78-YEAR-OLD Mbuya Chisare (real name Patricia Mahinzu) has lived a sad life that has seen her lose a husband, become a destitute, settle in a village with nothing and has three grandchildren dumped on her footsteps without a shelter for them.
Her plight was posted on Facebook and Miyetani Chambers, a UK-based Zimbabwean got concerned and traced her to offer help.
H-Metro got in touch with Miyetani, who now knows Mbuya Chisare’s whole story, to learn of the full tale. Read on …
Q: Brief background of yourself?
A: I am Miyetani Chambers . I grew up in Dzivaresekwa and now live in Manchester, UK. I am also a self-published author of a booked titled Broken Road. I am a mother of two boys and aspire to publish another book before Christmas and hopefully more books in future.
Q: What is the background to Mbuya Chis-are’s (Mbuya Mahinzu) story?
A: Patricia Mahinzu was born in Baye village near Jerera, Zaka on 12. Sept 1942. She is now 78. She was married to a now deceased Jalisi Maiza of Chijubana village, Chitepo area in Chipinge South District. The husband died on 13 July zoos. She had two daughters and a son. One of the daughters was never married and is now deceased. The other daughter, who was once married, is now widowed and chronically ill at her marital home in Chipinge. The only son to Mbuya Chisare got married after completing his A’ Level at Hippo Valley High. He sired one daughter (now 16 and dropped out of school at Grade 3) and two sons (aged 7 and 5 respec-tively and never went to school).
This son border jumped to SA several years ago and never came back. After the death of her husband, Mbuya Chisare’s life became unbearable and she couldn’t bear the pain of watching her grandchildren children starving to death. At such an advanced age she left her Chipinge home (leaving her daughter-in-law alone) to wander in search of piece works. She worked for several years in the resettlements for totally nothing but to be sheltered and fed.
She finally thought of looking for a piece of land to grow crops of her own to feed herself. That’s how she finally settled where she is now, some three years ago.
She built herself a pole and dagga hut. This year her daughter-in-law heard that her mother-in-law now had a home in the resettlements. She took her three children, sought and found her. She stayed for a few days before desert-ing her three children in the hands of this old 78-year-old woman. That’s when she thought of constructing a farm-brick but for her grandchildren despite not having done it before.
Even the level of workman-ship speaks volumes other desperation for shelter for her grandchildren. The woman has never harvested anything meaningful for herself. Her crisis has now been escalated by her deserted grandchildren. She survives on food handouts from very few well-wishers. The mealie meal she had was from two women from the Church of Christ. Government handouts often skip her and she has never received anything from Social Welfare or other similar sources.
Everything is just pathetic for her. The plight of this old woman is a major cause for concern for the capable and kind-hearted. I wish all the capable could extend kind hands through attending to the plight of this woman. Visibly, the brick but will certainly fall when the rains fall due to poor workmanship.
The existing pole and dagga leaks heavily when it rains. The woman has no cattle, no goats, no chicken. She is just by herself with absolutely no one to look up to. Very sad.
Q: At what stage did you get involved?
A: I got wind of Gogo Mahinzu’s plight when I saw a post about her on a Facebook group called Mvenge Mvenge that had been posted by a han-dle called Chesvingo Mushamukuru on the 13th of September zozo. I tried to make contact with the handle up until today, the 4th of November, I have not had any response.
I immediately commented on the thread the very same day I saw the post asked for any contact details, but did not get them. After a day, which I found pretty tough to have gone through without any information, I got hold of some family members of mine who reside in the Chiredzi area and they directed me to a pastor Gudyanga and also Mr Festus Dumbu who also happens to be Gogo Mahinzu’s social worker.
For some reason I never got any response from pastor Gudyanga so maybe the number I got was wrong or he didn’t have any interest in communicating with me. I immediately arranged with Mr Dumbu for him to visit the local chief and find out more information and get permission to approach Gogo Mahinzu’s home to meet this vulnerable family.
This would also help us understand Gogo’s rights to the land as well. We knew that customarily one has to approach elders with pondo shanu which I wired to Mr Dumbu for this meeting. This was his first ever feedback. Mr Samson Dhemba was the one who received Mahinzu/Chisare and secured a piece of land for her through the Lands Committee under the Min of Lands. He was leader of everything until recently when a new Chieftainship was installed, the Neromwe Chieftainship. Chief Neromwe then installed his Village Heads and the Village Head of the area is one Hove Chiwenga. Hove Chiwenga retained Mdhara Samson Dhemba as one of his aids.
I have met the village head Mr Hove Chiwenga in the presence of his aide Mr Samson Dhemba and I was assured with all forms of support convenient in attending to the plight of Mbuya Mahinzu.
He gave him the USsio traditional token which he shared with his aide.”
Q: What prompted you to play role you are playing?
A: The spirit of Ubuntu. As you know Ubuntu means, ‘I am because we are:
Q: Who is coordinating on your behalf?
A: I spearhead and coordinate things remotely from negotiating with a coach company to carry donations to Triangle safely, keeping in touch with donors who volunteered their places as donation drop-offs. Harare, Mr Mavesera and Johannesburg, Ma Asi, structure day to day operations with the social worker, coordinating tasks with a volunteer team member who lives about 2 km from Gogo and supports us tremendously such that I know this project wouldn’t go so swiftly without her input and dedication, keeping in touch with the volunteer contractor Mr Richard Masendeke and keeping record of the volunteered and pledged building inventory and reaching out to various service providers who have come for-ward with donations and pledges namely GI Glo who have pledged sola…
Q: What challenges have you faced to date?
A: I could say the time when there was no pub-lic transport we struggled to get donation parcels to the family. Apart from that I am very humbled by the low and support being shown to this fam-ily because I am aware of how tough things are for many people financially so for them to still manage to give is just humbling.
Q: Any dashes with other well-wishers or potential donors?
A: There were no clashes at all. We really con-fidently took the steps we did and have stuck to a structured coordination without allowing any distractions.
Q: Are you into charity work or it’s a one-off?
A: I am not into charity work but I have always managed to rise when I am needed Most of the times I take on good deeds in silence.
Q: Anything else you want to say?
A: Thank you for asking. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage the spirit of Ubuntu to be exercised by each one of us. I believe giving is one of the hardest things to do because we rarely have people who give without later on saying, ‘after what I have done for him/ her: so let us not underestimate what it takes for someone to do so. No gift is too small. For example, right now kids have gone back to school and even a bar of soap, a tank of clean water, hand sanitizers, homemade masks etc will go a long way considering the pandemic.
Many people are struggling to feed their families so community based programmes must bring together resources to make porridge and taking turns to man the kitchens, it can go a long way to making sure children are fed at least once a day.
lastly to everyone and yourself, please do not let the support and love you are showing just end up here. Ngazvitenderere ngazviende mberi.