Unhappy people

Sinqobile Tessa

It did not really come as a surprise that Zimbos were once again listed as one of the least happy people in the universe.

But I must hasten to say I was taken aback that Botswana is not far behind Zimbabwe in the rankings for least joyful nations; I will state my reason later.

Top on the list of unhappy nations is Afghanistan with Zimbabwe coming in second while Botswana occupies the fourth spot.

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These findings were released on Monday to coincide with March 20, which was declared as World Happiness Day by the United Nations General Assembly back in 2012.

The day was meant to recognise ‘the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives’.

Countries are ranked on six key variables that support well-being, income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity.

Looking at these variables, no wonder we are considered unhappy. I guess the biggest contributor is income, which boils down to our dire economic situation.

A large percentage of Zimbabwe households are finding the going extremely tough as incomes have been massively eroded over the last couple of years; things are just not balancing as most would say.

People get paid in the local currency yet some goods and services are easily available if paid for in foreign currency.

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Landlords now demand rentals in US dollars or South African Rand.

Where tenants should get that money from is not their concern.

And talking of money, it’s disheartening that it’s been years since cash shortages hit this country and yet people still struggle to access their hard earned cash.

It’s quite mentally draining to spend the whole day in a bank queue with no guarantee that one will actually get the cash. With such problems, we surely can’t be happy.

For my second home Botswana, I am not sure where the unhappiness stems from as it seems to be the envy of most African nations because of its socio-economic stability.

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I must say, having lived and worked in Botswana, I find it a big strange that the country can be grouped in the same bracket with Zimbabwe.

Of course this issue is subject to debate but for me Botswana is in a far better place that my home country.

Botswana has never had shortages of basic commodities, its citizens can easily access their money, their economy is stable and unemployment is not as high as ours, which is pegged at 80 percent – i.e for every five people you meet, four are unemployed!

This is not to say Botswana does not have its fair share of problems, but truth be told, they are not as prevalent and deep like ours.

Maybe you should come and spend a year in Zim, you’ll quickly realize that life in Bots is not so bad!