Monday, July 7, 2014

Of angry spirits and diamond mining

Of angry spirits and diamond mining
06/07/2014 00:00:00
by Mathew Nyaungwa
Claims by traditional leaders self-serving ... Mathew Nyaungwa
Who does Tsvangirai think he’s fooling?
Moyo, Chombo and dealing with graft
Marange alluvials: Are they selling us a dummy?
A SIZEABLE number of the black indigenous people in Zimbabwe have firm beliefs in ancestral spirits. They believe that when a person dies, their spirit continues and can have influence on events in their families and the community.
The black indigenous also believe that if one tries to treat the ancestors with derision, bad luck can befall that person like a tsunami. Sickness, failure to secure employment despite good grades, sterility and constant involvement in road accidents, among other adversities, are said to be indications that ancestral spirits are in pursuit of one’s life.
However, honouring the ancestral spirits was said to be an antidote to these misfortunes. Christians on the other hand view ancestral spirits as nothing but evil spirits that should be cast out in the name of Jesus Christ.
The above narrative tells of the spiritual standpoint that traditional leaders in Zimbabwe recently based their opinions regarding diamond mining in Marange.
They are of the opinion that diamond mining operations in Marange are facing various problems because the spirits were ‘angry’ at government and mining companies for snubbing them and local cultures.
“You know, some of these things are spiritual. It is unfortunate that the government did not consult traditional leaders on how to extract the diamonds. The diamonds are on our traditional land. There are supposed to be rituals done first in order to appease the spirits,” the president of the Chiefs’ Council, Chief Fortune Charumbira was quoted as saying by The Standard newspaper.
“The land belongs to us and the diamonds are ours. We are the ancestors of this land where diamonds lie on, but, the government decided to go it alone. Look now there are so many problems in Chiadzwa [Marange].
“There are violations of cultural rites. Our ancestors are not happy because of the disrespect of their rights since they stay in a rich land, but are not benefitting from their ancestral land resources.”
Self-serving threats?
Another traditional leader, Chief Gilbert Marange said locals remained poor despite the discovery of the diamonds in their village.
“We demand that chiefs sit on the boards of mining firms in areas under their jurisdiction to ensure they bring development to their communities,” he said.


These revelations are interesting especially when one considers that the chiefs, instead of sticking to their demands of conducting the ‘rituals’ to ‘appease the spirits’, were also demanding to sit on boards of the diamond companies.
Diamond mining in Marange has proved lucrative for individuals, although the nation at large has not benefitted much from the gems. Marange fields span 85,000 hectares and contain large deposits of alluvial and conglomerate diamonds.
Former mines minister Obert Mpofu once said that the gems would likely inject $2 billion into the economy annually. “We are going to unleash our worthiness to the world. Zimbabwe won’t be begging to anyone,” he said in November 2011.
"Our current diamond production is estimated by volume, to be in excess of 25 percent of the world production, and going by the values realised to date per carat, Zimbabwe is set to earn in excess of $2 billion annually in gross revenues."
But the reality percolated through as most people realised that the loud pronouncement had only massaged their hopes.
Just recently, mines minister Walter Chidhakwa who replaced Mpofu last September, said the government would rather stop all diamond mining in Marange than let miners continue fleecing the country of millions of dollars through understating the real value of the stones they extract.
He said the government would not extend the tenure of the firms in Marange, some of whom were reluctant to go into underground mining preferring to concentrate on cheaper surface operations.
Harare is not ‘happy’ that the diamond miners are saying the quality of stones they are mining continues to go down and now want new concessions.
President Robert Mugabe said that he would want to see one or two companies mining diamonds in Marange from the current five.
It is such challenges of deteriorating alluvial diamonds on claims granted to the miners and truncated revenue, blamed on corruption and shadowy operations, that the traditional leaders are basing their argument of ancestral retribution.
However, it’s quite avowed that the government and the traditional leaders have different solutions to the problems bedeviling Marange. Harare is saying let us streamline operations to improve transparency, while the chiefs are saying ‘appease’ the ancestors and your problems will go.
But wait a minute; they also want to sit on the company boards.
Even those that believe in ancestral spirits had bought the chiefs’ arguments, there is no doubt that they discredited themselves the moment they asked to sit on the boards, as this gives a picture of people who are interested in lining their pockets while masquerading as vanguards of traditionalism.
About the author: Mathew Nyaungwa is currently reading for his M.A in Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University, in South Africa.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Leonard returns

It has happened again!  My father has returned.
We have been missing several items recently and I have found the scent of tobacco when I open up the drawing room every morning.  No one smokes in the family and our friends don't either!

I was out at a meeting and my husband was moving a speaker in the drawing room. He found a picture behind it of my grandparents.  The picture I had in the study ready to scan and put on my web page.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Missing bolt

A friend of ours lives in a house built on the farm owned by the Count de la Panous.
He has experienced what can only be described as very strange happening over the last weeks.
He needed to replace a bolt on a piece of equipment.  he removed the bolt and put it on his desk as a sample to be taken to obtain a replacement.
He went back some hours later to find the bolt missing.  \he questioned his staff  who had not been near the office and could not have taken it.
He found another sample and placed it again on his desk.
When he returned to the locked office the following day there were two bolts on his desk.
How can this be explained - he is a very level headed man and would not have imagined this happening

A goblin?

A family from Bulawayo’s Nketa 7 suburb dumped its tenant’s “goblin” at the Tshabalala Police Station, sending cops fleeing in different directions.
A family that claimed a lodger owned the goblin brought it to the station in a suitcase.
The officer said a traditional healer who had come with the family opened the suitcase and a weird looking creature jumped out of a bottle that was filled with blood.
The article goes on to explain a chaotic scene of (fat and slim) officers running for their lives, screaming to escape. The creature was said to smell terrible but, VERY INTERESTINGLY, the descriptions of the thing vary considerably:
Some said it looked like a snake with the head of a dog and others said it was a dog with scales like a pangolin.
The healer who brought it was said to have then dispatched it.
What THE HELL? There is no such thing as a reasonable goblin story, they are all absurd and reflect some strange cultural belief in Zimbabwe. In fact, Zimbabwe goblin tales are some of our most popular stories. And so it continues.
What might have happened here? It sounds like they brought something rank and disgusting to the station in order to scare the bejeezus out of people and make the healer look like a hero. Or it was to get their lodger in trouble. Convenient that we never get remains from these creatures. Many normal creatures may be considered monsters, such as the pangolin mentioned. There are several possibilities and we likely won’t be able to know as the superstition is too strong with this country.
Goblin beheaded in Zimbabwe, house explodes killing five | Doubtful News.
Goblins continue to run amok in Zimbabwe | Doubtful News.