Difficult Christmas For Zim Beggars

Radio VOP which visited OK Supermarket, one of the country’s biggest retail group here witnessed hordes of shoppers doing last minute buying. Many of the shoppers were preparing to go for their rural homes to enjoy Christmas with their families.

“It is Christmas time, and we have to make merry,” says Tatenda Moyo, holding a bottle of whisky in one hand and a box of cigarette and a packet of biltong in another.

He said he was heading for his rural home to booze.

Hardly 200 meters away, a visually impaired beggar and his three children, also blind were singing on top of their voices, beating plastic containers with sticks in a bid to attract attention of the passersby.

But nobody seemed to pay attention as most people were caught in the hustle and bustle of Christmas.

“We have no home, we live in a shack. Our homes were destroyed during the Operation Murambatsvina (Clean up operation). We live on begging,” says Josia Rugara, the 40-year old destitute.

Although Christmas is also a time for giving and remembering the less privileged, very few have extended the olive branch to Rugara’s begging bowl. In fact, according to Rugara, as Christmas approached, many locals tightened the strings of their purses.

“On some days, I could get around US$5 to US$6. But as Christmas drew closer, very few were willing to donate. Today, I just got a dollar at noon, and it shows the day is not going to improve,” he said.

A few meters from Rugara was another beggar who is physically challenged and is in a wheelchair.

“I would have loved to work if I was born like others. It is not my wish to be in the streets getting very little, especially on times like these where we expect to be remembered. To me, Christmas is just like any other day,” said Garirai Rwonzi.

Alghouth the Christmas Cheer fund had been distributed, very few orphanages benefitted little as the amount was little.

Masvingo Mayor, Alderman Femius Chakabuda said the business community only pledged US$1 000, les than a quarter raised last year.

“Because business was not that good, we raised a little amount from the business community. We would have loved to help everyone and make sure that even those in orphanages and those on the streets have a smile this Christmas,”