One meal a day: village head

via One meal a day: village head | The Zimbabwean by Sofia Mapuranga 18.09.13

Food shortages in Gwanda South have reached a critical level, with most families surviving on only one meal a day.

Villagers from Sibambene, Thandanani, Asututukeni and Vulindlela under Chief Singobile Mabhena, told The Zimbabwean hunger was rife in the area, which has suffered poor rains for four seasons.

The latest Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee rural livelihoods report estimated that close to 2,2 million people in rural areas would need support by early next year. Jabulani Ncube (49) of Sibambene village said: “We do not have any more cattle. They have all died because of the poor weather conditions”.

Traditionally cattle are sold or bartered for grain in times of drought. The food situation has been further compounded by poverty arising from unemployment.

With companies closing down in Bulawayo and Gwanda, most people find themselves on the margins of poverty and starvation.

“It was better when the industries were still vibrant because we could survive on our husbands’ salaries,” said Thozina Dube.

Boneni Moyo from Vulindlela Village said poor road networks gave the local business community an excuse to over-charge the people for the little food sold in the shops.

“It is difficult for us to get cheap transport to the nearest business centres, Esigodini and Gwanda town, where prices are reasonable,” said Moyo.

The village head, Absalom Ndlovu, said locals had cut back to one meal a day.

“Life is very difficult for the people from this area because it is a very dry region with erratic rainfall patterns forcing the people to eat once a day,” he said.