What It Takes: An immigrant’s journey from Zimbabwe to Canada

posted on August 14, 2019

By Global News |

This is the first of a six-part series by Global News intern Fadzaiishe Ziramba that tells the personal stories of six new Canadians and what it took for them to move to Canada. In this first story, Ziramba describes her own family’s experience. Our next story in the series appears on Wed., Aug. 21.

Many immigrants across Canada have remarkable stories about the sacrifices they made to make Canada home. Mine is just one story, albeit incredible.

I was born in the sun. Where tangerine sunsets and sunrises paint the sky sublime. Greenery is only one of the colours that hangs like a tapestry on the landscape. Zimbabwe is where my story begins.

Life was pleasant in what seemed like a land of milk and honey. It was a dream until the nightmare of corruption crept in and marred the landscape.

Before corruption violently ushered in duress, my father worked as the chief economist in the Ministry of Finance. My parents owned a home in Mabelreign, Harare — a low-density suburb in the capital city of Zimbabwe.

They drove a Toyota Sprinter, a sport version of a Corolla they imported from Japan. My father drove several government vehicles while on business. He was most fond of a Land Rover Discovery.

When the government dizzily ventured into corruption, he was faced with two choices: join the evil in blind solidarity or quit and flee to a haven. He chose the latter.

Having earned a full scholarship from the World Bank, my father journeyed to Massachusetts to pursue advanced studies in economics at Williams College.

I was three years old when, along with my mother and brother, I joined my father in the U.S as he completed his studies. I lived in the U.S for three months, two in Michigan, and one in Massachusetts.

After my father completed his studies, my parents began to consider settling in the U.S. This was shortly after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Converting my father’s study fellowship visa into permanent residency at the time seemed to be a near impossibility.

My parents decided Canada — what my father called a land of “green pastures” — would be a more suitable place to settle.

A recent poll by Ipsos Public Affairs highlighted the fears some Canadians have about immigration. The poll found that four in 10 Canadians had a negative view of immigration, with 37 per cent describing it as a “threat” to white Canadians.

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