The Sunday News
Tendai Rupapa, Harare Bureau
PHILANTHROPIC works being undertaken by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa countrywide have captured the attention of Dynamos Football Club, prompting them to come on board with an offer to collaborate with her Angel of Hope Foundation to ease the plight of vulnerable members of the community through sport and unveil wellness programmes.
The First Lady is the patron of Angel of Hope Foundation, which is doing extensive work countrywide to ease the plight of vulnerable communities.
Plans are also afoot to establish a Dynamos women’s football side which dovetails with the First Lady’s quest for the empowerment and promotion of the girl child.
Amai Mnangagwa through her foundation, has in the past introduced a family fun day programme countrywide, which ran under the theme; “Networking for Wellness Through Sports.”
She hosted the event to enhance opportunities for women to participate in community development through sport and recreational activities and to enjoy healthy lifestyles by exercising regularly. She also took part in the competitions as a way to encourage other women.
So popular has the First Lady become because of her hands-on approach that other countries in the region are keen to tap into her experiences and hard work.
Ms Yvonne Chaka Chaka, who is Africa’s Unesco goodwill ambassador and now proudly an-all-women led radio station owner in South Africa, has expressed desire to interview Amai Mnangagwa to inspire other women to follow suit.
Yesterday, the Dynamos executive used the opportunity to share with the mother of the nation their success stories and challenges. Those present at yesterday’s meeting were Dynamos board chairman Mr Bernard Marriot Lusengo, patron Mr Webster Shamu, executive chairman Mr Isaiah Mupfurutsa, vice chairman Mr Moses Shumba, treasurer Mr Moses Chikwariro, CEO Mr Jonathan Mashingaidze, board member Mr Francis Madzinga, marketing and communications manager Ms Yvonne Mangunda and secretary-general Mr Webster Marechera.
In his speech, Mr Shamu described the meeting with the First Lady as rare and a first of its kind.
“I still have to go back in history and find out if there was such an event on Zimbabwean soil where the First Lady of the nation has taken time to sit down with a football club to listen to their challenges, to offer advice, motherly advice,” he said.
“This is the first time and this has come on the back of our recent visit to his Excellency the President Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. We met him about two weeks ago and had a time to share with him our experiences. That connectivity has boosted our morale and I believe Amai that Dynamos has had the blessing that it needed as we look forward to begin the forthcoming football season.”
Mr Shamu broke the news to the First Lady that Ms Chaka Chaka was eager to interview Amai Mnangagwa in light of her philanthropic works which have helped ease the plight of vulnerable members of society.
“Just before we came here Amai, I took the initiative to phone Yvonne Chaka Chaka,” he said.
“She is Africa’s ambassador for Unesco and I told her that we were going to meet the First Lady who is also the brains, the driver, the engine behind the Angel of Hope Foundation. When you launched Angel of Hope Amai, she also sent you a video clip of a very special message and she asked me this afternoon to once again convey to you Her Excellency, her appreciation for the work that you are doing for the people of Zimbabwe. And she also extended an invitation for you Amai to be able to be interviewed on her radio station. She is interested in having time to share your experiences with her.”
Mr Shamu praised the First Lady for her extraordinarily good works which showed she was touching many hearts.
Mr Mupfurutsa pledged his club’s support towards the First Lady’s philanthropic works.
“As Dynamos, we are dreaming big in terms of our vision and we are looking forward to be involved in all the provinces,” he said.
“We do not want to be only centralised in Harare, we realised that we have got talent across the country hence we aspire to develop infrastructure and systems that will allow us to set up centres countrywide so that the youths will have access to develop their skills.
“We also realised that soccer is not only for men, therefore, we are also planning to bring back our women’s team. We want to promote the girl child. Amai, you are passionate about the promotion of the girl child.
“You are also involved in a lot of charity work that is looking at the underprivileged. As Dynamos football club, we are prepared to support your initiatives. We want to work with the Angel of Hope Foundation so that we can also pay back to the community.”
We are available Amai, we are at your disposal and ready to support and work with you.”
Mr Mupfurutsa chronicled to the mother of the nation the club’s history of success from inception in 1963 and the number of titles the club has lifted as well as soccer stars it has contributed since the inauguration of the awards in 1969.
He said in terms of competitions on the continental front, Dynamos had been the most successful in Zimbabwe and was also popular in Africa. He added that the country was blessed to have such a mother who is prepared to listen to her children whenever they have got something to share.
The First Lady was presented with a new Dynamos kit inscribed “Amai 1”.
Lusengo presented her with a portrait of the founding 1963 Dynamos team in which he featured and brought it to her attention that all his peers had passed on, leaving him alone.
In her remarks, the First Lady said she was charmed by Dynamos Football Club’s visit to her office with a noble cause in mind. She said Dynamos FC was going to be the ambassador of Angel of Hope Foundation and that she was in full acceptance of the honourable idea.
“Dynamos Football Club approached my office in order to give me an appraisal of how they are operating,” she said. “The club, which is one of local football’s giants, has a rich unique history. Dynamos Football Club was formed as an offshoot of Salisbury United at the climax of African nationalism in Mbare in 1963.
“This unique club being the first, all-African team, contributed immensely to the inclusion of the indigenous African people in the participation of professional sport and opened the door to the formation of other indigenous clubs.”
In difficult times such as the pre-independence era, the First Lady reminisced, the masses found solace in football and a growing passion for the sport emerged.
“We are in the epoch of the Covid-19 pandemic whereby we have had to adjust to the new normal for our safety and that of our loved ones,” said the First Lady. “The management has engaged Angel of Hope Foundation.
“Today, Dynamos Football Club has proposed a collaboration with Angel of Hope Foundation in using sport to benefit the elderly, marginalised, underprivileged women and children. The club has projected to utilise the beautiful game in partnership with Angel of Hope Foundation for charity.
“We have also agreed to create football teams in provinces for the elderly in a bid to continue raising awareness on the importance of a fit and healthy lifestyle for our well-being. This initiative will also give the elderly a refreshed mind which benefits their psychological balance.
“I would like to thank Dynamos Football Club for having the people at heart and thinking about giving back to the communities which built them and who are still supporting the team to flourish and the society from which they have sprouted.”
Amai Mnangagwa said the coming on board by Dynamos football club, would change the mind-set of people, especially in the wake of the gender based violence which reared its ugly head during the national lockdown.
She said before a match, the club and the foundation would use the opportunity to raise awareness.