Villagers said even law enforcement agents from the minerals parastatal had joined the gold rush. A gram of gold is sold for $30 on the black market in Chinhoyi and $40 in Harare, depending on the grade.
As foreign currency remains elusive in rural areas, people in Makonde have turned to barter, using gold as medium of exchange, says Chief Magonde. Small scale business operators from Chinhoyi have taken advantage of the poverty stricken villagers and flooded the area to collect the gold. A goat is exchanged for 2x2 litres of cooking oil and a 2kg packet of brown sugar or two grams of gold. A 100 kg bag of maize is worth four litres of cooking oil and five bars of soap.