Some 87 km from Kariba inside Nyaminyami area, after enduring a dusty path that seemed to represent a road, which to a large extent was eroded by wild park rivers, lies a place called Gatshegatshe.
This community could be mistaken for an island, they do not have neighbours or closeby villages, nothing but a wild game park infested with all the dangerous wild animals, until you reach the edges of lake Kariba, where a community of not more than 2000 members live in isolation, but business is brisk, they fish for a living and most suppliers from Harare brave that route daily.
This is the place that since time immemorial, has never had cellphones working,Only had a satellite primary school enacted 14 years ago. The community lies close to the Binga area and no one really envies this area, it’s a jungle, where most wanted criminals in Zimbabwe take refuge.
Telecommunication regulator Potraz dared to make a difference, last week when they officially commissioned a shared base station in the area, which has 3g capacity for all the country’s mobile networks.
What rather appalled me was the donation they made to the school, 10 laptops and a state of the art 3 in 1 printer, the same donation was made to a nearby clinic. This completely transformed the society but what kind of a school got the donation and why?
Mr Tedious Maunga is the recently transferred and new headmaster. In his first year at the institution, the government is trusting him to do miracles. The secondary school has an all time record of 0% pass rate for the past 14 years since inception. Yes! noone has ever recorded 5 O level pass in this community, and frankly it seemed noone cared.
The real onus is on Potraz and the headmaster to rewrite the script. They have dared to change the narrative, laid the foundation and made sure all the necessary basics that are needed for connectivity are made available .
There are no humans who are more superior and none deserves less, if the playing field is levelled , why must other members of the society not compete at par and especially to those already disadvantaged, they live to tell.
Potraz director General Dr Gift Machengete has led his team into the wilderness in search of the answer, access to internet is a human right and education is a must for all.
Speaking to TechnoMag, the Potraz director General Dr Gift Machengete said
Its our mandate to connect the unconnected, our last 20 base stations have been connecting disadvantaged Zimbabweans under the Universal Service Funds, for a community like Gatshegatshe which thrives on fishing, we have enabled them an e-commerce possibility while making them easily reachable to their customers”
This community has challenged to change, and to whom much is given, much is expected. The world from today will know Gatshegatshe as a connected community with serious potential to rewrite history.
The area does not even have a local police post, crime is controlled at own discretion, the students in the area already earn an average $200 from 100 kg of fish sales, they care less about literacy when pockets are fat.
Statistically, less than 150 of the students in this community make it to O level.
They will need to dream one day. Now that they have been connected to the world, the first foundationational layer of infrastructure complete and lots of education now needs to be done on the application layer to makes these tools useful.