UK-based Michelle Kambasha said that Zimbabwe’s cautious handling of the coronavirus has made the country safer than Britain.
Writing for The Guardian, Kambasha, whose family escaped Zimbabwe’s imploding economy for Europe in 1996, when she was four, said the situation felt different when she visited the country for Christmas last year. She said:
It’s no secret that England’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been at best lacklustre and at worst fatal.
Lockdown was delayed until it was too late, frontline workers were left without PPE, testing was woefully inadequate, among many other things.
England alone has seen about 77,400 people die after contracting Covid – roughly the same as the entire continent of Africa.
While acknowledging that there are scientific and demographic reasons for the low infections rates across Africa compared to Britain, such as a young population and the tropical climate, many African governments responded quickly to the pandemic and this tamed the impact of the disease. Kambasha added:
Before Covid-19, going to Zimbabwe felt like an obligation to my ancestry. This time it felt like a luxury and one that I’d know to never take for granted.
It was like escaping a burning building into one that stood firm – at least for the time being. The irony of our reverse scramble to Africa wasn’t lost on us.
In today’s Zimbabwe, we found the exact opposite of what my parents had run away from in the 1990s. I overcame the naive embarrassment of being Zimbabwean many years ago but am left with guilt and anger at this inferiority complex that had been slowly embedded in me all these years. I wonder how long it will take to undo that.