Historical Preview: A 100 year history of Gatooma (Kadoma) Library – Peter Sternberg
The original settlement of Gatooma, situated in the Midlands of Southern Rhodesia (97 miles from Salisbury and 190 miles from Bulawayo) owes its very existence to the rich gold reefs which were discovered by prospectors and miners in the late 19th/early 20th century and also partially to the fact that the site of the future town
lay in the direct path of the national railway line linking Bulawayo to Salisbury, which had been laid in place in 1902.
In 1906 an enterprising agent/trader by the name of Godwin built a couple of huts next to the railway line and established a bush canteen and forwarding agency, from where he supplied both prospectors and newly established mines with general provisions and mining supplies. The name “Gatooma” was derived from a range of low lying hills south of the railway line, known as the Kaduma Hills. Business proved brisk, and by 1907 several commercial buildings had sprung up in this flourishing new settlement. The local mining
industry continued to expand rapidly and farms were being established throughout the surrounding district due to the fertile soil found in the area. A post and telegraph office and a police station were provided by the government. That same year Gatooma was constituted a Village Management Board.
By 1912 it was reported that the intellectual side of life in the town was being well catered for by the Gatooma Literary & Debating society. This organization held fortnightly debates on subjects of immediate general interest to the community, in addition to other topics occurring further afield – for it was mentioned that Gatooma boasted residents of varied experience gained in many parts of the world. These meetings were always well attended and the society, although of comparatively recent growth, had already proved an unqualified success.