Women Artisanal Miners Join the Penhalonga Gold Rush

Women Artisanal Miners Join the Penhalonga Gold Rush

Gold and diamond panning has traditionally been associated with uncivil, fierce-looking men, with women often expected to perform more feminine roles. However, this widely shared societal perception has been debunked as over the years more women have joined the once male-dominated mining sector. Desperate to feed their families, it is a common sight in Penhalonga to observe artisanal female gold miners tapping into this once predominantly masculine working environment. Situated approximately 20 km from the mountainous town of Mutare, in the Eastern region close to the Mozambican border, Penhalonga is endowed with vast gold resources, with the majority of the gold belts owned by two Russian mining companies, Redwing Mine and DTZ-OZGEO. But breaking into the gold mining business alongside men is by far a stroll in the park for the women, who have in many cases revealed that the hostile working environment exposes them to various forms of abuses. Some have reported to have been raped, while others have been lured into prostitution as a way to maintain their claims in the mines. It is believed that only those with stronger political connections to the ruling ZANU PF party manage to get their share of gold. Furthermore, the situation is worsened by arbitrary arrests, harassments and physical assaults by the security officers guarding the mines to keep artisanal miners out. The fact that the security guards employed by the mining companies are often from the same communities as the artisanal miners further exacerbates tensions and rivalries in the Penhalonga community, sowing seeds of hatred as they feel betrayed by their own kith and kin. In an interview with...
CNRG goes to Brazil! Insights from the 13th AWID Forum

CNRG goes to Brazil! Insights from the 13th AWID Forum

  Bahia, Brazil, 8-11 September 2016 Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) was part of a Southern African delegation (with support from Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa-OSISA) that participated at the 13th Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) held in Bahia, Brazil from the 8th to the 11th of September 2016. The theme of the forum was entitled ‘feminist futures: building collective power for rights and justice’. The overall goal of the forum was to celebrate the gains of the past 20 years by diverse social movements and critically analyse the lessons that could be carried forward. The event managed to bring together more than 1000 delegates from a broad diversity of movements and sectors who collectively strategized for feminist futures, from women’s rights and feminist movements, including Brazilian women’s rights activists, peace , economic justice , environment and human rights movements ,just to mention a few. More information are availble at www.awid.org. What was unique about this space was the active representation of marginalised communities such as young feminist activists, black and afro –descendant women, indigenous women, sex workers, women with disabilities, Trans and inter sex activists as well as migrant activists. The forum was organised through general panel discussions, side sessions and creative platforms where artists were able to express themselves through music, art and poetry. CNRG participated in specific side sessions which were hosted by AWID, where female human rights defenders were sharing their experiences – some had their rights violated by mine security officials, whilst defending their territories. The moving testimonies from the women human rights defenders from Latin America, Africa and South...