BY FARAI MADZIWANYIKA – IOL
Zimbabweans in South Africa have been encouraged to be part of the ZimThrive Homecoming initiative taking place in Zimbabwe in April 2020.
ZimThrive recently announced key calendar events that will take place throughout April next year.
The month-long initiative, running under the theme Homecoming, will hold events in Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Nyanga and Kariba, among other destinations, from April 1 to 30.
The move is part of strategic efforts to get the Zimbabwean diaspora in South Africa and across the globe to come back home, not only to celebrate 40 years of independence, but as an effort to create a dialogue between the diaspora and those back home.
“The idea is to come together and help market Zimbabwe as a fantastic tourist and investment destination, create a dialogue among its citizens and be part of the change the country so desperately needs,” said co-founder Mike Tashaya.
ZimThrive hopes to achieve this through hosting various social and business events in the country, while also collaborating with a wide range of business, social and community organisations. It is also a chance for them to attend family-friendly, music, sports, arts, and cultural events.
There is a significant population of Zimbabweans in the neighbouring country, making South Africa one of the largest group of foreign migrants, with an estimated population of between 1 and 3million.
Started in 2017 by US-based Mildred Mujanganja and Tashaya, who resides in the UK, the platform has been established to bring Zimbabweans who live in various countries around the world together, and encourage them to gather in the southern African country at the same time, with the aim of reinforcing unity, building new and old friendships, and creating a stronger and self-sufficient nation.
Mujanganja said: “We are less than six months away and the team has been working closely with our partners and key stakeholders to populate an exciting and inclusive calendar of events that allows families and friends to come together and create long lasting memories.
“Many of us left Zimbabwe many years ago and in some cases, have not been back for years. At a time when Zimbabwe is going through a critical transition, we need to unite and work together to put our country back on the map, and this is just the start of engaging a global presence to be part of something bigger than them.”
Notable events taking place
South African-based 263 Nights will be hosting a series of events that will start in Joburg from April 8, including coach trips to Victoria Falls during that period to coincide with the Easter Victoria Falls Festival, an event being organised by the team behind the Vic Falls Carnival.
There are parties planned to take place in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls from April 10 to 13.
Founded by Zimbabwean entrepreneur, film and television producer Batsirai Masvinge, 263 Nights are monthly premium parties held in Sandton. The must-attend parties were primarily held in Johannesburg and, in the past 24 months, have gone international, with events held in Dubai, China, Malaysia, England and Australia.
Discussions are being held with many other diaspora groups in South Africa including the Zimbabwe-South Africa Chamber of Commerce formerly Zimbabwe-South Africa forum.
Other notable events include the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards (ZAA).The organisation, which is present in five countries, will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year. The awards ceremony will take place at the picturesque Elephant Hills resort in Victoria Falls on April 10.
Other events scheduled to take place in April include, the International CEO Eatout, Zimbabwe Unplugged Festival, Enjoymoregolf festival, KitesForPeace family fun day and the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), to name a few.
April, which is independence month, sees Zimbabwe turn 40.
The ZimThrive organisers have also launched a school reunion initiative and are calling all education institutions in Zimbabwe to come on board and host reunions at their respective schools.
Zimbabwean Foreign Affairs, through the embassy, has recognised the initiative and will be running a campaign concurrently over the next four months as it enters the final phase.
Zimbabwe ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency David Hamadziripi is working closely with ZimThrive Southern Africa Regional Co-ordinator Farai Madziwanyika in mobilising across the region to make this event a success.
Last year, Zimbabwe saw a positive rise for the tourism industry, with the sector recording growth of 6% from 2422930 in 2017 to 2579974 in 2018, grossing close to $1.4billion (R20.5bn).
Members of the public who are interested in the initiative and would like to get involved, host an event, or keep abreast with the organisations activity can register their interest at www.zimthrive.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org and for South Africa email@example.com
For all calendar events visit https://zimthrive.com/events-calendar