HARARE – Strive Masiyiwa is building a home for a 71-year-old grandmother who walked 17km to donate clothing and kitchen utensils to victims of Cyclone Idai.
Widowed Plaxedes Dilon, known as Gogo Magombo, wakes up at 4AM daily and walks long distances selling clothing. She had just returned home to Block C, Mbare Flats, from a long day of vending when she heard of the cyclone disaster on radio.
“I immediately packed the clothes and jackets that I earlier purchased for resell and carried my bag to Star FM the following morning,” she said.
Billionaire telecoms tycoon Masiyiwa, who became aware of Gogo Magombo’s act of generosity, said “she gave more than us all”.
“This is the biblical ‘widow’s mite’,” Masiyiwa said on Facebook. “What she did is one of the most remarkable acts of compassion I have ever seen. When this is over, I’m going to find her, and invite her to come and see me, if possible. Then I will spend time in prayer with her. Then I will build her a house, anywhere she wants in Zimbabwe. It will have solar power and running water. Then I will give her a monthly allowance of $1,000 for life.”
Masiyiwa’s companies have been leading relief efforts in Chimanimani and Chipinge, the districts worst hit by the cyclone which has killed at least 259 people and displaced thousands, according to the United Nations.
Masiyiwa said his decision to honour Gogo Magombo was because “I admire people who are moved to act in a crisis”.
“God bless you, if you are moved to act as she did. It’s not about how much you have. How many young men, and even women in their cars watched her carry that sack, and never asked to help? This is how you miss the angel of God.”
Gogo Magombo became an internet sensation when her act of generosity was revealed by the Highlands Presbyterian Church, which received her donation.
She said in a weekend interview that she was born in Chegutu and had never been to Manicaland, but felt the pain of the affected families.
“We’ve a problem these days. A lot of people, especially Christians, think pastors are the only ones that should be helped,” she said. “They believe that giving should only be done to those who are in their religious circles. However, in the Bible, it is written in Matthew 25 verse 45 that ‘whatever you did to the least of my brothers, you did it unto me’.”