Saturday, 25 January 2020


SITUATED in a small corner a few kilometres from the Beitbridge-Bulawayo highway in Mawabeni, Umzingwane District in Matabeleland South is Gogo Violet Ncube (82)’s homestead where she has been living alone for more than 20 years after her husband and only son passed away.

Old and infirm, Gogo MaNcube can no longer perform any household chores, struggles to walk and relies on the benevolence of her neighbour who cares for her.

Ordinarily, one would expect the octogenarian to be under the care of her children or grandchildren but she lives a lonely life.

However, yesterday, she got a surprise visit from First Lady, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa who showed her the love she last experienced years ago by assisting with household chores before emphasising to the community the importance of caring for the elderly and reviving the concept of the extended family.

When Amai Mnangagwa arrived at the homestead she wasted no time and cleaned the small bedroom hut that Gogo MaNcube sleeps in, swept the floor and smeared it with fresh cow dung (ukusinda), a long tradition practised in most parts of the rural areas in the country. After that, the First Lady helped in thatching another hut at the homestead.

She was assisted by women from the community and left many in awe as she exhibited great skills in thatching.  After thatching she went on to serve a meal she had assisted in preparing.

She served the local Chief Gwebu, the Minister of State for Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs Cde Abednego Ncube and Gogo MaNcube too. 

The First Lady said she showed the gesture as a way of exemplifying what young people must do as a way of taking care of the elderly who are fountains of knowledge. She said the younger generation needs to take note of how to live a fruitful and fulfilling life from the elderly and that is only possible through day-to-day interaction.

Addressing the elderly that had gathered at Mawabeni Primary School after cleaning Gogo MaNcube’s homestead, the First Lady said she would keep on assisting people from all walks of life and to help uphold traditional values.

“I am non-partisan. I do not select who to help in my programmes. I like living with the community. I am here for the elderly women, not for political reasons. We need to ensure that we maintain our cultural norms of caring for the elderly. In some families it is sad that others do not speak to each other, they get each other arrested and the roles of aunts are no longer known. The extended family is no more and that needs to change,” she said.

She bemoaned that Gogo MaNcube lives alone at her advanced age.

“Young ladies must care for the elderly. When we speak of caring for them, no politics or religion is involved. I went to Gogo Violet Ncube’s home who is 82, she stays alone but what impressed me was that she is being cared for by a neighbour.

“Her husband died 20 years ago, her only son died too a long time ago. I’m asking you to think deep about Gogo Ncube. I thank the neighbours and ask God to bless them for the good job they are doing,” she said. 

“If we look at it, her relatives are no longer near but neighbours who uphold ubuntu are there and taking care of her and that is what we should do. I saw her happiness when we arrived that she had seen her family.

“It is sad that we cannot control the young ones anymore, vazukuru no longer visit ana gogo because they are said to bewitch them which is not fair.”

The First Lady applauded young women in Mawabeni for being good examples of well-groomed women.

She also spoke on the need for the institution of marriage to be respected by young people. Gogo MaNcube did not hide her joy and said the visit by the First Lady meant everything to her.

“I am very happy that she came to visit me today. She assisted me in getting my home cleaned and even cooked for me. As you can see, I am old and cannot help myself but the people around me are assisting in caring for me,” she said

The First Lady, through her Angel of Hope Foundation, also donated mealie-meal, sugar, washing and bathing soap, rice and cooking oil to the elderly and chiefs in the area. She also donated sets of clothes and accessories to expecting mothers. Sunday News


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