IT’S a feel-good community-driven development project we have been proud to report about all week — the exemplary decision by the Shamva community to come together and renovate their football stadium.
One which shows that, despite all the challenges we are facing in this country, we still have people willing to sacrifice and make a difference to the communities they are living in.
People proud that they are Zimbabweans and are prepared to go the extra mile to put in the shifts and change the face of their communities.
Seven months ago, Wadzanai Stadium, in the small mining and farming town of Shamva in Mashonaland Central Province, was just another run-down facility, used for lower division football matches.
The playing surface at the stadium was a bare sandy pitch, the ones commonly used for social football matches. There was neither a security wall around the stadium nor changing rooms.
But, thanks to an initiative taken by the community, an ambitious project to renovate the stadium started in January, when their local football club, Simba Bhora, qualified for the ZIFA Northern Region Division One League.
And, in just a few months of hard work, in which the residents have been providing free labour as volunteers, while the club’s leaders have been providing the finances, a lot has changed at the stadium.
As we reported this week, the bare sandy pitch has been replaced by a lush green surface while work is about to start in erecting stands at the stadium, while a security wall is being built.
A borehole, which has been used to provide an endless supply of water, was drilled on the edges of the stadium, while the pitch was flattened and relaid.
At a time when others can’t just make a move, without getting help from the Government — which has many challenges in an era where the Covid-19 outbreak has changed the world — the people of Shamva have shown us the other good side of what it means to be Zimbabweans.
They could have political, tribal or religious differences, but the residents of this small mining and farming town chose to find unity, in their identity as Zimbabweans, to try and give their town a facelift through the renovation of their football stadium.
They didn’t let their differences, political or otherwise, affect their mission to transform their stadium and, together, they have been putting in countless of hours to ensure they complete their mission.
This is remarkable, especially at a time when those with toxic political agendas and desperate for power have been on a crusade to divide us, and paint our country as a sick and limping nation.
The people who don’t want to hear that there is a development project, taking shape in this country, but would rather hear that things are going downhill because that’s what promotes their agenda.
But, as the people of Shamva have shown, not everyone subscribes to their wicked gospel.
This country belongs to us and we are the only ones who can make a difference and, if the residents of a small community like Shamva can come together and transform the outlook of their town with such an impressive project, we should ask ourselves what more can we do, as a nation, if we are united?
If we are inspired by our national interests and we come together and give the Government a helping hand, in its efforts to make a difference to this country, rather than sabotage everything our leaders are trying to do to transform our nation for the better?
And, the Government, have led the chorus of praises for what is happening in Shamva.
“Look at the work the team (Simba Bhora) is doing in an area like Shamva. That’s fantastic,” the Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Tino Machakaire, said this week.
“As the parent ministry, we are more than delighted to see teams making efforts to complement the work being done by the Government, as well as ZIFA.
“We have always been encouraging individual teams to be professional.
“Now, that’s the definition of professionalism.
“It is so sad to see football matches, Division One games for that matter, being played on dusty, bumpy surfaces, like we always see.
“We are making efforts, as well, but it is so encouraging to see individual clubs doing such tremendous work to improve conditions of play.
“Shamva, being a rural community, is in a way being modernised. This is our policy, as Government, we would like to see more clubs taking a leaf and implementing such policies.
“We are more than delighted. We wish to see this happening across the country, from school level to the professional level.”
Sadly, as has been shown by the City of Harare, who appear to have, once again, sold the nation a dummy, with Gwanzura and Rufaro still in a state of disrepair, despite repeated promises they were improving the state of the two facilities.
The preliminary work, which we saw in February at the stadiums appears to have been suspended.
Millions of dollars, which have been injected into the renovations, without the end product to justify such expenditure, have once again highlighted the shortcomings of the people we elected to run our biggest city.
It’s a shame that a huge city like Harare cannot find a way to improve the state of its two biggest stadiums when a small mining town like Shamva has shown this can be done.