Community members from the deep rural village of Bennde Mutale outside Masisi will now be able to connect with the rest of the world after many years of isolation. This comes after a service provider kicked off the project to construct a network tower in their village. For many years, the village made headlines on regional, provincial and national media platforms for not being able to get in touch with the rest of the world. Bennde Mutale is one of the villages that were incorporated into Musina after the disestablishment of Mutale Municipality.

Lindelani Malugana is one of the villagers who stays at Bennde Mutale. He said of the new development: “We are living in the world of technology and it was a huge setback for us not to be connected with the rest of the world. We travel a long distance to Masisi just to get a cellphone coverage to make a call. Although it took many years, we are happy that our plea has been answered and we will soon be able to make a telephone call at home.”

Malugana said not having a network in his village has many disadvantages. “Some have missed job interviews because prospective employers could not get hold of them. It was also difficult to contact the police and ambulance services when emergency situations arise. We really thank the service provider, Musina Municipality and our government for taking our needs into consideration.”

Local ward councillor, Phillip Mbedzi said villagers have been complaining that they don’t have network coverage for some time. “This has been in our agenda in every meeting at the municipality until we get a breakthrough. Although we have done a lot to improve the lives of our people, there is still much to be done. With the tangible testimony that our people can see, it gives us hope that we are moving towards the right direction.”

Mbedzi said he is happy that the project will provide jobs to the locals during the construction period.

Bernard Janse Van Rensberg, who represented the contractors, said the erection of the 56m tower will be complete at the end of April. “With the kind of work force and the expertise we have, there is no doubt that we will meet the completion deadline.”