When I grow up


Source: When I grow up – The Zimbabwean 30.07.2016

A few years ago I received a message from Mr. Nigel M. K. Chanakira asking me to meet him at his Karigamombe Office.

I didn’t know what exactly we had to meet over. When I arrived at his office, I noticed I was not alone. There were some familiar faces including Tommy Deuschle and Munyaradzi Gwatidzo.

He informed me that I had been nominated to be a part of the inaugural Global Shapers of the World Economic Forum in Zimbabwe. It was a huge honour.

The first item on the agenda was introductions. When my turn to introduce myself came, I did and soon after Mr. Chanakira interjected. “This guy is our own Chinua Achebe, when I grow up I want to be like you Doc, I am struggling to publish my first book but look at you, you are about to launch five in one go”, he said.

Everyone in the room burst into laughter but those words had a huge impact on me. First and foremost, those words were coming from a man I have deep regard for. A man I consider to be a bellwether, role model and leader endowed with great wisdom. Other than the fact that we are both ‘Highfields Boys’, Mr. Chanakira became an inspiration to me and I am sure many others because he blazed the trail in his terrain.

On the other hand, those words teleported back into time. They took me back to those days when we were in primary school and our teachers would often ask us what we wanted to be when we grow up.

I would always respond saying I want to be a pilot or soldier when I grow up. Of course, as I grew older I realised that my purpose revolved around leadership and I am happy on this trajectory.

What is unfortunate with our current situation is the fact most graduates are still having to say when I grow up because of the state our nation is in. They are qualified and proficient yes but they are still singing the same when I grow up song.

When will they grow up?

They are still proffering the same answers a grade one pupil proffers when asked what they want to be when they grow up because all avenues for them to realise their dreams have been blocked. They are constricted to a second class life chiefly because of our Government’s leadership failure.

With that in mind, I wish to commend the pioneers of #ThisGown campaign. It’s a good campaign and I am plugging in. I encourage all Zimbabweans to plug in too. I was delighted to see photos of graduates playing street soccer along first Street yesterday. That is the way to go, well done guys. We must continue piling pressure.

I shall wear all my 6 graduation gowns and join you whenever you call for an activity. I shall also occasionally wear my gowns while attending to my day to day assignments. Let’s send a clear message together.

We want Zimbabwe to work for us. We don’t want to run away, we want to realise our dreams here. We want to build this country using our knowledge and expertise.

They have failed to create opportunities us. They have failed to buy the future for us. We are therefore demanding our national leaders to step aside and give us an opportunity to build our own future which they are failing to build.

We know we can, we will and we must.

We can’t sing this when I grow up song to our graves. Something has to give and we are taking a stand.


  • comment-avatar
    njalo 6 years ago

    Hello ZimSitRep,

    My conclusion is that you grew up in present day Harare, are more than likely Shona, probably have several university degrees and are secure in some well paid job somewhere in our world.
    I also have no doubt that you were or perhaps still are a member of ZANU.
    It is people like you who know what the problem is, know what the solution is, yet do not have the guts to do anything UNTRIBAL about it.
    I am not Shona nor Karanga, nor Ndebelele………..oooh! maybe a little of this and a little of Kalanga, Suthu or whatever. I have left my country of birth because Tribalism is worse than Racism.

    • comment-avatar
      Fallenz 6 years ago

      Absolutely true. Tribalism is worse than racism, but combining the two results in the shabby jungle mentality that has overrun Zim. In such an environment, it is difficult to separate those kinds from the pesky primates that roam the streets stealing whatever their hands can reach. Zimbabwe is worthy of better than that. Even as the circumstances stood, Zimbabwe was better than that. But, the USSR and Maoists gave the primates AKs and bombs, and they brought a “freedom” that looks more and more like a deep pit inhabited by mambas for any who are not Shona and do not subscribe to “do unto others… “.

      When will freedom from tyranny come?