone being detained so far, this can easily be employed as a measure to “screen” illegal immigrants.

Also, free clinics are now suddenly charging R100 to foreigners, while district public hospital fees shot up to R400 for foreigners. After that, they will tell you to go and buy medicine as they are understocked in medical supplies. It’s unfortunate, because those of us in business have created employment and are compliant tax payers.

I am privileged to have a work & study permit, but the truth is many foreigners do not have these and so getting assistance or health care is a challenge for them.

Government has for some time reiterated that it shall crackdown on foreign owned churches & business, and there are fears this could be a reality soon after the lockdown.

Tapiwa Choga, Xuzhou, Jiangsu province in China – It was a new experience which made it a bit frightening considering that we did not have enough knowledge about the virus. The number of deaths which increased each day made me feel a bit scared, exposed and worst of all the burden I was to my family during this period.

Lizzinet Ndirwo, Cabin Crew in Qatar – The whole nation was in panic and as a Muslim country people started praying like never before with some arguing that it was the end of the world. Looking at the situation it’s so scary and terrifying considering we have our families back home and we are not allowed to travel it is so hard because we won’t know what’s going to happen next. Sometimes you will think what if I die without seeing them or what if they die but on the other hand I thank God being in a country with resources because if it happens that I get the virus I know I am in good hands.

Dr Isabella Nyambayo nee Mavhudzi, University Lecturer of Biochemistry – I am in West Midlands in the United Kingdom but my area is not really affected. We are just staying at home and hearing most of the information through the news. In terms of communicating with family and relatives in Zimbabwe, we have been using video calls and it has helped a lot.

Prince Tinashe, Joburg – When we shut down the people, we shut down the economy. And that is the aim and objective of Satan. The lockdown is affecting the economic world so much. And this is what Satan, the author of coronavirus, aims and desires: to cause hunger and destruction. He has come to steal our economy, to destroy our hope and to kill our future. His aim is to destroy our lives, our finances, and our health. Locking down is only giving Satan the opportunity to achieve his aim and desire. Let us refuse to give him a chance. Well yah the major effect is economical, working from home is not bad but people are refusing to pay citing financial problems and therefore lockdown has serious negative economic implications on overheads like rent and bills.

Student, Cyprus – As a Zimbabwean outside, I’m really affected to a greater extent by this lockdown both emotionally and physically I think this is mainly because I’m a student and with everything closed down I mean banks, work places, school you name it I literally do not have any way to either get or collect money from and this is affecting my day to day life and if I’m to go I don’t feel safe at all. I mean you don’t know who has it and who doesn’t I feel like masks don’t really do the job. Recently a lady near my apartment tested positive and that has disturbed me, this means nowhere is safe at all, you might just get it without knowing. And the other thing is I miss my family back home I feel like it would have been much better being home that face this tragic thing in a foreign country not knowing how your lives are doing back home being present beats it all….But staying is the best thing one can do at the moment

Mathew Mawamuka, South Africa – Macompanies awe kutiti tiise maleave days which is tight kana usina. Uye some are suspending payment of any allowances you normally get.

Worse those who are in informal employment. Even when the Government is talking about compensation though the companies are playing low key.

These ones don’t qualify for this. Pakatooma worse more the President added 2weeks more. Even at that end of April there is fear of unknown.

What’s going to take place no one knows? Even end of lockdown that’s not the end of Corona so I foresee some other conditions being put in place. Corona will be used as a good excuse. I foresee more deportation for those with papers not in order.

Kudakwashe Mangwadza, Kwazulu Natal Province, Newcastle, South Africa – This Lockdown is too hard to us because same us we are living with piece Jobs any etc.

But ndikatarisa they are trying to save our lives.

Where I am staying in South Africa it’s a small town in Kwazulu Natal Province. Newcastle is clean because hapana wandakanzwa anacho in my city. We have friends and brothers in Diaspora wakabatwa nacho chirwere ichi wakandiudza kuti this virus is real and it’s gonna take your life so easy and simple.

Samantha Mukombwe, South Africa – As an illegal immigrant based in SA this lockdown has badly affected me. I earn less than the South African minimum wage and I can’t even save it since I survive from hand to mouth. And the South African government is only assisting its citizens during this period, so I don’t know how I am going to pay my bills, buy food and I can’t come home because the border is already closed. If only I knew this lockdown was going be extended, I would have come back home.

Student, Russia – Well the main issue is getting money from home has become significantly harder but otherwise we’re still learning online but yea it’s learning harder to focus and be serious in the same place where you sleep and play just need me to have a better self-control and be more responsible.

Leobar, Jo’burg, South Africa – There’s nothing interesting about this lockdown especially us who live from hand to mouth…we last had our salaries last month, and we are not allowed to move around cos if u get caught you will be in big trouble with the soldiers so this whole thing is really boring and we are stuck.

— HMetro


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