Back to the rural village movement


By Trevor Ncube

Many of us were born and bred in rural areas where approximately 68% of Zimbabweans reside. Some of us still maintain close ties with family and relatives in rural areas. While we might have prospered as individuals our rural settings, this rich fountain of our cultural heritage and who we are, have benefited little from us.

Urbanisation and change in lifestyle have drawn many away from our rural roots. We rarely visit and sometimes only visit to attend funerals. And in certain instances, we have ascribed negative connotations to this cradle of many Zimbabweans.

There are some among us whose heart strings have been pulled by the crippling social destitution in the rural areas. Others have built beautiful rural homesteads to affirm their roots and formative years. The public spirited among us have been moved to invest time and resources to better the rural places that gave them their foundation.

I recently had the privilege of travelling to Maboleni in Lower Gweru to witness the impactful and inspirational work that Bishop Ngwiza Mnkandla is doing. Bishop Mnkandla, who is mainly based in England, has been working against all odds to change the fortunes of the place where he breathed his first breath.

He has built an impressive church , community centre and is currently working on a big project to renovate Maboleni Primary School. A big classroom is already up and state-of-the-art girls’ and boys’ ablution facilities are nearing completion. A casual tour of the school facilities communicated a desperate reality needing urgent attention. This perhaps is the sad state of many rural schools in the country: broken chairs and desks with blackboards and chalks being the only technology in sight.

I went to a rural school in Gwanda up to Grade 4 and the dilapidated surroundings at Maboleni were an embarrassing reminder of what my old school Shake Primary School looks like. I could not escape the guilt pangs. All l have done is donate a few books, desks and chairs.

I got the sense that the 30 or so colleagues from Faith Ministries, Borrowdale Community Church, were challenged by the heart-wrenching condition of the school and hugely moved by what Bishop Mnkandla is doing around the place that natured his formative years.

Approximately 80% of Zimbabwe ’s rural population lives in poverty. Matabeleland North is the poorest province, with 87,5% of the community considered poor. The biggest problems that the rural areas face are food insecurity and lack of employment opportunities for the youth, who make up approximately 77% of the population.

Education tends to be the gateway out of poverty, sadly this sector is in pathetic shape. Education infrastructure is dilapidated and the quality of learning guarantees poor results in the majority of poorly funded rural schools.

All these problems are exacerbated by poor and aging infrastructure. Old and inefficient transport methods, inadequate water and sanitation, limited capacity to harvest water, storage and irrigation all compound the development challenges in rural areas.

Because the situation is dire, a little effort, resources and money have potentially to be impactful. Until the government makes rural arears attractive investment destinations those of us who owe what we have become to our rural upbringing can surely chip in and make a change like Bishop Mkandla is doing. Consortiums from the same village can band together to rebuild infrastructure like schools and clinics. Renewable energy projects could power water storage, irrigation and water harvesting. Market gardening projects and reliable retail outlets could help improve the standards of living.

One important thing the government could do is to eliminate the nuisance from local politicians standing in the way of such philanthropic and community-initiated developments. The politicians’ big egos and petty officialdom are threatened by people doing the work that the politicians are elected to champion. Most of these ribbon-cutting obsessed politicians demand credit for work they have not initiated or they will sabotage the projects.

The government strategy of revitalising rural areas through growth points has mostly succeeded in attracting bottle stores and nightclubs with all the attendant ills of these facilities. While government is figuring out the next policy perhaps you and I should make our way back to the rural village to make a difference.

NB. If you are already working on a project in your rural village, please share the good news with us, including pictures. We will share the details of your projects and hopefully encourage others to join the movement to develop our rural villages. Email me on trevorvusumuzincube@gmail.com


Trevor Ncube is Chairman of Alpha Media Holdings and host of In Conversation With Trevor. This is an excerpt from the weekly Newsletter . Please subscribe for thought provoking fresh insights.

In Conversation With Trevor

In Conversation with Gugulethu Siso


When you’ve lost everything and your identity is weaved into your business what do you do? Gugulethu Siso, the Founder and CEO of Thumeza Fintech , shares her experience as a young entrepreneur. She says her stubborn streak and perseverance explains her success this far. Watch her episode

Audience Responses

From Gugulethu Siso episode, our community had this to say:

Gugu I like your straight talking no bs approach.
What a brilliant and courageous young lady. God bless you, Gugu, and may He expand your territory.
Couldn’t wait to watch the Gugu interview and it has proven worth it. Absolutely loved the conversation and picked a lot of insights I’ll carry with me as we build our own startup. Thank you so much Gugu.
Trevor when it comes to such engagements you are at another level. It’s such a joy just watching you do what you love. Great work sir and keep it up.
Gugu you were born for this thing… You sound and feel authentic. This intrepreneur thing is in your DNA. Continue to do you girl we’re cheering for you.

Coming Next: In Conversation with Feli Nandi


Don’t miss the next episode with AfroFusion Musician and Fashion Designer Feli Nandi In Conversation
with Trevor.

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in conversation with trevorZimbabwean entrepreneur and newspaper publisher Trevor Ncube
sits down with various high-profile guests in a series of
candid, conversations that seeks to go beyond the headlines and
beyond the sensational.

Book of the Week

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The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You

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Recommended Reading:

Who Moved My Cheese?: An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life
by Spencer Johnson, Kenneth Blanchard

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