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Dispelling myths on abandoned babies


Maude Chimanga holds the baby in her arms, gently rocking it to sleep while she sings a lullaby.

The two make a picture of mother and child absorbed in each other, with a bond that is only unique to them. It’s a perfect picture.

The baby has been christened Tapiwanashe Zvikomborero, loosely translated as a gift from God and a blessing.

And this is just what Tapiwa is to his new mother – not that he was born of this woman who is gently rocking him with a mother’s love, but just adopted from the street, where he had been dumped in the neighbourhood.

The two have known each other for about three months now, but the bond between them is now stronger and deeper.

The day Tapiwanashe was found at Chimanga’s door, neighbours were convinced it was a goblin.

But, as Chimanga can testify, she is nothing but just a baby. In fact, she is a God–sent gift.

Chimanga is unemployed, but this did not stop her from acting out her faith in the belief that God would provide for His own.

After NewsDay, which had reported the story at the beginning, recently paid a visit to Highfield, there was no doubt that all is well with the family.

“I have encountered no problem with the baby save for the usual flu and skin disease, but despite those small things we are doing fine as a family,” says Chimanga, a motherly smile glowing across her face.

The integration into this new family of five, for the baby, has been smooth, too.

“We are happy as a family since the baby became part of us,” Chimanga adds.

“It is wonderful that my children appreciate him as one of their own and thank God, all is well.”

It is usually the norm that when a family takes in an unknown baby, there is fear of the unknown.

So, why did Chimanga decide – against all odds – to adopt this baby?

“It was a response to God’s calling,” she says.

Her boldness and certainty leaves you with no doubt she believes in what she is doing. In fact, the story is much bigger, much wider than you can think.

She says she had a dream where she heard a voice which she believes to be God’s – ordering her to kneel down and pray.

As she was doing so, it appeared as if some doors in the spiritual realm were being opened and she was setting herself up for a miracle.

“I was told to pray for the blessing I was just about to receive. I asked a lot of questions in the dream, then knelt down,” she recalls.

“The voice said to me: ‘It is God’s blessing take it’.”

When she later heard a story making rounds in the neighbourhood that a baby had been abandoned, at first she dismissed it as a rumour, but soon there was no doubt this was real.

But as she thought more and more about it, she got convinced in her spirit that this was no fluke.

“I heard of the baby who had been abandoned.
Initially I thought it was one of those township rumours. I didn’t want to go there (where the child had been found) but something drove me.

“When I got there, I started praying while holding the baby. Then a voice told me to take the baby with me. I could not resist that,” she said.

But onlookers thought otherwise – this was spooky! So they accused her of witchcraft. This so-called baby, they said, was “her goblin”.

But Chimanga was not moved, even as the false accusations came flying. She says: “People accused me of being after money from donors for the upkeep of the baby.”

But then, is that not what a blessing should be all about?

After all, until Chimanga stepped into the melee to make her bold claim, this baby was just a spectacle at which the crowd was simply peering at and passing by.

Tinashe, the oldest in the family and now in Grade 7, says he regards Tapiwanashe as his little sister.

“She is my sister and I play with her more often than anyone else here,” he says.

Now weighing 6,5kg, Tapiwanashe’s exact age is not known but she’s estimated to be four months old now. Chimanga will take each day as it comes with her new baby.

So far, no claim has been made. In Zimbabwe, children are adopted under the Children’s Protection and Adoption Act (1996).

While Chimanga has not officially adopted the baby, the police have given her the nod to care for her.

In an earlier interview with NewsDay, she said after wrapping up the baby in rags and taking her to Machipisa Police Station, the officers on duty asked her to care for the baby.

She is certain, too, that the baby will remain with them.

And Tapiwanashe is just one of the lucky few among many abandoned babies crying out for help.

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