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Devastated by Covid-19

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MABABE COMMUNITY REDUCED TO DEPENDENCE ON FOOD DONATIONS OKAVANGO VOICE

Following the devastation of the tourism dependent Okavango Delta economy by the Covid-19 pandemic, communities that were directly or indirectly employed in tourism are now facing imminent starvation.

One such adversely affected individual is a 67-year-old father of 16, Idea Newa of Mababe settlement who has been relegated to abject poverty status due to the close of tourism related businesses in his area.

According to Newa their problems have become insurmountable in the face of unrelenting Covid-19 pandemic.

“Safari camps have been shut down, I am not working, my wife and children are also unemployed, we are all at the mercy of God,” Newa explained.

A self-taught craftsman who used to sell artifacts to tourists who visited Mababe, Newa has now become dependent on Ipelegeng for survival.

“Nowadays villagers throng meetings when they hear Ipelegeng is hiring but all of us cannot be taken. They use a random yes and no system to hire. Imagine taking a ‘No’ on that particular day when there is nothing left to eat at home, its painful,” he said

Another Mababe villager Thethelelo Kebualemang is also suffering from the same fate.

According to the 44-year-old man, days can go by without food in the house.

“We live in poverty here, there is nothing to do because the life we used to live has been negatively affected by covid-19. I live with my woman and two children and we are all unemployed, with no means of living. We live each day as it comes by the Grace of God.”

FACING STARVATION: Idea Newa of Mababe settlement

However, unlike other less fortunate members of the public, Mababe community sometimes receive donations from companies who operate in their concession.

The latest donation was from African Field Sports and Mogotlho Safaris who donated 200 food hampers valued at P70 000.00 to the community last week.

When handing over the donation one of Mogotho Safaris general managers, Andrew Clarke revealed that it was not their first donation and they will continue to do so until December.

“We operate in NG41 which Mababe falls under. The community depends entirely on tourism and currently there are no income generating activities in this area so we have decided to assist with just basic food parcels,” Clarke revealed.

Meanwhile Mogotho Safaris General Manager, Brendon Newton said that the tourism company has delegated the distribution of the parcels to the Village Development Community. (VDC)

Receiving the donation on behalf of the community, Mmoloki Ditirwa expressed his gratitude indicating that the food will go a long way in assisting the 150 households in Mababe.

“Government has only donated food twice, so if it were not for this kind of gestures our people would have died of hunger. Our lives rely on tourism but currently people are just home doing nothing because they are unemployed.”

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