Copyright © 2015 International Development Options
All Rights Reserved
Volume Seven Winter 2014-Spring 2015 Numbers 3-4.
“WE HAVE NO SOCIAL LIFE TO WRITE HOME ABOUT:” JOB OPPORTUNITY EXPERIENCES OF EXILED ZIMBABWE NATIONALS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
Professor of Social Work
University of Botswana
Published Online: March 15, 2017
It is a common course that two contested events that occurred in Zimbabwe in 2000 ─ the launch of a controversial land reform program and a disputed presidential election ─ triggered a mass exodus of the country’s nationals to the Diasporas. The destinations of choice included South Africa, Botswana, Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. An estimated 3.5 million Zimbabweans reportedly fled the country mostly between 2000 and 2003 and approximately one million of them settled in the United Kingdom. Incontrovertibly, the mass exodus caused a massive brain drain: by some accounts, up to 60 percent of the country’s professionals ─ engineers, accountants, lawyers and doctors left the country. This article draws on the findings of a study conducted in the United Kingdom by the author during 2005-2006. Some 250 exiled Zimbabwean migrants across Britain participated in the study, which inter alia, sought to document their experiences relative to employment opportunities. The study established that many of the Zimbabwean migrants faced enormous challenges regarding employment, with some lamenting that they had, upon arrival in the United Kingdom, rather belatedly realized, with respect to this developed country that ‘All that glitters (UK) is not gold’.