The Zimbabwe story and its remote relevance to construction marketing

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The recent developments in Zimbabwe, when the armed forces moved in and have detained president Robert Mugabe, would seem to have little relevance to architectural, engineering and construction marketing, especially in North America.

However, this blog traces its origins to personal decisions and memories, and as readers here may have noticed over the years, the Zimbabwe story has always been close to my heart, because it is there I discovered my identity just a few weeks before the country gained its independence in April, 1980.

Then, I was 26 years old. Yesterday, I told our 20-year-old son that he is just a few years younger than when Robert Mugabe took office. Mugabe has been in the backdrop throughout my entire adult life. I learned there that big dreams can be achieved; that a nerdy and fearful history major could become a competent journalist and foreign correspondent in six years. (I also learned about the human condition: War, peace, poverty, wealthy, nationalism, religion, racism and hope.)

I re-visited the country briefly about five years ago, and this holiday season, my wife and son will join me for another visit — purely as tourists to visit the Hwange game park and Victoria Falls. (When I lived there, Victoria Falls was a heavily guarded community and the game reserves were out-of-bounds because guerillas, not gorillas, were a life-threatening danger in the countryside.)

The Zimbabwe story has shaped my values and perceptions. I’m an optimist. While we would be foolish to say the current developments in the African nation will turn out to be purely positive, I think the story will have a happy ending.  My life has been good because of the formative time I spent there.

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