July 15, 2024

Harare Magazine’s Person of The Year: The Zimbabwean

The team at Harare Magazine debated at length over this issue’s cover. We wanted to truly celebrate “The Zimbabwean” as The Person of the Year, as it certainly seems an apt time for that. We were considering a picture of the Zimbabwean flag or another national symbol of pride to represent this heroic culture, but when Barry Lungu’s brilliant masterpiece, Pride, popped up, we couldn’t resist.

I wanted feedback from as many different walks of life as I could get, and approached our diverse team of contributors, as well as some past features and a variety of others. I asked them to be creative and answer the following question in 100 words or less:

“What does it mean to you to be Zimbabwean in today’s world?”

Their answers are here for you to read. Some form of “resilient” was the overriding adjective in almost all the answers, and it reminded me of a quote from Sir Winston Churchill: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” 

Courage is, without doubt, seen throughout all Zimbabweans of today. So are resilience, determination, hope, unity, strength and downright grit. I hope you’ll join Harare Magazine in celebrating “The Zimbabwean,” as their bravery and spirit sure does deserve a salute!


by Patience Musa, ZiFM Radio personality

I come from a family of immigrants; my mother is Mozambican and my father is Malawian. I was born and raised in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is a melting pot. Zimbabweans embraced my grandparents and gave us a new home and family. Being Zimbabwean means having resilience; we always have a plan B,C or D and sometimes all the way to Z. It’s mastering 1 Corinthians 10-13 “…he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” Being Zimbabwean means PRIDE in the Zimbabwean story – the history of the nation, FAITH in the Zimbabwean journey and HOPE for a better future for the next generation. Being Zimbabwean to me means the existence of a sisterhood/brotherhood. No matter who or where you are from, there is a bond there stronger than any other differences that we may have. No matter where I am in the country, I know I can count on my fellow countrymen. This “oneness” surpasses even the borders of this beautiful country that we love. There have been many instances in my life when strangers have saved me. Whatever tribe, race, religion – we are ONE.


by Barbra Jambga, Sweat Nation, Fitness Instructor

The first words that come to mind are Grit, Resilience, Positive, Patient, Loving and Friendly. There may be a lot off odds stacked up against us but despite ALL that, we remain generally positive, we have grit and we do whatever is needed to move forward in a patient manner. We are resilient and “always make a plan.” I am a proud Zimbo and my people are friendly and loving. In today’s world, Zimbos have a part to play; we have many stories and plenty lessons to teach because of our experiences.

 by Dr. Nozipo Maraire, Neurosurgeon and bestselling author:

To be Zimbabwean is to know that the sun will always come up after the darkness of the night. No matter the terrors of the dark, nor how long the night, every Zimbabwean waits in hope for the dawn, the warming rays of the day’s promise, a call to rise up and with fresh zeal apply oneself to the work of life.


by Callie Anne Gavazzi, Safari Chef

Being Zimbabwean means so many things, it’s almost impossible to write all the reasons. I think the first thing that stands out to me is strength. We are the strongest people I know. We can take everything that’s thrown at us and just keep going. No matter how hard it gets, we just keep fighting. Being Zimbabwean is like having a family for life. Wherever I go in the world that sense of pride follows me and we are naturally drawn together. We are united and we stand together always. It’s something only a Zimbabwean understands. I guess being Zimbabwean for me ultimately means being who you are and standing for something real wherever you go in life. I am who I am because of my upbringing and my childhood. My career and journey has all been a result of my beautiful Zimbabwe.


 by Ameera, Kicking It with Mimi lifestyle blogger

Being Zimbabwean means a number of things .We are definitely resilient, hardworking and innovative in our ways. Zimbabweans are not just famous for “making a plan” but we are also determined and full of hope! More recently being Zimbabwean in today’s world means that we are re-defining how the world views us and how we interact with the world. In every sense, Zimbabwe is now and we are open for business.


by Stan Higgins, Managing Director, Aquarius PR

Being a Zimbabwean means being a person with the good fortune to live in a very special country. It’s not to say we don’t have our problems, and it sometimes seems we have more than our fair share of these, but we Zimbabweans often feel we live in a country with many blessings … and these include great weather, beautiful wilderness areas, a more informal way of life, less materialism than in many other places (although we are definitely now in danger of falling into the modern trap of placing “things” before “spiritual gifts”) and an emphasis on family values. We have not been blessed with great leadership in the past couple of decades, but perhaps that is all going to change and we will see economic growth and prosperity for more and more Zimbabweans, most of whom have put up with the effects of poor leadership for far too long. And let’s put an end to the recently-snowballed bad standards of driving that threatens so many lives.


by David Michie, best-selling author and Mindful Safari Guide

You are a problem-solver, capable of dealing with setbacks that would reduce others to a state of benumbed indecision. You have learned to be patient, and practice non-attachment to outcomes, which though wished-for, may never happen. Like the survivor of a shipwreck, you are traumatized by the loss you have experienced either directly, or by your loved ones. You have a deep sense of interconnectedness, and the community on whom you depend to get through each day. You love your country, or you have made a plan to live somewhere else.


by Joseph Bunga, Battle of the Chefs producer, Chef and Entrepreneur

To be a Zimbabwean means to be able to make a plan and move past any challenge that comes your way. In 2018 it means to be hopeful after several years of economic hardship – as a Zimbabwean I have learned to make do with little and understand more about economics, law and the constitution. To be Zimbabwean means being able to laugh at adversity and wake up each day with a sense of new hope and to be able to say goodbye to an old leader and not be interested in retribution.


by Ann Hamilton-King, Gardening Specialist and Guesthouse owner

Thank you for asking me to express my feelings “to be Zimbabwean!” I can say it in two words: “Incredibly blessed.” I was born here in Harare (then Salisbury) at Lady Chancellor (Mbuya Nehanda Maternity), Zimbabwe. That is a great blessing in itself. I learned to speak Shona and Afrikaans. I went to Convent Sacred Heart here in Harare and loved it there. I learned and developed gratitude there from our wonderful Dominican Sisters. My parents were tobacco farming in Norton. I loved going out in the barns with my Daddy at night to check that the fires were burning to keep the right temperatures, as it is vital for curing the tobacco. My Dad then bought a farm in Rusape where I went to school and also got malaria. I was sent to East London in South Africa = learned Afrikanns! I came back to Harare after university and opened a hairdressing salon, bought Borrowdale Brook Country Estates from General Robert Belmont Long, farmed horses, and later opened a guesthouse – Borrowdale Country Manor and Borrowdale Brook Nursery. We ran the guesthouse, farmed vegetables, and taught cooking, landscaping, gardening, and interior decor classes. Got the contract to plant trees in Borrowdale Brooke Golf Course. After selling the farm, I bought No. 12 Fleetwood Road, Alexandra Park – I love it. I love Harare. I love Zimbabwe and I am grateful for the peace and joy.

The things I love about my country

  • The people – gentle and loving and kind.
  • The weather.
  • The freedom to choose.
  • The ability to have freedom of speech.
  • To have freedom to vote.
  • To have freedom to write.
  • The joy of walking in the “bush.”
  • Bird watching.
  • Animal watching.
  • Ability to travel.


by Justin Marabini, owner Primal Crossfit, Crossfit trainer

I used to think, through ignorance, that it meant I was different. That we were different…as a culture, a race, and a people. Certainly different to what I thought it might be to be “1st world.” What I know now, through experience, is that people in these so-called 1st world countries face much the same challenge to get out of bed and make a buck… feel they have “justice”… find happiness…live with meaning in this existence called Life. It’s pretty much just a question of attitude. Preferably positive! The vast majority of Zimbabweans have that positive attitude.


by Terresa Manwele, Housemaid

Being Zimbabwean is today’s world means being a survivor, strong enough to face the hardships of a failed economy. It also comes with a hope. Hope that tomorrow, next week or maybe next year it’s going to get better. It also means that I am patriotic enough to stay, despite all the hardships. So at the end of the day, it’s the hope that everything will eventually get better that make me a true Zimbabwean.


by Lee Vermaak, owner Gourmet Girls Catering

To be an integral part of Zimbabwe’s diverse culture and peoples for over 50 years is a mantle that cannot be worn lightly. Our country is a spinning wheel of colour and change that encompasses the ever-changing tapestry of life. We have seen seasons and politics, and despondency and joy, but through it all, the tangled webs of our nation have forged on through oppression and freedom, failed crops and bountiful harvests. I am truly privileged to be a part of it all and stand proudly alongside the Zimbabwean people through the many chapters that form the book of life in our home.


by Ernest Nyahanana, Publisher, Harare Magazine

Being Zimbabwean means we are one, “Tirivamwe,” as the spirit of community and belonging is at the center of our way of living. The title of the Borrowdale Brooke Homeowners and Golfers Newsletter was correctly picked, “Tirivamwe, we are one.” Being Zimbabwean also carries hope and confidence to persevere through thick and thin. Most importantly, I am free and I’m blessed to choose to be myself as I have the option to flatly refuse to let the world corrupt me.


by Tinashe Chiyambukira, fashion contributor, Harare Magazine

Being Zimbabwean means having witty humour! Even at the most unlikely times, you will find us throwing puns at a situation. Though we are scattered all over the world, our online communities are bursting with laughter that brings us together. Our positive disposition is unmatched! If you think I’m lying, ask a “twimbo!”


by Billy Shoniwa, contributor, Harare Magazine

I would like to begin with how for me personally, it’s just not about being geographically placed in this teapot-shaped part of southern Africa. It’s much more than that. It’s that feeling of being home, that freedom, freedom to be. From the urban to the rural life, both of which I have experienced in one way or another, the urban life being the greater of it be it low or high density there is always that unique togetherness and warmth that seems to come naturally in being Zimbo. Like anything else that has got its ups, we have our downs, but we somehow always find a way to make it work and through it all, you always see smiling faces. To me, that’s what it means to be Zimbabwean. In conclusion, being happy, creative, having perseverance and freedom to be is what it means to be Zimbabwean.


by Dr. Austin Jeans, Sports Medicine Physician and author

It means I’m always grateful. It means I aspire to make a difference. It means I wish to leave a legacy. Always grateful for Zimbabwe’s gifts to us…open spaces, fresh air, organic food, great people and a resilient innovative spirit through adversity. When we see the depth and volume of needs in so many facets of our country the lesson is that in my day I want to tick the box of having made a difference to someone or something every possible day. Along life’s journey in Zim there comes a point when one really looks at what legacy do we leave…for our family, our community and our nation… and so be inspired to make that difference beyond the day.


Image Cred: Barry Lungu

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