By Tafadzwa Muranganwa
A dozen of teachers in Honde Valley have made a distress call for the refurbishment of a collapsed footbridge on the wide Pungwe River as the rain season nears.
The footbridge which was popularly known as ‘Mudhebhudhebhu’ by the locals collapsed last year when a community football team were celebrating a win dancing and singing while crossing the bridge resulting in the death of one player and injuring of several others.
Constructed decades ago, the makeshift footbridge was, according to locals, used by liberation war fighters to cross Pungwe River during the independence struggle. Authorities have, since then, not build a new and safer crossing.
Speaking to The Teacher Magazine, some teachers in the area said they are worried about their safety when rains come because the footbridge, which connects them to their various workstations, is still a makeshift.
A school teacher at Samutete Primary School which has the most hardest hit, said the footbridge should be reconstructed soon as last year and early this year people were now being canoed to the other side of the river risking their lives.
“The footbridge should be repaired as soon as possible because we can’t risk again like we ended up doing last and early this year by resorting to paying a fee to be canoed to cross the Pungwe River because the makeshift had become risky owing to the heavy rains,” said Margret Kututwa.
According to et Kututwa while the most affected teachers are those who do not stay at the school, those who stay at the school are equally affected as well as they need to connect to the nearby Murara Business Centre to buy essentials and travel to their places for weekends.
“When rains fall, some of our colleagues who come to work from their homes and do not stay at the school end up failing to come to work because the makeshift footbridge will be riskier to cross.
“But this also equally affects all of us as we also need to use the footbridge to access Murara Business Centre where we buy basics groceries and also to connect to our various places for weekends and holidays,” she added.
Another teacher at Muparutsa Primary School recalled an incident when one teacher was saved from drowning by pupils when the footbridge collapsed again saying if reconstruction is to be done again it should be thorough.
“I vividly remember when one of our colleagues was saved by pupils from drowning after the footbridge collapsed while they were coming from a schools sports competition and it was repaired but has since collapsed again.
“So if reconstruction is to be done again, I think there is the need to see that it is durable,” said the teacher who only identified himself as Mr Samanga.
The legislator for the area, Chido Madiwa-Tsinakwadi said she was working on the refurbishment of the footbridge but bemoaned lack of funds.
“We are working on it using the little Constituency Development Fund which is not enough though,” said the Mutasa North MP.