Life in Zimbabwe

Posted on: September 16, 2008

Although there is good news from Zimbabwe in that the power-sharing agreement has now been signed, life for its citizens is very tough. I mentioned this in my previous blog, PR in Zimbabwe. Here are examples that I saw or was told about.


– The houseman in my hotel in Harare told me that each day he travels to the city centre on an overcrowded bus or mutata (mini-bus). After work he has to queue for three hours at a bank to draw a tiny amount (the maximum allowed by the government) to pay for his next return fare. Because of the hyper inflation, he has increasingly less for food and relies on the hotel to feed him. In any case, the shops are empty of food (and almost anything else) and his family has to rely on the expensive black market. “We are suffering but I hope it will change soon,” he told me.


– The second example came from a PR colleague, George Makore, and illustrated the impact of hyper-inflation. His wife wanted to buy a school uniform skirt for their daughter. In one week, the price rose from ZD40,000 to ZD700,000 last Saturday. It was not possible to draw enough money but their daughter still needed the new skirt.


– In the satellite city of Chitungwiza south of Harare, which was originally planned for 30,000 and now has more than one million people, I saw sewage running in the streets and the smell was foul. This, according to the Sunday Mail of Harare of last weekend, was fouling water supplies. The paper reported an outbreak of cholera and deaths. With so many people from rural areas crowded into Chitungwiza, it is imperative that the infrastructure is repaired before cholera spreads further. I saw a tanker delivering clean water but there was a sad irony that many of the women carrying buckets to fill with water had to splash through sewage to get to it.


– All around Harare and Chitungwiza, there are mounds of household and other rubbish which are festering in the sun. Although these can be seen in other African countries, the sheer number and size of the rubbish dumps, some smouldering, was greater than I have seen before. It seems that any form of rubbish collection or clearance had stopped many years ago and is exacerbated by the flood to the city of dispossessed rural workers and their families.


As a friend of Zimbabwe, it is sad to relate these sad tales but it is what life is like. Let’s hope the power-sharing government really puts aside long-held enmity and acts for the people.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 17 other followers



Subscribe in NewsGator Online


Tom Watson

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

%d bloggers like this: