From Blood Diamonds to Blood Gold - A Report on Machete Violence in Zimbabwe's ASM Gold Sector

Shurugwi is a beautiful scenic town in Zimbabwe`s Midlands Province which sits on the famous mineral rich Great Dyke belt. The Great Dyke, which is up to 8 miles wide and about 330 miles long, consists of several precious minerals which include gold, silver, chromium, platinum, and nickel. Other types of minerals include but not limited to mica, asbestos, and tin. It is almost as if Shurugwi enjoys an unfair advantage over other towns in Zimbabwe. However, before the Covid-19 induced lockdown, the name Shurugwi was the subject of a violent narrative sweeping over the country’s mining sector; a phenomenon of terror synonymous with towns and communities where artisanal gold mining is done. Since then, Zimbabwe’s gold mining communities in particular, have been living in fear of terror gangs whose modus operandi is said to have originated in the Midlands Province, which is the place where Shurugwi is found. This paper interrogates the menace of machete violence, the drivers of artisanal mining and gives recommendations to policy makers towards promoting a safe and secure place in which citizens live in a peaceful environment. In its attempt to describe the character of violence in artisanal mining and exploring the possible root causes or drivers of this phenomenon, this study assumed both descriptive and analytical approaches. Cross-sectional surveys, interviews and observations were conducted, over a period of 6 months (December 2019 to May 2020) through physical visits to a sample of 5 disused mines where scores of artisanal miners had descended on. These mines were Mazowe Mine also known as Jumbo Mine in Mazowe where 5 artisanal miners, a Police Officer, 2 former mine workers, 4 residents were engaged as sources of information.