From Harare to Swakopmund: Zimbabweans celebrate the departure of Robert Mugabe

Zimbabweans living in Swakopmund joined their fellow countrymen on Tuesday evening and celebrated the end of President Robert Mugabe’s 37-year long rule. “We are really happy. We’re excited, overwhelmed…”, said Karen to namib times on Wednesday.
namib times visited the arts and crafts traders operating at Kavita Park, where about a dozen Zimbabweans sell their products mostly to tourists. All of the Zimbabweans interviewed were happy and wish to return to Zimbabwe as soon as possible.
“I came to Swakopmund eight years ago and started trading here, because of the economic situation at home”, explains a man who incidentally introduced himself as Robert. His earnings he sends home to support his wife and four children. “It’s not much, but it is more than I would get back home”, he explained.
When he heard the news of 93-year-old Mugabe’s resignation on Tuesday evening he celebrated. “I was also crying at the same time”, he says, acknowledging the end of an era on the horizon. “I initially couldn’t believe it”, another Zimbabwean Karen cuts in. Karen’s husband lives in South Africa and their children are in Zimbabwe.
“We are scattered all over due to the difficult economic situation at home. Now we can finally return and be united again as a family”, she said smilingly. “We were partying and we prepared a lot of food to eat in celebration. It was exciting”, she adds. Karen is confident that former Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa will take charge of Zimbabwe soon – and she fully supports him.
“I am also happy. It is a big change. I will also return home as soon as possible”, said another woman who introduced herself only as Gladis. Gladis has been trading arts and crafts in Swakopmund for 17 years, to support her husband and children at home. Although she came back to Swakopmund from a visit in Zimbabwe only two weeks ago, she now wants to go back as soon as the situation has stabilized.
“You know, president Mugabe was a big man”, Robert says while polishing a carving of an elephant. He adds: “But it was time for him to go. I wish to go home as soon as possible, after all, it is my home country and home is where the heart is.”
Robert has been trading arts and crafts in Swakopmund for eight years. Like many fellow Zimbabweans he also celebrated Robert Mugabe’s resignation on Tuesday and now wishes to return home. Photo by Erwin Leuschner

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