Of prosperity, ghost towns and havens : mining and urbanisation in Zimbabwe

Abstract

Mining has always played a significant role in the urbanisation of Zimbabwe. That Zimbabwe's most urbanised province has the highest concentration of mining settlements is no accident. Whereas mining initially gave impetus to urbanisation, economic growth and prosperity, its decline precipitated urban shrinkage and poverty. In the wake of the post-2000 crises, shrinking mining towns have become havens. This discussion unravels the nexus of mining, urbanisation, governance and poverty. Using the case of chromite and copper mining, the article examines how mining, initially a driver of urbanisation and prosperity, later became the catalyst for decline and impoverishment. It argues that the fate of mining towns cannot be explained without reference to the intersection of national governance, local conditions and globalisation. The article makes two central observations: mining settlements are an integral part of the urban hierarchy; and the resurgence of mining towns is more of a mutation than a revival.

Citation

Kamete, A. Of prosperity, ghost towns and havens: mining and urbanisation in Zimbabwe. Journal of Contemporary African Studies (2012) 30 (4) 589-609. [DOI: 10.1080/02589001.2012.724871]

Of prosperity, ghost towns and havens : mining and urbanisation in Zimbabwe

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