An upcoming public and policy engagement non-profit consultancy focusing on Social, Political and Ecological Justice issues in Afrika. We work and stand in solidarity with communities in mineral rich areas in Afrika and other global south environments.
I have been struggling what to do with the photos I took several Months ago when I visited Mufulira and have now come to a conclusion that it does not hurt to place these witnesses for all to see. On this edition, I have decided to bring some pictorials from my photo archives taken from different places once in a month. this is the first in the series…
How insecure can our communities in the mining areas be? The Government must do something to rescue the lives of the next generation as well as the present.
This is the infrastructure in Mufulira town. The home of the former Mufulira Wanderers! an assistant corporate social responsibility officer at Mopani said that, “Mopani gives the municipal council money; actually we give the government money and road maintenance is the government’s responsibility. They are just sitting there looking at the roads continuing to be bad. I wonder where all the money goes but Mopani can do nothing about the roads as it gives money to the government.”
This is how close everything is to the local community quarters! Mopani is said to be “owned by an Asian man living in the UK but have companies in in India, UK and Australia. A lot of copper leaves our country making other countries poor. workers here are not paid well even when they get sick; actually when you fall sick as a result of chemical reaction and the costs are high – you get fired!”
The heap above is Copper Ore. The cloudy mist is the chemical sprinkles that separate the pure Copper and rubble. All this is in Butondo Area in Mufulira constituency where it is reported that people just die and Doctors always give false reports. “We have had cases where people just die. whenever we press on for a post-mortem; doctors always give a false report.
I need help here; what does the law say about hazardous chemicals and residential areas. How far should residential areas be from such ponds? If the Government of Zambia has allowed the Police force personnel to live that close to the pond; is there something that they are protecting? What about the little ones who know nothing?
Looking through the gap between the two houses, you see the RAFFINATE POND this is where the chemical used to sieve Copper. This is a dangerous pond but with the lazy governments in Africa, residential area is not even 15 metres away! I wonder what the world bodies looking into hazardous chemicals think about this. To make things worse; it is the police force staff living here… Where is the government?
When in Butondo village in Mufulira, I wondered what kind of life the local community members live. Looking at the metal sealed with used drum; ‘eaten’ by the chemicals I could not think of anything but echo the words said by one traditional leader, “The government of the day regards members of the communities around the mining areas as irrelevant. This means each one of us, including means nothing to the government of the day!”