Background/ History of Rugare
Rugare, is a southern suburb only 7kms from the Harare CBD. Earliest settlers were migrants from Malawi and Mozambique lured to then Southern Rhodesia during the time of the Federation establishment of a vibrant railway service that beckoned for labour force in the 1950s. Infrastructure were put up and marked the birth of a small but united vibrant community with about 1118 cluster core houses and revenue generating recreational facilities which includes the Rangers Stadium, the Community Hall, Rugare Clinic and Rugare Shopping Centre.
The Post-Independence Zimbabwe has seen almost all houses in the community sold to the residents, but the NRZ has kept possession of at least twenty infrastructures which includes few houses, the community hall, the stadium and the shopping area. Areas that were left undeveloped within the suburb have also been kept under the NRZ and the community clinic was recently handed over to the Harare council (2017 verbal agreement). This exchange in ownership of housing and infrastructure between the Council and the NRZ has created a deadlock that is playing a vital role in the detriment and stagnation of any form of development within the once glorious community as they play a blame game on service delivery.
A once famous stadium in the southern part of the suburb “Rangers” is now run-down and no-longer fit for revenue generation and the community hall is on lease to a private college. Population is now estimated to be between 12 000 and 14 000 (2012 population survey). With no functioning shopping centre, residents are relying on bottle stores, tuck-shops and community vendors. The past 10 years have seen the Rugare residents relying on neighbouring Kambuzuma clinic and the Harare Hospital for medical needs as the community clinic was out of service. Refuse is scheduled for collection on Mondays, residents have however made numerous reports on poor service delivery. Half of the local houses use pit latrine toilets at an average of 10-15 people per latrine and burst sewage systems are an order of the day.
At least half of the property owners within the community are retired pensioners who earn their living through rentals and pension funds from the NRZ and NSSA. Revenue earned through rents has however been long cut during the Operation Murambatsvina period (2005) and further worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic which saw the law protecting tenants failing to pay rents. The other half encompass the widowed pensioners who receive less than US$10 from both the NSSA and Railways. Child headed families also constitute a fair potion of the population and over 80% of them have not managed to reach tertiary level education due to poverty. They rely also on rents, vending and piece jobs.
The once “suburb of choice” due to easy access to both the Heavy and Light Industry, the CBD and the Railway Stations has turned into a suburb only few people wish to be associated with. Every time one say is from Rugare, before noticing the disgust in the recipient’s face, the individual is thoroughly disgusted by the thought of the sewage within the boundaries of his/her community, poor stagnated infrastructure, poverty, astonishing crime rate, excessive drug use/abuse among other stereotypical facts accompanied by the suburb. There will never be a better explanation why local residents should be forced to continue adapt to this poor and horrible lifestyle as if nothing can be done to change the situation and make Rugare a better community.
The NRZ vs Harare Municipality property ownership deadlock has matured in the minds of the residents to think there is a “Rugare Spirit” that follows and haunts all residents and the “were” residents to take away their achievements and successes in life. People there have a sad past, a crippled present and a hopeless future. They are now living their own form of psychological mayhem. This mayhem does not only require individual therapy , but empowerment of the people as a community and sanitizing the community to give hope to Rugare residents, and instil confidence within the surrounding suburbs and the Zimbabwean populace at large that if a forsaken people like Rugare can be redeemed then there is hope that the whole country can.
- To improve Rugare be a better community through empowering the young generation of Rugare
- To build our community (Rugare) through education and sustainable social development.
- Offer support and care to vulnerable groups (children, elders and disabled) in the community.
The drastic decline of the community of Rugare has affected its Residents. The elders are hopeless as they have retired from their jobs at the NRZ and have no proper income to sustain their families. The youths who were groomed to work for the NRZ have suffered the impacts of the fall of the company and have lost their focus in life, with no career guidance, career development strategies, moral decay and deviant behaviour becomes an alternative to make ends meet. Rugare has talented souls and with proper guidance, support and recognition, the suburb can be resuscitated. The scourge of poor health and sanitation service provision, poverty increase, and a resounding growth in moral decay within the community has affected its youths. Through ‘I AM Rugare’ we hope to build a better community with properly socialized, empowered and educated youths. We also hope to give our elders the care and support they need and deserve.