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Kasambabezi

Davina Jogi | Zimbabwe

Emily Muleya, thought to be in her 80s, is one of the last survivors of her generation of Tonga who were forcefully relocated from their homes on the banks of the Zambezi River to make way for the building of Lake Kariba in the 1950s. Emily is a widow who has outlived nine of her ten children. She remembers clearing land for fields and homesteads when they moved and said the wild animals in the area caused, "problems of life and death."

Meandering through eight countries, the Zambezi is Africa’s fourth largest river; indirectly affecting over 128 million lives as a source of water and food. Sharing a border between Zimbabwe and Zambia is Lake Kariba, the world’s largest man-made reservoir, whichprovides hydroelectric power and supports a fishing and tourism industry. It all sounds positive, yet the Red Cross asserts that “the basin is also home to some of the most acute vulnerability in southern Africa."

In 1956, the Tonga were displaced from their ancestral home on the Zambezi River to make way for the building of the dam, and resettled further inland. The original name of the river, ‘Kasambabezi’, is a Tonga name meaning,“only those who know the river can bath in it.” The phrase references Tonga knowledge of the deep water and shows theclose relationship society had with ‘their’ river.

Sixty years after forced relocation, this photo story examinesthe Tonga today and investigates whether their water is still a resource for their belief system and way of life.

This story was completed through a Southern African Water Wire Fellowship from InterPress Service Africa.

Davina Jogi is a documentary photographer from Harare, Zimbabwe currently working between Zimbabwe and Australia. She focuses on social justice issuesand has a particular interest in stories of identity and migration.

Davina holds an Honours degree in African Studies from the University of Cape Town and is a graduate of the Photojournalism and Documentary Photography programme at the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg. She worked as an assistant picture editor at The Times newspaper, also in Johannesburg, before pursuing a freelance career.

As a freelancer she has worked with a variety of local and international newspapers, magazines and NGOs. Her photography has been exhibited in southern Africa, Europe, USA and Australia.

Davina a founding and current director of the Zimbabwe Association of Female Photographers(ZAFP), which provides practical support and project-based training to women photographers.

She believes that, especially in the part of the world she comes from, the role of a journalist is as a storyteller and advocate.

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