Are Zimbabwean orphans really funny?

Orphan David on arrival

Australia’s favourite curmudgeon Peter Fitzsimons had a sly attack at Manly supporters in his column last Saturday, using Zimbabwean orphans as the punchline to his “joke”.   

My thanks to Fitzphile Sam Clough, who drew my attention to this fascinating news item: the Manly cheer squad has just returned from a trip to an orphanage in Zimbabwe.
”It was a great chance to meet underprivileged people with very little hope in life,” said Alfred Mgombo, aged six.


Hi Peter

Hotel Rio. The dream home for these kids.

As you display a strong humanitarian streak at times I was somewhat bewildered and more than a little disappointed about the piece in your sports column in today’s Herald about the Zimbabwean orphanage.  As a Manly supporter you get quite used to the snide commentary and portions of the fan base embrace it with their “no-one likes us, we don’t care T-shirts”.  As a Zimbabwean exile with first hand experience of the plight of children in orphanages over there, I struggle that those children deserve to be a laughing matter.

I’ve attached a couple of write-ups from an orphanage I’m visiting in June.  Debbie Brennocks, the co-founder and Director of the Sandra Jones Village for abandoned babies and AIDS orphans is an Australian who recently received an AM for 23 years of work over there.  I’ve attached a couple of newsletters and stories about the village.

Orphan David today

But importantly what I’d like to point out is that the village is being threatened with a shut-down by Zimbabwean welfare and they are desperately trying to raise what, to us privileged and entitled Australians, who have every hope in life, seems a paltry $200,000 to purchase a Hotel in Bulawayo which would transform the lives of 70 children.  $125,000 has been raised so far and there is a big push to get the remaining $75,000 over the line before officialdom moves in and shuts it down.

Look into the eyes of David (particularly the infant one) in the stories attached and tell me they echo what you’ve ascribed to Alfred Ngombo in your little “joke”.  You know you hold the power to get this project over the line simply by mentioning it in next week’s column.  Making a connection to sport shouldn’t be too hard a task given the magnificent efforts of everyone’s favourite Zimbabwean on the openside of the Wallaby scrum.    It would sure dole out some hope to genuinely underprivileged.

Yours in rugby


For more on Debbie Brennocks and to help her quest to keep the Sandra Jones Memorial Village open go to:


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