NEWS

Zimbabweans Not Going Home Just Yet, Despite The Euphoria

"Yesterday was a victory, but the struggle is not over!"

22/11/2017 14:58 SAST | Updated 22/11/2017 14:59 SAST

The Zimbabwean Solidarity Forum held a conference in Johannesburg on Wednesday in light of the resignation of Robert Mugabe from the Zimbabwean presidency. There was a jubilant atmosphere in the room, as the people of Zimbabwe expressed their excitement, but there was also an air optimism about the future of the country.

"The turning point will be the inauguration of the new president"— Sox Chikohwero, a Zimbabwean living in South Africa

HuffPost spoke to a variety Zimbabwean citizens to find out how they felt about the removal of Mugabe, and whether they would be heading back home to help bring about the new era.

"If elected leadership does not give power back to the people of Zimbabwe, we will not return home," said John Vincent Chikwari. "It won't be an overnight process, and now we are waiting to see how leadership is going to restore pride and hope."

"A Zimbabwe without Mugabe –– we have lived with so much fear, so now the matter of shackles are gone, it is time to start organising going forward," said Maureen Kademaunga, who is an activist in Zimbabwe

"Yesterday was a victory, [but] the struggle is not over! His legacy still lives in the midst of the euphoria. Solidarity is strong in the struggle, and it is the system we are up against," she added.

Marius Bosch / Reuters
REUTERS/Marius Bosch

The general theme that ran through the conference was the fact that the newly appointed leadership will be very important in the revolution of post-Mugabe Zimbabwe. According to Reuters, Zimbabwe's former vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, will be sworn in as president on Friday.

"The turning point will be the inauguration of the new president –– it is going to inform us if we... will be part of the plans [for] a new Zimbabwe. If [Emmerson Mnangagwa] addresses what the Zimbabwean people have been yearning for, we will willingly go back home," said Sox Chikohwero.

Philimon Bulawayo / Reuters

There was also emphasis placed on the military, and how power should be shifted to the people. "We are still overwhelmed, but the army must pave the way for the people –– Zimbabwe is not solved yet," said Makario Chinongwa.

There was much jubilation within the anti-Mugabe camp of Zimbabweans living in South Africa, but the inauguration of Emmerson Mnangagwa and those he chooses to include in his leadership will determine the direction of the new Zimbabwe. The revival of the economy and the needs of the citizens have to be taken into consideration if Zimbabweans are to return home, according to Chinongwa.

"The economy must be restored to make sure that they have something to survive on, [so they can] return home to Zimbabwe," he added.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko