From providing Covid-19 food hampers to delivering fresh water to people, Gweru philanthropist warms hearts

By Stephen Chadenga
On Wednesday Zimbabwe Covid-19 statistics stood at 7 816 cases and 228 deaths. While many are preoccupied with such data and what it means to the country’s economy and the lives of people in general, one woman has dedicated her resources-from time to financial-as she helps the less privileged during this devastating pandemic.

The warm hearted woman is none other than multiple award winning entrepreneur Dr Smelly Dube who has since the beginning of the coronavirus donated food hampers to thousands of vulnerable people as part of efforts to mitigate effects of the pandemic, which has claimed more than 900 000 lives worldwide.
Recently the internationally acclaimed humanitarian who is also chief executive of property developer, River Valley Properties, moved a step further to assist hundreds of residents in her home town of Gweru with clean water.
Over the years the inhabitants in most parts of the populous Mkoba suburb particularly living in high lying areas have never accessed tap water as the local municipality struggles to provide fresh water to them.
But after getting wind of the plight of the locals, most of whom rely on risky open water sources, Dr Dube donated a 20 000 litre water bowser to supply the precious liquid.
“We learnt of the plight of residents through media reports and decided to chip in to provide clean water,”she said in a recent interview.
“Although we started by helping residents in Mkoba 18 suburb we have moved to provide others in Mkoba 15, 17, 20 and 21.
“Besides being charity work, this is also part of my company’ River Valley’s social corporate responsibility programme. We are also augmenting government’s efforts to provide clean water to people.”
Dr Dube said in the past her hometown has been hit by water borne diseases such as typhoid which claimed lives hence strides to supplement council’s water provision to residents.
She said her efforts to give Covid-19 to the vulnerable would be in vain if “people don’t have access to clean water.”
A Mkoba 18 resident, Mavis Mwale could not hide her joy for the water donation extended by Dr Dube.
“I have been drawing water from an unprotected well for the past five years and l am grateful to the gesture by Mai (Mother) Dube,”she said.
Another dweller, Molly Moyo said she was relying on a borehole drilled by the local authority for clean water but that besides (the water) being hard for drinking there was always overcrowdness at the exploratory well.
Dr Dube’s charity work has not gone unnoticed. Last year she was honoured with an award in Excellence, Leadership and Enterprise at the African Achievers Awards held in the United Kingdom.
She was among other achievers from the continent at the 9th Edition of the awards hosted by British first black woman MP, Diane Abbott.
Over the years her company, River Valley, has championed housing projects that have benefitted hundreds of thousands of low income earners.