Sad Plight Of Zimbabwe Pensioners

Two recent reports from Zimbabwe highlight again the desperate plight of the elderly folk who have worked hard all their lives, saved for their old age but lost everything.

If it were not for the wonderful ZANE teams on the ground there to intervene and look after them, their final days would be full of distress and fear. The only reason the ZANE teams can carry out their essential work is because of you, the donors make it possible and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Nicky Passaportis (ZANE Australia)


Mr K was born in 1939 and did his turner and fitter apprenticeship through the National Railways of Rhodesia. He later on became the photographer for the Railways. After his first wife passed away, he remarried. After selling their house they lived in a retirement complex in Bulawayo for a few years. The Kennetts had sold their house and their retirement plan was to live off the money from the sale.

When inflation hit in the early 2000s, they lost everything. He had been paying into the Railway pension fund, but was paid out when he retired.

They had free accommodation at the complex as Mr K was the caretaker for the retirement home. They then decided in 2004 to move a golf club as the caretakers. Mr K was the caretaker and Mrs K did the office and accounts. They were living in a building that was converted from a storeroom to a small cottage. Mrs K then passed away in 2012 and Mr K stayed on.

By 2021 he was struggling to look after himself. He had been receiving dialysis for kidney failure for a few years and it had started to affect him. BHN had started paying his medical aid in 2008 to support him as his salary was insufficient. The Golf Course did not pay him a lot and he ate lunch with the ground staff. By early 2021 we had started organising frozen meals for him as he was too exhausted to cook for himself in the evenings.

By March he kept falling over and even stopped playing golf. We managed to convince him to move to a care home by the end of March. There was no way he was able to still live on his own. His cottage was a mess and his health deteriorating.

It took him some time to settle into the retirement home, but he eventually made friends and settled into the routines. The move itself was fairly smooth as he did it voluntarily and did not fight it. He had managed to sell his belongings before he moved and this money went into a small conduit which we kept for him. He was still driving himself to dialysis and around town for errands.

By early July he was complaining of serious shoulder pains and we sent him to a specialist. It turned out that the shoulder pain was an old injury that was playing up, but it was discovered that he did have a dark spot on his chest. After another visit, the specialist mentioned that it was most likely cancer, but that he would not do a biopsy as his kidney failure was getting worse and the best way forward was palliative as it was quite a large mass already. By now he had also stopped driving and we had organised 24hour nursing for him.

He kept falling every time he stood up and stopped eating, citing that the food was not edible. He lived off biscuits and snacks. The nurse aides tried their best to get him to eat, even making him soups. His mind also started going slowly and he would keep going back to the same topics, such as the meals served. He could not follow a conversation anymore. This was most likely his way of dealing with it all. He kept focusing on his painful shoulder and just shrug the cancer diagnosis off. He also started confusing people for his sister and was in his own little world at the end.

Eventually we organised him a walker, as well as diapers for the night. He already had a commode as his dialysis meant that he needed to use the toilet frequently at night. The staff at the care home were amazing with him and doted on him constantly.

On the 1st of August 2021 he passed away peacefully.

* Names and images may have been changed for privacy reasons

If you are already a ZANE donor, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. If you are not a donor but would like to be, please follow the link below and know that every donation, however big or small, goes directly to where it is most needed. If you would like to help but can’t donate, please join the ZANE family and ‘like’ or ‘share’ our posts or write us a Google review – every positive step helps spread the word about the life changing work ZANE does.

Thank you – Nicky Passaportis ZANE Australia

Please donate to support pensioners struggling to survive in Zimbabwe

Any assistance is greatly appreciated and goes a long way to giving our pensioners a better quality of life and lift the pressure of money worries which is very debilitating emotionally.

(Donations made to ZANE in Australia, are tax-deductible)