Women take risks to make living in small mining areas

by Shamiso Chigonde

Some women around Sabi Vlei mine have taken advantage of small scale miners given small claims by the government to make money by selling basic food like boiled eggs, samoosas and energy drinks to miners of gold and chrome in the area.

Minach Mupinda, one of the women said that she started the business when she saw that the miners had no refreshments and there were few women supplying them.

"I sell boiled eggs at Sabi Vlei, I started this after noticing that these men needed something to eat during their mining breaks. I saw a few women doing it and being able to put food on the table. I have a lot of plans and I hope to make a lot of money from it," she said.

The job involves a lot of risks with women walking as much as five km in the isolated bush where they can easily get raped or robbed but its a risk they are willing to take for the extra dollars.

"Sometimes the miners try to harass or ask me out but I always tell them off nicely.” said a woman who chose to be identified as Mai Munashe  “There is no job without risks, you have to face your fears in order to survive.” she added.

The women make a profit of up to five dollars a day from selling eggs only and if they take their time moving from claim to claim, they can make double the amount.

Most women in mining towns make money through selling basic commodities, cooking for the camping miners with some going to extent of exchanging sex for money.

In some mining areas like Esigodini and Nyathi women are forced into relationships with the miners in order to survive financially. Some are even sexually assaulted by the small scale miners.