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With the passing of Zimbabwe's former President, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, the southern African country once again came under the spotlight. Questions about how good (or how bad) Mugabe's legacy was have been asked, and depending on who you ask, Zimbabwe is or was a great country or a horrible country. The same mixed sentiment applies especially if you ask South Africans about Robert Mugabe.

As such, I thought it best to catch up and talk to someone who I think has a better experience and understanding of Zimbabwe than myself. I've known Emmanuel Banda for several years as a waiter at one of my favorite restaurants that I frequent. But more than being a waiter, Emmanuel is also the director responsible for elections and recruiting for MDC (Movement For Democratic Change) in South Africa.

Emmanuel was born in Bulawayo in 1981 and he grew up in the dusty streets of Mabutweni in Mpopoma, was he also went to school.

His story of growing up in Bulawayo and noticing the changes as life got harder in Zimbabwe and eventually fleeing to South Africa provides a rather nuanced perspective of life during the late 1990s up until 2007. In his words, he has witnessed a country go from prosperity to no food on store shelves, more importantly, he has sadly observed as his friends and colleagues β€œdisappeared” and were killed.

Emmanuel also touches on how it is to live in South Africa as a Zimbabwean especially considering reports of xenophobia against foreign nationals during September 2019.

Biography: Emmanuel Banda

Emmanuel was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe during 1981. He grew up in the dusty streets of Mabutweni in Mpopoma were he attended school and later joined MDC . With little understanding of what he had put myself in at the time, subsequently, him and his friends were recruited by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to push for NO vote against the ruling party's (ZANU PF) referendum which they won.

Emmanuel later became a card carrying member of MDC at 19 years old and would go on to become the youth vice chairman of the ward 13 branch which was then called Maitiro. This branch later facilitated the removal of the ever decorated ZANU PF Member of Parliament in 2002, Dr. Skhanyiso Ndlovu, and uprooted the fearsome ZANU PF in that constituency to date.

It was also during 2002 that Emmanuel was later was exiled to South Africa as some of his friends and people close to him started disappearing. Emmanuel is currently the the Director of Elections for MDC in South Africa.

Podcast notes

Article: G-U-K-U-R-A-H-U-N-D-I: We dare not speak its name by Mail & Guardian

Organization: Movement for Democratic Change

Biography: Nelson Chamisa by Wikipedia

Article: Organized Violence by State Agents and Ruling Party Supporters by Human Rights News

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