Chivi Mapaike is a 65 kilometre drive from Masvingo town. The tarmac soon runs out and the rest of the journey is a bumpy dirt-track ride. The Masvingo boulders now seem to loom out from behind every cluster of trees or foliage. The landscape has turned a dry, sandy colour, and I’m told that over the last few years the area has suffered droughts because of shorter than usual rainfalls.
The dirt-track finally leads us to a small village that is effectively built on top of one of the boulders. As we climb up, there is no hiding place from the sun’s rays, which bounce off the smooth surface of the rock. Jacob, 57, is at the top, waiting to greet us.
Jacob has just finished doing some work on one of his plots of land. He has a furrowed brow and a serious expression on his face, but as he sweeps his arm out in front of him, pointing out his plots of land and his cows, his expression breaks into a smile. He is proud of what he has achieved over the last few years. He says: “I have been able to buy these cows because of the benefits conservation farming has brought me, my family and the community.” Continue reading