By Martin Muleya.
Mutare, Zimbabwe. (News of The South) – As I walked past a cluster of dilapidated houses that were yawning for facelift, I was jerked into a reality check by some chorus of whistles and boos by some rogue touts aimed at a skimpily attired young lady who could pass for a flesh peddler.
A salvo of unprintable obscenities trailed the lady who swiftly sought sanctuary at a makeshift police post to escape from the taunts of touts who were threatening to tear her clothes to smithereens.
At that juncture I realised that I was in the Avenues, an area in Mutare’s oldest sprawling high density suburb. This is the neighbourhood in which angels sometimes fear to tread on.
A neighbourhood in which social ills and vices are rife and rampant.
This is the neighbourhood that Takudzwa Chirau (not her real name) has called home since birth 17 years ago.
Takudzwa, who appears older to be a teenager due to a plethora of reasons among them an insecure and stressful background brought about by grinding poverty that has taken its toll on her, especially after the passing on of her parents three years ago, leaving her to fend for her young siblings at a tender age.
She desperately tries to lull her infant to sleep through a cliché of a lullaby… The infant that is sweating profusely under the scotching heat defies mother’s soothing lullaby and continues to sing from a different protest song book much to the chagrin of her youthful mother.
Upon realising that she was waging a lost battle, Takudzwa unstraps her child from the back, fishes one of her breasts from her brazier-less top and starts to suckle her infant who hungrily tugs at her breast that oozed milk. In no time the infant who appears to have soiled herself, soundly drifts into dreamland.
Takudzwa admits that she has not brought any nappy or diaper along, and makes a makeshift bed on the veranda at the nearby shops, a bit far away from the madding crowd. There she lays the baby!
The dire situation is only saved by a passer-by who donates one of her child’s pampers. Takudzwa is an orphan and a single mother whose child was sired by a teenage street urchin from the same hood.
This is a typical example of the life being led by people in Sakubva, a life which Lucy Nkomo whose visits across the world inspired her and her members to breathe new life to a community that has been suffering in abject poverty, poor living conditions to name but a few.
Rebuild Sakubva’s(RESA) mission to alleviate and restore dignity through community based initiatives in order to rebuild Sakubva.
The organisation which is headed by Executive Director Lucy Nkomo conducts its humanitarian business in a small office at Sakubva Community Library and survives on the grace of philathropists of like minds.
“I was born in Sakubva and attended my primary and secondary education at Sakubva primary and Sakubva 1 high respectively and then later went to stay abroad after finishing my tertiary studies in Harare. Each time I would come back from oversees I would bemoan the deteriorating living standards in Sakubva,” Nkomo narrated.
She added that through her organisation they desire to change the mindset of citizens within Sakubva and devise ways of not exposing children to all sorts of ‘pornography’ and poverty.
“Cases of child abuse, pornography, early marriages, rape among other social vices are rife in Sakubva. The root cause of all this is poverty. We want to embark on income generating projects that would augment people’s salaries. Over and above everything our desire is to work with schools so as to keep our children in schools,” she added.
RESA believes through distributing school stationary and furniture they will be able to keep children in schools so as to avoid child marriages.
apart from that , Nkomo said she had conspired with some of her friends in the Diaspora were set to renovate Sakubva Beithall as well as building individual toilets in areas that still have community toilets.
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