I'm watching the events unfolding in Zimbabwe with more than a passing interest. Although I was born in South Africa, I spent the first 12 years of my life there. My brothers were both born there, so for our family it is more than a little "home". Favourite Man comes from Zimbabwe too. And as the recent elections dominate the news, you'll find our ears tuned in to any mention of what's going on there.

My family moved to Cape Town in 1984. I haven't been back except for a brief touchdown in Harare on the way to see my parents in 1997. It was pitch-dark outside, so I didn't even get to see the airport we left from. But there are very special memories of our lives there that have helped form the person I am today - resiliant, practical, make-do and a lover of simple outdoor pleasures. I grew up barefoot and thorn-pierced, with a bike and always with a dog (sometimes an entire menagerie), without a TV but with a treehouse and a huge yard. In spite of war, in spite of sanctions, we were deeply happy.

It's been hard to watch the country deteriorate into chaos under a tight-fisted mean old man who doesn't know how or when to let go of power. It's been hard to hear the stories - some almost worse than the horrors of terrorist attacks in the 70s. It's been difficult to hear of family friends left broken when their livelihoods, their homes, their farms were taken by force - and they're living as broken-spirited elderly people with nowhere to go, nothing to show for a lifetime of slog.

The destruction of the country, one habitat, one human, one food-bearing farm at a time is horrific - it has to end. And now there's a glimmer of hope, a chance for positive change. Even though everything is still up in the air and Mugabe is fighting tooth and nail.

It's the latter that worries me. How much violence will he incite - how much more will "his" people have to suffer, the average bloke on the street? His cronies are staring "unemployment" and a loss of their cushy powerful positions & farms in the face. It's no wonder they're doing what they can to prevent it.

And yet things HAVE to change. The situation has hit rock bottom so hard that there's nowhere else to go other than outright war, something those who remember the last one will want to avoid at all cost.

So we trawl the news for any sign of hope, any glimmer of a brighter future for the homeland ahead. And wait....