ZIMBABWE. Domboshava: It is every parent wish to raise children who will take care of them when they get old.
In many families, elderly people are at the heart of their children and grandchildren.
To ensure their safety, some take them to stay with them while some make available their children or find maids to take care of them.
Phone calls are done every day to check if nothing is bothering them and to ensure if they have taken their medication, thus the heart of an elderly person’s family both children and grandchildren.
Life of a lone old person
However, this is not the case for Veronika Jekemu, 84, who lives in Marufu village, Domboshava who last saw her only son when she fell sick last year after a long time.
Her son is the only blood-related person who is in Zimbabwe as she is a Malawian descendant but neighbours became her relatives.
“He lives in Harare, l heard he has a wife and kids there, but they have never visited me or even phone me.
“My neighbours sent their children to help me with other chores like fetching water and firewood”.
No idea about the abandonment
Jekemu expressed her gratitude when Transcontinental Times visited her at her homestead as she has no one to expect visiting her from Harare.
In most cases like Jekemu’s, elderly people are abandoned on allegations of witchcraft.
Jekemu said she has no idea on the reason why her child never looks back on her.
Organisations that work with elderly affairs
Helpage, a Non-Governmental Organisation once helped an older person that was abandoned by her children in Buhera in Chabata village.
According to a Helpage member, “Everyone abandoned her on witchcraft allegations, her children could not assist her because of fear that whoever helps her will fell sick”
She was isolated with no one to look after her and she would often wander far away from her home and in some instances, end up fainting due to lack of hydration until she was taken to Zororai Old People’s Home in Mutare.
Helpage Communications Officer, Felistas Phiri said families should have better ways to solve such issues than to neglect old people.
“I do not deny the existence of witchcraft, however when dealing with these issues, people should find more dignified ways of solving these issues apart from isolation segregation and torture.
“A parent that you abandon today could have abandoned you when you were a baby but chose to create a better future for you”.
Some of these abandoned elders eventually die because of stress and hunger which sometimes make the families suffer the anger of their deceased parent after death.
Some have noted religious difference as a cause of family breakups as the modern churches are totally against traditional ways of praying.
Shanduko Foundation Trust Executive Director Munyaradzi Chikomba said, “Religious differences also constrain family relationships as children develop bitterness and that break the family bond”, said Munyaradzi Chikomba
Traditionally, Africans communicate with God through ancestors in which some old people are still following which in turn modern church followers are commanded to rebuke as they are claimed to be related to superstition.
Christian Minister Chaplain, Blessing Mutepaire said the young generation is more engaged in evil deeds, unlike the elders whom they claim wicked.
” Being old is not the gateway to witchcraft but it’s a wrong assumption from the people”
“Of which due to the love of money and competition in life young generations are the one more evil than our elderly grandparents”, he said.
While others are taking their grandparents for a vacation overseas or fighting to stay close to them, some are busy torturing them.
In today’s world, the young generation has become vulnerable to all sorts of wickedness towards their close relatives and follow their spiritual fathers who are separating them from family.
Young people are even daring to kill and destroy their parents and family lives through ‘go back to sender’ sessions they are conducting in churches where they will be calling names while holding dangerous objects.