First Lady exhibits at Agric Show

First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa prepares maheu and a traditional meal in her hut to feed the children during the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show in Harare yesterday. — Picture: John Manzongo

Tendai Rupapa

Senior Reporter

FIRST Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has underlined herself as a woman grounded in Zimbabwean culture with a traditional themed hut serving traditional meals at her stand at the ongoing Zimbabwe Agricultural Show.

Yesterday morning, Amai Mnangagwa prepared a mixture of roundnuts and groundnuts in her thatched hut, which she served to those who were at her stand.

After eating, she served maheu while vulnerable children from children’s homes were served porridge with peanut butter.


In the hut was a reed mat, a bench for men, while dried meat was by the fireside.

Groundnuts were in a winnowing basket along with dried vegetables (mufushwa) which the First Lady personally prepared, ground rapoko (hupfu hwezviyo) and millet (mhunga), zumbani, peanut butter, and an assortment of traditional kitchen utensils.

The First Lady has been pushing hard for restoration of the traditional values and norms such that recently she engaged chiefs’ spouses, headmen and wives of village headmen in trying to find ways of reverting to the traditional way of life to curb juvenile delinquency, immorality and lack of respect among youths.

At the meeting with the First Lady, the chiefs’ spouses agreed to set up counselling stations for girls and boys in their areas of jurisdiction under the “nhanga” and “dare sessions”.

In another effort to preserve the Zimbabwean culture, Amai Mnangagwa introduced the Food and Culture Festival in a bid to tame cultural erosion.

She also promotes traditional grains.

Earlier, on arrival at the Exhibition Park, the First Lady toured the Small and Medium Enterprises Hall under the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development.

The First Lady who has a passion for the economic emancipation of women, was shown various projects being done by women and youths like detergent-making, beading, dress-making, mats, brick moulding, dried fruits and vegetables.

She has traversed the length and breadth of the country setting up income-generating projects for women and youths.

Through her Angel of Hope Foundation, she has unlocked doors for various women to venture into poultry production, goat rearing, market gardening and sewing among many other projects.


Recently, she introduced former commercial sex workers to detergent-making and market gardening.

Judging by yesterday’s exhibitions, it was clear that many people have benefited immensely from her empowerment projects in which she has vowed to leave no one behind.

She also toured House of Zanu PF where she viewed various items that were on display. But it was at her own stand where one could see that she leads from the front in most of the things she does.

The First Lady was welcomed by children from Matthew Rusike Children’s Home and viewed a catalogue of her empowerment and philanthropic works in video form.

She took visitors on a tour around her “compound” where there was a stone grinding mill where peanut butter was being made and a drier for plates. After guests had finished eating mutakura and porridge, plates were washed and placed on the traditional drier.

The compound had a storehouse (hozi) with sorghum and dried vegetables and there was also a pen with goats and sheep.

After the tour of the compound, people, led by the First Lady, sat down for entertainment by the pupils who recited folktales, poems, sang and danced.

President Mnangagwa, who visited the First Lady’s stand, sent people roaring with laughter when in a folktale, a young girl said a vulture went to fetch water, whereupon the President retorted jokingly saying; “Ah ah, chokwadi ichocho, gunguwo chaiye kunochera mvura, takunyeberwa pano” (really? A vulture fetching some water?)

When it was time for the President to leave, he then asked while joking with the children: “Ko vazukuru mandisirawo chii chekudya ndane nzara? (Grandchildren what have you left for me to eat, I am hungry).”

The children replied “Ah matononoka tapedza kudya zvese isu”, he then bade them farewell and left to continue with his tour.


The First Lady continued her programme with the children.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga also visited Amai Mnangagwa’s compound and had a chit chat with the children. He saw stationery which the First Lady was giving to children and he encouraged them to treasure their education.

Vice President Kembo Mohadi also toured the compound and appreciated the work being done by the First Lady countrywide.

Amai Mnangagwa ended her programme by doing a quiz show during which she gave the winners textbooks, exercise books, bibles, pencils, pens, caps and T-shirts.

Spending time with their mother who provided a source of comfort was memorable for the children.