Hope and worry for Zimbabwe students in B.C.
'I'm questioning who's going to come in next,' Pearson College UWC student says
Zimbabwe students at two different B.C. campuses celebrated this week at the resignation of Robert Mugabe, the only president they have ever known.
At Pearson College UWC in rural Metchosin, near Victoria, Michael Musa expressed hope but also uncertainty about what's ahead for his country, his family and his own future.
"Honestly, I was happy at first, but now I'm questioning who's going to come in next, and how are they going to change our country to a positive state of economic growth," Musa told On the Island host Gregor Craigie.
"My family has told me first of all they were happy that we get to experience a change of leadership and a shuffle of government," he said. "Because honestly the situation back home was a bit tough."
Musa, who is from the capital of Harare, said his father, an accountant, is unemployed like many Zimbabweans. Wages are low, Musa said, and the standard of living compared to South Africa is "like two different continents."
Musa hopes to attend the University of British Columbia after completing his international baccalaureate at Pearson College UWC, then return to Zimbabwe to study engineering and eventually work on sustainable development in his home country.
His peers who remain in Zimbabwe have had a difficult time completing their own education, he said.
Future 'on hold'
"For young people it's quite tricky because most university students had exams postponed because of the unrest in the country. Their future is on hold."
At Simon Fraser University, 21-year-old finance student Takundanashe Chisvo said he was disappointed he was not home in Zimbabwe when Mugabe resigned.
"As much as I would love to be home I'm happy that I get to see this transition happening in my lifetime," Chisvo said.
Growing up under Mugabe's rule, he said, "it was almost frowned upon to talk publicly about the president."
His main concern now, he said, is "the leaving of president Mugabe doesn't mean the government has changed."