There is common wisdom that “change” is the only constant in life and nothing else. This view is borrowed from an ancient Greek philosopher and means that there is nothing in life which is stationary or will remain the same throughout one’s life.
Even the Bible has it that Saul who was sworn to persecute Christians changed to Paul in Damascus, arguably one of the greatest preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Baron Dube (44), a popular gold miner who has been involved in numerous deadly turf wars was recently baptised at the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church in Habane, Esigodini.
For years, Baron’s dark side has graced the media, as one alleged scandal after another painted a picture of him as the type of “sinner” who should be struck with lightning, brimstone and fire.
However, the soft spoken gold miner has opened a new chapter in his life and turned his heart to God. Dube, who has hogged the limelight for wrong reasons revealed that he got his Damascus moment while he was sleeping about three months ago. He said he heard a small voice whispering in his ear saying he must turn to God.
At first he ignored the voice but he heard it for the second time and it would not leave his mind even when he was awake. After careful thought, he said, he decided to turn to God. He said turning to God was not an easy decision.
“At first I thought I was making a wrong decision but I summoned courage and went to church. After attending church services for two weeks I accepted Jesus as the Lord and saviour of my life,” he says.
He says he feels he made a proper decision. “I have no regrets about the decision that I made. Many people were shocked when they saw me going to church. In the first days they thought it was just a gimmick to win people’s sympathy since they know me for wrong reasons. But they had to believe me after they saw me changing from my usual habits of drinking beer to quitting it,” he says.
He said besides hearing the voice pointing him to God, he had often seen the grace of God in his life.
“There are countless incidents I reflect on and see that this was only God. One incident which comes into my mind is when a nine-member gang which was armed with spears, machetes and iron bars besieged my shop with an intention to finish me off. They tried to spear me but I managed to dodge those weapons and phoned police. Police came but were overpowered. I had to act in self-defence and hit two who got injured. I was arrested but after a full trial I was acquitted. In that incident I suffered a scar in the head and fractured a rib on my left side,” he said.
His late father, who was a Christian, seems to have left clear footprints, as a result 11 of Baron’s siblings have followed in his path. Now Baron has joined the trek to make it 12 of his father’s children who worship God.
He is hopeful that the mighty hand of the Lord will touch the two who are still “in the wilderness”.
“For them it is a matter of time. God’s time is the best and they will turn to God ,”he says.
The married father of 11 children wants to be a perfect example and symbol of inspiration to his children.
“I want to try to live according to God’s ways so that my children will follow my footsteps and draw inspiration from my life,” he said.
Baron lifted the lid about how he was christened. “There was a sangoma popularly known as Sikanga. So, apparently it happened that when my mother was pregnant, she experienced intense pains. She consulted Sikanga and he told her that she will give birth to me and that sangoma named me Baron when I was born on 11 July 1975 in Sanali, Filabusi.
When all that was happening my father had gone to war to liberate our country from colonial white rule. Sikanga told my mother that I would be big and true to his prediction I weighed 7,9 kg when I was born,” he said. What is in a name?
It seems being born big and overweight has had a bearing in his life. In the mining industry he is known as a gold baron because wherever there is a gold rush his name leads the rest and in most cases where there is a battle for gold claims his name makes headlines.
“In most cases I target gold rushes where there would be illegal miners (omakorokoza) from different parts of the country. Before I register the claims, the illegal miners would be mining unlawfully. I win because I take the legal route to own the claim,” he said.
He said after registering the mine he works with anyone who wants to mine.
“I do not discriminate on tribal or regional background. I work with artisanal miners from Nkayi known as amaNkayi, also artisanal miners from Shurugwi, Filabusi, Kezi, Kwekwe, Esigodini, Mbembesi, Marondera and other places,” he said.
He has lived true to his name as he is widely known as a gold baron because he owns mine claims in many places, in Inyathi, Filabusi, Esigodini just to mention a few.
Baron is a very busy man if the number of business-related calls he received during our interview is anything to go by.
In fact, the interview took two days after he had to dash off to one of his businesses on the first day. Baron has made a living out of mining and is now a businessman.
“I have invested in farming and property and grocery shops. This will be my fall back after I retire from this trade,” he said.
He advised artisanal miners to invest.
“It is wise for one to invest his earnings. I‘m happy to say there are some who have invested in shops and houses. But there are some who squander their monies when they get it. To such miners I would like to advise them to invest either in farming or buy properties,” he said.
“However, the greatest advice I can give anyone is that they should turn to God,” he said
Elders applaud Baron’s humility