Beatrice’s family photos

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Beatrice’s family photos

Photo 1 – “My mother gave me the photo. The picture shows the girls of the house only. The local village photographer took the photo in the year 1989 when I was only four years old. I am the first one from the far left side, standing and wearing a white dress. The photo shows nine girls from three different mothers. My mother is the first wife, and she has five girls, and I am the last born in our family. The other two girls and one girl have different mothers. Zimbabwe practices polygamy [the practice of marrying multiple spouses] and it is popular. In the modern day, due to civilisation, the rate of polygamy is reducing significantly.

I come from a big family, and my father had ten children with three different wives. The photo brings back my childhood memories; it is interesting to see the younger version of you when you are now mature enough. The picture represents the unity we have as a family since childhood, regardless of having different mothers. My family has a strong bond like none other. We do have brothers also, but they didn’t feature in the picture.”

Photo 2 – “Before the children are married, both boys and girls will be sufficient workforce to assist their parents with farming activities and several household chores. When all the children are married or relocate to the cities or other countries, seeking greener pastures, the parents usually face a severe labour shortage. Co-operatives play a significant role in rural Zimbabwe, eliminating poverty and fostering community development.

I took the photo in the year 2010. The pictures show my mother and other community members who were assisting my mother to harvest peanuts. The other ladies and children offered free help through a co-operative called in Shona language, mushandirapamwe, nhimbe or humwe (used interchangeably). Food-For-Work is another common practice that brings people together working voluntarily in rural Zimbabwe.

The photograph makes me appreciate the importance of community members in my village. The rural households always take turns assisting each other whenever there is Nhimbe [like the Irish meitheal]. The helpers will help for free; the host would only provide breakfast and lunch to all the attendees.

I keep my photos on neat plastic paper and then place them where I keep my certificates.”

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