Climate change sucks

Sinqobile Tessa
NO LIFE: Our maize crop

Dark clouds for dark times

A dark cloud has no rain anymore.

During a normal rainy season, when dark clouds form, it rains, bringing the much-needed relief to human beings and animals. Vegetation also comes to life.

But this time, which is a year of drought prompted by El Nino conditions due to climate change, it’s a different story altogether.

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Many parts of Southern Africa have received little to no rains at all. I know in Botswana farmers are struggling, too (see Business lead, Pg 1A).

For us in the Matabeleland Region here in Zimbabwe, the MET office has said there are very low chances of getting rains again. It last rained mid January.

The maize crop is already a write-off. While farmers, both commercial and communal, had been advised against planting maize this season, I guess many thought that maybe, just maybe, the heavens will open up and bring the much-needed precipitation. We were wrong.

Personally, we planted a small portion, after I convinced my husband we should just in case things changed and the rains came.

Of course, now he keeps reminding me that next time I should take weather forecasts seriously and never hope for miracles.

It is heartbreaking to see a once promising green maize crop wilting and changing colour with each passing day due to moisture stress.

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Writing in the local Standard newspaper, one Tinashe Chikodzi states that climate change, if left unaddressed, is projected to have catastrophic consequences on the mental health of entire populations.

I couldn’t agree with him more!

Global warming in Zimbabwe is kicking us when we are already down due to the prevailing harsh economic conditions. Many are already struggling to feed their families and now the projected worst drought in recent time strikes. This will surely take a high toll on us mentally as we try to figure out survival tactics in the coming months.

People in rural areas grow maize for personal consumption and are always assured of food security, but not this time. Not only that, many will lose their livestock due to lack of grazing grass and water.

Meanwhile, on a totally different note, Wednesday was a day to remember the late former leader, Robert Mugabe.

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February 21st is a public holiday in Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day, commemorating the late former leader who is a viewed as a hero to some and a villain to others.

The long-time ruler was elbowed out of power in 2017 by his long-time allies with help from the army.

The new regime, however, declared his birthday, February 21st, a public holiday in his honour as the country’s founding leader. Uncle Bob, who passed away in September 2019, would have been 100 this year!

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