After the Diamond Rush: Shoddy Housing, Few Jobs in Eastern Zimbabwe – by Gamuchirai Masiyiwa and Linda Mujuru (Global Press Journal – March 10, 2019)

Global Press Journal

CHIADZWA DIAMOND FIELDS, ZIMBABWE — Police and military officers man a boom gate, which marks the boundary of this diamond mining area. An officer stops each vehicle and asks for identity documents from each passenger. No vehicles get through the gate without a permit and the officer’s approval.

Behind the gate, residents of three dozen villages struggle to forge ordinary lives as authorities strictly monitor their movements. The permit to get into this diamond mining area is free and valid for one month, but it’s not issued nearby. Even those who live here must go to Mutare, a town about 40 miles away, to get it.

In shopping areas, locals gather to listen to the radio and socialize. They’re cautious: They never know when the military will show up and look for evidence that people are illegally mining diamonds.

Thirteen years ago, diamonds were first found here in what was then the largest diamond discovery in recent memory anywhere in the world.

The discovery sparked a diamond rush. The government announced at first that anyone could mine for diamonds. Local people refer to the era as “mazuva ebvupfuwe,” which means “days of plenty” in Shona, the language spoken by a majority of Zimbabweans.

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