Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Zimbabwe's Forgotten Children.
Grace and Michelle.
Last night we watched an extremely upsetting program about Zimbabwe; it was heartbreaking to see how people were forced to live there.
They are in unsanitary shanty town camps lacking clean water; one young woman of 17 lived in an overturned car wreck covered with plastic to keep dry.
She lived there with her baby daughter, she like thousands of others were driven out of their homes and businesses by a clean up campaign.
This was a campaign of terror against the urban population who were supporters of Mugabe’s opposition.
Mugabe decided to dispossess those people, he deployed his forces against them, they bulldozed their homes, and they could only take what they could carry.
People are now forced to scratch a living out of dry barren land, or digging for bones or empty bottles or any rubbish that can be used again.
They are all malnourished, many of them have HIV/aids and they all often go without any food at all,
We saw how boys caught birds by putting homemade lime on branches; three of them had a bird each the size of a sparrow.
Which they took home to cook and share with their families, not much food just a tiny strip of meat each.
One boy Obert shared his with his grandmother; he was 12 but looked at least two years younger because of the lack of food.
Obert and other kids were panning for gold in the river, a dangerous occupation if the security people see them.
They set off everyday hoping to get enough to buy maize meal to feed the family and two dollars so they could go back to school.
Everyday they set off hopeful that they should go b back to school, the kids were intelligent and were keen to get an education.
Each day they would not find any gold and only managed to take home whatever they could find, such as frogs, tiny fish and one time a handful of beans.
On the first day of school 1000 kids turned up at a ramshackle school all keen to learn, all totally aware that only education would change their dreadful lives.
The ones without money were allowed to be there for two days at the end of which those who did not have two dollars for the term had to leave.
800 had to go, the school had no books, no paper and were running out of chalk and no roof, teachers were not being paid.
Shocking state of affairs as Zimbabwe used to have the best education system in Africa; they also used to have good health care and sanitation.
Mugabe has ruined the country, all the wealth goes to him and his cronies, and he has displaced and killed thousands of people so he can stay in power.
It was an extremely heartbreaking film made by a South African woman, Xoliswa Sithole, the daughter of a trade union leader and ANC member.
She was sent there to get educated during the Apartheid regime in South Africa and was shocked to see what had become of the previously thriving fertile country.
The program is called Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children and people in the UK can see it on their iplayers.
Obert, Esther and the other children will be in my mind for a long time.