Dark future for man who helped light up the country

While most Zimbabweans are enjoying the benefits of electricity, Jofirisi Chiyanda Farashiskc, one of the few surviving workers involved in the construction of the country’s major power source, the Kariba dam, has nothing to show for his involvement in this historic national project.

Kariba dam
Kariba dam

In fact Farashiskc, originally from Mozambique, is now destitute, sleeping in an open space at a disused garage in Mahombekombe high-density suburb in the resort town.

“All I have is a bag with my clothes, blankets, cooking pots and my national identity card. I sleep in the garage with other elderly people who are in a similar situation,” Farashiskc told The Zimbabwean in an interview.

Before being reduced to poverty during the start of the economic meltdown in early 2000, Farashiskc who is a widower with three children, owned a one-roomed house at one of the dam’s former construction camps.

“I sold my house in 2005 when life become unbearable for me. I had nobody to assist me with money to buy food. All my children are also struggling with life and they cannot accommodate me, but they have promised to look after me once they get employment,” said Farashiskc.

He now survives from hand to mouth and feels bitter that, after doing such important work for the nation, he has been allowed to lapse into destitution.

“Surely, for all the work I did for the country, I do not deserve this suffering. If I were in another country, I am sure I would be respected and living a decent, if not flamboyant life,” he said.

Farashiskc was born in 1930 in the Sofala area in Manica province in Mozambique.

“Before I become a forced labourer at the Kariba dam wall during the federation period, I worked in Chipinge and Melsetter (Chimanimani) as a farm-worker,” he said.

Farashiskc said he first worked as an underground machine operator before being promoted to foreman at the construction site. “I used to operate a concrete mixing machine, earning four pennies an hour.

The money was more than enough for my family and myself. Life was good and we used to enjoy ourselves during those days,” he recalled.

However, Farashiskc revealed that, although the workers and their families enjoyed a certain quality of life, conditions at the construction site were tough and hazardous.

“A lot of my friends died after getting stuck in the cement used for the construction of the dam. Some people also died when the dam collapsed, which happened twice during the early stages of construction. The Italians, whom we were working with at the site, were also abusive and bullying,” he said.

Farashiskc was also involved in the construction of the Kariba/Lusaka highway.

Post published in: News

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