In the late 1950s there was marked migration of indigenous Zimbabweans from Buhera in the east to the Midlands, especially to areas such as Gokwe, Sanyati and Zhombe.
The search was for fertile land that enjoyed consistent rainfall patterns capable of supporting agricultural activities that in turn transformed the lives of people dependent on land for their livelihoods.
Drivers of the migration were overcrowding, low rainfall and arid conditions, which made it harder for villagers to practice sustainable agricultural production.
The overcrowding was mainly the result of indigenous people being displaced from their original lands as colonial settlers carved out for themselves the best agricultural land in the country.
The original inhabitants were relegated to arid, sandy, unproductive or inhospitable areas of the country.
Colonial settlers had little interest in the dry sandy areas that characterise so many of the so-called “reserves” of which Buhera is one of numerous examples in the country. They were areas reserved for indigenous Zimbabweans, but also viewed in the context of reservoirs of cheap African labour.
The struggle for independence has its origins in the unjust and systematic uprooting of communities, land dispossession and their confinement to regions that were difficult to eke out a decent living.
Land for indigenous Zimbabweans was and still remains a source of wealth.
Because of the limited opportunities in the district, Buhera became one the early sites of rural-urban migration, as people sought an escape route from hardships inherent in that environment.
Marovanyati Dam in Buhera District of Manicaland, which is due for commissioning any time is set to transform lives while creating innumerable opportunities for communities in that part of the province.
This is because, unlike the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam in Masvingo, which is still to see a coherent master plan, Marovanyati Dam comes with a master plan of the proposed activities set to benefit from the water body.
At least 1 250 hectares will be put under irrigation, in a significant move aimed at uplifting the lives of communities in this particular rural area of Zimbabwe.
Thousands of villagers from the area will benefit from the harnessed water and a host of other economic of activities such as irrigation of agricultural crops, agro-processing, fishing, livestock production, tourism, sporting and water-based developments set to accompany commissioning of the dam.
Marovanyati Dam will provide raw water to Murambinda Business Centre and supply irrigation water for communities downstream.
Three irrigation schemes are earmarked downstream.
The New Dispensation has made construction of dam one of the key pillars that will drive economic development. The 2020 Budget commits billions of dollars to dam construction throughout the country.
Completion of the dam highlights the Government’s investments in key and strategic water bodies around the country.
It marks fulfilment of President Mnangagwa’s commitment and promise, two years ago, to the people of this region of Manicaland, to bring development to their doorstep and help transform their lives.
This dam is going to transform the landscape of Buhera. Communities are beginning to benefit from dependable water resource, guaranteeing the district food security through irrigation schemes, fishing and livestock.
Marovanyati Dam has the added advantage of cultural, historical and tourist attractions. The dam will create additional opportunities for the communities through tourism facilities and activities around fishing.
The tourism attraction is in both the dam site and the scenic environment in which it is nestled.
Nearby lies the historic Matendere monument, probably among the hierarchy of most important monuments in the country. It is 50km south of Murambinda Business Centre.
In recent years, the Ministry of Tourism and the National Museum and Monuments of Zimbabwe have conducted cultural festivals against the backdrop of the imposing giant baobab trees, as part of celebrations of tourism and the country’s cultural heritage.
It is therefore significant that commissioning of Marovanyati Dam is due to take place during the month that Zimbabwe and the world celebrate tourism. September 27 is celebrated globally as World Tourism Day.
Completion of the dam will boost food security and household incomes in the drought-prone district.
Thousands of people are expected to benefit through activities dependent on irrigation since water will be readily available, ensuring communities are no longer exposed to the vagaries of poor rainfall seasons and therefore prone to suffer from food insecurity.
Completion and commissioning of the dam will transform Buhera District and Murambinda Business Centre from being a semi-arid area and backward rural business centre respectively, into a developing region at the cusp of transforming the lives of its inhabitants.