Monday, August 1, 2011

Farm workers, the wretched of our lot

The Standard, 31 July 2011

My work as a pastor takes me to different parts of the country, marrying, burying and attending to several church meetings. I use these visits to talk to all and sundry who are prepared to share with me. Let me share with you on my latest findings on the farming communities. The lot of those who live and work on farms have become the wretched of our country.

One would hope some of the stories one hears are not true. We recently gave a lift to a woman who was carrying a heavy bag. As I shared with her, she went on to tell my wife and I that on the farm they stay they had not been paid for the last three months. We then asked her why she was then carrying a heavy sack full of groceries. She told us that with her husband they did piece-work on an adjacent farm where they were paid some money to survive on.

A short distance along the way we picked up a pregnant woman carrying a baby. As if what we had been told was not enough, she went on to repeat the same story, that her husband had not been paid for the last three months too.

When we asked the reason, they all said the owner just said, “zvinhu zvakaoma”, (things are difficult). But they went on to say the owner of the farm went to South Africa recently and bought himself a new car.

They have been brought up on farms and they agreed that during the olden days they did not get much but at least they were paid their dues on time. The saddest thing is that when they are finally given money the owner does not pay them for the past unpaid months. This has happened on several occasions. Those who complain are fired.
As we continued with the journey we passed through another farm and our two friends had nothing but praises for the owner of this farm. He paid his workers regularly and they agreed that he was a very kind man. They lamented that he was only one among so many in that area.

When we asked them why people continued to stay on farms yet they were not paid, they responded by saying two things. One, they looked for work elsewhere to make ends meet. The second reason was that they just wanted accommodation and a number would just resort to stealing from the farmer. “Because they do not pay us those who are not afraid among us just steal from the farmer and they survive that way,” responded one woman.

Rev Dr Levee Kadenge

REGARDLESS of the fact that I am a lamb that is shepherded by the good Dr Rev Levee Kadenge I feel it is time you gave him an article slot in your paper.

I did not study journalism and neither did he (I think) but from a social perspective I enjoy his flexibility and wide range of subjects, which is not dampened by the fact that he is a man of the cloth.

By Impressed

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