Celebrating years of charity work

Celebrating years of charity work Selmor Mtukudzi
Selmor Mtukudzi

Selmor Mtukudzi

Beaven Tapureta Bookshelf
Sixty-year-old founder of Wings of Grace, a Mufakose-based orphanage, Winnet Gwanzura will launch her biography next week as she celebrates the legacy of her charity work. Known by her community as Gogo Gwanzura, she recently told Bookshelf in an interview at her home in Mufakose that she would like to leave a written record of her good deeds and thank God for the gift of love.

“I have met various challenges as a care-giver but the Lord has always shown me the way and I want to be grateful by sharing the story of my life with other people,” she said.

Well-known musician Selmor Mtukudzi is expected to perform at the book launch which is scheduled to take place at Wings of Grace’s new stand in the Magandanga Area in Mufakose (Ward 5). The launch will honour the works of Gogo who is also a children’s storyteller and traditional dancer.

Gogo Gwanzura’s biography with the title “Jewel of Volta” (2017) was compiled by Noreen Nyakuengana, her voluntary personal assistant. The book captures the history and work of Wings of Grace and exhibits the great faith Gogo put in God. Nyakuengana described Gogo as a beacon of hope in Mufakose. She said that as a neighbour, she would watch Gogo go about her work until she volunteered to assist her.

The idea to compile a biography came when she considered the timeless value of a story especially about a poor widow who naturally fostered orphans and created champions out of them. Nyakuengana said Gogo Gwanzura’s biography, which later will be translated into Shona, Chewa and Ndebele languages, will help various young people with the understanding of unconditional love for all the children.

Gogo Gwanzura

Gogo Gwanzura

Gogo Gwanzura said the ups and downs of her journey as a widow and care-giver for the orphans have taught her the enduring love of God. The book, she said, will give hope to young mothers. It all started on a certain morning in 1987 when Gogo Gwanzura, then 30 years old, woke up to the sound of a baby helplessly crying and a small crowd of people shuffling about outside her gate. She went to the gate only to find in the middle a baby boy dumped, crawling and wailing for its mother who was nowhere to be found.

She took the baby, rushed back inside and with the help of her daughters she bathed it and prepared porridge for it. From that day, she turned her home into a home for orphans whom she fostered. To date, Gogo Gwanzura has fostered about 59 children, some of whom have gone to university while others are leading their own families. The boy whom Gogo picked up at the gate many years ago is now a pastor. Gogo Gwanzura said she remembers how other people negatively reacted when she started to foster orphans at her home.

“Friends and some relatives opposed me at first but I stood strong. As a woman, it pained me to see the children suffer. Sometimes individuals and the Social Welfare organisation assist me and that is how I manage. Yet above everything, I put my Lord first and love the children most. I do not worry about benefits, I only love these children,” said Gogo Gwanzura.

Terrence Gwanzura, one of the children raised by Gogo, is now married and a father. He said he is glad that Gogo’s biography will finally be read by many people. Terrence told Bookshelf that he wishes everyone could learn that the world can be a better place if we all love the young ones. He said Nyakuengana’s idea to come up with Gogo’s biography has also inspired him to moot writing the story of his life.

Wings of Grace Trust run various small income-generating projects. Although land upon which larger and better children’s home can be built is now available, Wings of Grace is currently facing shelter and funding problems.

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