By Takawira ‘Photovet’ Dapi
EIGHTY FIVE-YEAR-OLD Maruta Kraal Headman Robert Maruta, who revealed his HIV positive status last week, was all smiles after receiving a bicycle from two H-Metro readers.
Anemi Mangombe and his wife Sarah purchased a bicycle for the ‘headman’ who is popularly known as Sekuru Samba in Hwedza, Mashonaland East after learning about his story
In an interview with H-Metro, Sarah said they were touched by Sekuru Samba’s ordeal.
“I am excited to meet Sekuru Samba and that was my only dream after reading your story through H-Metro.
‘It was so exciting yet painful to hear about your story, especially at your age. Volunteering to walk around villages educating people on HIV and AIDS is commendable.
“I was mostly moved when you said, mudzimai wangu akandisiya ndakanaka. You are a hero from Hwedza district and that is why we are donating this bicycle to you as a sign of motivating you to keep on mobilising more to know their HIV status,” she said.
Similar sentiments were echoed by her husband Anemi who urged Sekuru Samba to continue educating villagers.
“Looking at your age, many cannot do what you are doing, giving hope to those infected and educating those not yet.
“What touched us most as a family is that you are a traditional leader, you are the base of Zimbabwean law making. If all African traditional leaders would act like Sekuru Samba, our communities would be much safer.
“Imagine we are celebrating the Zimbabwean independence, brought by you our traditional leaders, it is joy after joy because Jesus is resurrecting again,” he said.
“Heroism starts by volunteering for your nation first, so you are a national hero in the prevention of all diseases, I say all diseases because it is the HIV virus which leaves one vulnerable to other diseases.”
Commenting after receiving his donation, which also included groceries, the visibly excited Sekuru Samba saluted the Harare couple.
“I really thank God for blessing me with the ability to do all this awareness work. I do not forget that I got very ill and suffered after my wife passed on.
“Later I got schooled about HIV & AIDS awareness at Mutambirwa village. They said my blood was now HIV+, they asked me again if I wanted ARVs. I accepted and went for a two-week ART course.
“We were put in groups from where I formed my group to avoid walking long distances to Mount St Mary’ s Mission here in Hwedza.
“I was declared as its chairman, I organised for a meeting place, which happens to be my home.
“There are about six members there and my group has 12 members so far though many are asking if they can come to go for testing soon.
“I even encouraged the group to have road-runner (chickens), goat or gardening project for food and selling. I urge people to get tested,” he said.
A villager who was also touched by Sekuru samba saluted the headman for leading by example.
“This old man is our God given grandfather, imagine at his age, he is the one inviting and walking around with agronomists and inviting us to farm.
“He is helping his senior our headman sekuru Spear Mapfumo Maruta with all village duties needing travelling, he openly talks about his HIV status and educates and encourage us to go and get tested for HIV and cancer diseases at funerals or any village gatherings, kana pa borehole chaipo kana pachigayo vanosvika vago pupura kudzidzisa nezve zvirwere izvi.
“Vamwe vanovanongedza vachinyeya asivarikuvaterera, haa, varikuwanikwa miviriyavo ichisimukazve. Look at him now, he was ill but today he runs like a boy,” said the villager only identified as Amai Pattie Chidomaya. H Metro