BY RICHARD MUPONDE
THE San community in Makhulela area in Plumtree have for the first time benefited from the government’s irrigation mechanisation programme after the intervention of First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa last June.
The San were the first Bantu people to occupy present day Zimbabwe yet they have lived as aliens for the past century, suffering at the hands of other tribes.
San people are found in Matabeleland North’s Tsholotsho district and Plumtree in Makhulela village in Matabeleland South.
The Makhulela San community, who previously survived on hunting wildlife and gathering plants in the Mabhongwane Game Park, were removed in the mid-1990s by the government of former
President Mugabe and settled in Makhulela village.
They were allocated land about four kilometres from Ndolwane Business Centre in the boundaries of the game park near the border with neighbouring Botswana.
Faced with the dilemma, the San community which numbered about 45 families became a source of cheap labour for the Kalanga people who employed them for domestic chores in return for food.
For years, the San Community in Makhulela wallowed in poverty living from hand to mouth.
Touched by the San’s plight, the First Lady, through her Angel of Hope Foundation, visited the remote area in June last year and promised to set up a solar-powered irrigation scheme for the 45 families.
A year later, the promise was fulfilled after the department of irrigation finished setting up the equipment and now awaiting commissioning of the project soon.
One of the beneficiaries Kgotso Moyo said their lives have been made easier by the setting up of the irrigation scheme a year after another donation of a borehole by the First Lady.
“She has shown us much love which has been rare. Last year, she donated a borehole and she came and commissioned it. We now have two boreholes with the other being solar-powered. This will help us have a sustainable horticulture project which will improve our food security,” Moyo said.
Another villager, Tjilisani Ncube said no one, even government, has done such a massive project for them.
Her sentiments were echoed by Bulilima West legislator and former disc jockey Dingimuzi Phuti in whose constituency the San community is domiciled.
He said the First Lady was the only high-profile person who has since independence remembered this vulnerable community.