Zimbabwean academic and constitutional law lecturer at Kent University, United Kingdom, Alex Magaisa said that people born or bred in the diaspora should not have Zimbabweanness foisted onto them.
Magaisa’s remarks follow the recent controversy stirred around Tinashe, an American RnB musician’s citizenship.
Moreover, in football circles, the national men’s soccer team has tried to lure English footballers of Zimbabwean descent to play for the Warriors, among them are Tendayi Darikwa, Reiss Nelson, Kundai Benyu, Macauley Bonne, Brendon Galloway and Andy Rinomhota.
Writing of social media on Monday, Magaisa had this to say:
The recent brouhaha over nationality reminds me of the old adage, “success has many fathers but failure is an orphan”.
We and I use this very loosely, like to claim people, only if they have done well. Let them claim and assert their Zimbabweanness. Let’s not force it upon them.
But dark clouds sometimes have a silver lining. The clamour suggests our myth of nationhood is strong. There’s nothing natural about nationhood.
It’s a product of imagination; a myth that must be sustained by solid and unwavering belief. All great nations are built on this myth.
For young people growing up outside Zimbabwe, their relationship with the nation is a little distant compared to older hands who are linked by memory.
Yet believe you me, as they grow up and begin to understand the complexities of the world they do gravitate towards the nation.
Sometimes you find it unusual spaces. Years ago in an English pub, an elderly white gentleman introduced himself to us as a fellow Zimbabwean.
He had heard us talking in Shona. He felt the pull of home, he said. There we were, far away from home but joined by our nationhood.