FIRST Lady, Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa, has fulfilled her promise to build a school for the San community at Sabasi area in Bulilima District in Matabeleland South province where she has sourced resources to kick-start construction works.
The project is part of the First Lady’s philanthropic work across the country and in this case, the intervention is set to develop the previously marginalised community by enhancing access to education for children, among other life-changing empowerment programmes she has initiated in the community.
Earlier, school-going children at Sabasi would walk about seven kilometres to Makhulela Primary School and approximately 13 kilometres to Zenzele Secondary School in Ndolwane, a situation that has led to school dropouts.
The construction of Sabasi Primary School has started with foundation footing already completed while the walls for the classroom block are expected to be completed within a month.
Resources gathered so far are enough to see the construction of a classroom block and a cottage, which is being done by personnel from the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS).
On Saturday, Minister of State for Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Dr Evelyn Ndlovu, led a high-powered delegation to the project site to check on progress.
The delegation included ZPCS Commissioner-General Moses Chihobvu, Matabeleland South Provincial Education director, Mrs Beatrice Manjere, Bulilima District Development Co-ordinator representative, Bulilima District Schools Inspector representative, Bulilima Rural District Council representatives, Headman Matjena, ZPCS officials and Bulilima district Zanu-PF leadership. Addressing the delegation, Minister Ndlovu urged stakeholders to work together to ensure the project was a success.
“All the children in Sabasi should enjoy their right to education and for us to achieve that we need to build the structures for learning and also to accommodate the teachers,” she said.
“We do not want to leave any community marginalised as was the case before. We are prepared to work hard and can all Government officials co-operate with this community.”
Minister Ndlovu said those involved in tourism and wildlife should also come on board and expressed excitement over the delivery of the building material onsite.
“We are happy our children will be educated and become soldiers, doctors, nurses, and other professions. I implore the hunters in the community to also play their part and support the development of this school,” she said.
“To the community, God did good to you through the First Lady’s donation. All you have to do is assist in fetching water, river and pit sand for the construction. This is a model that is being done in most communities and for some of them they even provide bricks and cement,” said Minister Ndlovu.
In an interview, Bulilima legislator Cde Dingumuzi Phuti who has played a part in setting up the school since its inception, said the First Lady’s benevolence will empower the San community.
“We have heard and read about philanthropy and practical care and in my lifetime experience, this is the first time that I had to meet a tangible gesture as has been shown by our revered First Lady who, when she first made a visit to Bulilima in 2018, it seemed like a normal visit like any other important person who made it to disadvantaged communities,” he said.
“When she came for the second time, I started realising that she is a different kind of philanthropist and that it is entrenched in her and that she has identified those people with herself and she wanted to change their lives,” said Cde Phuti.
Cde Phuti said the First Lady’s travel across the country is leaving immense development to communities that were formerly marginalised.
“I saw how she did it, I saw how she spoke to them and how long it took for her to visit them and the critical areas she identified to try and alleviate the Sabasi people’s lives,” he said.
“As we went on, she made a third visit, which was so impactful, which had issues like water projects, and nutritional gardens, and in her short speeches, I will take note as I usually did the vote of thanks. She would touch on salient issues that are showing today.”
Cde Phuti who is also the Deputy Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services said when he was assigned to ensure first processes are done for the school to be established, he jumped on board and thanked the generosity of the First Lady.
“Today we have a classroom block that is being constructed and I am told that it will take less than 28 days for the walls to be complete as footing has been done. All I can say is thank you, mama, you have the country in your heart and have qualities of leadership,” he said.