A TOWN is taking part in a cultural exchange with a civic visit from its twinned city in Zimbabwe.

The mayor of Masvingo, Femias Foroma Joshua Chakabuda and his wife Mayoress Magie Chakabuda are visiting Middlesbrough as part of the twinning arrangement between the areas.

The mayor and mayoress who are joined on the trip by Masvingo’s town clerk Adolf Gusha and his partner Annie Vhutuza will be in Middlesbrough for four days and have been given a busy schedule.

The group will tour various regeneration areas in the town as well as visiting mima and the Dorman Museum. They will also spend an afternoon in Whitby.

Mayor Ray Mallon said: “Middlesbrough was twinned with Masvingo in 1989 but since then the relationship has wained.

“A few months ago we received a request from the mayor to visit the town. From speaking to him it is clear that there are many problems in Masvingo as well as Zimbabwe as a whole.

“In a class of 40 there is often only access to one textbook, it is clearly a very deprived city.

“I think Middlesbrough can do a great deal to help. We can give textbooks that we no longer need as well as computers.”

The Mayor of Masvingo Mr Chakabuda said: “This relationship was established many years ago but because of the troubles in Zimbabwe we lost communication. We have not been in Middlesbrough long but have already met some great people.

“We want to learn about public health and education while we are here, when we visited 20 years ago we were given an electricity generator from the people of Middlesbrough, that generator is still used as one of two that help power our hospital as the electricity supply in Zimbabwe is very erratic.

“We have appealed to the council for any help they can give us, computers and textbooks would be of great use.

“Things that you consider obsolete in England are very useful in Zimbabwe so they would help us incredibly.”