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on earth at Hopley Estate
Grace Kombora, The Zimbabwe Independent
August 26, 2005
FOR ageing Machisi
Kapesi (76) whose wobbly legs are badly scarred and barely covered
with a dirty pair of trousers, sleeping in the dust at Hopley has
become hell on earth.
written all over his face, he does not know where he will be in
the next two years with the mental torture he has suffered in the
past 16 years.
He does not
know what the future holds for him as he has been displaced four
times since he moved from Mozambique to Zimbabwe 39 years ago.
resided in Mbare suburb whilst working at Louis Construction. Later
he relocated to Porta Farm where he was recently evicted under Operation
Murambatsvina and relocated to Caledonia transit camp. He has since
been moved to Hopley Estate south of Harare where he lives in a
"I am tired
of this life and wish I could disappear from the face of the earth.
Just disappear out of this world because I have had enough," Kapesi
of government's poorly executed clean-up have been turned into nomads.
Those who have not been allocated stands at Hopley are set to be
"We were told
to vacate this place this week and go where we came from," said
shacks they call home are no higher than dog kennels. The shacks
are without form and shape yet they are the homes of Hopley Estate
residents whom government said it was accommodating in decent houses
when their shacks were destroyed in May.
Some sleep in
the open on the ground bathed in dust everyday.
With their goods
lying in the open, they do not foresee a better future ahead of
The living conditions
at Hopley are atrocious as the residents rarely take a bath.
They do not
have proper places for bathing themselves.
Those who are
conscious of their cleanliness bath in Mukuvisi River or even in
the open without their dignity in mind.
"We even bath
in the open because we do not have an option," said a confident
temporary toilets that were built by Unicef, Hopley is replete with
human waste which creates a bad odour at the camp.
Independent visited the camp this week and witnessed young children
relieving themselves in the open not far from cooking fires.
"We fear an
outbreak of diarrhoea at this place," said Virginia Tselo.
Tselo, a pregnant
woman with four children, is finding the life at the camp bizarre.
She says no living creature deserves such terrible living.
have we committed to the government that we are treated like this?"
the government would allocate them proper housing after they were
evicted from Porta Farm.
were deprived their right to education. They now roam the camp aimlessly
with little hope of returning to school. The situation for them
has been compounded by the sharp rise in school fees.
who was set to write her final 'O' Level examinations in October
will not sit for the exams due to continuous displacements.
To earn a little
money Hopley farm residents are resorting to selling tomatoes and
vegetables in the transit camp and mending shoes. This week, those
who did not meet the criteria to be allocated stands were contemplating
where to go if the government carries out its threat.
go back to Porta Farm which was demolished in June.
If they resist
eviction, residents say, government has threatened to unleash the
army and the police to force them out.
officials notified us that police and soldiers will beat us up if
we do not move," Kapesi said.
rather die than move again.
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