Tendai Rupapa Senior Reporter
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa yesterday charmed Budiriro, Harare, residents when she spent the day performing household chores and promoting cleanliness to avoid the spread of cholera. Health authorities identified Budiriro and Glen View high-density suburbs as epicentres of a cholera outbreak that has claimed over 50 lives and the First Lady added her weight to Econet Wireless’ month-long clean-up effort.
The campaign is fronted by Higherlife Foundation, a non-profit organisation funded by Econet Wireless, which has pledged over $15 million to fight cholera.
The First Lady takes the clean-up campaign to Glen View today where she will be joined by hundreds of volunteers.
In Budiriro, she did laundry, cleaned dishes, scrubbed floors and swept yards among other household chores.
Talking to Budiriro residents after cleaning selected houses, Amai Mnangangwa said people should always ensure that their homes are clean, the food they eat is well-cooked and their families practise good hygiene.
“Ndaona zvakakodzera to add my voice and energy pane zviri kuitwa nevamwe kuti ndive ndiripowo tichibatsirana pamwechete nekuti iri idambudziko rapinda munyika medu (I saw it fit to make a contribution by joining hands with others to help solve this national problem),” she said.
“Kurudziro yandiri kupa kuruzhinji rweZimbabwe kunyanya vana mai vanochengetedza misha ndeye kuti tikoshese hutsanana. Chikafu ngachibikwe choibva chodyiwa chichipisa. Ngatisukei mandiro edu achichena nekuti nhunzi kazhinji dzinotevera pasina kuchena uye zvekare ndidzo dzinotakura tsvina dzichinosiya pamwe zvinova zvinokonzera the spread of cholera. Misha yedu ngaishambidzike.
“Miviri yedu chaiyo nembatya dzatinopfeka ngazvive zvakachena nguva dzose (I urge Zimbabweans, especially women who take care of our homesteads to prioritise cleanliness. Lets thoroughly cook our food and serve it hot. Lets ensure our dishes are clean because houseflies thrive on dirty plates. The flies carry pathogens that help the spread of cholera. Lets keep our homsteads clean. Even our bodies and the clothes we wear should be kept clean),” she said.
The First Lady encouraged people to wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly with running water.
After cleaning Mr and Mrs Munyongwa’s house, the First Lady through her foundation- Angel of Hope, donated a wheelchair to Mr Moregrasive Munyongwa who suffered a spinal injury nine years ago and has been using a makeshift wheelchair.
Econet and Higherlife Foundation representative Mr Lovemore Nyatsine thanked the First Lady for taking the lead in the fight against cholera. He said the aim of the campaign was to make a sustainable impact in fighting this epidemic.
“When Amai heard about the programme we are doing, she was touched and she felt that she needed to lend a voice to that effort and nationalise the issue.
“Here she is today leading by example and doing thorough household and streets cleaning. She is modelling the kind of responsibility that is expected to be seen by the communities affected by the cholera crisis.
“She has amplified the campaign and we pray that her voice would be heard as she educate the residents on cholera.”
The First Lady handed over an assortment of groceries to the occupants of the houses she cleaned.
70-year-old gogo Mabel Zireva was short of words and described the First Lady as a caring mother.
“She has done something that I never expected to happen in my life. Her presence only in my house shocked me but she even went an extra mile and mopped my floors, washed my blankets, clothes and dishes. She encouraged us to practise good hygienic standards to curb cholera,” she said.
An elderly man Mr Enos Chikanya weighed in saying: “I have never seen such a responsible First Lady like her and she is truly a mother of the nation. Chiitiko ichi hatisati takambochiona. She cleaned our house to perfection. May God bless her.”
Higher Life foundation, led by Mrs Tsitsi Masiyiwa, has been working with the Health and Local Government ministries, the City of Harare and other public and private institutions to offer support.
Part of the support includes medication, protective clothing and fresh water supplies to avoid the spread of cholera.