(Nora Chirikure, 22, student EUC)
“I’m half German, half Zimbabwean. Back home we weren’t poor, but not very rich either. Thus, I’ve always been an outsider in Zimbabwe. I went to a government primary school where children were, well… quite poor. I was not only lighter skinned but I had already been in an airplane; they didn’t have a car at home. After school I went to ballet – yet a very white thing. I guess they just didn’t understand me, though I was never bullied or anything.
Language is a thing in Zimbabwe. It really is a status society by the colonialist history. English is the language of the upper class; Shona, the local language spoken by the black Zimbabweans, is seen by many as inferior. Some people proudly proclaim they don’t speak it and others who do speak it, feel ashamed about it. Now I happen to be very good at speaking Shona, due to primary school but also because my father speaks Shona, with pride! He insisted that I call him ‘baba’, which means ‘daddy’ in Shona. The first time I addressed him with ‘baba’, he was so proud but I… I felt ashamed, hated it. Now I feel differently. It’s just a narrow-minded system in which a certain group is telling another group that they are less, that their language is worthless… Decolonisation of the mind – that’s what we need. The color of your skin, the language you speak, it doesn’t make you any less. In fact, speaking more that one language enriches you!
Do I love my country? Well, I love to spend time there with my family, but due to my difficult ‘in between’ position I don’t relate to most of the people.
I’ve been here only a week. My technical study in Germany seemed a logical step after high school but did not fit. This feels so much better! I’ve decided to do politics, economics and philosophy for a major. I hope to convey my ideas in a professional way; as a teacher, documentary filmmaker, and who knows … as a politician. Ultimately, I am a leader and I hope to get people moving. Many people do realize that a certain situation is quite bad and unjust but they just move on under the pretext of ‘you can’t do anything about it”. Then you need a leader.
Do you know ‘till what time HEMA is open? I’d like to buy an extra lock for my bike.”