Zimbabwe is home. I’m passionate about Africa, it’s upward trajectory as well as the empowerment of our youth. Due to political and economic circumstances, I moved to the UK at the age of 6. Though I am 12,300km away from home, my desire to contribute to a nation that struggled for my freedom never left me. That’s why I decided to pursue a masters in African Studies at the University of Oxford. In this way, I continue to enhance my knowledge on the continent – particularly Zimbabwe.
Ironically, I found myself back here for research purposes. I am looking into women’s experiences of menstruation in the township and high-density areas of Harare. Coming home hasn’t been an easy feat. Each step of the way I have been reminded of my outsider identity. I can admit that I’m not as attuned to the customs and language as I once was, and locals quickly pick up on this. On a normal day I walk past someone overly curious shouting “hauzi wemuno. Unibvepi?”, translating to “you’re not from here where do you come from? To which I wittily respond “Ndiri muZimbabwean. Ndanga ndanoshanya asi ndadzoka kumba”, meaning “I am Zimbabwean, I had gone away only to visit but I have now returned home.”
Esther Chidowe, a Masters student at Oxford University, speaking about her experience of returning to Zimbabwe. She is currently out there for research on women’s experience with menstruation in the urban townships of Harare.
How many other young Africans in the diaspora can relate to that sense of feeling like an outsider in a place you call home?