Halimana leads drive to develop Mat-South

Most Diaspora-based Zimbabweans believe that they have a vital role to play in contributing to the economic success of their country and have moved quickly to act.

Bongani Halimana - charity begins at home.
Bongani Halimana – charity begins at home.

In South Africa, the UK and the USA in particular, organizations have been formed that seek to pull resources together for channelling to various developmental initiatives back home.

One such initiative is the Matabeleland South Ideas Development Centre, recently launched in Johannesburg, whose aim is to develop the downtrodden province in southern Zimbabwe.

Key to the MSIDC initiative is the need to empower local communities with basic resources, which they can use to develop their areas and make the province a better place to live in.

“We have over the years been complaining that our province lags behind in development, but done nothing to change that,” said Bongani Halimana (40), the project’s Executive Director in a recent interview with The Zimbabwean.

“Our aim is to pool our resources, through both personal contributions from members and requesting donations from various donor organizations and businesses that might be interested in assisting the province.”

He has identified the main issues pulling the province down as lack of proper schools, with the few available ones being both under-resourced and under-staffed, lack of proper health care facilities and a very bad road network.

“We envision a province that is the model for not only Zimbabwe, but the whole of Africa. This can only be done by equipping it with proper social infrastructure and addressing the education gap and the food situation,” said the Gwanda-born Halimana.

“We will not dictate how things will be done, but ask for input from our members, community leaders, residents and various administrative set-ups in the province. We are not interested in who is ruling the province, but how we can help them develop it for the good of its people.

“Children should not have to travel 30km to get education, people should not travel to Bulawayo or Gwanda for health care and Gwanda residents should not have to go via Bulawayo if they want to go to Plumtree,” he added.

A website has been set up to facilitate communication between members and the community – see www.msidc.org. Books and other basics will be acquired and donated to under-funded schools in the region. Charity dinners and fundraising galas will be held to source funds. The province will be marketed as having some of the best tourist resorts and business destinations in Zimbabwe.

“We have complained a lot because we put all our hope in politicians, but we have now decided that it istime to do things on our own. Pulling together, we will not fail and I call upon people from the province to join us in this initiative,” said Halimana.

Post published in: Africa News

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