In Zhombe, we are happy. But we could be happier…
The rural community in and around Zhombe, Midlands Province, is a vibrant microcosm of rural life in Africa in general.
Generations-old African customs and traditions are alive and well, and the rural folk of Bhamala, Totororo, Samambwa, Kasawe, St. Paul’s, Zhombe Joel, Empress Mine and Sidakeni are amongst the friendliest you’ll find anywhere in Zimbabwe.
It’s an educational and eye-opening experience for international visitors to witness life day-to-day in a rural village environment such as we offer in Zhombe.
Though these areas are among the poorest in the country, being in a remote, drought-stricken part of Zimbabwe, the people living there are remarkably proud and happy despite the hardships they endure. The fact that people from all tribes in Zimbabwe are found in Zhombe shows how the community has been able to embrace each other and accept that cultures and customs differ but the love for their community binds them together.
People of Ndebele origin co-exist with those of the Korekore, Ndau, Zezuru, Chewa and many other tribes with not much of a problem. What is believed to have brought all these tribes together are the mines which were a huge source of employment and centre of all community activities many decades ago: Empress Nickel Mine and Commoner Gold Mine.
Although the mines are now defunct, the communities they left are intact and have a sense of proud belonging to the community.
Traditional methods of basket weaving and broom making, transport (ox-drawn and donkey carts), water extraction (bucket wells and hand-pump boreholes), draft animal field preparation and agricultural manpower, music and dance, traditional sorghum beer and honey mongering, food preparation (including mopani worms!), mud-and-thatch homes, village indabas (meetings), cooperative agricultural schemes (humwe/nhimbe) and livestock management: these are all part and parcel of the real-life Zhombe community experience, and our people are only too happy to share it with you.
Most (but not all) Zhombenians speak English – and fluently.
Community involvement is an important aspect of our activities in Zhombe. Many local clinics, schools and roads have been maintained or even built by the participation of the locals only.
Our relationships with our neighbouring communities such as Muzvezve in the East and Silobela in the South, as well as Gokwe in the West and Sanyati in the North are very good.
The communities around us benefit directly from many of our company’s resources such as gold and irrigation schemes.
However, it is not all rosy in Zhombe communal lands. Most of our schools are overcrowded and in bad shape. Hundreds of our kids walk as much as up to 15 km everyday from outlying areas to get to schools. Our sick folks walk nearly as much to get to get to the nearest clinic, which invariably has nothing more than painkillers and bandages.
We need assistance with the building and electrification of some of our business centres, water reticulation, toilets, provision of desks and teacher accommodation at schools dotted around our homeland.
A visit to some schools is always warmly welcomed by the Headmaster, who is proud to take you into the classrooms to show you the dedication of his teachers and the enthusiasm for learning amongst the children of this very remote community. It really warms the heart! But such dedicated staff are doing a great job with the barest of resources and bad living conditions. That will need to be sorted out.
One can say we are happy in Zhombe. But we could surely be happier if some things were done differently…