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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 21st March 2009 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 22 March 2009 15:27

The Vigil was not surprised that Mugabe’s appeal for a little help from his ‘friends’ has fallen on deaf ears. China, North Korea, Iran etc have, in effect, joined the AU and SADC in imposing ‘illegal sanctions’ (illegal sanctions being defined by Mugabe as not giving him what he demands).  

Vigil supporters turned out in great numbers in the spring sunshine. They expressed resignation at the hypocrisy of ‘Crisis, what crisis?’ South Africa. Suddenly Finance Minister Manuel is pleading poverty when the dysfunctional coalition government imposed by South Africa begs for start-up help. ‘Ask the donors’ he says, after having always insisted that these countries must keep their noses out of Africa.   

The Vigil noted that Manuel went on to bleat ‘We need to get farmers to produce . . .’  Well the Vigil wishes to remind him that SADC has an obligation to ensure the rule of law in Zimbabwe. Isn’t this what they guaranteed? Only then can there be a future for the coalition government it has promoted.   

Vigil team member Fungayi Mabhunu spoke about conditions in Zimbabwe during a visit to the Dolphin School in Battersea, south London, on Friday at the invitation of teacher Steve Garvey.  We are being sent pictures later in the week which will be posted on our Flickr web page.  Steve Garvey reports as follows: 

"33 children from Year 3 and 4 at Dolphin School in Battersea had the privilege of learning more about the plight of our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe last Friday. They were able to ask questions and find out for themselves at first hand the suffering millions of people have to go through on a daily basis. This was due to a personal visit to the school by Fungayi from the Zimbabwe Vigil.  

The children had researched the country for the last few months and were up to date with events, but were not expecting to hear such harrowing stories. They were told how in one school twenty children had to share just two pens. They were amazed to hear that some children only got to school for eighteen days last year. Many were dismayed to hear that exam papers from two years ago had still to be marked. Fungayi shared his own personal story with them and ensured an accurate picture was established. What amazed them most of all was the fact that one pound could help feed one family for up to thirty days. One boy offered the small amount of money he had in his pocket to his class teacher there and then. 

The Year 4s have decided to take part in a sponsored event next month with all the proceeds going directly to one or two schools in Zimbabwe who desperately need it. This would allow them to buy pens and books, resources which British children take for granted. The Year 4 teacher Mr Garvey has also decided to raise money by running the London Marathon next month on behalf of the Zimbabwe Vigil (more details later). The event takes place on Sunday 26 April, so if you would like to sponsor him, please contact us. 

Fungayi was a great communicator and extremely informed. The children went away clearly moved by what they had heard and ready to do their part to help ease the suffering of the millions of Zimbabweans facing an uncertain future.” 

An indication of the scale of the Zimbabwean diaspora came at a reunion lunch in London today of Chisipite old girls born in the 1940s, attended by Vigil Co-ordinator, Rose Benton. About 30 people gathered from around the UK and one from the south of France. Several joined us at the Vigil afterwards. 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/ 

FOR THE RECORD: 337 signed the register. 

FOR YOUR DIARY:
·         Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday 23rd March at 7.30 pm. Venue: Bell and Compass, 9-11 Villiers Street, London, WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross Station at the corner of Villiers Street and John Adam Street.
·         Gravesend ROHR launch meeting. Saturday 28th March from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Gravesend Veterans Club, 19 Clarence Place, Gravesend DA12 1LB. Contact: Robson Makotsa 07927 900 558, David Masvodza 07765 645 418, Paul Makuchete 07967 837 862 or P Mapfumo 07915 962 323 / 07932 216 070.
·         ROHR Wolverhamton general meeting. Saturday 28th March from 1 – 4 pm. Venue 186 Chervil Rise, Heath Town, Wolverhampton WV10 0HZ. Contact: Colleen Maredza 07733 394 648 Veronica Chakeredza 07853 752 085 and Ivy Takawira 07796 234 060.  
·         Fundraising for the Vigil at the London Marathon. Sunday, 26th April.  Steve Garvey, teacher at the Dolphin School, Battersea, is running in the London Marathon to raise money on behalf of Zimbabwe Vigil.
·         Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays). 

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