BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
To many people, names are just names. But to others, they explain the owner’s fate.
Nhamo Magwizi (42), a family man who lives with disability in Budiriro, has run short of words to describe his predicament.
What seemed to be a dream of a lifetime was brought to a screeching halt two weeks ago when the Harare City Council deployed bulldozers to raze his home down — a move that instantly transformed his life to homelessness and destitution.
He is now dejected and is back to that situation that he thought he had run away from forever — the life of a lodger. And, as if that were not enough, while he was still trying to make sense of what was happening, the rains fell in a heavy downpour that destroyed all his food stocks, clothes and furniture.
“My life is now upside down,” Magwizi said. “I am not sure what to do. I am contemplating building a one-roomed structure and a toilet, but you never know- they can come back again to destroy.
“Our situation is terrible. All I wanted was a home for my family. I am devastated.”
The father of two said he had since moved his family to Kadoma while he remained in Harare and stays with one of his friends in Budiriro.
“I really thought I had sorted all accommodation issues,” he said. “I thought I had found a place for my family. I am growing old and so anything can happen to me. I don’t want to leave my kids with nowhere to stay.”
Magwizi is not alone in his predicament. Several families are still living in the open despite the heavy rains. They have all become charity cases, surviving on handouts from benefactors.
Among the well-wishers who have come to assist the victims is Impala Car Rentals CEO Thompson Dondo, who on Thursday pledged ZW$500 000 to wheelchair-bound Nhamo.
“I was heartbroken after seeing your situation on social media. It was bad. It is raining and you are living with a disability and yet still you are a family man. I felt I had to do something for you immediately,” Dondo said during a visit to the area.
Disability expert and national director of Zimcare Trust, Nicholas Aribino said while building on illegal land was not the right thing to do, people with disabilities (PWDs), as well as other victims should be protected and given alternative shelter before demolitions take place.
“This has really affected people living with disabilities as it has always been a problem for them to even find accommodation to rent. At the level of policy, it is just unfortunate that the vulnerable people including PWDs are at the receiving end as their voices are not well represented,” he said.
Scores of well-wishers are coming to the rescue of scores of people that lost their homes in the Budiriro demolition saga which happened two week ago.
National Housing minister Daniel Garwe warned desperate home-seekers against dealing with land barons.
“What is obtaining now is that the land barons who grabbed that land are telling people lies, they are saying go and build, and build as quickly as possible so that the ministry can come and regularise,” Garwe said.