Flora Fadzai Sibanda, Chronicle Reporter
A Cowdray Park suburb woman is making a living from making quarry stones that she sells to individuals building houses.
Ms Sharon Mbewe (39) gets the stones from the bushes around Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle area.
She transports them using a wheelbarrow to her home where she uses a hammer to crush the granite into quarry stones.
Ms Mbewe started the project in 2015 when she realised that depending on her husband’s income from informal mining was not sustainable.
She said she chose quarry making as it allows her to be at home to attend to her duties as a wife and mother. She also said quarry making was easy for her as she used to do that job at her parents’ home in Filabusi.
In an interview, Ms Mbewe said she can make up to 15 wheelbarrows of quarry a day.
Each is sold for US$3.
“I started making quarry here at my house back in 2015.
I realised we could not depend on my husband’s money as a miner since business is not always good especially for informal miners.
I used to help my father back in Filabusi so it was not hard to start doing it here.
I tried being a vendor but later realised money was very little compared to what I make from quarry making,” said Ms Mbewe.
She said she gets granite stones from the bush around her neighbourhood.
“We get the granite from the veld around the neighbourhood.
People go there to extract it by digging it using picks and spades.
It is not an easy job. One could say it is a man’s job because digging granite is hard.
After digging the granite I ferry it to my house using a wheelbarrow.
I sometimes do up to 11 trips a day.
When I get home I then use a hammer to break the granite into quarry stones.
Breaking the granite is not really hard especially once one is used to it,” said Ms Mbewe.
She, however, said very few women can do the job.
“Men constantly ask me what I will be doing in that field and some go as far as saying I’m doing a man’s job.
What I, however, fear is that something bad might happen to me as I work among a group of men.
My husband was against the idea of me working on this project as he believed it was him who should fend for the family.
You know our African men do not understand when a woman starts working as they are of the view that a working woman does not respect her husband.
It was only after a while that my husband realised I was doing this for my family and I could manage to perform my duties properly as a wife,” she said.
She said business is good as people are always building so quarry stones are in demand.
“I sell a wheelbarrow load for US$3 and a customer can buy up to 15 full wheelbarrows which is a lot of money.
“I do not think I need anyone to help me because I’m meeting demand at the moment,” said Ms Mbewe.
She, however, said in order to boost production, she needs a quarry crushing machine.
“Crushing the granite is really hard so the job would be faster and easier if I get such a machine,” she said.