A 71-year-old Zimbabwean woman who walked 17km to donate clothing and kitchen utensils to victims of Cyclone Idai has just been promised what might be her best gift ever.
Zimbabwean billionaire and telecommunications magnate Strive Masiyiwa has pledged to build a home and pay a $1000 lifetime monthly allowance to the elderly woman from Harare who walked from Mbare to Highlands to donate to survivors even though she does not have much.
Plaxedes Dilon, a widow otherwise known as Gogo Magombo, wakes up at 4 am daily and walks long distances selling clothing. She had just returned home from a long day of vending when she heard of the cyclone disaster on the radio, according to local media, ZimLive.
“I immediately packed the clothes and jackets that I earlier purchased for resell and carried my bag to Star FM the following morning,” she said
Business tycoon, Masiyiwa, who was moved by Magombo’s act of kindness, said: “she gave more than us all”.
“This is the biblical ‘widow’s mite’,” Masiyiwa wrote on Facebook.
“What she did is one of the most remarkable acts of compassion I have ever seen. When this is over, I’m going to find her, and invite her to come and see me, if possible. Then I will spend time in prayer with her. Then I will build her a house, anywhere she wants in Zimbabwe. It will have solar power and running water. Then I will give her a monthly allowance of $1,000 for life.”
Described as the deadliest weather disaster of 2019, the tropical cyclone Idai barreled across southern African nations with flash floods and ferocious winds after making landfall near the Mozambique port city of Beira on March 14. It then spread to neighbouring Zimbabwe and Malawi.
According to Reuters, at least 686 people have been killed across the three countries and thousands displaced. Donations and relief aid have since been pouring for the survivors.
Magomba went viral on the internet after her act of generosity was disclosed by the Highlands Presbyterian Church, which received her donation
She said over the weekend that she was born in Chegutu town and had never been to Manicaland, but she decided to act out of the pain she felt for the victims of the disaster.
“They believe that giving should only be done to those who are in their religious circles. However, in the Bible, it is written in Matthew 25 verse 45 that ‘whatever you did to the least of my brothers, you did it unto me’.”
Masiyiwa’s companies, which have been leading relief efforts in Chimanimani and Chipinge, the districts worst hit by the cyclone, said he decided to honour Magombo because “I admire people who are moved to act in a crisis”.
About 1.85 million people have now been affected by Cyclone Idai and its aftermath in Mozambique alone, UN humanitarian agency OCHA said on Tuesday
Mozambique remains the hardest hit by the humanitarian crisis with tens of thousands of homes destroyed and hundreds of thousands displaced, according to Reuters.
Aid workers are, at the moment, measuring the scale of the disaster to determine what kind of help is most needed.
“We can determine the size, we can’t determine the circumstance. So we’re now going out on the ground, dropping people off from helicopters to determine what the critical needs are,” said OCHA coordinator Sebastian Rhodes Stampa.