By Takudzwa Josiah
Women from mineral-rich communities around Zimbabwe have expressed concern over the challenges they encounter in their communities due to destructive mining activities which disrupt agriculture and almost always leave communities with life-threatening unclaimed pits and underground fires.
Women that spoke to Amakhosikazi Media said they are losing their livestock to waterlogged pits that miners leave behind.
Other women said in some areas the dust resulting from blasting has made life so difficult and they fear they may contract several respiratory illnesses.
Women also indicated that in some communities the activities have affected education infrastructure and turned schools into unsafe environments with classroom blocks that can collapse at any time.
Students of school-going age are not safe, these mining activities have in some instances led to unnecessary loss of life. In 2021 an eight-year-old Hwange girl, Alisha Sekina Muzvite succumbed to injuries she sustained after she fell waist-deep into an underground Firehole at an old dump site in Makwika village, Hwange.
After the incident, she battled for life at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo for close to three weeks. She passed away only days after doctors had amputated her both legs to minimize the effects of the injuries.
Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) Executive Director Farai Maguwu said the campaign launched at the conference seeks to enlighten women on their rights as enshrined in the law of the land.
He highlighted that the affected women are from different areas and it is important to employ inclusive education methods to ensure all involved benefit.
The women were speaking on the sidelines of an ongoing 2 day “Right to say no” conference organized by the Centre for Natural Resource Governance as a way of celebrating women’s month.