Holland-based Zim student feels for fellow 'peace-loving people'

By: 
CBC
Source: 
http://www.cbc.ca

Matt Greenwood is in his second year living on P.E.I., but his homeland of Zimbabwe is never far from his mind.

Especially this week.

Zimbabwe's military seized power Wednesday and remain in the streets of the capital Harare, leaving the rule of controversial president Robert Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe for the last 37 years, in limbo.

Greenwood, an 18-year-old student at Holland College's School of Performing Arts, has only known life under Mugabe. He has been in touch with his family and monitoring the situation at home.

While Mugabe has his detractors, Greenwood said there is an element of respect for him for changing colonialist Rhodesia to the independent country of Zimbabwe.

Racism, for example, is not as bad as it was in the days of colonial Rhodesia, he said.

"My family is mixed race, and all my friends are different colours. It's not like it used to be a few decades ago."

Greenwood's family owns a few businesses in the capital Harare, including a restaurant, an artisanal chocolate company and an IT company.

But he said the poor economic conditions have many in Zimbabwe living in a "state of panic."

"At home, people are always worried about where the next meal is going to come from or just keeping their business afloat and that causes a lot of stress all around you. Things have become steadily worse and it's quite sad." 

High-calibre musicians

Greenwood, a guitar major, said there are many high-calibre musicians in Zimbabwe, but the conditions in the country limit their potential.

"I've played with some incredible musicians and they couldn't rehearse because they couldn't afford a bus," he said.

People are ready for change, he said — he just hopes it doesn't become violent.

"Zimbabwians as a whole are peace-loving people."

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