The search for alternatives to smallholder agriculture and the diffuse, ad hoc, uncertain and low-earning character of most rural non-agricultural income diversification has been underway since beginning of the 1980s. Small-scale gold mining is one of the activities people have increasingly gravitated towards during the last two decades. This chapter documents the greater potential earnings, more elaborate division of labour, higher risks and career perspective of miners relative to farmers. Tracing successive cohort entry groups and functional mine groups demonstrates that those willing to withstand the hardships of movement from one gold strike to another and time commitment to a career that is considered dangerous and alienated from agrarian traditions of the Tanzanian countryside may be materially rewarded for their efforts.
Bryceson, D.F. Pursuing an artisanal mining career: Downward success. In: Mining and social transformation in Africa: Mineralizing and democratizing trends in artisanal production. Routledge, Abingdon, UK (2014) 44-60. ISBN 9780415833707