Gokwe bullied on social media
…The area will be great: Minister Mavhima
…There are people not animals: MP Chanda
During the 1960s, Gokwe was witchcraft dumping place under the Witchcraft Suppression Act, with many being relocated to a place to be called Gandavaroyi Falls some 100km from Nembudziya Shopping Centre.
Local tradition suspected that witches were thrown down the falls, hence the Shona name “Gandavaroyi”.
Today, Gokwe has evolved into the hub of cotton farming but its association with mysterious happenings has continued to haunt the area.
Perched on a vast stretch of the Midlands province in Zimbabwe, Gokwe has become a laughingstock on social media with people from the area being described as dumb and illiterate.
The subject of Gokwe is difficult to ignore when it comes to the most insulted people apart from those who hail from Masvingo.
Images, videos and audios, have been used to mock Gokwe.
Provincial Minister for Midlands Provincial Affairs and Devolution Larry Mavhima said despite Gokwe facing negative comments, the place will be a hub of employment in the near future.
“Gokwe used to be a resettlement area created by the white settlers where they would place black people.
“It used to be a tsetse fly area and people who resettled there came from different backgrounds and places.
“It’s a place which is misunderstood despite having poor infrastructure, roads, schools, clinics.
“It is still developing unlike other districts.”
Added Minister Mavhima: “Vangangowanzira havo Gokwe but they are the most productive people, like for instance 52 percent of cotton in the country comes from that area.
“The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country is contributed by Gokwe.
“I think what we need to highlight are positive things, there are a lot of minerals which are not exploited in Gokwe.
“As Government we are planning to come up with a mega power project,” he said.
Minister Mavhima said the place is saturated with minerals.
“We have coal, copper exploits in Gokwe and when all these projects come to fruition, Gokwe will be in the limelight.
“We are also putting efforts to make sure Gokwe becomes a hub for textile industry.
“So today people may laugh at the people but soon they will be flocking the area in search of jobs.
“The place has been misunderstood and it takes time for people from different backgrounds to come together and have one culture,” said Minister Mavhima.
Member of Parliament for Sesame constituency, Gorden Chanda defended the place pointing out that there are people in Gokwe not animals.
“People do not know what is on the ground although civilisation took time to get there but it’s different from what is being said.
“It’s peaceful and everything is there.
“We have great cotton farmers in Gokwe especially in my constituency, Sesame.
“A lot of farming produce including tomatoes, vegetables are coming from Gokwe just that we don’t have resources.
“We don’t look much on depending syndrome since people there work for themselves,” he said.
Chanda said people should focus on positives than negatives.
“There are nine constituencies in Gokwe making it one of the biggest in Midlands Province.
“We are not animals since Gokwe has produced Professor Paul Mavhima who is now the Minister of Public Works, while we have deputy minister of Defence Victor Matemanedanda, former Warriors goal keeper Energy Murambadoro, Minister of State Security Owen Ncube, MPs including myself and others.
“We want to thank our President Mnangagwa for appointing more leaders from the place, it’s a sign that there are people with brains.
“Gone are the days when the area was led by outsiders and there was much of centralisation of leadership during reign of Robert Mugabe,” added MP Chanda.
He, however, said there is no place without negatives.
“Off course there is no place isina datya, the issues to do with witchcraft among other things are all found in every place.
“It is said the area used to be a dumping place for witches and there were many Tsetse flies but they were sprayed.”
South Africa based socialite and fashion designer Charles “Gokwe Gang” Botty feels something positive can come out of Gokwe.
“I grew up in Gokwe rural areas and my prayer is to promote all my talented fellow brothers and sisters of Gokwe.
“I am based in Johannesburg and Cape Town where I have registered a security and printing company aimed at eliminating unemployment in Gokwe.
“People normally insult Gokwe people saying we are the dumbest people in the country,” said Botty.
Botty said the way people from Gokwe have been attacked has gone to extreme levels.
“Zimbabweans must know that we are also educated, intelligent, smart and well-focused. We are being insulted because of our background.
“Especially people from Harare are too much,” he said.
The designer said some of his homeboys and girls give people options because of their dress code.
“The truth is some of my brothers and sisters’ dressing give people options to think we are dumb.
“We are all equal as a nation and vanhu vatinyanyira, hatisi mabharanzi or matsaga.
“We hope one day we will be champions.
“I am in the process of finding great people who have emerged from Gokwe because it seems nothing good can come out of the place,” he said.
Born and bred in Gokwe Nembudziya, Botty believes that it takes a collective struggle to change people’s perceptions towards a certain place.
“We will change the way how people see us in the society.
“I am sure there are better people out there who have come out of Gokwe and are doing great things wherever they are.”
Socialite and businesswoman Farirai ‘Fari Wacho’ Mamombe who frequents the area on business trips said:
“Gokwe people are hardworking and they survive on what they produce since they are farmers.
“There is great soil so to them town life is not really something they brag about but they are content with their produce just that they stay far away.
“So no one has made efforts to go and see what really is in the place but it’s only the people who come from there that can testify better.”
Added Fari Wacho:
“Because munhu akangonzwa kuti Gokwe anofunga kuti inzvimbo isingasvikike.
“Although it’s remote and has some bad roads, it’s one place that has its own soil and people do not worry about Harare because they don’t have that mentality that for one to make it in life you have to be in Harare.
“Vanhu veGokwe vakatozvikwanira.”
A journalist Snodia Mikiri who hails from Gokwe said:
“Generally people judge basing on few incidents or one person.
“Like one bad tomato can spoil other tomatoes but not all the people are dumb or are witches, kutoriwo nanamadzibaba, kutoriwo nesu majournalists so it’s not about everyone being that dumb.
“I am now used to the ‘diss’ like when people talk about Gokwe we expect the worst, we have accepted the disses as jokes, it’s no longer an insult,” she said.
Communications Personnel Rumbidzai Matinanga, said the memes can only be bad when they start to sound tribalistic.
“It’s the same thing with Masvingo , I strongly think they are jokes taken too far, nothing wrong with the memes until they start to sound tribalistic.
“These jokes are our way of diverting attention from our day to day struggles.”
One Farai said:
“Gokwe was preciously marginalised and at the same time kune nzvimbo yainzi Gandaravaroyi kwaiendeswa varoyi and it used to be a game park so they were dumped ikoko kuti vadyiwe nemhuka.
“But kwakasara that’s why it’s being bashed on the social media.”
Gokwe was originally a government station. It housed a district commissioner, police, hospital, veterinary services and other government rural agencies. Primarily for the administration of the district, it was also the base for the control of the tsetse fly and its associated lethal disease trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness).
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