Reviving the Tunatazama platform: Community monitors’ workshop


Compiled by Billian Tinodini Matambo (Marange Women’s Alliance)

The community monitors workshop held in Benoni, South Africa from the 24th-25th July was attended by representatives from Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. The main objective was to strategize on the best ways of reviving the Tunatazama platform, an information sharing platform bringing together Southern African mining communities. Due to COVID-19 and a lack of motivation, most activists had stopped telling their own stories.

This time around, the Tunatazama seeks to produce yet another edition that chronicles the voices of communities and activists across the Southern African region by the end of August. Most mine host communities live under serious threats to their livelihoods. The conditions that mining has imposed on the economies of Sub-Saharan Africa are now resulting in widespread poverty although there are a few success stories.

In this previous report of the Tunatazama, or voice from the communities in South Africa, we learnt of the impeding humanitarian disaster. Children are not spared in this regard; the Zambian case in this collection of stories suggests the vulnerability of children in the manganese mining in Luapula Province. This situation, which is borne out by failure to benefit the local community, is engineering serious human rights violations against children. The publication of community monitors voices across the region reflects how we could also keep solidarity in sharing our experiences. Through this platform, we also learnt of a community monitoring Group in South Africa that explored a problem-solving approach to one of the problems affecting their community and made a breakthrough. Through engagements, the sewer problem which had become a challenge for them was dealt with, and a relationship with relevant stakeholders and a commitment to further improve the infrastructure were part of the outcomes.

These are some of the advantages of the platform. Due to COVID 19, observation proves that most community voices on Tunatazama have been somehow silenced by several factors, one of them being a lack of motivation and thus the energy needs to be revived.

Next Plans

For the next Tunatazama edition, all representatives agreed on having one theme for the stories.

Since inadequate consultation and engagement are problems in mining communities, the broader topic for the next edition will be community beneficiation. This will give a clear picture of how communities are benefiting from the different mineral resources found in their communities. The stories written by the monitors will also have recommendations to ensure that voices of communities are heard.

The Tunatazama is a platform for the activists on the ground; it provides for strategic reflections and allows activists to celebrate their gains.

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