Zimbabweans in Nyamakope Village Fear Losing Their Ancestral Lands

Zimbabweans in Nyamakope Village Fear Losing Their Ancestral Lands
A truck carrying granite in Nyamakope village, Zimbabwe. Photograph: Nyasha Chingono.

08-01-2022

Veronika Sherova,

Environment and Human Rights Researcher, 

Global Human Rights Defence

In Nyamakope village, in the district of Mutoko, granite is being quarried since the 1980s. Jinding, the Chinese mining company operating there, recently informed over 50 families in the village that they would have to leave their homes. People fear losing their ancestral lands.

Over 60 trucks transport granite from the mountain above the village every day. According to the Buja people who live in the village, the companies extracting wealth from the mountain leave behind damaged roads and bridges, hazardous pollutants, and unhealthy air. Houses are covered with cracks and blast debris is everywhere. On top of that, mineworkers speak of poor working conditions.

Zimbabwe's Communal Areas Act gives the president the power to decide how to use an area of about  40% of the country's land containing about 70% of its population. As a result of this act, some families have already been forced to move. An authority representing the Chinese company has announced that families living within the licensed zone will be further relocated. 

Despite the health, environmental, and financial threats facing the citizens of this district, the government turns a blind eye to the issue so as not to lose its largest investor.

Sources and further reading:

Nyasha Chingono. (January 7, 2022). ‘They want to remove us and take the rock’, say Zimbabweans living near Chinese-owned mines. Retrieved January 8, 2022, from https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/jan/07/zimbabwe-china-mines-pollution-evictions