Tendai Rupapa in PLUMTREE
Zimbabwe’s marginalised San community in Makhulela, Thwayithwayi Village under Bulilima District is on the path to modernity despite the numerous challenges affecting the country.
For many years, the San community faced shortages of healthcare facilities, lack of food due to poor rainfall, no funding for roads and infrastructural development and lack of access to clean and safe water.
The First Lady has prioritised the social and economic advancement of vulnerable communities ensuring they have access to shelter and healthcare.
Amai Mnangagwa is on a nationwide tour of teaching people, especially the elderly about coronavirus.
Yesterday, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, through her Angel of Hope Foundation surprised many when she handed over a modern-styled and fully furnished two-bedroomed house to the village head of the San community, Mrs Matjena Ncube, as she continues with her efforts to ensure the community sets foot on the train for development.
A toilet was also constructed at Mrs Ncube’s homestead and other toilets were set up in the community.
Through her foundation, Amai Mnangagwa constructed the house and the toilets and she personally laid the first brick during a ground breaking ceremony late last year.
She also donated blankets to Mrs Ncube to keep her children warm this winter.
The San community had continued living as hunter-gatherers, relying on the bush system to relieve themselves thereby exposing themselves to diseases.
First Lady said; “Today I am happy to be back here and assessing the projects I started in this area. I am officially handing over this house and toilet to you so that as the community leader you receive visitors well.”
The village head’s house is the first port of call for visitors from the community, hence the need to keep it in good shape.
Last year, the community members decried the shortage of healthcare facilities, lack of food due to poor rainfall, no funding for projects and lack of access to clean water.
After hearing their plight, two boreholes were sunk, while a nutrition garden and an orchard were set up.
The Thwayithwayi villagers are already benefiting from the projects as they are now selling vegetables to neighbouring communities to generate income.
After touring these projects, Amai Mnangagwa, held an interactive meeting with members of the San and Kalanga communities on the pandemic.
Zimbabwe, which has so far lost four people to the pandemic, continues to witness an increase in the number of cases and is currently under lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The rise in cases is being attributed to people coming in from other countries, amid reports of some who are running away time and again from quarantine centres.
“I have come to be with you so that we share information on Covid-19. We are near the border with Botswana where most children from this area are working. Some are in South Africa. So everyone must have adequate information on the virus so that you would be able to protect yourselves,” she said.
Mrs Tjilani Moyo praised the First Lady for committing time and resources to assist them to remain safe in the wake of coronavirus.
“We thank you for coming to us our mother. Most of our children and grandchildren are out of the country doing menial jobs and they used to bring us food every month-end, but now we are struggling to get food because they cannot travel any more. We pray that this disease goes away.”
Mrs Ncube’s new house is a massive improvement from her mud and pole house which had grown rickety with age.
Mbuya Elizabeth Sibanda responded saying; “If my son comes from abroad, I will take his luggage and place it in the house and let him bath first before he goes to bed.
The following day I will advise him to go to the clinic to be checked for “caravise” (referring to coronavirus).
Amai Mnangagwa corrected her and emphasised that the child should be first taken for quarantine and that his/her luggage should not be put in the house.
While Amai was teaching the San and Kalanga communities, her Angel of Hope Foundation teams were dotted around Insiza, Umzingwane, Matobo with the elderly and educating them on the pandemic and donating food stuffs, blankets and face masks.
So far, the First Lady and her team have been to Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, the Midlands, Masvingo, Manicaland and Matabeleland South provinces as she leads from the front in keeping people informed about the virus and how they can protect themselves.
She has also been distributing food and personal protective equipment to the communities.
The First Lady donated maize seed for winter plough, vegetable seed, assortment of foodstuffs, blankets and homemade face masks to the community.
Mrs Grace Balane, a villager was grateful for the gift of blankets and spoke about her love for tea.
“We did not have blankets for this cold season and we are grateful to Amai for this kind gesture. I like tea a lot and Amai gave us tea and sugar and I want to thank her so much,” she said.
Gogo Sithembiso Sebele said its been long since she bathed using soap.
“It’s been a long time before I had bathed and done my laundry with soap. We are grateful to the First Lady for the toiletries and foodstuffs. Even sadza, I don’t remember the last time I ate it because I did not have maize-meal, but the First Lady gave us today,” she said.
The village head could not hide her joy at being given a modern house.
“It can only be God. We thank the First Lady for what she has done for members of this community. Without her where would I ever get such a house? She must continue with her kind heart. May God bless her abundantly, she said, with happiness written all over her face.
Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs Minister Abednico Ncube paid tribute to the First Lady for her commitment to development.
“We thank you for your unwavering support. You have dedication and commitment to the development of this area and the nation at large. In the midst of Covid-19 you continue to exhibit your kindness and motherliness to all communities.
“We are honoured to have a mother like you. Our province has two border posts Plumtree and Beitbridge and we continue to receive people through these points of entry and we are aware that there are some people who are border jumping. I would like to call local leaders to report such people.”
Minister Ncube said he wished the First Lady good health and blessings to keep on with her good works that benefit the community.
“We appreciate the good work you are doing in our province. I encourage you all to take a leaf from Amai as she takes care of the vulnerable and less privileged. She has a heart of gold,” he said.
Also present at yesterday’s event was Cde Evelyn Ndlovu, the Minister of State in Vice President Chiwenga’s Office and Bulilima West legislator who is also the deputy minister of ICT, Dingimuzi Phuthi.
Cde Phuthi thanked the First Lady for the visit and for the village head’s house and said for the San community to know about healthy food like vegetables, it was because of Amai Mnangagwa.