The mission, which houses the church, St Joseph’s Primary School and St Joseph’s Clinic was started in 1923 by priests from Empandeni Mission in the neighbouring Mangwe District.
The centenary celebrations were attended by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Vice President Rtd Gen Constantino Chiwenga and various ministers.
The church was commended for the work it has done over the 100 years, dating back to the pre-independence era.
While addressing some of the challenges faced by the Mission, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Bulawayo, Alex Thomas, implored the government to avail jobs especially for young people who keep crossing borders to neighboring countries in search of greener pastures.
“Our young people are struggling to get jobs. There are primary and secondary schools here but afterwards our children have no jobs. They migrate to neighboring countries in search for employment but they are ill-treated in those countries. May you please ensure that there are enough jobs for our young people,” Archbishop Thomas said.
“There is also the challenge of food. This area is prone to drought. May we please have more water sources so that our people can have enough food.”
Parish Priest at St Joseph’s Mission Fr Innocent Makawule Ndlovu raised concern on the unavailability of medication at the mission’s health facility.
“Some of the challenges faced at local health institutions is shortage of medication. Our community has many elderly people who are sick with chronic illnesses, when they go to local health centers they fail to get medication. May you please kindly look into that,” he said.
Chief Bidi raised concern on the state of education in the community, noting that the schools are few and some children walk very long distances to get to school.
“There are people beyond the mission, who need access to education. Some children walk very long distances to school. We need more schools in our communities,”
“We also have traditional arenas here. Our plea is that we do not have political influence in these areas. For example we have Njelele where people come from all walks of life to pray for rains. May politicians who run our province be mindful of the cultural value these places hold.”
Chief Bidi further implored the villagers to be politically tolerant as the election season approaches.
“We are fast approaching the election season. May we not be divided over political affiliation. We need to be tolerant of each other, be peaceful and live in harmony.”
President Mnangagwa, in a bid to address some of the challenges raised, donated an ambulance to the mission clinic, two vehicles to the church (one for the Archbishop and the other for the parish), US$50 000 and he further promised to drill boreholes to alleviate water challenges.
“I was also moved by the issue of migration. We do understand as a government that our brothers and sisters are bring sent home from South Africa, we shall ensure that when they get here they will find something to do,” said Mnangagwa.
“We also have Rural-Industrialisation projects that are ongoing. These will help with addressing the issue of unemployment among young people. Again, we heard the food shortages affecting this area from Minister (Abednico) Ncube. Food is coming, it is only a matter of arranging the logistics. No one must succumb to hunger in Zimbabwe.”