Organisation - February 13, 2014

Meanwhile in… Zimbabwe

In the news: For the first time in history, Zimbabwe is represented in the Winter Olympics. The honour goes to 20-year-old skier Luke Steyn, who moved from the Zimbabwean capital of Harare to Switzerland at the age of two. .

Comments from Mabel Chigora and Taruvinga Badza, both MSc students of Plant Sciences from Zimbabwe

Mabel: ‘Zimbabwe has always taken part in the Olympic Games, but never before in the Winter Games. Cricket and football are the main sports for us, but I am sure everyone will now be glued to the television to see the games. We follow all the sports events that Zimbabwe takes part in - absolutely all of them. Everyone watches the matches and sings along with the national anthem. Even if we don’t know the rules of some sports. What is important is the sense of pride you get from it. I hope Sochi will be the start of a tradition, with more and more people from my country taking part in winter sports.’

Taruvinga: ‘Zimbabweans are crazy about sport. Including winter sports, even though you wouldn’t associate skiing with our country, since there isn’t any snow in Zimbabwe. Most people only know it from the TV, and there are not many kids who dream of being a skier when they grow up.’

Mabel: ‘I had never seen snow myself until I came to the Netherlands. In the coldest parts of Zimbabwe the most you get is a touch of frost. But in the last 15 years a lot of Zimbabweans left the country for political reasons. And they sometimes get the chance to take part in winter sports.’

Taruvinga: ‘The Winter Olympics could be important for the image the world has of Zimbabwe, too. When the international community looks at our country, the main thing they see is a developing country. By participating in an event like the Winter Olympics, we can show that all sorts of interesting things are going on in Zimbabwe.’

Mabel: ‘Zimbabweans have a strong bond with their country. Even though this skier has lived such a long time in Europe, he still really feels like a Zimbabwean. You often see that with Zimbabweans.  Spending a little time abroad makes you aware of what you have at home, which makes you even prouder of your country.’