Burial societies after the multi-currency regime: a case study of work-based burial societies at Mazowe mine
Kalima, Billy Ganizani
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The study examines emergent changes on the activities of burial societies during the transitional period from the 2006-2008 Zimbabwe dollar to the present multiple currency regime. Burial societies are mutual arrangement groups that provide social safety nets in poor communities in times of illness and death. These societies utilize the concept of collective action as a poverty reduction strategy. Conceptually the study is grounded in Bourdieu’s theory of practice in order to show how socio-economic changes affect the organization of burial societies and how actors employ different survival strategies to safeguard their positions. The study makes use of both qualitative and quantitative approaches with a view to counteract the weaknesses of each approach by the strength of the other. Mixed methods that include a self-administered questionnaire on 50 burial society respondents, key informant, unstructured in-depth interviews and a review of secondary data sources are conducted. Key findings of the study are that prior Multiple-Currency regime burial societies have reorganized with varying degrees of success in the new economic environment. However, there are mild changes in terms of financial management and organizational outlook. A number of drawbacks, such as, fraudulent claims, embezzlement, pilfering, restricted funds and lack of investment plans are uncovered. Factors such as ethnicity, gender. Class and occupation determine worker participation in burial societies. There are contrasting views of the effectiveness of burial societies as revealed by the study with some respondents describing the role of societies as negligible. The transition from the 2006-2008 Zimbabwe dollar era to current multi-currency regime era had positive and negative impacts on the viability and organizational outlook of burial societies in a mining community of Mazowe. However, the research also established that these burial societies have opened up to new sensibilities by adopting a variety of strategies to safeguard their interests.Recommendations are given highlighting areas that need improvement in burial societies and a need to understand how wider society burial societies are coping in the multicurrency environment. The thesis concludes by stating that burial societies still play an integral role in mining communities and are still popular among immigrants. These societies have largely remained a preserve of men with comparatively few women.