INTRODUCTION: Peace and a self-sufficient life are beginning to return to the tribal villages of Zimbabwe, many of which were either damaged or evacuated during the seven year war of independence.
GV & SV Zimbabwe countryside and deserted village. (5 SHOTS)
GV Villagers gathered near church.
GV & SV Man and woman collecting thatching. (4 SHOTS)
GV PAN Village huts.
SVs People thatching hut roof. (2 SHOTS)
SV Bulldozer driver working controls.
LV Bulldozer working.
GV PAN Workmen with hand tools TO sluice gate.
GV Cattle dip tanks in field.
GV Parched orange trees.
GV Animals around dry watercourse.
GV PAN Dry watercourse. (2 SHOTS)
SVs Water pours along irrigation ditch. (2 SHOTS)
LV Villager cultivating arable field.
GV Expanse of water.
GV Villagers fishing.
LV Zimbabwe countryside.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Peace and a self-sufficient life are beginning to return to the tribal villages of Zimbabwe, many of which were either damaged or evacuated during the seven year war of independence. Most of the 200-thousand people who fled to the towns, or across borders into Mozambique, Botswana and Zambia to escape the ravages of war, have returned, under a programme co-ordinated by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. (UNHCR).
SYNOPSIS: When the tribespeople returned to the deserted villages, they found their houses either totally destroyed or, at best, badly neglected during the prolonged absence. This is one of dozens of villages; what one group of families found when they returned from Zambia.
The houses were falling to pieces. Furniture and other possessions were gone. But the first priority was shelter. Work is proceeding smoothly here, in an operation being mirrored in remote villages throughout the new nation, which celebrates one year of independence on Sunday (18 April).
Material such as thatching is readily available to repair the simple dwellings. But the most important element in this return to the villages is that the people are now free from fear of attack.
No one knows exactly how many Africans were killed during the bush war, but there were many. All schools and clinics were closed; now they're being opened again. And these houses will last as long as they were intended by the builders; no longer at risk because of the scorched earth programme, known as Operation Turkey, practiced by security forces.
Tractors donated by Britain are helping to speed another major aspect of the agricultural rehabilitation plan...providing the irrigation to water both crops and stock, by repairing dams damaged during the war. Dip tanks for tic-prevention in cattle are being put into commission, and orange groves, stripped of their bark by goats, are being fenced again.
But the key to returning fertility to this potentially highly arable land is water. Too many irrigation channels are choked with dust. The Salisbury government is planning to bring this and other irrigation plants back into working order.
Some communal farms, pooling resources, are already well on the road to recovery. And the UNHCR is recommissioning 50 small irrigation schemes on land where the dry season makes growing difficult. The government, through DEVAG, the Department of Agricultural Development at the same time is promoting modern farming techniques.
Many villagers have been off the land for years. They need retraining, and DEVAG is holding classes to teach people everything from ploughing to planting, how to use fertilisers, insecticides and fungicides, and stock reservoirs with fish.
The transformation from sword to ploughshare in this newest of African nations has been dramatic, and shows every sign of continuing.