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Kwekwe

Kwekwe

Kwekwe, formerly Que Que, city (1992 pop. 75,425), central Zimbabwe, founded 1900. It is a gold-mining center and the focal point of Zimbabwe's iron and steel industry.

Kwekwe or Kwe Kwe formerly Que Que (both: kwā'kwā') is a city in central Zimbabwe. It is located in the centre of the country (Midlands province)—roughly equidistant from Harare to the northeast and Bulawayo to the southwest. Its population stood at 47,607 in 1982, 75,425 in 1992 and the preliminary result of the 2002 census suggests a current population of 88,000. It is a center for steel and fertilizer production in the country.

Kwekwe and neighbouring Redcliff are home to the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO)—the country's largest steelworks. It also boasts of the Zimbabwe Iron and Smelting Company, the largest ferrochrome producer, and one of the biggest power processing plants, ZESA-Munyati.

Background

Kwekwe was founded in the late 19th century as a gold mining town, and hosts Zimbabwe's National Mining Museum. The town remains an industrial centre of the country. Kwekwe is named after the Kwekwe River, which was originally named Que Que (pronounced the same) after the croaking of the frogs.

Geography

The climate is warm and wet from mid-November to mid March, with cool, dry weather from May to mid-August and warm dry weather from August to mid-November.

The pollution by a Kwekwe-based steel company in Zimbabwe is said to discharge high quantities of iron, sulphate, oil and tar into the Kwekwe River, making the water unsuitable for irrigation or drinking. The effects of the pollution are felt as far afield as Lake Kariba where it is, for example, suspected to stiffen the trunks of elephants.

Culture and recreation

Kwe Kwe has always been a festive and social centre with warm inhabitants and a mild political atmosphere, and is worth a short stopover if time allows.

Soccer and Cricket are the main sports in the city, just as it is in the rest of the country. Kwekwe hosts one of Zimbabwe's Major provincial cricket sides - Midlands. Their cricket ground has been host to several first class and one day matches and has even hosted some internationals - most notably against Kenya. Kwekwe also hosts a variety of touring sides versus Zimbabwe 'A' teams. Kwekwe hosts two football (soccer) clubs, the Lancashire Steel (named after a local steel company) and Kwekwe Cables. The Kwekwe Queens Club is also a reputable sporting establishment, with a sizeable membership and drinking crowd.Lancashire Steel FC, the main team in the city has been in the PSL a number of times. At its home stadium, Baghdad, it has hosted a number of big teams in the country, including Dynamos FC, and Highlanders FC.

Tongai Moyo is a popular singer in the country who hails from Kwekwe. Kwekwe is a major stop for many music groups in the country who come and perform in the Mbizo Stadium.

Education

Kwekwe is well endowed with many educational facilities. Most of the educational institutions are government run. For university education, the residents are compelled to travel to Gweru, the Midlands Province capital, to register at Midlands State University.

Secondary and primary

Like most cities in the country, the town of Kwekwe is adequately serviced by many schools. Mbizo High School and Manunure High School, recently turned expanded to offer A-level classes, service the high density suburb of Mbizo. The middle-class suburbs close to the city center have Kwekwe High School plus the primary schools that include Goldridge, Fitchlea and Kwekwe Junior High among many other schools.

Tertiary

Kwekwe Polytechnique is the only center of higher education in Kwekwe. Sable Chemicals, ZIMASCO and ZISCO Steel run apprenticeship programs with polytechnique and all the other universities in the whole country.

Residential areas

The residential suburbs in the city was divided into the higher and low density. The main surbubs in the town town are Mbizo Township,Amaveni Township and Fitchlea.

Kwekwe like any town has its suburbs divided into low cost housing, residential housing and also industrial and railway housing. Kwekwe has only one set of traffic lights which are slightly outside the city centre—on a road leading to the high density suburb of Mbizo.

Amaveni Township and Mbizo Township are the two low cost housing suburbs in Kwekwe area. These two ghetto like housing areas were primarily built close to the mines so that the workers were located close to work making the area boom in terms of business, especially for local bars known as beer halls. The mine which was white sands was actually a beautiful site and was nicknamed "Motoro".

Then there are the middle-class homes in the Fitchlea area. This area is made up of big 3–4 bedroom homes and is still home to wealthy families despite the collapse of the economy.

Masasa Park and New Town are amongst the wealthier suburbs. The very wealthy upper-class families reside mugomo (on the mountain) in the suburb of Chicago. This is subdivided into mini-suburbs such as Hazeldene. The homes in this area are significantly larger than most, and are usually staffed with 2–4 domestic workers and, at times, security guards.

The town lies on the Bulawayo - Harare Line of the railway. It is home to two mosques, a meetinghouse for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Seventh-day Adventist Churches, Salvation Army and Catholic churches.

Kwekwe has paved roads leading to Gweru, Kadoma, Mvuma and Gokwe Business Centre hence it is considered a well connected city. Besides being right in the middle of the country, Kwekwe is also strategically located within the midlands metropolitan area. Kwekwe, together with Gweru, Kadoma and Redcliff form the 2nd largest Zimbabwean (combined) urban settlement—second only to Harare and its environs.

Industry and economy

Like in other towns across the country, the informal sector has come to dominate, employing more than half of the population of the town's residents. Many people are found by the highway to Harare just outside the city panning for gold, on of the most lucrative enterprises in the city. Other residents engage in the less strenuous works, working as dutiful cobblers, carpenters, TV and radio repairmen, and venders selling anything from onions to meat.

Mining

Gold is mined in the city, the reason the city was established. At one stage, the Globe and Phoenix mine around which the town developed (circa 1900) was the biggest gold mine in the world. In the local mining museum on its premises stands a relic of these boom days called the Paper House—a wood and reinforced cardboard affair in striking green and white. This two bedroom dwelling on stilts (presumably to combat the heat and protect from termites) was home to the first mine manager, and was once slept in by Cecil John Rhodes, the controversial colonial empire builder who founded the country from which Zimbabwe emerged at 1980s independence—Rhodesia. Kwekwe was originally a gold mining camp and is today characterised by the large mines in its vicinity producing gold, chrome and iron.

Four gold deposits within the Kwekwe district have been studied. The Primrose and Globe and Phoenix gold deposits display typical features of Archean orogenic lode gold systems such as fluid inclusions with low salinity, mixed aqueous-carbonic fluids, formation temperatures between 300° and 400°C, and a common stable isotope composition of fluid and mineral precipitates. Deposits of this type formed in the brittle-ductile crustal transition zone at 1.5 to 3.0 kbars. In contrast, gold mineralization at Jojo and especially the Indarama gold deposits probably formed at lower temperatures (<<300°C) and from dominantly aqueous, early moderate- to late high-salinity fluids.

There are thriving illegal gold mining activities in the town in which a substantial number of the town's residents are involved.

Manufacture

ZIMASCO and Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company,ZISCO at the two major players in the city. ZISCO, with its satellite town of Redcliff, is the centre of Zimbabwe's steel industry. Lancashire Steel (Pvt. Ltd.) is involved in the manufacture of steel rods and wire.

Chemical

Sable Chemicals Pvt. Ltd. in located just outside city. It is the only producer of fertilizer in the whole country. Sable Chemicals produce hydrogen for their ammonia required in the manufacture of fertilizer using the world’s largest electrolysis plant. This requires half the electricity available from the Kariba hydroelectric power station.

Commercial and economic sector

The main retailers and banks in the country have branches in Kwekwe. OK and TM Supermarkets have outlets along the main street in the town. Kingdom Bank, Trust Bank, Barclays Bank, Intermarket Bank and Standard Chartered Bank all have braches in the city.

Tourism

Despite massive government intrusion, some small tourist operators maintain hunting and photographic safari licences on farms and concessions near town, where an abundance of wildlife can for some years to come hopefully still be seen—including Rhino, Elephant, Leopard, Lion and most big antelope (Kudu, Eland, Sable, Tsessebe etc).The Kwekwe Sports Club hosts games by Zimbabwe's Midlands provincial cricket side, and hosted a One Day International against Kenya in 2002, along with a number of matches between Zimbabwe A and touring teams.

Two main hotels, the Golden Mile and the Shamwari cater for business travellers, and a recent abundance of chalet accommodation at breezy lodges such as Touchwood have emerged to cope with the overflow.

The National Mining Museum, dedicated to the vibrant mining industry in the country, is one of the main tourist attractions in the city.

Government departments

  • Kwekwe General Hospital is the main medical facility in the town. Although it belongs to the government, the City Council has oversity. It is a major center for TB treatment in the district. The hospital is found in Torwood, a low density surbub five kilometers east of the city center, close to the Kwekwe Railway Station.
  • Kwekwe City Council.
  • Zimpost, the national postal carrier's offices are located along main (called RGM Way)opposite city hall. POSB, the government bank is found on the edge of the city, behind the prominent Muslim Mosque that is found on the north entrance of the town.

Politics

The member of parliament (MP) for Kwekwe Central constituency was Emmerson Mnangagwa up until the elections of 2000. Since then, Blessing Chebundo of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has represented the district in the Parliament of Zimbabwe.

Like any other town in Zimbabwe where the opposition parties have taken over, Kwekwe has seen a number of politically motivated incidents in which people have been killed and arrested.

References

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