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Africa & Aboriginal Tuesday: Has Britain Become A Colony Of Zimbabwe? by Daniel Molokele

This week I start by asking the rather simple but complicated question; ĎHas Britain become a Zimbabwean colony?í I know on the face of it, this question may sound rather awkward and may be even silly. However, I have a point I need to discuss about and hopefully, drive home.

I ask the above odd question because it appears as if 115 years after British colonialism was officially launched in Zimbabwe, history appears to be repeating itself. The only significant difference being that it is not the British who are determined to settle in Zimbabwe but it is the Zimbabweans who are now so determined to settle in Britain at all costs.

Is it not rather tragic and ironic that barely a century after the British South Africa Company launched its colonial investments project at Kopje Hill on 12 September 1890, many Zimbabweans are scrambling to get a foothold on the rather cold island nation?

Indeed, it is almost a huge paradox of history today to learn that in spite of the fact that it was the cold island weather that forced Cecil John Rhodes to sail to Africa; most Zimbabweans are now flying up north to the island. It seems as if that the Zimbabwean temperatures have become so hot that many of the nationís young people now prefer the cooling effect of the islandís freezing weather

It might be an interesting fact to Rhodes as he continues to lie in his warm eternal resting place at Matobo, to learn that many Zimbabweans are deserting the country he fell so much in love with. Is it not strange that Rhodes loved the country so much that he insisted that upon his death, the best place for his eternal sleep would be found in Zimbabwe of all the places in the planet?

As I write today, it appears the immigration process of the thousands of British people who relocated to Zimbabwe has now come full circle. History teaches us that about a hundred years ago, there was strong migration trend from the island nation towards the southern nation north of the Limpopo River. A lot of islanders left the rather cold life in Britain and opted to have the hot country that Rhodesia was, as their permanent home.

Today, we now have a classic case of a reverse scenario in motion. Today, thousands of Zimbabweans are leaving no stone unturned in desperate attempts to fly up north to the island nation. Today, most of them are prepared to leave the best jobs that Zimbabwe has to offer in favor of the worst jobs the island nation can offer to them. Today, many Zimbabwean professionals would rather do any menial or blue collar job, as long as it is the island nation.

To add a sad twist to the tragic story, the senile leader of the hot southern African country cannot stop ranting and raving about the leader of the island nation. In fact, it seems every time he speaks in public, the chances are 100% that he will go off topic in pursuit of his Blair pet project.

It appears the very same leader is so obsessed with the island nationís leader to the extent that he even presumed he was actively involved in the southern African nationís parliamentary elections. The island nationís leader scored a first by being the first foreign incumbent leader to contest in another sovereign nationís elections! What makes it even more interesting is that he was forced to contest with or without his express ambitions.

It is a paradox of political history to note that while Mugabe continues to shout on the roof tops that Zimbabwe will never be a British colony again, many of his own kith and kin are spending sleepless nights plotting on how to land their feet on the cold floors of Heathrow or Gatwick airport on a one way ticket!

But nowhere has the ludicrous nature of the desperation of young Zimbabweans to relocate to the cold island been better displayed as in the recent soccer playersí fiasco.

Last week, a group of footballers from the countryís two best soccer teams deliberately remained behind on the island. It seems that they are so determined to stay in the island at any cost that they are prepared to abandon the glory and fame that comes with soccer success back in Zimbabwe.

As a result, these footballers will now join the ever growing list of Zimbabwean sportspersons who have relocated to the island nation in the past decade. Most of them have been forced to take an early retirement from their beloved sports and focus on completely different career routes.

Is it not sad that even the Mugabe family has not been spared of this reverse colonialism?

I am also reliably informed Mugabeís own nephew; a well known fromer national soccer team player has also relocated to the cold island. It seems he is as determined as anyone else not to return to Zimbabwe ad infinitum. His children will now have the British citizenship only since the Zimbabwean Constitution cannot accommodate dual citizenship. Soon it will be normal to meet an island citizen going by the name of Mugabe and proudly proclaiming their British identity!

Daniel Molokele is a human rights lawyer based in Johannesburg. He can be reached at This piece appears in New Zimbabwe.

Daniel Molokele

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

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