“When the national park was created, the village was forced out of an area that had been our home for generations, really for as long as anyone could remember. We lost our families’ graves and other places that were important to us. It was good for nature and our wild animals, but it wasn’t at all good for the people and our culture. Many lost their purpose in life,” says Anxious, 15, from Malipati.
Before Zimbabwe was independent, the country was called Rhodesia. The white people, who made all the decisions back then, forced people to move against their will when their government decided to create Gonarezhou National Park. The Rhodesian government didn’t care about the people who lived in the area. The fact that the people had a culture and a way of life that was deeply linked to the land and the place was not important. The white government thought that their culture was superior to ours, and they were more interested in making decisions that were good for them, not for us. Now we are trying to do something about the painful history of Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park.
“I go to Jichidza High School and my favourite subject is biology. I think school is the most important thing there is. You learn things at school so you can do something important with your life,” says Anxious.
“When I’m older I dream of becoming an ecologist and working with environmental issues in the national park. It’s been my dream ever since I was little and visited a game park with my dad and uncle. It was fantastic to get to see giraffes, zebra and elephants. It’s important that we preserve and protect our wild animals and our natural environment, so this unique place is here for future generations. It’s both our cultural and natural heritage,” explains Anxious.
Mpfhuka – Journey
Mpfhuka means journey in Shangani, which is the language spoken in the Limpopo region. The Mpfhuka programme is about the shared “journey” that the national park and the people of the surrounding villages are on towards a future of respect, cooperation and peace. Mpfhuka has: