Welcome to Shurugwi, a charming town in Midlands Province, southern Zimbabwe. Formerly known as Selukwe, Shurugwi is a small administrative center with a population of 22,900 according to the 2022 census. This mineral-rich town was established in 1899 on the Selukwe Goldfield, which was discovered in the early 1890s after the annexation of Rhodesia by the Pioneer Column. Shurugwi lies in well-wooded, hilly, and picturesque country at an altitude of about 1,440 meters (4,700 feet) and is well-watered, with a typical annual rainfall of 89 cm (3 inches). On a clear day, it is possible to see the hills around Masvingo and Great Zimbabwe, which is over 145 km (90 miles) away.
== History ==
Selukwe was established in 1899 by the British South Africa Company and Willoughbys Consolidated Company. Its name was derived from a nearby bare oval granite hill that resembled the shape of a pigpen of the local Karanga people. The district remains an important center for gold, chrome, and platinum mining, but is perhaps best known as the home district of Ian Douglas Smith, a former Prime Minister of Rhodesia, who owned the 4,000 acre Gwenoro Farm near Gwenoro Dam.
== Industry and Agriculture ==
The town is the terminus of a branch rail line from Gweru, 32 km (21 miles) to the north. Shurugwi is one of Zimbabwe’s largest producers of chrome, and other metals are also mined there. Its healthful climate and scenic location attract tourists and retired people. Most farmers are peasant farmers who grow maize and other high grain producing crops. Animal husbandry is also practiced to some extent.
== Natural Resources ==
The town is located on a mineral-rich Archaean greenstone belt, making it one of the most mineral-rich towns in the country. Chromite, gold, and nickel are all mined around Shurugwi. The town is also located on one of the most beautiful places in Zimbabwe, Wolfshall Pass, commonly known as Boterekwa due to the winding of the road as it negotiates its way up and between mountains.
== Facilities ==
Most of the infrastructure in Shurugwi is very old. There was only one hotel in the town center – the Grand Hotel, which used to operate as a bar before it was turned into a shop for building materials and motor spare parts. Slowly the town of Shurugwi is being transformed to suit all kinds of business activities. Apart from mining, it is now growing into an agriculture sector.
== Education ==
There are a number of schools in Shurugwi, including Parkinson High, Chrome High, Shurugwi 2, Batanai High School, Charles Wraith Primary, Railway Block Primary School, Selukwe Primary, Ironsides Primary, Impali Primary (Owned by Unkie Mine, etc. Most of the better secondary schools are found in Shurugwi rural area, such as Pakame Mission, one of the oldest schools in the country, a Methodist-run mission school which is about 40 km (25 miles) by road on the South towards Zvishavane, close to Guruguru Mountain, a volcanic solid rock mountain in Shurugwi Rural Areas; Tongogara High School, a government-operated boarding school 40 km (25 miles) to the East and Hanke Adventist High School, an SDA-run school 10 km (6 miles) on the North of Tongogara. All these schools offer up to Advanced Level (A-Level) education. There are also some post-independence-era schools with basically poor standards of education with pass rates of below 5% on Ordinary Level (O-levels), which is due to a lack of quality teachers who normally do not want to teach in rural areas.
Shurugwi has a rich history and culture, with an abundance of natural resources and scenic landscapes that attract visitors from all over the world. Whether you’re interested in history, mining, agriculture, or simply want to experience the beauty of Zimbabwe, Shurugwi is definitely worth a visit. Come and discover this hidden gem for yourself!