Kwekwe

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This article is about the city. For the district, see Kwekwe District.
Kwekwe
City
Main Street.
Main Street.
Coat of arms of Kwekwe
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): kwelakwela
Kwekwe is located in Zimbabwe
Kwekwe
Kwekwe
Coordinates: 18°55′S 29°49′E / 18.917°S 29.817°E / -18.917; 29.817Coordinates: 18°55′S 29°49′E / 18.917°S 29.817°E / -18.917; 29.817
Country Zimbabwe
Province Midlands
District Kwekwe
Established 1898
Government
 • Type city Council
 • Mayor Stefan Bonyongwa
 • Member of Parliament, MP Blessing Chebundo
Elevation 1,220 m (4,000 ft)
Population
 • Total 100,900
  2012 census
Time zone SAST (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) gmt+2 (UTC)
Area code(s) 055
Website www.kwekwe.co.zw

Kwekwe (/ˈkwkw/ KWAY-kway) (known until 1983 as Que Que[1]), is a city in central Zimbabwe.

Location[edit]

It is located in Kwekwe District, in Midlands Province, in the center of the country, 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 population of 88,000. In 2012, the city's population was estimated at 100,900 people. It is a centre for steel and fertilizer production in the country.

Kwekwe and neighbouring Redcliff are the headquarters of Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO), the country's largest steelworks. It also hosts the Zimbabwe Iron and Smelting Company, the largest ferrochrome producer, and one of the biggest power generating plants, ZESA-Munyati, in Munyati, a suburb of Kwekwe. Kwekwe is Zimbabwe's richest city in terms of minerals.

Background[edit]

Kwekwe town was founded in 1898 as a gold mining town, and hosts Zimbabwe's National Mining Museum. The town remains an industrial centre of the country. The name stems from the Zulu word "isikwekwe", which means "scurvy", "mange" or "scab".[2] Popular belief states that Kwekwe is named after the croaking noise made by the nearby river's frogs.

Geography[edit]

The town is situated on Zimbabwe's Highveld at an altitude of 1,220 metres (4,000 ft), above sea level. It is located in the tropics but its high altitude modifies this to a warm temperate climate. The average annual temperature is 19 °C (66 °F).[3] As with much of the Highveld, summers are long but not hot as the temperature depends on the amount of cloudiness and indirectly the amount of rain received. Drought years are hotter than wet years. The climate is hot and wet during the summer rainy season from mid November to mid March, with cool, dry weather from May to mid-August in the winter season, and warm dry weather from August to mid November. Winters are characterised mainly by their cold nights, with an average minimum temperature of 7 °C (45 °F), and are the sunniest time of the year.

Culture and recreation[edit]

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.during summer most of the people spend time at public swimming pools

Soccer and cricket are the main sports in the city, just as in the rest of the country. Kwekwe hosts one of Zimbabwe's Major provincial cricket sides - Mid West Rhinos. 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 Stadium, it has hosted a number of big teams in the country, including Dynamos FC, and Highlanders FC. Golf tournaments are hosted by Kwekwe Golf club. Almost all of the schools in Kwekwe play -cricket

Tongai Moyo and Bob Nyabinde are popular singers in the country who hail from Kwekwe. Kwekwe is a major stop for many music groups in the country who perform in the Mbizo Stadium. The cricketer Charles Coventry also hails from Kwekwe - he is best known for equalling the ODI World Record of 194 runs in an innings. It is also the birthplace of former cricketer Norman Featherstone.

Education[edit]

Kwekwe is well endowed with many educational facilities. Most of the educational institutions are state-run. For university education, the closest facilities are 60 km away in Gweru, the Midlands Province capital, at Midlands State University.

Primary and secondary schools

Like most urban areas in the country, the city of Kwekwe is serviced by many schools. Mbizo High School and Manunure High School, recently expanded to offer A-level classes, serve the high density suburb of Mbizo. The middle-class suburbs close to the city centre have Kwekwe High School and Goldridge College plus the primary schools that include Goldridge Primary School, Fitchlea Primary School, Kwekwe Junior High School and Globe & Phoenix Primary SchoolMaryward Primary School, among others. There is alomost one primary school for about four sections of the high density areas

Tertiary education

Kwekwe Polytechnic is the only tertiary education institution in Kwekwe. Sable Chemicals and ZISCO Steel run apprenticeship programs with the polytechnic and with other universities in Zimbabwe.

Residential areas[edit]

A scene close to the bus terminus in Kwekwe, 2006
Mbizo One Extension, a new addition to one of the oldest suburbs in the town, 2006

The residential suburbs in the city are divided into higher and lower density areas. The main surbubs in the town are Mbizo Township, Amaveni Township and Fitchlea.[4]

Kwekwe's suburbs are divided into low cost housing, residential housing and also industrial and railway housing. Kwekwe has only one set of traffic lights which are just 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. These two slum areas were primarily built close to the mines for the use of mineworkers and the most successful businesses, especially for local bars known as beer halls serve this customer base. Then there are the middle-class homes in the Fitchlea area. This area is made up of big three and four bedroom homes and is still home to wealthy families despite the collapse of the economy.

Masasa Park and New Town are among the wealthier suburbs. The very wealthy upper-class families reside mugomo (on the mountain) in the suburb of Chicago although New Town is considered the richest area in the town. 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 railway line. It is home to two mosques, a meetinghouse for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Seventh-day Adventist Churches, Salvation Army, Protestant 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 close to the geographical centre of the country, Kwekwe is also strategically located within the Midlands metropolitan area. Kwekwe, together with Gweru, Munyati, Kadoma and Redcliff form a single customer base for local commercial enterprises.

Industry and economy[edit]

As elsewhere in Zimbabwe, a high proprtion of the population depends on the informal sector, possibly more than half of the population. Many self-employed miners carry out illegal digging work just north of the city, panning for gold, one of the most lucrative sources of income. Other residents engage in less strenuous work as cobblers, carpenters, TV and radio repairmen, and vendors selling anything from onions to meat.

Mining[edit]

Part of the informal sector in the town: vendors selling snacks to travellers in a bus.

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 country. In the local mining museum on its premises stands a relic of these boom days called the Paper House; a wood and reinforced cardboard structure 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 colonial empire builder who was closely connected with the early development of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe's former name). Kwekwe was originally a gold mining camp and is today characterised by the large mines in its vicinity producing gold, and the chrome ore and iron ore used in steelmaking.

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.[5]

Manufacture[edit]

Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company or ZISCO and Lancashire Steel are the major player 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.[6]

Chemical[edit]

Sable Chemicals Pvt. Ltd. in located just outside city. It is the only producer of fertilizer in the whole country.[7] 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[edit]

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, Standard Chartered Bank, CBZ Bank, Stanbic Bank, Allied Bank'and Ecobank all maintain branches in city.

Tourism[edit]

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 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 Hotel 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.

Public services[edit]

  • Kwekwe General Hospital is the main medical facility in the town. Although it belongs to the government, the City Council oversees it. It is a major centre for TB treatment in the district.[8] The hospital is found in Newtown, five kilometers east of the city centre, 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 mosque that is found at the north entrance of the town.
  • The city is also served by Kwekwe Airport (IATA: n/aICAO: FVKK).

Politics[edit]

The member of parliament (MP) for Kwekwe Central constituency was Emmerson Mnangagwa until his defeat in 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.

As with other Zimbabwean towns run by opposition parties, Kwekwe has seen a number of politically motivated incidents in which people have been killed and arrested.

Image Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Names (Alteration) Act Chapter 10:14
  2. ^ THIS IS OUR LAND. Stories and Legends of the two Rhodesias by Frank Clements. p.43, Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, 1963.
  3. ^ Average monthly data 1971 - 2000, GHCN Climate averages
  4. ^ iConnect Online; sharing knowledge on ICT4D - Computer training & e-commerce
  5. ^ Peter Buchholz{dagger} and Thomas Oberthür. Economic Geology; May 2007; v. 102; no. 3; p. 347–378; doi:10.2113/gsecongeo.102.3.347
  6. ^ Lancashire Steel (Private) Ltd. | Kwekwe, Zimbabwe | Company Profile, Research, News, Information, Contacts
  7. ^ http://www.ta-holdings.com/investments/sable.htm
  8. ^ http://etd.unisa.ac.za/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-07242006-152936/unrestricted/00front.pdf