Barkue Tubman was recently featured on CNN African Voices where they highlighted her story of how she left Liberia because of turmoil and after an extended period of time away, returned home to help with it’s redevelopment. The thing that was striking about her story is that it is akin to the lives of many Zimbabweans in the diaspora. Some of these diasporans have made a choice to return home and others are still out there contemplating a move back home.
Whatever the case may be, in the time spent away from home, people further their education or gain new skills. These acquisitions enable these people to build lives for themselves with some going on to be very successful. More often than not, the things that these people know are very applicable in a Zimbabwean context. Whenever they visit home or talk to people about business opportunities, it can sometimes become apparent that there are gaps in the market that they are able to fill. Some of these gaps may be for services that would be of benefit to a community, city or the nation as well the person who has chosen to fill that gap.
With that idea in place and down on paper, comes the task of trying to get it off the ground. But, with Zimbabwe being Zimbabwe and Africa being Africa, getting the idea off the ground can prove to be a bit a challenge, a challenge much greater than what would have been faced in the country that this person had been calling home.
Some may face a raft of road blocks which could include but are not limited to, getting the necessary registration and/or licenses, capital, officials who have not been paid accordingly hampering progress and the list goes on.
Barkue’s story follows a similar path where she moved to the United States, got an education and had a very successful career in the entertainment industry. On a visit to Liberia, she saw a gap in the entertainment industry that she could fill. She put together a business plan and worked on making it a reality but things didn’t quite turn out the way that she had hoped (you can watch the footage of how and why below). However, she did manage to find opportunities where she could use her skills and it paid off tremendously for her.
There are a number of Zimbabweans who do want to return home and work for themselves but have a fear that things will not work out as planned. Zimbabwe may have a mix and match of similar and different challenges as far as starting a business goes but, could Barkue’s story serve as one of inspiration? Does it go to show that even if the odds are stacked against you in something you have set your mind on, that we should remain open to and perceptive to other (unrealised) opportunities?
Should diasporans dispel fears of returning home to either start businesses or become a part of established businesses and contribute to rebuilding the nation?