1972 Hwange disaster victims remembered

Source: 1972 Hwange disaster victims remembered | The Herald June 2, 2017

Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Preparations for the 45th commemorations of the Kamandama Mine disaster where more than 427 miners died after an explosion at Number Two Hwange Colliery in 1972 are at an advanced stage, with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa expected to officiate at the event. The commemorations will be held in the mining town of Hwange on Tuesday next week.

Thousands of people are expected to attend the two-day event, starting off with a golf tournament on Monday at Hwange Golf Club.

The explosion, which claimed 427 miners on June 6, 1972, was caused by a methane gas explosion, which was followed by a cold dust explosion.

The miners died after the methane gas explosion ripped through the shaft, trapping them inside.

The explosion remains the country’s worst mine disaster and over a third of those who perished were citizens of Zimbabwe’s neighbouring countries of Malawi, Namibia, Mozambique and Botswana.

Hwange Colliery corporate affairs manager Mrs Rugare Dhobhie said a high-powered delegation was expected at the commemorations.

“This year will be the 45th anniversary of the disaster and as is the norm, the event will be graced by chiefs, widows, customers and suppliers,” she said. “The commemorations are an annual event held at the site of the blast, which was turned into a monument in remembrance of those who lost their lives.

“The commemoration event will be preceded by a fundraising golf tournament where more than 120 golfers are expected to participate on Monday.

“The proceeds of the tournament will go towards the welfare of the surviving widows and their families.”

Mrs Dhobhie said the tragic event ushered in a new and better approach to safety management in the mining sector and it heightened safety consciousness within Hwange Colliery and the mining industry in general.

The annual Kamandama Memorial Fundraising Golf Tournament organisers are targeting to raise at least $20 000 from this year’s edition.