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Female Fishing Group Down But Not Out

Along the Zambezi’s route to the Indian Ocean, where it feeds the man-made Lake Kariba, is Binga district, Zimbabwe, formed to house the Tonga people who were forcefully removed when their land was flooded to build the Lake. In Sebungwe Mouth, one of the villages in Binga, Brandina Mundimba is using a reed known locally as malala to weave a basket which, when complete, will be transported to the market along with the rest and sold for 1500 Zimbabwean dollars $4. This is how 40-year-old Mundimba and the other members of her fishing cooperative have been scraping together a living since their fishing rig broke down last October. Other teams resumed fishing “but we could not because our fishing rig’s engine needed attention,” she says. Mundimba and the other members of the all-women Bbindauko Banakazi Kapenta Fishing Cooperative have given so much, risked so much to get this far. They have worked hard to leave behind the “woman’s work” of weaving malala reeds under the scorching sun and instead fish for kapenta — a type of anchovy — but they now face multiple challenges. On top of the stress of a defective rig, the women are seeing fish stocks dwindle because of climate change and overfishing.