EMEA Customer Care Implementation Lead & Trainer
“… being outspoken along with my, perhaps sometimes foolish, lack of the fear of failure has also been the greatest source of my success.”
Zimbabweans have found a way to end up in an extremely diverse array of countries around the globe. One of the most unique locations is a country that Mazvita Musariri (Mazvi) has lived in for six years, Slovakia. For our readers that aren’t quite sure of their geography, Slovakia is a small country in Europe surrounded by Poland, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic.
After high school in Harare, Mazvi went directly to the University of Cape Town in 2006. On completing her degree in South Africa, she experienced the gruelling strain of trying to find a job in South Africa. Acting on the advice of a friend who had found an internship to Nairobi through a student-run organisation called AISEC, she submitted several job applications through the AISEC database. To her delight she received a response from the British Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia and after two rounds of the interviews, she got the job and moved across the globe to Slovakia. Mazvi now works for multinational computer technology company Dell as the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Lead Trainer based in Slovakia’s capital city, Bratislava.
“Frankly I was shocked that my father even allowed me to move here, especially after firmly denying me to go to University in the United States. It all worked out for the best in the end so I can’t complain. Our plans are not always the ones that God has in store for us.”
Describing herself as “generally pretty open to new experiences”, Mazvi believes that in order to thrive living abroad, one has to be open to new experiences. In Slovakia, “a country where firstly, you are one of the four black people that live there (slight hyperbole but necessary to paint the picture) and secondly, English is hardly spoken by the locals”, what has worked for her success is taking on an attitude of “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” and being adaptable to the environment.
When asked what her greatest challenge has been since leaving Zimbabwe and moving to Slovakia, Mazvi referenced a cultural difference that made her have to learn to master being direct in a passive way,
“Slovaks tend to be less outspoken and would rather keep their thoughts to themselves whereas I am the complete opposite. So for [communicating with] a people whose general nature goes against mine, this has been a struggle of sorts.”
A big item of discussion often brought up in discussion with Africans who move abroad to countries less travelled is always race and in Mazvi’s experience as a black person amongst Slovaks, she faces “curiosity topped off with a hint of amazement”,
“It was very interesting for me to experience a people that have little to none interaction with other races, especially since I live in the capital city. Several times I had people come up to me and touch me, only God knows what they were expecting to happen because the colour surely did not rub off onto their skin. A previous neighbour of mine had a son who grew very fond of me. He used to spend quite a lot of time with me during the weekend. One day, his mother told me that they were out in the city and the little boy saw an Asian family. He started to shout with excitement, “Mazvi, Mazvi”. He had understood that Mazvi meant anyone who is not white, rather than the fact that Mazvi was actually my name!”
Being in Europe has given her a broader perspective of the world and its accessibility. She enjoys being able to travel for only 15 minutes to end up in a different country.
“The language, people, architecture and culture of the people completely change, simply after driving only 15 minutes. I love the ease of travel in Europe, it puts one whole continent into the palm of your hands.”
Mazvi stays close to Zimbabwe and her friends and family back home by visiting every year. After living outside of Zimbabwe for ten years, and travelling extensively she believes she has acquired knowledge of the successes abroad that can be applied to projects in Zimbabwe that would also bear fruit. Her contribution is the ability to implement a project and carry it out to its successful completion, to build something from the ground up. Networking is also very crucial in this day in age and connecting people is something that she does well. Quoting Alan Lakein, she stresses the the value of respecting time and being well organised since to her, “failing to plan is planning to fail.”
“You need to have a vision, commitment, tenacity and zero fear of failure. If you do fail, you just learn how not to go about it the next time around. In high school, I was referred to as RT (risk taker) by some of my friends. If i see something worthwhile, I go for it, full.”
Mazvi’s Dream for Zimbabwe
I dream of the Zimbabwe that I knew growing up.
A place that seemed to have nothing but possibility for my future
and my dream is that it becomes that place again.
A place where university graduates do not need to feel
that they wasted 4 years of their lives as they can’t even find a job after graduating.
A place that can once again boast that it has the best education system in Africa
as well as being a major contender worldwide.
A place where I can be brave enough to start my own business
and receive the support needed for that.
A place where a young single person or a newly married couple can buy a home
and begin their lives without having to stay at their parents’ home until death do them part.
A place where young women are encouraged to be bold and to pursue their career of choice.
A place where electricity and water are not a rare commodity.
A place where my pride has no bounds.
A dream of the Zimbabwe that I knew growing up.
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