By Martin Muleya.
Mutare, Zimbabwe. (News Of The South) – LovemoreJohannes Landine (41) who resides in Maonde, Sakubva high density suburb in Manicaland province, is a reeds maker with no eyesight..The man is still a bachelor and stays alone making reeds baskets, chairs, sofas and washing baskets all at his home which he doubles as his workshop, for retail to the general public.
A visit by this News Of The South reporter together with members of the Rebuild Sakubva last week, witnessed the man busy doing what he knew best as was busy weaving a reed chair all by himself.
According to his neighbours, Lovemore is a cheerful person who is fraught with generosity and though he is in his 40s, he is still as handsome as any other.
His eyes were ravaged by a strange disease that resulted in him losing his sight when he completed his Ordinary Level at a school in Bulawayo.
“When i was born i had my sight with me, but later developed a disease on my eyes that resulted in me losing my eyesight. By then I was still young at a tender age of 20years and had to enrol myself at Jairos Jiri Association in Bulawayo in 2003.”There at the institution, i learnt how to make chairs, sofas, washing baskets, chest of drawers out of water reeds. I pursued this trade with passion and when I completed the course in 2005, i have been doing this reds making on my own,” said the soft spoken Lindane who was busy making a reeds chair.
Setting eyes on the shy handsome man for the first time, one would indeed be forgiven for thinking that he is impersonating a blind man as he does his job perfectly well with the accurateness that even left those who had visited him with Rebuild Sakubva team, tongue tied.
Some in the area call him the modern day Paul Matavire as he wore black spectacles that resemble those worn by the late self proclaimed Doctor of Love Paul Matavire who could vividly make an amazing description of a woman in his songs as if he was seeing him.
The gentleman says he finds nothing fascinating about life and sometimes just watches as time passes by. The goods that he manufactures he sells them to local people in Sakubva community getting as little as $15 not withstanding the fact that he would have ordered the water reeds from Chipinge, about 280 kilometers south of Mutare.
However Lindane is optimistic that even though the he is feeling the pinch of the harsh economic environment, experienced in the country as, his sales have dwindled drastically, he noted that on a good month he can make a profit of $200- 300 from reeds making.”These days there are no more big orders coming my way like they used to in the past “said Lovemore.
Unlike many other men in his neighbourhood who loiter around waiting for assistance from charity organisations, Lovemore prefers keeping an eye on his tools of trade and thinks nothing other than emancipating himself from poverty by being self reliant.
The man sat alone on the chair flanked by a bucket of water that he uses to soften the pile of reeds stocked behind him and covered by a black plastic to avoid the attention of thieves at his homestead.
The workshop is not covered and has no floor, he would just be seated on a dusty ordinary pathway at his homestead though it appeared neat, smartly swept.
The man looked jovial while he was surrounded by visiting Rebuild Sakubva members United kingdom chapter and those who are based in Sakubva, as he narrated his ordeal.
Lindane said he is inspired by a proverb he learnt from his mother that, “There is only one pretty child in the world and every mother has it”.
He dismissed the claims that he might have been bewitched. Rebuild Sakubva Mutare chapter executive Director Lucy Nkomo concurred that Lovemore is a member of the Sakubva community who needs support for him to make a living out of his chosen talent and leading a good life in the process.
“Lovemore is a member of the Sakubva community and as part of our endeavour as an organisation to support vulnerable members of our community, we identify people like him who needs support. And in the same vein, we also identify people who are capable of supporting the less privileged like the visit by the team from Britain and then link the two, she said.
Nkomo reiterated that business has not been good to Lovemore who needs money to order his tools of trade noting that he has been an active member of the ABCD (Asset Based Community Development).she highlighted that through is works, Lindane has proven that disability is not inability, emphasizing that if he finds the right people to back his work, he is prepared to relay his skill to other members of the community who might also want to do business in reeds making.
There is hope at the end of Lovemore’s tunnel if he gets the right resources, she said.