Chingwizi girl wants to go back to school

One of the thousands of schoolchildren displaced from their homes at Tokwe Mukosi dam basin has a burning desire to go back to school and finish her ‘A’ level studies.

Privilege Chikosi
Privilege Chikosi

Privilege Chikosi, 18, was forced out of Neruvanga High after her family and other villagers were evacuated from the flooded villages in February. Education provided at Chingwizi Transit Camp in Mwenezi and at the surrounding sugar plantations only went up to “O” Level.

“I have a burning desire to go back to school and fulfil my life’s ambitions. I would love to study law if I can just complete my ‘A’ Levels,” said Privilege. She urged government to compensate the displaced families so that she can attend school elsewhere.

Her family, like many others, lost its means of livelihood in the floods, forcing her to consider looking for employment even as a housemaid to raise school fees. She passed seven out of eight ‘O’ Level subjects and wishes a donor organisation could help fund her education.

She lives with her parents at the one-hectare plots allocated them by government at a sugar cane farm and ethanol project jointly owned by Zanu (PF) and Billy Rautenbach, a businessman and staunch party supporter.

She gave a chilling account of desperate girls resorting to prostitution to provide for their families.

The 3,000 families, numbering over 20,000 people, were promised compensation and five-hectare plots. Government is yet to make good on either promise.

The villagers accuse government of deliberately flooding their villages to force them provide cheap labour at the sugar cane farm.

Another displaced villager, Tamuka Chimuti, 33, said he was waiting for the promised compensation to re-establish a lost grocery shop – his only source of livelihood. He told The Zimbabwean that he grew up in the Tokwe-Mukosi area and provided for his whole extended family from the proceeds of the shop.

Kenny Masiye, a member of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights representing the villagers, said “We are in the process of documenting all the losses incurred by the villagers before approaching the constitutional court. If need be, the case might spill into the regional and continental courts as Zimbabwe is a signatory.”

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