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The BBC's Greg Barrow
"Generation known as the 'born frees'"
 real 28k

Friday, 23 June, 2000, 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK
'Born free' generation seeks change
Children watch girl play arcade game
Many young people look to a better future
By Greg Barrow in Harare

In sculpture gardens on the outskirts of Harare, apprentices are learning to carve statues out of stone, hoping to make a living in a country where jobs are increasingly hard to come by.


Kenneth Chitano
Kenneth Chitano: Disillusioned
Tourists used to come here in their hundreds, but these days the gardens are empty, and the apprentices are struggling to make ends meet.

Kenneth Chitano, 20, still dreams of being a successful artist, but life has turned out much tougher than he once thought.

"When I was growing up I didn't know much about life, so maybe that's the way it goes, maybe that's the way life is," he says. "But life goes on.

"Maybe things will change and we will be living in a better world."

Job fears

In a city amusement arcade, frustrated young Zimbabweans crowd to play video games. Most are too young to vote this time around, but there are some who will. They should be at work, but they too are struggling to find jobs.

"For young people it's a bit tough because we have this problem of employment and stuff like that," said one young man.


Boy playing arcade game
Unemployment is high
Another said: "You can go to university, get an MBA in finance and be sitting at home. Because there are no jobs out there."

They represent a significant proportion of the vote - for at this election, young Zimbabweans have a real choice and will play a crucial role at the ballot box.

Aspirations

Those who grew up in independent Zimbabwe benefited from one of the best education systems in Africa. Their horizons were broadened, and it is the failure of the government to fulfil their aspirations that has swung the youth vote behind the opposition.


Young footballer Itai Ndunduma
Itai Ndunduma: People want change
Their generation is known here as the born frees - those who were born in a free Zimbabwe and carried the hopes of the new country.

Itai Ndunduma is one of them. He wants to be a professional footballer, but more immediately, he wants the election to make a difference.

"Many of us think it's time for change, this is going to be something that is historic," he says.

"Zanu-PF has some really strong candidates opposing them.

"I guess it's going to be really tough for them."

Itai is already making an impact as a young player for the premier league team, Caps United. Football has given him a future.

The destiny of others from his generation will be decided at the ballot box.

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See also:

20 Jun 00 | Africa
Zimbabwe bars election monitors
20 Jun 00 | Africa
Zimbabweans feel 'let down'
16 Jun 00 | Africa
Opposition boost in Zimbabwe
17 Jun 00 | Africa
Turnout blow for Mugabe
18 Jun 00 | Africa
Harare rally boosts opposition
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