Coffee With El Dorado

If you were having coffee with me, I would welcome you to this, my humble city of gold, home to my tangled words. There’s something about all that glitters, that just draws you in, its easy to forget that not all that is gold, glitters….


El Dorado means The Golden in Spanish, commonly associated with a mythical golden kingdom. The name is said to have originated from El Rey Dorado meaning “The Golden King“. This was the 16th century term for a mythical tribal chief (zipa) or king of the Muisca people, who as part of an initiation rite, was said to cover himself with gold dust then submerged in the river.

El Dorado later became associated with a fictitious country or city in South America that was said to be paved with gold and jewels. Many expeditions (read that as imperialistic overtures to plunder) were launched to find this lost and elusive city, but none succeeded. In Zimbabwe, we are no strangers to having a misunderstood city, in 1902, Carl Peters wrote a book called The Eldorado of the Ancients based on his travels and discoveries in Africa, where he claimed to have found the ruins of ancient civilizations such as the Great Zimbabwe that were connected to the biblical Ophir and the legendary El Dorado.

El Dorado Of The Ancients

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that after navigating a lot of controversy and racial bias, history now credits the ancient ruins of Great Zimbabwe as being the domain of the local folk and not foreigners mythical or otherwise. Although, I still ask myself how we fell from that majestic grace and opulence to where we are now…. What happened to all our knowledge… and wealth?

El Dorado can be loosely defined to mean: A place of fabulous wealth, or opportunity to obtain it.

El Dorado is also the title for episode 3 of Al Jazeera’s Gold Mafia documentary which aired on Thursday the 6th of April 2023. The investigative series gives a lot of food for thought on how society’s obsession with gold underwrites a global shadow economy. Episode 3 took a look at the Dubai connection of Southern Africa’s illicit Gold Trade. The sheer scale of the alleged money laundering activities boggles the mind….

Gold Mafia episode 3 El Dorado

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that finally the government seems to have started taking action on the Gold Mafia crew freezing the accounts of some of the principal players. On one hand, have to commend them for finally taking action but on the hand when you think about it, its been 3 weeks since the first part of the documentary came out…

assets of gold mafia frozen

….What are the odds that sufficient time had passed for the people to liquidate their local accounts, besides, from watching the doccie we know they deal with large cash volumes and off-shore accounts… So, freezing accounts is really a gesture at action than an actual response…

Al jazeera gold mafia documentary

If you were having coffee with me, I would ask you if the are any rich people who made it without dabbling in some dodgy practises? While none of the Gold Mafia ever appear on the rich people lists, I recall some time back I saw someone who was saying that anyone who appears on those Forbes lists should just be investigated for some fraud or other crime… Its unsurprising to find that people who make those lists also end up serving time behind bars.

30 under 30 year sentences: why so many of the Forbes' young heroes face jail
30 under 30 year sentences The Guardian

Thanks to social media, the bar for success gets pushed so high you need wings or a bit of financial fraud to sail over. Someone will guilt you for coming from a poor background, yet the silver spoon in their mouth is from connections and or proceeds of ill-begotten gains.

In January of 2022 there was socialite wedding that practically brought Harare to a stand-still with its lavish show of opulence. The couple, flew in Nigerian Afrobeats superstar Davido, who was said to be a chilhood friend of the groom…. Well, it turns out the couple are now on a list of people wanted for Drug Trafficking by Nigerian Authorities

Igho ubiribo and Daniealla SImba Allen

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Committee has promised that this year is their year and they believe they will recover cash and assets valued at over USS1 billion that were acquired through proceeds of crime. Well, well, well if they recover that kind of money we might not even need external investors to turn Zimbabwean cities into world class cities. The government says it has  secured investors to build Melfort Smart City. But of course, “The identity of the new investors, will be announced in due course to avoid jeopardising ongoing negotiations.

Zimbabwe futuristic city

Meanwhile, looks like we prematurely celebrated the completion of Unit 7 Exapansion at Hwange Power Station, because power cuts will continue, according to the minister of energy:

“There has been an improvement in power supply in the country with the coming in of Unit 7. But you will be cognisant that it’s not yet available commercially. It is still going through some tests as we speak. So we don't expect the Zimbabwe Electricity and Transmission Distribution Company (ZETDC) to revise its load shedding schedule soon.”

All that glitters…

Did you do anything special over the long Easter weekend? What’s going on in your neck of the woods?



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  1. I’m sorry about the electricity situation. In Africa, we’re used to exciting pronouncements from government officials who seem to have contradicting statements of clarification somewhere in their back pocket whenever their first pronouncements fail to bare fruit.


  2. I’m sure that it’s possible to become financially comfortable without engaging in shady practices, but the mega-rich? I wonder how anyone can make one of those Forbes lists without either being a piece of trash or being born into immense privilege that the rest of us can’t even comprehend.

    Also, about the socialite wedding, I’m intensely suspicious of anyone who calls themselves a prophetess or a prophet. Most people just aren’t that arrogant.

    I hope things improve for y’all in Zimbabwe!


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