News From Zimbabwe

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Life expectancy in Zimbabwe is 34 years for women and 37 years for men.

I would really like you to think about that for a moment. How old are you? How much longer would that leave you to live or have you already exceeded our life expectancy?

Attending funerals is a regular occurrence in Zimbabwe.

I know many people who have died over the last few years.

Last year two of my work colleagues died within the space of a couple of months of each other. I go to funerals, I experience the awfulness of funerals, and then I come home.

But even though this is 'normal', I am sometimes woken up and stunned by something, and I am left horrified and shocked and very sensitive to how extreme life is in Zimbabwe.

For example, a couple of days ago I attended a child's funeral. This is hard enough as it is, but through my tears I noticed how many freshly dug graves there were in the children's section of the cemetery, clear evidence that lots of children are dying.

Even worse, this is a new cemetery and it's already almost full.

I saw two women digging a child-sized grave on their own, and I was told that this was because they could not afford to pay a gravedigger to do it for them.

I was told they were alone because their men were probably out of the country working in South Africa.

The painful reality of what I saw in that place was emphasised by our Zimbabwean tradition of leaving some of the possessions belonging to the person who has died on the grave.

For children this means I was looking at a scene of small graves with bottles, toys, baby baths and other plastic pieces of childhood treasures piled on them. It is wrong, very very wrong, to see these sort of things.

South Africa looks on and tut tuts. This editorial cartoon pretty much expresses what is going on.

H/T Publius Pundit

Cross Posted at Power and Control and at The Astute Bloggers

posted by Simon on 03.29.07 at 03:55 AM


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