Wits Zimssoc collaborates with Charity Drive Zimbabwe to raise funds and provide donations towards the Cyclone Idai victims in Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwean Students Society (Zimssoc) at Wits has made a collaborative effort with the Charity Drive Zimbabwe to donate food, clothes, blankets, sanitary pads and toiletries to support victims of cyclone Idai for the next few weeks.

Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi on March 4, leaving more than 900 people dead and thousands displaced.

President of Wits Zimssoc Tinotenda Masomera reached out to Charity Drive Zimbabwe to hand over some of the funds raised to assist the victims of the cyclone. Masomera said that he wanted to involve the whole of South Africa, and every Zimbabwean society in Cape Town and Stellenbosch.

“It’s a big initiative and there’s people coming through to assist” he told Wits Vuvuzela.

The initiative also plans to provide schools in Zimbabwe with essentials such as generators, stationary and textbooks.
Zimbabwe National Student Union (Zinasu), formed by a collection of tertiary students across Zimbabwe, is one of the organisations involved with Charity Drive in ensuring that donations are being made through various channels.

The chairperson of Zinasu, Kudakwashe Manjonjo, told Wits Vuvuzela that the civil society organisation got a chance to do voluntarily work for the Charity Drive and commended Wits and the University of Cape Town for their large contributions.

Other organisations involved in providing aid include the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), Econet Wireless and the Patrice Motsepe Foundation.
Despite these efforts, there are still some challenges. It has been difficult to transport the parcels through Chimanimani road in Zimbabwe because of the damage caused by the disaster. This has resulted in the use of helicopters flown by the Zimbabwe National Army and South African National Defence Force as an alternative to get the goods to the victims.

“We are talking to private sectors and some NGOs in terms of transport because we are in South Africa, so our job is just to collect and give over to the logistic site who will then follow through with the procedure,” Manjonjo told Wits Vuvuzela.

Manjonjo also said that there was an issue with the politicisation of the donor funds. “We do live under a quite undemocratic country, so essentially it is either through churches, NGOs or government, but we prefer to go through the NGO route,” he said.

Liora Katzew, a representative from the South African Union of Jewish Students (Saujs) at Wits, says that not many people are aware of the initiative taken by Zimssoc. Katzew adds that Saujs have also been running donations from Monday, April 1, and would be more effective to consolidate the fundraising efforts.

FEATURED IMAGE: Members of SAUJS set up a relief fund to assist victims of Cyclone Idai. Photo: Masechaba Kganyapa