‘Kamativi Dam, Teeming With Crocodiles, Echoes A Battle Zone’
In 2008, Mr. Timothy Mvula (66), a former employee of Kamativi Mine in Hwange district, endured a life-altering crocodile attack that claimed his right leg. Engaged in a fishing expedition in the crocodile-infested Kamativi Dam, Mr. Mvula turned to fishing for a livelihood amidst widespread poverty following the closure of Kamativi Tin Mine in 1994.
Starting at the mine in 1972 as a messenger, Mr. Mvula had transitioned to the public department by the time of the mine’s closure. Facing economic hardship, he resorted to fishing, an occupation that proved perilous in the face of the dam’s crocodile population.
Kamativi Dam, infamous for claiming the lives of nearly 10 people and numerous livestock due to crocodile attacks, earned the nickname “DRC” in 1998. This name, reminiscent of the DRC civil war in the late 1990s, underscored the danger and loss associated with the dam.
Despite its hazards, the dam serves as a vital source of domestic water for Kamativi, whose water reticulation system has been non-functional since 1994. Fishing became a crucial means of survival for the community in the absence of formal employment.
Mr. Mvula, now reliant on crutches for mobility, serves as the chairperson for Kamativi Residents Association. He passionately appeals to authorities to invest in secure water sources for the community, addressing both health concerns and mitigating human-wildlife conflicts.
Reflecting on the crocodile attack in 2008, Mr. Mvula shared, “There was nothing else we could do for a living as the pensions we received came late and had been eroded by inflation and hence could not sustain us after the closure of the mine. So fishing was the only source of livelihood.“