Rains turn tables against amakorokoza

BULAWAYO - The nostrum that portrays  a mine as a hole in the ground with a fool at the bottom and a liar at the top rings true to businesspeople that make brisk business from informal miners when they have struck gold.

In Filabusi and Gwanda townships, business booms  when gold panners that  go by the sobriquet  amakorokoza hold stashes of money; commercial sex workers that rely on them, and business people that  target them as welcome guests for their legendary spendthrift.

During the festive season,  many people in business place high hopes on illegal gold miners to boost their profits in bars, nightclubs and shops in the townships.

But while farmers cherish the arrival of the rains to the amakorokoza tables have turned.

Life has become difficult for them as rains mean a respite of their source of income.

The Daily News on Sunday took to the bushy panning sites of amakorokoza in Filabusi and Gwanda to interview them on how they feel about the ongoing rains that have affected their working grounds.

Mqondisi Nyoni, 24, from Phakama in Gwanda said the rainy season has made life difficult for him and his cohorts, as it is impossible for them to work in flooded, and muddy grounds.

“The rains have disrupted our working environment as you can see water has covered everywhere and we are struggling. Since the onset of the rains, we have been coming to the bush and returning back home empty-handed because we cannot penetrate through the muddy grounds,” he said.

Nyoni said a lot of panners are faced with the same problem and they have been broke since the onset of the rainy season.

“We simple cannot make money when the rains start, sometimes we wish it never rains because it does not help us in any way,” he said.

Mandla Dube, 28, from Senondo, in rural Gwanda said individuals who own gold detectors face the same predicament because they cannot use their machines on top of water or mud.

“Life is equally difficult for us gold miners who do the physical job and those who own gold detectors because they cannot sense the gold when they is water or mud.

“Neither can they deep their machines inside water looking for gold. Everyone is broke until the rains stop,” he said.

Dube said they patiently work up everyday and going to the bush hoping they will get lucky.

“It does not feel right to sit idle at home and do nothing so we just come even if we know that we won’t get anything out of it. I wonder how I am going to spend my Christmas without any money. That is why sometimes people resort to stealing,” he charged.

Malvin Mandigo, 27, from rural Silalatshane in Filabusi said “people should not keep their hopes up like they always do thinking we amakorokoza have money.”

“This time around we have nothing,” he said.

“Traditionally, people  believe amakorokoza have money. Well this time they should just forget about it.
Mandigo had hopes of enjoying towards the New Year but does not see that happening.

Sex workers are also in for a lean period at least according to Mandigo.

“Hatinamari  uye vachaona moto (We are penniless and that is bad news for them),”  Mandigo said.

He said in a period of one week, he hardly gets R50 altogether and sometimes two weeks can pass by without getting anything because rivers are full of water and the environment is not friendly for working.

Blessing Gwangwara, 22, also from Filabusi said sometimes panners spend the whole day cracking jokes because the muddy, flooded grounds are not friendly for them to work.

“Sometimes we spend the whole day engaged in trivial banter and cracking jokes and even forget the aim of gathering by the bush.

“ I cannot remember the last time I held a $100 note in my hand. I hardly dress myself, eat properly and I used to binge everyday but right now I have been sober for a month,” Gwangwara said.

He said beside the rains that disturb their operations there are also the police officers who raid them of the little they get sometimes.

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