BARELY a day after Zimbabwean billionaire Strive Masiyiwa indicated that he was going to reward the granny who carried gifts on her head all the way from Mbare to Highlands in Harare, there are fears that Masiyiwa might reward the “wrong” Gogo.
Two different-looking images of the elderly woman, who has been identified as Plaxedes Dilon aka Gogo Magombo in the State media, have since emerged. With a new house at and a lifetime $1,000 monthly allowance in the offing, it is important that the “right” Gogo that Strive Masiyiwa refers to in his Facebook post gets rewarded.
As this report shows, there is a real and present danger that a “wrong” Gogo may be rewarded as the circumstances of the two elderly ladies are strikingly similar.
A Sunday Mail article identified the selfless elderly woman as 70-year-old Gogo Magombo from Block C, Mbare Flats. The paper says she has been a widow since 2008 and was born in 1948 in Chegutu. She said she has never been to Chipinge and has no relatives there, but was touched when she heard the plight of cyclone survivors on radio.
“I have never been to Chipinge or Chimanimani all my life. I do not have relatives in that part of the country. I come from Uzumba. However, when I heard of the cyclone, I knew I had to do something. Being able to feel each other’s pain and to carry each other’s burden is what makes humanity great and better than other species.”
Born Plaxedes Dilon in Chegutu in 1948, Gogo Magombo, as she is known by her peers, is not rich. On Monday, the great grandmother of nine walked all the way from her humble lodgings – a single room subdivided by a curtain that separates the kitchen space from the bedroom area – in Mbare to Star FM studios to deliver a bagful of clothes.
The Highlands Presbyterian Church, on March 19 at 7:45PM, posted on its Facebook page that: “This gogo had no 50c for combi, walked the whole way from Mbare to Highlands just to donate her pots to give to people in Chimanimani.”
The article publishes her image as the one given below, but does not go on to identify the Gogo by her name, which sort of complicates the argument:
Many Zimbabweans were touched by granny’s gesture, and several went into the Facebook comments section requesting for granny’s EcoCash number or banking details so that they could thank her for her kindness.
A response by the Presbyterian church Facebook administrator shows that they did not have her details or name right away. Below is the mugshot of one of the conversation with well-wishers looking for granny’s contact details, and the response the church gave.
A scroll down the thread failed to locate a response by the church giving the name or contact details of the granny. An inquiry by message to the church has also not been responded to, 24 hours later.
Which Gogo is Masiyiwa willing to reward?
Strive Masiyiwa’s Facebook post is clear which Gogo he intends to reward. At the end of his post, which he published on 20 March at 6:06 PM, Masiyiwa attaches the picture of the same Gogo on the Presbyterian Church Facebook page, and he credits the same page for the image, saying: Image Credit: Facebook page of Highlands Presbyterian Church – Harare.
But there is a small problem…
While both the Gogos in the Sunday mail and on the Presbyterian church Facebook page are clearly indicated to have walked from Mbare (we even placed it in bold above for emphasis), the Gogo in Strive Masiyiwa’s post walked from Fiyo (street parlance for Highfields). Says masiyiwa: “Gogo walked all the way from her home in Fiyo because she didnt have money for a combi but she packed her saga on her head and walked to Highlands to donate the saga full of pots….”
Could Masiyiwa have missed this glaring detail? The Facebook post on the Presbyterian Church from which he acknowledges he took the accompanying photo, has just one sentence and clearly states the lady walked from Mbare. It reads: ‘”This gogo had no 50c for combi, walked the whole way from Mbare to Highlands just to donate her pots to give to people in Chimanimani.”
Highfields to Mbare is a distance of 7km, requiring one to walk for not less than an hour, according to Google Maps:
But since no other Gogo has been so far reported to have walked from Highfields, we can assume Masiyiwa made an error on the lady’s place of residence. Let’s focus on the place where the “two ladies” took their gifts.
In the Sunday Mail article, the lady took her gifts to Star FM studios, which is just along Simon Mazorodze Road, not too far from where the Sunday Mail granny lives. The Presbyterian church lady, who also lives in Mbare, delivered her presents to the church’s premises in Highlands, which is very much across town.
Another key distinguishing feature is the kind of gifts each lady gave. The Sunday Mail Gogo donated clothes which she intended to sell at her vending stall. The Presbyterian Gogo donated pots and other kitchen utensils.
However, we thank both Grannies (if indeed they are different persons) for their random acts of kindness towards the cyclone Idai victims. It is easy to take an armchair and start criticizing those putting in a pound of their money or belongings to this cause, yet quite hard for many to chip in with some assistance.
As Strive Masiyiwa says: “She gave more than us all! What she did is one of the most remarkable acts of compassion I have ever seen! When this is over, I’m going to find her, and invite her to come and see me, if possible:
“Then: I will spend time in prayer with her! Then I will BUILD HER A HOUSE, ANYWHERE SHE WANTS IN ZIMBABWE! It will have solar power and running water! Then: I WILL GIVE HER A MONTHLY ALLOWANCE OF $1000 for life!
“Why? I admire people who are moved to ACT in a crisis! God bless you, if you are moved to ACT as she did. It is not about how much you have.
“How many young men, and even women in their cars watched her carry that sack, and never asked to help? This is how you miss the Angel of God…”
As one reader Last Mashipe said to ZOOMZimbabwe, “These two grannies are clearly not the same but pane tsoro irikutambwa apa, the real person might not get the prize!”