The Love Zimbabwe Student Event at the Welsh National Assembly last Wednesday proved to
be a great success. The charity, run by David & Martha Holman from Gilwern were sponsored
by Nick Ramsay AM to organise an event to promote their student trips to their community
centre in Domboshawa, Zimbabwe.
All together there were about 40 people in attendance, including 8 Assembly Members,
Abergavenny Fair Trade Forum, The office of the Police Commissioner of Gwent, five students
who had visited Zimbabwe, representatives from Swansea and Cardiff Universities, Fair Trade
Wales, the head of the Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa programme, the head teacher
from Ysgol Gymraeg Y Fenni, David & Penny Simcock, the Mayor & Mayoress of Abergavenny
as well as ‘Friends of Love Zimbabwe’.
The event started with a unique performance of African songs by Llantilio Pertholey Church in
Wales Primary School, conducted by music teacher, Simon Oram.
The school have been consistent in their support for Love Zimbabwe’s events such as the
Abergavenny Food Festival and the Wales Fair Trade Fair.
The children were followed by a passionate speech by charity founder, Martha Musonza
Holman. She emphasised the need for continued help for countries like Zimbabwe who are now
hopefully entering a new forward- thinking era. She also explained how she had visited nearly
300 schools in Wales in her capacity as a Fair Trade speaker, talking to the pupils about relative
poverty and the importance of cultural understanding. Martha thanked those who had been supportive of the charity over the years, both locally and from further abroad. She explained how the idea for the event had started at the wedding of Nick and Jennifer Ramsay, when Martha spoke to Lord Dafyd Elis Thomas AM, who promised to help her raise the profile of the charity amongst the members of the Welsh Assembly.
The next speaker was David Holman who thanked the joint organisers, Daran Hill and Susan
Bowen from Positif. He also thanked sponsor, Nick Ramsay AM and said that he was proud to
be part of Wales and delighted that Love Zimbabwe was ‘Made in Monmouthshire’.
He went on to explain how the student programme started. He and Martha met Senior
Anthropology Lecturer from Lampeter University, Luci Attala at an awards ceremony at the
Senedd organised by the Government’s Wales for Africa gold star programme.
Ms. Attala had been taking students to Kenya, which had become unsafe. David and Martha
mentioned that the community centre was able to accommodate these students, and within a
few months, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Love Zimbabwe and The
University of Lampeter.
Then, former student, Lucinda Walker took the stage with an informative power point showing
the work that the students had undertaken on their previous trips. Lucinda mentioned her three
visits to the centre and how it had changed her life in a very positive way. She said that her dissertation which was completed in Zimbabwe achieved a first and won her the Helen MacCormack-
Turner Undergraduate Memorial Scholarship. She also said how pleased she was to have been asked to become a trustee for the charity.
Finally, Nick Ramsay AM spoke as the sponsor of the day. He told how he first met Martha and
David in Abergavenny five years before, and how their association had grown since then. He
praised the couple’s hard work in their activities and underlined how important it was both to
Zimbabwe and Wales.
The proceedings then finished with a recording of the recent Al Lewis song- When I get to
Zimbabwe which features Martha and the Zim Voices.
A very tasty African buffet was then served and people had the opportunity to network with each other.