The Sunday News
Richard Muponde, Gwanda Correspondent
SCORES of people from Masvingo and remote Beitbridge who had joined the stampede to harvest amacimbi are now stranded along the Bulawayo-Beitbridge highway without money to return home.
People from as far as Rutenga, Mwenezi, and Tshikwalakwala in Beitbridge besieged Gwanda District to harvest amacimbi/madora. Most of these people came to Gwanda with money to take them into the district anticipating that they will have more after harvesting the delicacy.
However, a majority of those stranded were those who came late and found that amacimbi which were in abundance have dwindled. Some are those who managed to harvest but did not have cash to return home and fell prey to omagumaguma who are buying their harvest for a song.
The councillor for the Ward 22, George Chipengo where the people are camped confirmed the development and said he could not comment much on the issue but invited Sunday News to visit the area to assess the situation.
“Yes, it’s true. There are a lot of people. However, right now I am busy but what I can do is to take to you to the place and see it for yourself,” said Clr Chipengo.
When Sunday News visited the area it discovered that indeed people were stranded.
“We were phoned by someone who came here earlier and they advised us that amacimbi were in abundance. We organised ourselves to come here and hired a truck from Flora in Mwenezi. But when we arrived here we discovered that there were a lot of people and the harvest was too small to cover our expenses to go home or stay here,” said Mrs Annastancia Zinja.
She said her group was now stranded and were now relying on the benevolence of others from their area who were camped at the Collen Bawn toll gate.
“They are now feeding us. We are hoping that some of the farmers whose farms have amacimbi will invite us to harvest so that we get money to go back home. We are now stranded here as we only had transport to come here,” she said.
Thousands of people invaded Gwanda District to harvest amacimbi and most of them were coming from outside Matabeleland South Province. The situation has also ignited hostile reception as some farmers were refusing them entry into their farms accusing them of invading their areas and damaging perimeter fences.