It never rains for care-givers in the UK…

There are still companies recruiting people but they have no jobs to give them. How long will this continue?

Dr Masimba Mavaza

Karen Chuma was born in rural Hurungwe District  deep in Zimbabwe. She came to the United Kingdom with her family.

This was never her trip she was just bundled into the plane like baggage. The parents were in search of a job. It was partly financial crisis and partly a spirit of adventure that prompted them to migrate.

In their initial days in Corby, they did odd jobs and spent their free time in another job.

As staunch Adventists they never visited friends in restaurants and pubs. At that point of time, Karen felt that moving to Britain had been the worst decision of her life.

As diaspora demands after some time, she found herself a job at a Chinese restaurant. Slowly, the thought of settling down in UK became real. After working for a few months, she entered into a relationship with the owner of the restaurant, Mr Chung. It was more of a necessity rather than love and Karen soon found herself at ease with her present situation as a mistress to her employer. This did not go down well with her parents. She moved out of their house and had always felt that paying lobola was a horrible culture.

She did not want to be sold like a common prostitute in the Roman Empire. As a consequence, Karen became pregnant. The parents took her in and stayed with her.  She gave birth to a son who never knew his father.

Karen ran away from the parents and went back to stay in a rented apartment which was paid for by Mr Chung the father of the child. She got her restaurant job back. Since Mr Chung paid her expenses, Karen was unable to detach herself from him.

As her son grew up, he resembled his biological father so much that Mrs Chung was forced to find out the secret. She threatened Karen to leave her husband and eventually got her fired from the job.

Karen found herself a new destination and started to earn her living as a domestic worker. However, she did not have any legal document and always lived in fear of being deported. Her fears however came true a few years later. On a paltry charge of playing loud music, the police one day entered her apartment and asked for her papers.

Her inability to produce legal documents drew their suspicion and Karen was summoned to appear before the court for a hearing on her status. A shivering Karen appeared before the judge one cold morning and was ordered to leave England within two weeks. Her parents had disowned her so they did not help her.

It did not matter that she had been staying in the country for nine years, that she did not have any criminal record, that she had 10 000 in her bank and that she had a British-born son. Her lawyer, who took money from her regularly, did little to fight her case.

Her second appeal flopped and she was handed over a Kenyan Airways ticket to Zimbabwe.

After struggling for nine years to make a foothold in England, Karen’s world was turned upside down in a single day when she was thrown out of the country without even being allowed to take her son with her.

As sad as this is it addresses the issue of British biased immigration policy vis-à-vis the black immigrants. This story directly refers to the COS programme which was initiated by the UK government to attract carers from the third world countries.

This programme and its successor, the Live-in Care Caregiver Programme (LCP) established terms from the recruitment of people under a system of temporary permits.

They were told that after a point of time they shall have the opportunity to apply for landed immigrant status. But this story shows that such a thing was mere fantasy, the caregivers had to spend their term in UK as illegal immigrants as their visas are being cancelled.

Very soon they will be deported back to their original countries after a point of time. Prior to deportation, they would arrested and put up in various detention centres. This had happened before and it is so sure to happen now. Several immigrants have actually committed suicide in this detention centres without finding any other way of escape.

With visas being cancelled many children of COS parents face a nightmare of being dragged into the prisons and deported back to the country they left long back without their consent in both sides.

In her many interviews, it is impossible to express the feelings of racially oppressed people in a racist language such as English. any standardized language would fail to give expression to the wrath and humiliation that lies hidden inside the racially oppressed people of this world.

Those who are not part of the majority cannot speak in the language of the majority, hence the need for deviation. It is also a new literary space where the decolonized mind can speak for itself.

It is a way of re-inventing the enemy’s language. If any reader wishes to go through the story, he/she has to decode the language and understand the politics that lies behind it.

This is a looming dilemma facing many Zimbabweans who came to the UK on COS.

The Home Office has now started to arrest the company owners who have duped thousands of Zimbabweans to come to the UK.

There is a big problem who we will face as a country. Indeed there is a big tree coming from the horizon. It is the multitudes of deported Zimbabweans having been duped by their own brothers and sisters. Many agents have become millionaires by night and are still fleecing the Zimbabweans thousands and thousands of pounds.

If this worm is not stopped now, may hearts will be broken and lives will be lost.

There are still companies recruiting people but they have no jobs to give them. How long will this continue?

Many children are being placed in a precarious predicament. They are crying out in future and they are crying now.

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