By Busisani Ncube
For 73-year-old widow Ellen Ndlovu, who lives in the mining town of Gwanda, south of Zimbabwe, lockdown has been nightmarish. The diabetic granny, responsible for the upkeep of her late son’s seven-year-old nephew, collapsed of hunger last week after going two days without a decent meal.
“I take pills for sugar diabetes and when I don’t take them it’s not good for me. I collapsed last week and I’m grateful to Bigtime Strategic Group,” she told The Star.
Gogo Ndlovu sells firewood for a living and because of lockdown, she has not been able to work since March.
But through a generous donation but Pretoria-based IT firm Bigtime Strategic Group, 700 households in the mining town will put food on the table during the lockdown.
The company, which funded the repatriation of 400 Zimbabweans from South Africa last week, extended assistance to the returnees and 700 families in Gwanda.
The provisions, which include mealie-meal, rice, cake flour, sugar, cooking oil, – beans and soap, will be distributed at the COVID-19 centres in Bulawayo and Harare on Wednesday. The rest of the food will be distributed in Gwanda, where the company’s CEO, Justice Maphosa, was born and raised.
“In remembrance of the people that are struggling; I still have my community at heart hence the allocation of the 700 food parcels. The criteria for the food parcels recipients are the elderly and the orphans. The elderly being those who are above 60 years of age and are not working,” Maphosa said.
Pastor Sipho Mhizha, whose church Brethren in Christ will distribute the food, said the timeous donation would come in handy as many were struggling in the town.
“The church has tried where it could, but it’s a challenging time and it was proving to be difficult to extend help to the people here. So, the donation is quite timeous because many people were stranded,” he said.
Bigtime built the 5000-seater church pastored by Mhizha in 2014. The company hosts the Gwanda Gospel Festival annually where South African musicians including Dr Tumi, Omega Khunou, Hlengiwe Mhlaba, Dumi Mkokstad, Thina Zungu and Sipho Makhabane have all featured.
Meanwhile, Bigtime also donated 3000 gloves, 3000 masks and sanitizers enough for all the returnees to be quarantined in Bulawayo and Harare.
“They will each get a pair of gloves and a mask daily for good hygiene purposes and to combat the spread of Covid-19 virus,” Maphosa explained.