BULAWAYO, Saturday, September 3, 1966 — A modern Colossus is rising from the bed of the Umzingwane River — a few feet from where the Bushmen once peered from their caves.
It is the Silalabuhwa Dam, with 18,000 cubic yards of concrete and 80 tonnes of steel in Insiza Tribal Trust Land. Africans stand before it in awe while it assumes its massive size — 70ft high and 1 400ft long.
When it is completed in November, canals will be built and water will flow on to barren land, ravaged by three years of drought. The Government hopes to have 1 000 Africans farming maize winter crops and cotton through flood irrigation on two-acre plots each, when the scheme reaches its peak in several years. It is hoped to have 200 Africans each on two-acre plots next year. The number of farmers should increase by 200 a year. The £255 000 dam, 24 miles from Filabusi, will also guarantee water supplies to the cement factory at Colleen Bawn and the food factories at West Nicholson.
European farmers have applied for water rights, while the Geelong Weir, 17 miles downstream from the dam, which supplies Colleen Bawn and West Nicholson, will be assured of regular supplies. The Silalabuhwa Dam was begun in July last year. It takes its name from a Lozi word meaning grass in between the two granite flanks of the dam. A spokesman for the Ministry of Water Development said the dam will supply 13 500 000 gallons of water a day as an average for any season and have a surface are of 1100 acres.