10 Jan 2020

Episode 8: Nothing Other than Beauty and Hope - Conversations With My Immigrant Parents

From Conversations With My Immigrant Parents, 3:00 am on 10 January 2020
Nyembezi Muzondiwa in Ōwairaka, Auckland.

Nyembezi Muzondiwa in Ōwairaka, Auckland. Photo: Saraid de Silva / Julie Zhu

Nothing Other than Beauty and Hope

Amos Muzondiwa in church where he works at a pastor in Ōwairaka, Auckland.

Amos Muzondiwa in church where he works at a pastor in Ōwairaka, Auckland. Photo: Saraid de Silva / Julie Zhu

The Muzondiwa family left Zimbabwe about 10 years ago, with mum Nyembezi arriving here by herself first for two years.

“It was very difficult to be honest, to move over here without your family.  I got so skinny because I could hardly eat.  Every time I sat down to eat I would think of my kids back home, because there was nothing over there, even in the supermarkets.”

Takunda Muzondiwa in Ōwairaka, Auckland.

Takunda Muzondiwa in Ōwairaka, Auckland. Photo: Saraid de Silva / Julie Zhu

As a registered nurse, Nyembezi was able to work hard to save enough money to bring her husband Amos and their two daughters Shalom and Takunda over.  Their third child Ben was born here in Aotearoa.  Amos is now a pastor, Shalom is at university, and Takunda is in her final year at high school.  This episode features a conversation between Nyembezi, Amos, and Takunda.  Amongst other topics, they reflect on how it feels to go back to Zimbabwe.

Amos reflects, “Unfortunately now every time you go back, things are worse than they were last year.  It’s always a huge disappointment each time you go back and so and so has died and you have missed being together in times of crisis.  And there’s always that sense of, people think we don’t care.”

Takunda chips in, “We like left them.”

Ben Muzondiwa in Ōwairaka, Auckland.

Ben Muzondiwa in Ōwairaka, Auckland. Photo: Saraid de Silva / Julie Zhu

“Yeah, like we have abandoned them… and even though nobody is saying that, you kind of feel it,” adds Amos.

After many years here, the Muzondiwa family have a lot to say about the ‘tools’ colonisation employs to keep communities operating on a tier below their European counterparts.  This episode dissects frankly the effects of colonisation, and the ways that diaspora children try and search for an authentic version of their cultural identity which, as Amos explains to Takunda, is in many ways an imagined concept.

“I think it is also important for you kids to know that even when you see me and your mother and probably even my parents, those people that you are seeing are no longer Africans.  Essentially you are looking at a European in a black skin and we are still negotiating what it means to be really African ourselves.”

Series Classification: G (General Programmes)

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(L-R) Podcast hosts Saraid de Silva and Julie Zhu.

(L-R) Podcast hosts Saraid de Silva and Julie Zhu. Photo: Saraid de Silva / Julie Zhu

Conversations With My Immigrant Parents is a podcast and video series hosted, produced, and directed by Saraid de Silva and Julie Zhu.

Saraid de Silva is a Sri Lankan/Pākehā actor and writer.  Her work deals with contemporary feminism and the realities of being a first generation South Asian New Zealander.

Born in China, Julie Zhu is a filmmaker, photographer, and storyteller focused on championing the stories and voices of marginalised identities.

| Twitter: @saraiddesilva@juliezhuu | Instagram: @convoswithmy | Facebook: whereareyoufromreally |

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