Gwanda villagers construct dam despite Covid-19 threat

By Albert Nxumalo

Gwanda South villagers in Ward 13 braved the deadly Covid-19 virus to complete the construction of a dam in their area. 

The pandemic has grounded most activities globally threatening livelihoods of many particularly in rural areas.

However, in the midst of the pandemic which has infected 8320 and claiming 242 lives, Sifanjani community undertook a bold decision to complete the Inathi Sand Dam construction project.

“We said to ourselves, should we abandon iNathi Sand Dam project because of Covid-19. We resolved to soldier on while adhering to all preventive measures,” explains Nokuthula Malumeja, a community member who participated in the project.

The dam project which began in May 2019 was was officially commissioned on October 21. 

Villages such as Malumeja, Sifanjani, Mawani and Zhokwe are set to benefit from the dam.

Ward 13 Councillor Miclas Ndlovu told CITE that the dam will transform the community which has been faced with serious water challenges. 

“We are excited as Sifanjani ward 13 villagers to have completed the dam” said Cllr Ndlovu.

“Reliable water sources had became a huge problem for the community who where left with no option but to fetch water from muddy boreholes.

“We look forward to growing vegetables and herbs as part of income generating projects.This will help improve nutrition of community members” he said.

In years to come the community will reflect with pride and say under Covid-19 era we finished our dam project, a villager Nkosinathi Nyathi said.

“Pandemics should not hinder community development. Covid-19 has in fact bought the community together and strengthened our resolve to work harder.

“We made an effort to observe laid down preventive measures and got periodic updates from community health workers about the virus”.

Malumeja said it was hectic working on the project constantly in fear of contracting the virus.

“In the second phase of dam construction, Covid-19 cases where rising in the country. Fear of contracting the virus also grew among us. However, sheer determination to finish the project pushed us to put extra effort.

” Yes, Covid-19 is real but it should not cow people into some kind of permanent lock down and neglect community projects.”

With the onset of the rainy season, villagers are praying for abundant rains to fill up the dam.

“We have done our part, we now ask God to give us sufficient rains and fill the dam,” added Nyathi.

According to the Zimbabwe’s Meteorological Services Department,  the bulk of Matabeleland South will receive normal to below normal rainfall. 

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