“When will I see you again” by the Three Degrees. This was the song that was playing on the radio as we got to the airport when I left Zimbabwe in June. Just imagine, Harare quiet in the early morning, driving past the road you grew up in, the International Airport looming in front of you, the big peach sun looming over the horizon, almost reluctant to come up, and dear Dad belting out “When will I see you again.” I don’t think my dad was being sentimental or that he thought that the song was appropriate for the occasion. From the jovial manner in which he was singing, I think that he was merely enjoying an old favourite rediscovered, completely unaware of the effect the song was having on the person sitting next to him desperately trying to fight the tears back.
When will I see you again Zimbabwe? It’s August now, my favourite time to visit my grandmother in Marondera because the whole way there, I get to look at the tall Msasa trees with their leaves various shades of purple, red and orange. It pains me greatly that every time I leave home, I have no idea when next I’ll be back, when next I’ll fly in on my evening SAA flight, tearing up when I see the lights that tell me I’m home, when next I’ll see my parents, my grandmother and everyone else or when next I’ll have a plate of mutakura.
When I came to America, I thought that with time, I would get over the homesickness, but it never goes away. I’m feeling particularly homesick today. I think it’s because today it’s Heroes day and all day I’ve been reading tweets and Facebook posts from people who are talking about how much they love Zimbabwe. I should probably stop doing that before I work myself into a state, but before I do, I feel like I too should add my piece for Heroes Day.
I sometimes feel like our government has bastardised Heroes’ Day, turning what should be a day of gratitude into another piece of their propaganda machine. However, whatever your feelings about the government, you should remember that this day isn’t about them. It’s about the men they used to be, the men who sacrificed for our freedom. It’s about Nehanda and Kaguvi who were killed because they dared to stand up against the white authority. It’s about all the young men and women who left their families, going to Mozambique and Zambia to train so that they could fight in the forests. It’s the people who risked their lives (so many of them lost them) to provide food for the freedom fighters, the people who were caught in the middle, killed by the freedom fighters for siding with the white government, killed by the white government for aiding the freedom fighters. So often they were neither, but simply trying to survive. Heroes’ day is about remembering the people who gave me a Zimbabwe to miss.
All I can say is thank you for the beautiful country Zimbabwe that I miss dearly.