Sebakwe Dam, in Midlands, is one of the largest inland lakes within Zimbabwe. It was built in 1957 and was raised 1986. It supplies water to Kwekwe and Redcliff, and for irrigation.


Midlands Province.
19° 1' 33" S, 30° 15' 15" E


Sebakwe, the river (flowing from Chivi district into the Umniati River near Gweru, comes from Chiwake and kuwaka, meaning "to build", being a barrier or moat, used in fighting (as built near Enkeldoorn during the First Chimurenga). [1]

The original dam was built in 1957, and then was the second largest dam in Southern Rhodesia. After it was raised in 1986, it had a full capacity of 266 megalitres. Surface 8 kilometres long and maximum width 2.5 kilometres, for an area of 2320 hectares.
Originally completed in 1957, it was raised 7 m between 1981 to 1986. The main dam wall is a concrete gravity section, 47.2m high. Strengthened by 80 post-tensioned anchor cables. There are 3 km of earthfill embankments to contain the lake over low saddles. The central overflow spillway, 70m long, is spanned by a bridge. [2] [3]

The spillway is attractive and one can easily have lunch on its sidelines, while enjoying the spray from the water plunge. [4]

Initially built as a small dam, an enlargement project was undertaken in 1981 with the main wall including the spillway being lengthened from 225 metres to 305 metres and the maximum height of the dam was raised to 47.2 metres. This dramatically increased the size of the lake and the maximum depth of the water increased to 39.4 metres and the surface area of the water body became 2,600 hectares making it one of the largest inland dams in Zimbabwe. [5]

Other information

Raw effluent was found to have been contaminating some Kwekwe farm horticultural produce in November 2018. This has resulted in the farmers’ produce being rejected in Europe. Authorities from Kwekwe City Council have said artisanal miners have been vandalising sewer lines in their gold mining processes. Assistant Director of Works John Muzata said the local authority has been repairing the vandalised lines to no avail. “We are always repairing the vandalised sewer lines to no avail, but the gold miners always find a way of vandalising the lines (again). They prefer sewer water than pure water which is a serious problem. ” Kwekwe Mayor Angeline Kasipo said a solution needs to be expeditiously sought.
EMA Midlands provincial spokesperson Simon Musasiwa said as EMA we received complaints by farmers using Sebakwe River for irrigation who had started noticing plant diseases which had previously been unknown in the area. “Fungal diseases were noticed on horticulture crops and attributed to the use of contaminated water,” Contamination of the water body has also raised health concerns for people who rely on the dam. [6]

Further Reading



  1. [Chief Information Officer, Lore and Legend of Southern Rhodesia Place Names] (Southern Rhodesia Information Service, Salisbury, 1960) Retrieved 8 November 2021"
  2. [Katherine Sayce (Ed), Tabex, Encyclopedia Zimbabwe], Tabex, Encyclopedia Zimbabwe, (Quest Publishing, Harare, 1987), Retrieved: 25 July 2019
  3. Sebakwe Dam, Wikipedia, Retrieved: 13 May 2020
  4. Sebakwe: Kwekwe’s tourism gem, Sunday News, Published: 19 February 2017, Retrieved: 11 May 2020
  5. 5.0 5.1 Sebakwe Recreational Park, Zim Field Guide, Retrieved: 11 May 2020 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Sebakwe Recreational Park" defined multiple times with different content
  6. Kwekwe farmers count loses after Sebakwe Dam contaminated; produce rejected in Europe, New Zimbabwe, Published: 23 November 2018, Retrieved: 13 May 2020
  7. Sebakwe Recreational Park and Lodges, My Guide Zimbabwe, Published: Date Published Here, Retrieved: 11 May 2020