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Talking Nkayi Development: 'No cry babies on their mothers' backs!'

by Nhlanhla Moses Ncube
22 July 2019 | 937 Views
The inspirational and progressive people of Nkayi have risen to the occasion in their endeavour to see their native area of habitation, 'Nkayisburg', effortlessly and unencumberedly adopt the bottom-up approach to development as opposed to the top-down approach imposed by external officials and development agents. The bottom-up development trajectory adopted by Nkayians, is the modern, democratic and people-centred approach to development by the people themselves. This approach is aligned to the neoclassical ideology to which Zimbabwe largely subscribes. Although Nkayi had over the years been negatively projected through word of mouth and mass media, that narrative has drastically changed. Currently, Nkayi is poised for greater social, economic and political advancement. The previous docility by the overly embracing Nkayians could have opened a dilapidating loophole for outsiders to usurp all the economic and political power available to the extent of leaving the general native populace incessantly wallowing in abject poverty and deprivation. Nkayians seem to have successfully arrested the previous negative narrative by defying the odds through becoming self-inspired and determined to shape their destiny and livelihood. The initiative, shape and texture of the advancement of Nkayi is firmly in the hands of Nkayians of all walks of life, leaving their detractors green with envy.

The bottom-up approach to development

Nkayi development is shaped by the bottom-up popular initiatives to development that aim at an enhanced way of life for the Nkayi community. Bottom-up development implies self-empowerment and active participation by the generality of the community in shaping their livelihoods for survival and sustainable living. This approach to development is premised on popular initiatives(initiatives by the people) which are the actions that ordinary people undertake to develop or improve the community or society of which they are part. Nkayians are alert and mindful of the development problems that partly arise due to the dependency syndrome. Sub-Saharan Africa and the Global South in general have been negatively railed to depend on handouts from outsider individuals and/or organizations for their livelihood. Sadly and annoyingly, some political parties sometimes endeavour to lure voters through handouts including pieces of soap and cups of rice. Fortunately, civilized Nkayians collectively frown at that because they view it as encouragement of dependency, laziness and captivity by individuals and organizations with selfish intentions. However, this is not aimed at understating the need by anyone to support the Nkayi community in times of dire straits and need, like the drought and other dilapidating disasters.

Nkayi development

Nkayians understand development the Nkayi way. This understanding of development is premised on the dictates of modern rural development. Like any other society or cultural group, the Nkayi community targets sustainable development which satisfies the community's needs today in as much as it will satisfy them for future generations. This includes enhanced freedom of association, freedom of expression, tolerance, cultural diversity and free political alignment, among other descriptors. Nkayi development naturally falls within Rogers(1976)'s view of development which portrays the concept as a widely participatory process of social change in a society, intended to bring about both social and material advancement(including greater equality, freedom and other valued qualities) for the people through their gaining greater control over their environment. This implies that, for Nkayi to develop, Nkayians should achieve greater control over their social and physical environments. Unfettered social interactions, conservation and protection of natural resources like the precious Nkayi trees, grass and wildlife would lead to an improved way of life for the environmentally conscious Nkayians.

More so, Nkayi development should involve a significant change in the economic, social, political and cultural conditions affecting the people of Nkayi. Any exclusion of the local people in development activities would mean their marginalization and deprivation. The need for Nkayians to be given preference in employment opportunities in Nkayi cannot be overstated. It is hoped that the current outcry in the alleged selective employment of people from other regions shall be heeded by whoever it is directed to. This form of exclusion is one indicator and cause of underdevelopment in Nkayi. It is however, encouraging to note that Nkayi is poised for greater heights in its pursuit of social and physical infrastructural advancement. Nkayi is way ahead and ready for the devolution of power concept.

The Nkayi of shared ideas

The Nkayi community has collectively embraced the open and free sharing of ideas for development through various media and platforms including physical meetings, social media chat groups and other such engagements. This has naturally helped Nkayi in its agenda-setting for development. The unencumbered ability to connect and share ideas has enabled the Nkayi community to harvest the rich reservoir of knowledge and opportunities that exist within the reach of Nkayians. Divergent views have been fused and galvanized to create an unparalleled hybrid of useful initiative and harmony. Although Nkayians belong to various political schools of thought and affiliations, they are uniquely able to co-exist and work together for the good of their community. Political polarization has no place in modern Nkayi society.

Nkayi and non-violence

Despite the toxicity of the politics of Zimbabwe in general, the people of Nkayi have remained united and glued to the ideals of ubuntu and mutual respect as espoused by the iconic and legendary, Dr Joshua Nkomo. The youth of Nkayi are widely awake to the principles of respect for themselves and the elders. Even errant political parties have failed to have them beat their parents like during the 2002 presidential campaign. In Nkayi if you are violent, no votes for you! Simple. Further, the assumed decline in all other forms of violence including domestic assaults, is plausible. Like the civilized world, Nkayi shuns violence in any form whatsoever. The culture of non-violence is one of the peacock colours of our rainbow 'Nkayisburg'.

Inclusive local philanthropy

The development-oriented and civilized Nkayians also thrive on inclusive local philanthropy. They have positively used their gregarious nature as essential social capital by identifying societal needs and coming together to assist. They do this in the form of individual or group donations to areas of need like essential institutions and the collective reparation of damaged infrastructure, among other initiatives. This exemplary approach to development is probably unparalleled in Zimbabwe. It hinges on the cultural norms and values of our society in which one does not only think about him or herself but about the whole community of which they are a product. It is this love and mutual care that is taking Nkayi to greater heights. Many hands make light work, our elders say.

Development-oriented organizations

The emergence of development-oriented groups for Nkayi is proving to shape the development of Nkayi to ideal levels. When Vuka Nkayi Development Association(VUNDA) was resisted by the Nkayi Rural District Council in 1999, one would have thought that Nkayi would eventually go to bed and sleep forever. The same resistance closed out Nkayi Development Association(NDA) which had been formed earlier. Unfortunately, the politics of that time was too repulsive for the united front that had been forged by the two organizations.

Fortunately, of late there is an invigorated call for all hands to be on deck. Currently, Nkayians are on cloud nine following the emergence of Nkayi Development Initiatives(NDIs). One is said to be registered with the Deeds Office as a Trust while the other is said to be currently registered in the UK. Both groups are focused on the furtherance of the goal of Nkayi development and improved living conditions for all the Nkayians. Social media groups have been set up for popular discourse on development programmes. Members say major donations have been made to certain critical development facets of Nkayi. These initiatives are by ordinary Nkayians located all over the world who are selflessly ploughing back to their invaluable community of origin, Nkayi district.


The tremendous take-off by the progressive Nkayi community as they put Nkayi development in their own hands, is a marvel for many. It is an example worth emulating. The eagle-eyed have noticed and embraced it while the door is still wide open for others to follow. It is hoped that the totality of Nkayians could avail themselves for various development roles that Nkayi needs them to play. The bottom-up approach that Nkayi has adopted is the gateway to sustainable development, hence Nkayians collectively say, "No cry babies on their mothers' backs in Nkayi!"

Those who can, let them hear!

Nhlanhla Moses Ncube writes in his capacity as a Nkayian, educationist, professional development planner and policy maker and can be contacted on:

App: +27733862303

Nkayi Nkayi community Development

All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Source: Nhlanhla Moses Ncube


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