Yoliswa Dube-Moyo, Mat South Bureau Chief
WHILE merry- making will still go on this festive season, a stark difference can be noticed this year.
Thousands of Zimbabweans based in South Africa did not make their annual pilgrimage back home due to the Covid-19 induced travel restrictions.
Government tightened screening for Covid-19 at the country’s borders and returning residents or visitors have to be quarantined for 10 days even if they test negative to Covid-19.
They also have to foot their own bills for the quarantine or self-isolation.
Injiva, as Zimbabweans in South Africa are known, have in the past joined their families back home during such public holidays like Christmas.
These are individuals who have this aura of insuperability and always left those who remained in Zimbabwe in perpetual shock.
Being an injiva meant one had to cross the crocodile infested Limpopo, evade arrest and deportation from South Africa.
The indomitability of injiva was further cemented by the horror tales they would narrate about their stay in South Africa.
Spotting an injiva is easy: when speaking, they intermittently use the term “mara ne”.
This year however, we will not be hearing a lot of that term neither will we be having as many cars bearing GP (Gauteng Province) number plates as many opted to stay at their bases.
“It didn’t make sense for me to come home only to spend 10 days in quarantine, which I also have to pay for.
This would’ve meant spending my days off in quarantine instead of being with my family,” said Ms Karen Dlodlo who is based in SA.
She said the Covid-19 pandemic had made it difficult to travel and it was safer to restrict travel.
“While this may be my first Christmas away from home in a very long time, it was prudent for me to stay put.
I miss my family but unfortunately we all have to adapt to the situation.
We just pray and hope that one day we’ll be able to see each other under normal circumstances,” said Ms Dlodlo.
She said while spending time with family during this time was the norm, there is also risk of contracting Covid-19 while in transit.
“It’s really sad but at the end of the day, this is to protect everyone.
For all you know, I could’ve caught a bug along the way only to pass it on to my family,” said Ms Dlodlo.
Over the years injivas have been given preferential treatment at many public places because they are usually loaded with cash each time they return home.
It is alleged that some injiva would save money for months on end just to blow it in a couple of days once they get home.
Many would have crossed into South Africa illegally and forced to do menial jobs despite having been professionals back home.
They would incur huge debts just to come to Zimbabwe for that week or two.
“This is year is different; Covid-19 has really changed life as we knew it. My children will not be coming home because they think it would be expensive with the travel restrictions in place.
We’ll not be having any visitors as we are also afraid of Omicron,” said Mr Julian Tshuma from Khayelitsha.
He said he would be spending Christmas Day with his wife and three grandchildren at home.
“My wife will probably make a special lunch as she usually does every year but we will not be having any extra guests,” said Mr Tshuma.
He said his children had however managed to send groceries and money.
“I may not see my children this year but I’m just happy they have not forgotten about us. They sent us some money and groceries,” said Mr Tshuma.
Those with relatives Egoli were always seen as better than those who did not as injiva would bring lots of foodstuffs and property for their folks back home.
When injiva are around, parties are endless with beer flowing so this Christmas will definitely be a low key for many families and friends.
Zimbabweans will this year miss the ‘dramas’ from our brothers down south at drinking spots including shebeens where they used to show off in their hired cars during their brief stay at Chritmas and New Year holidays.– @Yolisswa
Article Source: The Chronicle