Poorest in Zimbabwe look for food in dumps

The Tsanzaguru dumping ground is some hundred metres away from the residential area. Photo by Bernard Chiguvare

Tsanzaguru is a relatively new township in Rusape about 200km away from Harare. Residents complain that Rusape Municipality is dumping food in the area, inviting scavenging by unscrupulous vendors.

Tsanzaguru, Zimbabwe

Tsanzaguru is a relatively new township in Rusape about 200km away from Harare. Residents complain of rotten food dumped in the area and swarms of flies are a real nuisance especially when it is hot.  They blame Rusape Municipality for dumping the rubbish close to their homes without any apparent consideration for the health of the community.

Municipal trucks dump rubbish everyday, some loads with waste food, some with none as some residents could observe. When Elitsha visited the dump area, a handful of people including children were at the site while on the second occasion, more people were busy picking through the rubbish. They were mostly reluctant to speak to this reporter.

“Yes sometime municipality drop expired food stuff and is scratched by people. You can also get broken packets of flour. I would not know whether these people resale,” says Blessing Mukunga who was busy looking for cans and plastic on the first day.

Mukunga believes some people ‘scratch’ for recyclables because they do not have any source of income to put food on the table. He started scratching for empty cardboard boxes and tin cans last year and piles stood stacked and ready to be taken to Harare for sale.

“We no longer trust vendors selling cheap food stuff in our area because we are now skeptical of where the products are from. It is wise to buy vegetables and fruits from vendors coming from villages around,” says a 68-year-old mother preparing her breakfast.

She said vendors recovering food stuff from the dump are lazy and not conscious of the health hazards after consuming such expired and rotten food. “I wonder if these vendors have ever thought of the dangers that arise after people consume such food stuff. They just look for fast cash. This is bad,” she says, adding that they should be advised to stop it and find an alternative way of living.

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Another community member Muchaneta who has been in Tsanzaguru since 2015 complained of the swarms of flies that plague the community during summer.

“Come back hot season and see for yourself. We have no clue to this. The community is not united to approach the municipality about this,” she says. “Rusape Municipality should find another dumping place before we experience outbreak of a disease. Some of the vendors as they come from the dump hide the food stuff and sale it next day.”

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About Bernard Chiguvare 56 Articles
Originally from Zimbabwe and since 2014 I been contributing to different publications in South Africa. My area of focus as a reporter is on the rights of vulnerable communities and foreign nationals in any country.