The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday News Reporter
FIRST Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has said Family Fun Days are important in creating a healthy nation as people exercise, interact freely and discuss issues that affect them in a relaxed manner.
Amai Mnangagwa said this at a Family Fun Day at Phelandaba Stadium in Gwanda yesterday which was characterised by laughter, smiles and sweat as she interacted with the community
“It is a preventive method of wadding off disease. I am promoting fitness, wellness and good health which are an enabler for you to function in all other in all other respects. I cannot over emphasise that a healthy nation is a happy nation. I must also stress the importance of keeping our environment clean. The clean-up campaign we did earlier together should be the beginning of a culture of zero tolerance to litter. Let Gwanda residents be known as champions of cleanliness and remember that it all starts from your own households,” she said.
Traditional sports like athletics, netball and football and recreational activities including the blind fold con dash, tsoro, the sack race and the tug of war were some of the activities that were witnessed by the First Lady.
Instead of a guest, the First Lady behaved like a dignified family member as she rubbed shoulders with Gwanda residents when she led the health walk and competed with other women in some of the activities.
The Family Fun Day, which exploded into life with a clean-up led by the First Lady in the morning, saw an explosion of multi-ethnic language and culture as Matabeleland South went some way in justifying its moniker as the Rainbow Province of Zimbabwe.
Winners of the various activities were rewarded with hampers from the First Lady’s Angel of Hope Foundation, an entity she said had been crucial in spearheading her drive to bring cheers to less fortunate members of society.
“As you have seen, I have been to every province undertaking a number of charity-oriented initiatives mostly under the banner of my Angel of Hope Foundation. These initiatives help me reach out to members of the society that are not so privileged. I have been to cities, peri-urban and rural areas interacting and lending a hand to fellow Zimbabweans,” she said.
Despite her position, the First Lady said occasions like yesterday’s Family Fun Day allowed her to get closer to members of the community who were often neglected.
“I am a mother like you, also ambuya and some call even call me gogo. The reason I get into communities is to get personal with you, to get close to you, understanding your needs and helping in the best way I can. Sometimes interventions are by means of donations, scholarships, medical care, while sometimes it’s just being your voice, advocating and conducting awareness campaigns, calling and reminding all respective institutions to play their roles,” she said.
Yesterday’s event showed a strong bias towards women, particularly the elderly, with the First Lady noting that women usually never got the opportunity to participate in stress-free social outings like their male counterparts.
“The Family Fun Day is another interactive opportunity for us to take time from our busy schedules and engage in sporting activities. The day is for the family, especially the girls, mothers, ana gogo kunyanya. It is rare to see women deliberately exercising, when they jog they’re running to the market, when they lift weight it’s usually laundry, fetching water or gardening.
“Today we will be exercising purely for our bodies, minds and souls. You deserve a rest from all the hard work that you do. A special time to get to know each other and share ideas. Men create these platforms for themselves all the time, at bars maboozer playing football and eating out braiing and gotchi gotchi. What about us women? Out platforms for engagement should be broadened, we should create time for ourselves,” she said.
The First Lady acknowledged that such occasions contributed immensely to the overall well-being of the nation.
“It is a preventive method of wadding off disease. I am promoting fitness, wellness and good health which are an enabler for you to function in all other in all other respects. I cannot over-emphasise that a healthy nation is a happy nation. I must also stress the importance of keeping our environment clean. The clean-up campaign we did earlier together should be the beginning of a culture of zero tolerance to litter. Let Gwanda residents be known as champions of cleanliness and remember that it all starts from your own households,” she said.
The First Lady thanked those members of the corporate world who had come to the party at the right hour, encouraging them to continue to do so on a more regular basis in the future.
“However, let me stress that this is not a one-day affair. Giving back to communities is a responsibility you should take seriously and I urge all of you to continue with your corporate social responsibility efforts but with sustainability lenses, that is a long term initiative. Pay attention to the needs of the vulnerable; be known for more than your products. Be known for caring for the community’s needs,” she said.
The First Lady was accompanied by the Minister of State for Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs, Cde Abednico Ncube, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Recreation Dr Thokozile Chitepo and the Director General of the Sports and Recreation Prince Mupazvirinho among other dignitaries.