By Farai Madziwanyika
Zimbabweans in South Africa will take part in the ZimThrive Homecoming initiative taking place in Zimbabwe in April 2020.
ZimThrive this week announced key calendar events that will take place throughout the month of April next year.
A statement sent to Zimbabwe Digital News said the month-long initiative, running under the theme Homecoming, will hold events in Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Nyanga and Kariba, among other destinations, from 1-30 April.
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 amongst 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, whilst 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 South Africa – most of them readers of Zimbabwe Digital News – South Africa’s largest group of foreign migrants. With estimate population of between one and three million.
Started in 2017 by USA based Mildred Mujanganja and Mike Tashaya, who resides in the United Kingdom, 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.
Inclusive calendar of events
Mildred 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.”
She added: “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 Africa based 263 Nights will be hosting a series of events that will kick off in Johannesburg from the 8th of April ,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 10-13 April.
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 last 24 months have gone international, with events held in Dubai, China, Malaysia, England and Australia.
Discussions are being held with other diaspora groups in South Africa such as Zim-SA Chamber of Commerce formerly Zim-SA forum, and ZICCOSA Secretary General & Director Gracious Tembo on how to jointly motivate and engage the SA based diaspora to participate in this initiative.
Other groups are also encouraged to contact ZimThrive in order to join their fellow compatriots in making this initiative a success.
Further notable events announced in the last few days 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 10 April 2020.
Other events scheduled to take place in April include, the International CEO Eatout, Zimbabwe Unplugged Festival, Enjoymoregolf festival, KitesForPeace family fun day and Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), to name a few.
April is Independence Month In Zimbabwe
April which is independence month sees Zimbabwe turn 40 which means a lot more events will happen around that period.
There will also be a variety of workshops, business and fashion masterclasses and soirees run by some of the world’s leading experts and professionals. All schools, colleges and universities encouraged to participate.
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.
The campaign is a wider public initiative to encourage both local and international alumni to work closely with their former schools, and to help boost engagement across the board.
This includes creating international programmes that afford students the opportunity to travel abroad on placements and for them to learn from alumni through workshops, seminars and other integrated schemes.
Mike said: “This is an opportunity for all schools and former students, to work in partnership to create ongoing dialogue that will benefit current and future pupils, apprentices and graduates.
He added: “It is also a chance to create universal ventures that open intercontinental dialogue, so that a wide range of students in Zimbabwe are afforded the opportunity to study overseas, or go on exchange programmes that could open doors for them in the future.”
Zimbabwe Foreign Office backing
The 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.
“We have come together to make Zimbabwe Thrive again, leveraging the diverse exposures of the diaspora in conjunction with local based skills” is what Mr Madziwanyika had to say as he encourages the African diaspora to get in touch and be counted.
Earlier in the year, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, along with the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality, endorsed the project and embarked on a series of roadshows in the UK in line with their campaign, to engage the diaspora and encourage diasporans to invest in the country.
They commended the apolitical organisation for creating a platform that encourages further engagement and promotes Zimbabwe as a tourist destination.
The London embassy also remains engaged with Mike and the UK Zim Thrive team to ensure that they remain aligned with the initiative.
Last year. Zimbabwe saw a positive rise for the tourism industry in Zimbabwe, with the sector recording growth of 6% from 2, 422 930 in 2017 to 2, 579 974 in 2018, grossing close to US$1, 4 billion.
Sponsorship opportunities are available and details of the packages can be found on the ZimThrive website.
Travel packages, which will include discounted flight deals and accommodation packages, will be released in the coming weeks.
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 email@example.com and for South Africa firstname.lastname@example.org
For all calendar events visit https://zimthrive.com/events-calendar /
ZimThrive is an apolitical initiative that was created in 2017 to bring thousands of Zimbabweans from all over the world to Zimbabwe, for a whole month in April 2020 to foster unity, friendship, family, healing and economic injection.
The platform will facilitate events, in partnership with key stakeholders throughout the month of April 2020.
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