Home Mining Raised From the Dust: The Story of Judith Shadaya, A Woman Miner.

Raised From the Dust: The Story of Judith Shadaya, A Woman Miner.

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No list of successful female entrepreneurs/miners will be complete without mentioning Judith Shadaya. She descended into poverty when her husband and son died after a car accident in 2009.

Widowhood often changes the social and economic roles of women in the household and community, besides altering the structure of the family; its impact differs according to culture and religion.

Widowhood can affect the physical safety, identity and mobility of women and children. It can also affect their access to basic goods and services necessary for survival, and their rights to inheritance, land and property, in addition to the wider impact it has on the community.

In addition, widows have to deal with the psychological effects and insecurity that stem from the deaths of their husbands.

When they lose their husbands, widows are often deprived of support from traditional sources, which can cause economic hardship or deprivation. Furthermore, they often feel unable to talk about their loss, as they fear ostracism and other punishments.

After the death of her husband and son, Judith did not allow these roadblocks to prevent her from pursuing her dreams as a miner and business person.

In today’s instalment of Celebrating Women in Mining Great Dyke News 24 reporter Jeoffrey Ncube (JN) spoke to Judith Shadaya (JS) to tell us how she managed to overcome her heartache and turn her desperate situation all around.

JN: CAN YOU TELL US WHO JUDITH SHADAYA IS?

JS: My name is Judith Shadaya, I am a gold miner, a farmer and a business woman based in Manicaland. I hold two ZNCC Business Woman of the Year Awards and I am also specialising in livestock – cattle rearing and transport business (trucks). I’m also a regional ZMF chairperson for Manicaland and the Patron of Manicaland People Living With Disabilities in Mining.

 JN: HOW DID YOU GET INTO MINING?

JS: I started mining in 2009 after the death of my husband and only son who died in car accident. I encountered many challenges and being a widow was just like being put in hell and into a blast furnace with my husband’s relatives abandoning me after the accident.

My one and only son died on the spot and the father sustained serious internal injuries and died 3 months later.

After the death of my only son and husband, l was left with nothing.  I had to rent out our house were l was staying in the high density suburbs of Mutare. I had never stayed at the farm before but because of the hardships l faced after the death I had no option.

I stayed there for some time doing all kinds of jobs including fetching firewood and water from faraway places.

Before the death of my husband, l had a dream whereby l was walking in a cave full of gold bricks and l had no idea on what it meant up until when I bought mining shares at a mine called Mandara Investments that’s when my dream came  true and l can safely say l was raised from the dust.

JN: WHAT IS THE PRESENT SCALE OF YOUR MINING OPERATIONS?

l am still a small scale gold miner, l now have three claims in Odzi, four claims in Nyanga, one in Penhalonga  and three in Chegutu.

JN: WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE AS A WOMAN MINER?

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As a woman in mining, l do face many challenges in this field of mining such as gender discrimination and stigmatization. Sometimes we are called all sorts of names, some male counter parts do not value our presence in this industry. When it comes to funding we are asked to produce collaterals of which some do not have. Most of our concerns are not seriously heard.

During the lockdown, many industries were closed with mining remaining essential service resulting in those who were not go to work shifting to mining leading to the increase in numbers of illegal miners poaching our claims.

We now have the machete-wielding gangs within our mining areas. The cases (of violence) are increasing and women are now forced to move around with dangerous weapons for self-defense.

I have been attacked more than five times with my equipment being taken away, so generally those are some of the challenges we face as women in mining.

JN: WHAT CHALLENGES ARE THERE IN MINING GENERALLY?

JS:  Mining is not an easy field to venture into. We now need to move on with the best mining technologies and machinery for us to meet the world standards of mining and to produce high volumes of  minerals so that we achieve the $12 Billion mining industry by 2023.So as women in mining we can say  we  need funding from different stakeholders for us to achieve our targets.

JN: HOW DO YOU BALANCE YOUR ROLE AS MINER AND MOTHER?

JS: As an African woman born and bred in the rural area of Chivhu, it’s not difficult for me to balance the two. I am a very respectful and responsible mother to the family, community and my church. I also take care and pay school fees for the less privileged children in my community and family.

The secret for my success is prayer and discipline in all what I do. Sometimes I work like a scavenger that is what mining is about. But during holidays, l travel with my two beautiful daughters to different places like Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany and France among other places.

Judith Shadaya’s daughters touring Europe.

Considering where l started, l never thought that one-day l will be able to make it after the death of my husband but through mining, everything is now possible.

Judith Shadaya in Spain for a holiday.

JN: HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE YOU EMPLOYED?

At first when l started at the mine l bought shares, l had 120 workers, 15 were on pay roll and the rest were on shares. Now after the expiring of my contract I am now mining at my own mines with a total number of 77 workers.

JN: WHAT’S YOUR ADVISE TO WOMEN WHO WANT TO VENTURE INTO MINING?

My advice is that woman need to be very disciplined .We must be the best auditors of our mining business – accountability transparency and being visionary is the key. Stand firm and bold, we have to do away with all the pride, we must have the confidence that we can do it without men being our financier.

My mottor to all woman in the mining industry is “a good beginning, a good ending, the sky is the limit”. Most of the challenges we face as women in mining are the ones which makes us successful.

Despite my background, l managed to achieve a lot of things by myself, including building my house which was officially opened by Lt Col. Muzorori among other things. So in short l can say women can do it.

If you are a woman and you would like to share your journey in mining and agriculture get in touch with Jeoffrey Ncube on 0776302592.Email [email protected]

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