Norman and Rosemary Levin

(click here for separate biography of father Solly Levin)

(click here for separate biography of Rosemary Levin)

(source: Chronicle Newspaper Report on Retirement)

Norman Levin initiator and managing director of Norman Levin Gold Mines founded in 1964 will be leaving the mining world after more than fifty years. As a young boy in the 1930’s Norman Levin watched his late father Solly Levin active in his mining career.

Starting his mining training at Bulawayo Tec. In 1942 Norman Levin would go on to further apprenticeship on the Bushstick Mine. At this time his mining career was interrupted by active service in the airforce from 1943 -1945.  Made manager of the Red Boy Mine in the Turk Mine area from 1949-1954.  

Then followed by a tribute of Morven Mine on the Bembezi River in Matabeleland until 1959 and at the same time re opening his late fathers mine the Ding Dong.

At this time Levin opened up the Elumba Mine at Inyati and also the Immigrant Mine a few miles away in the early sixties. Now Norman Levin established in 1964 ‘Norman Levin Gold Mines’ when he began operating the Horn Mine in the Gwanda region. After several successful years on Horn viability came to an end in 1970.

On now to the Beatrice district where he opened up the Joyce Mine producing a copper-gold concentrate. Unfortunately Joyce was intercepted by a dolorite sill on the twelfth level effectively cutting off the reef.  

Forced to look further a field he opened up the Roma Mine some four miles away bringing the ore over by tractor to the Joyce plant. This in turn was cut off by the same dolorite sill on the twentieth level closing the mine in 1996.

Much the same time saw Levin opened up the old Indarama at Kwe Kwe in 1973. This required the re opening of the Government Roasting Plant at Kwe Kwe to treat the arsenical concentrates which together with the antimonial concentrates and some free gold constituted the mines production.

Once again Levin was forced to bring ore over from the nearby B.D. mine where a main shaft was sunk to the twelfth level to make a further four years of viability. During this time the Broomstock Mine in the same area was established and a three-compartment shaft was sunk down to the fifth level.  At this time ill health forced Norman Levin to give up Kwe Kwe and concentrate on the Joyce-Roma district. Here a few reasonably satisfactory mining years continued until Roma’s end.

Still Levin was to make a further attempt to re open the Joyce Mine.

After an intensive drilling programme no further ore was found. During this period a last attempt to resuscitate the mines in this area the Peccary Mine was opened up. After sinking two main shafts the ore petered out on the fifth level. Two years dump retreatment on the Joyce Mine followed.

“The mining industry of Zimbabwe will not again see his equal in dogged perseverance in this very difficult profession of gold mining”.
[ Harare Chronicle write up 1999 ] His wife Rosemary Levin born 1930 was a young ballet dancer Rosemary Driman daughter of well known Johannesburg chess champion Sam Driman would leave her childhood home in Johannesburg to get married and follow
her husband Norman Levin into the Rhodesian bush in 1953.

They lived in a primitive mud brick house and begin their mining career as ‘small workers,’ a rare breed of unusual men who chance their lives and perhaps their family’s in this most precarious of professions – working a small mine, independently, with a handful of inexperienced workers their wives and dependents. High risk, under capitalised, dangerous physically yet with a sense of going it alone.  

They were cut off from almost all other pursuits fending for themselves and battling the elements. How they handled their lives in this lonely quest, the rearing of their children out in the remote countryside, the vagaries of the unknown and unpredictable all would test them but the greatest test of all would come to try them almost beyond endurance in the untimely incident of a motor car accident when Rosemary was just seven months pregnant with her third child. Barely five years had passed since their marriage when they were struck with a challenge that threatened to unhinge their entire and their family’s lives as they had to deal daily and through the years to come with the repercussions.

Rosemary was to sustain a high spinal injury – a complete lesion – [a broken neck] and now they perhaps became even more removed, in their unusual profession and cicumstances. 

After sixteen months hospitalisation in Bulawayo, Johannesburg and Britain, they returned against peoples advice to the bush and their mining career to rear their three young daughters Marsha, Sally and Sandra and to cope with the constant [about every five years] uprooting, leaving one mine, now no longer viable for another in a different part of the country. New schools for the children, new friends, new garden to develop along side the far more difficult re-establishment of a new mine camp, houses, schools for
workers children, plant structure, and opening up underground the biggest challenge of all. This was the pattern of their lives.

Still it was full and though hard won full of reward. Their ability to assist
disabled Zimbabweans with wheelchairs and support was constant. Savyon Lodge the wonderful Jewish residential home for the aged parents in Bulawayo was for many years the Levins special and enduring interest – Norman mined for fifty-five active years almost always gold. He took more than fifteen tons of the precious metal from the bowels of the earth over those years. A rewarding and full life together bringing wealth and employment to the country .

Picture below taken at the Indarama Mine in the early 1980s (the Gold Belt Area of KweKwe). Picture shows l-r mine manager, Norman Levin, mine manager, Sally (nee Levin) and husband Yossi.