Beaven Tapureta Arts Correspondent
Motivational speaker and writer Rabison Shumba “lived his word” when he spent his birthday on July 19 with disabled and vulnerable children at different children’s homes in Harare. Under his Touching Lives initiative, Shumba partnered with individuals and different organisations such as Happy Circle, World Youth Changers and others to donate groceries and other goods to Jairos Jiri Southerton Children’s Centre, St Joseph’s House for Boys and Matthew Rusike Children’s Home.
Talented musician Tariro neGitare was part of the proceedings, serenading children with her melodious Afro-jazz voice and heart-soothing guitar. It was the song “Chipo Changu” she played at each of the homes which inspired the young ones.
The themes and messages in the songs and speeches during the tour made the greatest timeless donation to the children who were so happy to host Shumba and friends. At the Jairos Jiri Southerton Children’s Centre the author shared his life story and said the idea to spend his birthdays with children came to him three years ago. His desire, he said, is to always remember the centre and others even when it is not his birthday.
Medallist and former Jairos Jiri student Edmund Makutya also joined the celebration, narrating how he overcame disability and represented Zimbabwe on a number of wheelchair races around the world.
Exhibiting his medals, Makutya said after completing his Grade 7 at Jairos Jiri in 1981, he ventured into sport and started wheelchair basketball but later changed to wheelchair racing which saw him winning a national contest, spurring him onward to Japan in 1988 to represent his country.
And that was the beginning of many missions outside the country to contest in Paralympic games. He urged the children to believe that God has a purpose with their lives and should not question why they are disabled as he used to when he was growing up.
Mercy Gwizo of Jairos Jiri received the donations on behalf of the children’s centre. Joining the children to wish Shumba happy birthday was Gogo Mukumbe, real name Christine Mukumbe, who is popularly known for her children’s show on Radio Zimbabwe called “Nguva yeVana Vadiki”.
At St Joseph’s, the boys could not attend the function because they were sitting for examinations. However, donations were received by William Muchono, the home’s superintendent, who on behalf of the boys wished Shumba a happy birthday.
The last place of visit was Matthew Rusike Children’s Home where song, storytelling and speeches urged the children to move on despite conditions they find themselves in. Tariro NeGitare nearly brought to tears the mothers who take care of the children at the home when she sang a song of gratitude for them.
Denise Magoronga of Touching Lives told children stories and Gamuchirai Gatawa of Happy Circle, an organisation that seeks to assist rural girls with sanitary wear, had a secluded session with the girls at the home.
The children’s home information and communication official Zvirinane Matore said she felt touched by the charity shown by Shumba and team. Shumba is the author of three books, namely, “The Greatness Manual”, “The Turnaround Journal Vol 1” and “101 Ways to Enhance Your Career”.
He is the initiator of the successful poetry anthology “Dzinonyandura” which has so far established the contributors, including Shumba, as a bright breed of Shona poets. The anthology is an A-Level literature set book in Zimbabwean schools.