Gogo Selina Magwabeni stands next to the building block, mutsheto, she constructed since the beginning of the lockdown.

“Vho-cement” makes houses beautiful to stay healthy


A rural-based gogo, Ms Salina Magwabeni (89) of Mokondo-Matavhelani, is still fit enough to use the lockdown period to decorate her house and do something to keep her body healthy.

Gogo Magwabeni gets up early in the morning and mixes sand with cement to make building blocks (mutsheto) by joining little stones as part of decorating her house, which is situated near Makonde Village Mountain.

According to Magwabeni, she spent most of her time in Gauteng when her late husband was still working in there. On her return to her village, in the late 80s, she started thinking of doing something.

‘I was born into a family where my mother, Vho-Nyamuofhe, displayed her God-given talent of ceramics and pottery to me and took it seriously. When I get paid my old age pension every month, I take some money to buy sand and cement, so that I can build blocks,” said Magwabeni.

She said the villagers around used to call her “Vho-Cement, because I buy cement every month, when I get my grant”.

Magwabeni, who is the mother of eight children, said she wanted to pass her skill of building blocks through little stones to decorate the houses to some of her children, because she did not want it to disappear when she passed away one day.

“For me, doing building blocks with sand, cement and small stones was another way of excising and I urge other old gogos like me to do something to make the body stay healthy.  Nowadays, young people get old at the age of 35, but I am still a healthy and strong old gogo, because I do some exercises,” she added.

She further said that when the lockdown was announced, she thought that it would be a blessing in disguise for her, because staying at home meant she could do her job right there at home.




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Date:16 June 2020 - By: Silas Nduvheni

Silas Nduvheni



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