Districts of Masvingo province
|Masvingo constituency seats for the 2008, showing the division of Zaka (District)|
Masvingo constituency seats for the 2008, showing the division of Zaka (District)
|• Type||Rural Council|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (CAT)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+1 (CEST)|
Zaka is a district in Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe and is located 86 km southeast from Masvingo in the Ndanga communal land. The village was established in 1923 and lies in a very low-lying area hence the Shona derived name kwo-ka-zaka which means to where it is going down.
Zaka district is a typical Karanga smallholder farming area, which is a semi-arid, mountainous area with erratic rainfall averaging 6–800 mm/yr. The soils are generally poor. Subsistence farming is the main economic activity and the main crops grown are maize, groundnuts, cotton, sorghum finger millet, sunflower and pumpkins. The population density is more than 65 persons/km2, which is quite high for a mountainous area where subsistence farming is the main economic activity. It is the most densely populated rural district in the province and probably in the whole country. Big rivers that flow through include Chivaka, Shange, Chiredzi,Mushavhukwi, etc.Smaller rivers include Mungwezi, Rupiri,Mananga There are many small dams in the district including Bangala and Mabvute dams. The area has many mountains some of them being Biri,Dambara,Gwangwangwa, Hopa, Gondora,Chimbire,Maparanganda,Gadzi,Gato,e.t.c
The traditional and colonial centre of administration was Zaka (also known as Zaka Office) which is located about 87 km from Masvingo city. The district administrator, magistrate courts, registrar general's office and main police station are all still housed at Zaka centre while other services including district education offices are now based at Jerera growth point seven kilometres further south. There are five or so traditional chiefs namely Chief Nyakunhuhwa, Chief Bota, Chief Ndanga, Chief Svuure,Chief Nhema. These are the custodians of customary laws and they are impowered to adjudicated in traditional hearings.Villages under chief Bota especially those located close to Rudhanda and Chivamba business centres include Rwanhoya, Ruzembera, Maroyi, Svinurai, Chikoho, Gwindingwi, Guvanye, Chiduwa, Bwazvo, Rwauya, Chivamba, Chandipwisa, Chipfuti. Other areas within Zaka are Charuka,Mushungwa, Vhudzi, Dzoro and Muzondidya,Dabwa,Machiva,Dekeza(Sviba), Sazaume, Zingwena, Musenyereki popularly known as 'ku Mashenjere or Ku Mabvumo', Mudzara,Harava, Veza, Chinorumba, Zibwowa, Benzi, Chipfunde, Munjanja, Zinguvo, Four miles, Ndanga, etc.
Residents of Zaka district mainly rely on peasantry farming and support from breadwinners working in big towns and cities. Until recently, teacher and nurses used to be the major sources of formal income to the small economy of Zaka. However, many including the uneducated have fled the country for South Africa.
Jerera growth point accommodates the district administrative offices and is the hub of the district's activity with locally owned shops selling mainly groceries. Other activities include income generating projects like poultry, welding and soap making. NGOs- like CARE International -doing humanitarian work in the district are also based at the growth point.
Though the area suffers erratic power suppliers, a GSM booster was recently installed at the growth point by [Econet] Wireless for its subscribers. The districts boasts of a tarmac road that passes through it to access nearby towns of Masvingo and Chiredzi.
The district boasts of a good number of primary and secondary schools run by churches and the rural district council. Literacy is among the highest in the country and the district is home to some of the best educated people in the country. Among the schools is St. Anthony's High School from which veteran educationists and historians Fabian Nhengeze and Stephen Davidson Zhara worked. St. Anthony's was the first school to offer Advanced level education in the district in 1985 followed by Rudhanda High School some years latter. Currently there are even more A-level schools including St. Joseph Tongoona, Panganai,Chimedza, Mutimwi, Mutonhori, Zaka High schools. Though it seems there are now many schools, many children still travel great distances of up to 10 kilometres to nearest school.
Zaka district is typically Christian/Traditional religion society. Most people practise Christianity and African Traditional Religion concurrently though almost all claim to be Christian. The Catholic Church is the dominant Christian congregation having established a mission and most of primary schools in the district since the early colonial years. The Dutch Reformed Church (now Reformed Church in Zimbabwe) also set up a good number of schools including Jichidza in the north. The is also a sizable number of people who are members of Zion Christian Church (ZCC- the fasted growing church in the country, which is also chambioning aducation in the area),St Engenas ZCC, Appstolic Faith Mission (AFM), ZAOGA, Families of God (FOG), Vapositori, and various other congregations. In terms of religion Zaka can boost to have them all! Traditional beliefs are still prevalent and are being practiced.
There is a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the district.
There are two main hospitals; Ndanga District Hospital run by the government and Musiso Hospital at St. Anthony's Mission run by Masvingo Catholic Diocese. The hospitals suffer major shortage of doctors and at one time a single expat doctor at Musiso was the only doctor in the district. There are several primary health centres (clinics) established or extended with donor funding across the district and the include Siyawareva, Nyagambu, Chinyabako and Manhubvu.