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Why Zimbabweans have left for Canada and New Zealand

Zimbabwe flag

Zimbabwe has a population of around 16 million, but the diaspora of citizens sees several communities of Zimbabweans take root in a handful of other countries. Of particular focus today are Canada and New Zealand. On the one hand, you have a rather cold country in the northern hemisphere, and on the other, you have a mountainous, mostly rural duo of islands Down Under and to the right.

Of course, places like Botswana, Australia, the UK, and the US feature among the nations with the largest Zimbabwean populations outside of the nation’s borders. Then, Canada and New Zealand cut off the top seven with strong numbers. Over 30,000 people in Canada are of Zimbabwean heritage, as are over 10,000 people in the land to the right of Down Under. Those figures are from over five years ago, so the chances are that the populations have grown since. So, why do Zimbabweans find Canada and New Zealand particularly appealing?

To the land of the Kiwis

Source: Unsplash

Having recently caught the headlines for NDZW following the change of prime minister, New Zealand may not seem particularly stable, but it should be known that Jacinda Arden only resigned due to burnout. She said that she “no longer had enough in the tank,” passing on the premiership to Chris Hipkins. She was incredibly popular, and part of her appeal was her honesty and down-to-earth nature. Of course, you move to a country for more reasons than who merely sits in office.

For New Zealand, it’s difficult to look beyond the scenic views and quality of life as the primary drivers of wanting to live amongst the Kiwis. The living standards in the country are very high, top-15 in the world according to the UN, and the ethos of work-life balance is sublime for anyone who wants to enjoy life beyond the office. With a focus on public services and the culture being naturally diverse, it’s just a very pleasant and welcoming country.

While the country is known and even sought out for its rural areas, internet penetration is very high. It hit 91.5 percent in 2020, which was even higher than that of Australia. So you can get connected and enjoy online entertainment wherever you go. This includes making the most of the distinctly Kiwi online pokies or VSO free slots that you can spin and win for free without any sign-up or download. There are over 7,780 of these free pokies, ranging from Siberian Storm to Cleopatra, Zeus to Dolphin Treasure. Best of all, they’re all mobile-optimised, too.

Beyond online entertainment platforms, which take up most peoples’ downtime for fun, there are always the grand sights and spots made famous by a particularly stunning trilogy of movies. The Lord of the Rings trilogy by Kiwi director Peter Jackson is well-known to have done wonders for the New Zealand tourist industry. This is even to the extent that the official New Zealand website has a page dedicated to Middle-earth locations. On any day in New Zealand, you could go visit Hobbiton, the Shire, Rivendell, the Path of the Dead, Edoras, and everywhere else.

To the tundra of Canada

Source: Pexels

Of course, you don’t need to go so far north in Canada that you hit the tundra, but even in the more southern sprawling metropolis of Toronto, it certainly gets chilly in the winter. Like New Zealand – a more temperate country – Canada is rated very highly by those who move to the land of the maple leaf, particularly because of the work-life balance of its culture and the decent economic situation.

It’s said that around six percent of all ex-pats living in Canada are from African nations, and while that will seem like a rather small number, Canadian culture is very welcoming of people from overseas. Again, like New Zealand, Canadian culture is rather laid back, until it comes to ice hockey, that is. Any Zimbabwean who goes to Canada has to try to experience an NHL or Team Canada game in a bar or, better yet, a stadium. In these packed venues, you’ll feel every shot on goal with the vulcanised rubber, every body check against the board, and every buzzer sound.

Another advantage of Canada is that it’s very close to the US without being very American in its culture and more controversial – in the world’s eye – preferences and cultural divides. Canada is more united, and in entertainment circles, it benefits from the droves of Hollywood movie releases often coming out north of the border at the same time. Around the world, many people miss hundreds of Hollywood releases, but in Canada, they all at least make it onto TV stations, and some even get released in Canada before the US, just as Tenet and Unhinged did in 2020.

Being countries that are scenic, filled with entertainment options, and appear to have nailed the work-life balance culturally, it’s not a surprise that people from Zimbabwe see Canada and New Zealand as ideal new homes.

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