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Matsiloje residents ‘blast’ Mupane Mine for their crumbling homes.

Christinah Motlhabane
L-R: Nkgane, Rabafana, Molaodi, Maisamane, Mapula & Monamati

Located some 60km east of Francistown, Matsiloje lies in the foothills of Botswana’s only active gold mine, Mupane.

Having existed side-by-side in relative harmony for many years, the peace between villagers and mine was shattered in mid 2022, when blasting activities at Mupane began in earnest.

The force of the blasts, which continue today, has had a devastating effect on the houses of residents in Bogare ward, situated mere metres from the mine’s parameters.

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With their homes crumbling before their eyes, the people of Bogare are living in fear, terrified that the next blast will be the one that brings their building tumbling down.

Last Friday, The Voice ventured to the ward, popularly known as Letsiriane because of the tree that infests the area, to find out just how bad the problem is.

Although the mine was quiet, the people were not…

Matsiloje residents 'blast' Mupane Mine for their crumbling homes.
MATILDA KATSE MONAMATI (47)

We have a situation here in Matsiloje.

This mine has damaged our houses.

Now, when it rains, we put bricks on the corrugated irons so they do not come out.

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The cracks first appeared two years back, when they mine began blasting; it shook the ground!

Usually, they do the blasting on Fridays.

We plead that they listen to our cries.

We are not safe at all.

Just two months back a big rock flew from the mine and dropped by our yards when they were blasting.

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Imagine if the kids were playing outside at the time.

We want our voice to be heard.

Matsiloje residents 'blast' Mupane Mine for their crumbling homes.
FREDAH RABAFANA (50)

My toilet is a ticking-time bomb.

When they started blasting at the mine in 2022 it cracked the floor open, leaving a big hole.

Anyone using the toilet could fall in anytime.

The houses are leaking, forcing us to put buckets and move things when it rains.

Whenever you go somewhere, the mind is always behind at home since we are in the rainy season.

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The walls are also damaged as the rains falls from the irons.

The mine workers once came and took pictures, promising to come back but they never did.

Matsiloje residents 'blast' Mupane Mine for their crumbling homes.
ANNIE MAISAMANE (48)

We need help or a way forward.

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The mine bosses came asking how we are and what was damaged, but they did not say anything on how they are going to assist.

I built these houses with my last money and when it cracks like this, I do not know what I will do!

Or the government better move us from here because clearly, we are not safe.

The windows, walls are cracking.

The sound that comes with blasting is not good for the ears and heart together with the dust; we are not safe at all!

Matsiloje residents 'blast' Mupane Mine for their crumbling homes.
ITIRELENG MOLAODI (27)

This mine affected us badly.

The light-bulbs have disconnected because when it shakes it loosens them.

We keep all the furniture on one side of the house because on the other side it rains – as you see, we are even keeping the bed here.

We plead that we be assisted because we are living in fear.

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Matsiloje residents 'blast' Mupane Mine for their crumbling homes.
MANKA NKGANE (54)

All my mud houses are cracked.

As we know, mud is not like cement, and when it rains they easily fall.

So, I am just holding my breath that they do not fall.

I fear with the cracks already in them, one more blast and they will be done.

They cracked inside and out.

We cannot live like this; something has to be done quickly.

Matsiloje residents 'blast' Mupane Mine for their crumbling homes.
ONKEMETSE MAPULA (33)

We are living in fear, to think this house was a donation from Tati Mine.

We are scared that if it falls we won’t have anywhere to put our heads.

I am living with an old woman aged 100, it’s painful.

We wish this issue can be solved before the houses collapses because it is not good to live like this, fearing for one’s safety.

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