Muto we hacha
Mutotozi is a syrup produced from fresh ripe and unripe fruits of the indigenous mobola tree. To make the product, the fruits are first pounded. Then, water is added and the mixture is passed through a sieve to separate the juice. The juice is boiled until the excess water evaporates and a syrup remains. Mutotozi resembles honey in its appearance and consistency. It is used to make sugarless cakes, biscuits, rapoko snacks, and can be eaten straight, just like honey. The mobola plum tree is known locally as a major food source during dry periods. The ancestors of the local people would talk to their medium spirits under the tree and ask for rain to arrive during times of drought. The tree is also used locally to predict the coming season: it is believed that if the tree produces fewer fruits, there will be a rainier season, and if it produces a larger quantity of fruit, the upcoming season will by drier. A 20 kg bucket of ripe fruits will produce approximately 5 liters of mutotozi. The syrup is not currently sold commercially, but made just for family consumption. The mobola trees are found in most dryer parts of Zimbabwe. Mutotozi is still produced in the Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe district, particularly in the ward of Marowe, but by few people. It risks being lost from Zimbabwean food culture as people, especially younger generations, shift away from consuming locally produced foods. Younger people are no longer taught how to prepare mutotozi, and are losing awarenss of the mobola plum’s significance to food security. Today, mainly elderly women retain the knowledge and practice of producing mutotozi.