Unchanged prices the talk of the town in Zimbabwe

”The price of petrol remains unchanged” proclaimed a report on Zimbabwe’s state-owned news agency this week.

That prices remain the same for an entire week is big news in a country where inflation reached 300 per cent in August according to the IMF – a level  exceeded only by Venezuela. It is not unusual to see prices rising several times a day.

“It’s tough” has become a common greeting phrase in Zimbabwe.

Shopping isn’t for the faint of heart. A school teacher’s monthly salary is barely enough to buy five kilos of beef. Many Zimbabweans resort to cheaper alternatives to meat they previously would not have eaten.

Doctors and nurses have stopped going to work.

“We’re not striking. It’s just that we can’t afford to take the bus”, says Masimba Ndoro, a representative of the doctors’ union.

The government is asking people to be patient, and instead it highlights the soon-to-be realised benefits of investment.

But to many, promises of future benefits seem hollow.

“Those numbers are an empty promise,” says Wright Chimombe, a hairdresser whose business is badly affected by power failures of up to 19 hours a day. “I believe what I can see. At the moment I’m just seeing red.”

/Farai Mutsaka, Zimbabwe.

The postcards written by journalists in our network are published on the Blankspot Project website.

Change on everyone’s mind in Zimbabwe’s historical election

Article published in Göteborgsposten
30 July 2018
By Farai Mutsaka
Photos: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

Zimbabwe.  Zimbabwe is preparing for a historical election. For the first time, the inhabitants in the once flourishing country to vote without Robert Mugabe’s name on the ballot.
In November last year – during his 38th year in power – the ageing ex president was forced to leave his seat after strong pressure from the military, the own party Zanu-PF, and the general public.

Full article (in Swedish) here:

The queue for the bank is several days long

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet
11 April 2018
By Farai Mutsaka
Photos: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has not one, but ten different currencies – and currency chaos rules the country. The days of hyperinflation might be over, but the new president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded Mugabe this autumn, has a difficult challenge in sorting out the economy.

Outside the bank Cabs in Harare, the queue is over a kilometre. Many have brought blankets to keep warm, having spent the night. To prevent fights, security guards have given queue tickets to the first 50 people.

“The rest of you will have to see if there is cash left when you arrive” he shouts dismissively.

Full article (in Swedish) here: https://www.svd.se/har-koar-de-till-banken–i-flera-dygn

Zimbabwe’s youth has had enough

Article published in OmVärlden
11 October 2016
By Thelma Chikwanha
Photos: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

Zimbabwe. The older generation has let the younger one down. Now young people are protesting in the streets and on social media to express their frustration with Robert Mugabe’s government. Widespread corruption is one of the reasons – it was recently established that diamond revenue worth £1,5 billion has just disappeared.

For the last three months different movements of upset citizens are protesting in Zimbabwe. The protests started after the young pastor Evan Mawarire’s social media post was shared across the country. Using the hashtag #ThisFlag, he encouraged Zimbabweans to hold the government responsible for the collapsed economy.

Full article (in Swedish) here: https://www.omvarlden.se/Branschnytt/nyheter-2016/zimbabwes-unga-har-fatt-nog/

“Mugabe is the glue in the oppressive system”

Article published in Fria Tidningen
28 September 2016
By Thelma Chikwanha
Photos: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

The last few months have seen big protests in Zimbabwe, demanding president Robert Mugabe’s resignation. We have met some of the driving forces behind the protests. “We are fighting for a fair society where financial justice, legal security, and democracy are maintained” , says Promise Mkwananzi.

For the last 2,5 months, Zimbabwe has been experiencing a wave of protests demanding Robert Mugabe’s resignation. In September, this made the authorities announce a ban on protesting – despite it being a constitutional right. That in itself is not new. Zimbabwe’s constitution guarantees democracy and a number of rights, but the juridical system is not always free to exercise its powers to enforce the laws. The authoritarian rule of Robert Mugabe and his ruling party Zanu PF means that many key state nominations are partial, especially within the juridical system.

But this time the Supreme Court went against the state and declared the ban as invalid; a real landmark for the protesting masses.

Full article (in Swedish) here: http://www.friatidningen.se/artikel/124803

Resistance against Mugabe grows in Zimbabwe

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet
6 September 2016
By Thelma Chikwanha
Photos: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

Harare. The last two months Zimbabwe’s ruling party Zanu PF have seen the loudest protests of their 36 years of rule. The reason for the protests is a frustration over the difficult financial situation and president Robert Mugabe’s politics.

“We need these protests in Zimbabwe. We’ve been quiet for too long and we’ve had enough. Hopefully this people’s movement will bring positive changes, like jobs for unemployed academics”, says 24-year old Brian Dube. He has a degree in electro engineering but makes ends meet by selling mobile phones.

But at the same time Brian is worried about how he might be affected financially. At the Copacabana market, sellers have been forced to watch their piles of second hand clothes being burnt, and last week traffic came to a standstill in the central parts of Harare after the protesting masses used stones and bins to block the roads.

Full article (in Swedish) here: https://www.svd.se/motstandet-mot-mugabe-vaxer-i-zimbabwe

Sexual harassment and threats against journalists in Zimbabwe

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet
3 May 2016
By Thelma Chikwanha
Photos: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

Zimbabwe. During the colonial era of Zimbabwe, laws were established to prevent journalists from reporting on government violence. The current government uses similar tools to gag the country’s media, 36 years after independence. 

Full article (in Swedish) here: http://www.svd.se/koloniala-lagar-lagger-munkavle-pa-pressen

Tough for poor people with diabetes

Article published in Göteborgsposten
7 April 2016
By Thelma Chikwanha
Photos: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

Zimbabwe. Today, the World Health Day focuses on diabetes. In Zimbabwe HIV/Aids receives more support, but almost as many are estimated to have diabetes. For poor people it is a challenge keeping the illness in check.

“To be a diabetic doesn’t mean that life is over, but it is a diagnosis that is testing both financially and emotionally”, says Betty Mapuranga, 57. She lives in Warren Park, one of the poorest areas of Zimbabwe’s capital Harare.

In Zimbabwe, 72 percent of the population lives on less than 1,25 dollars per day. Diabetics such as Betty Mapuranga has a difficult time managing the problem of costs related to medicines and healthy foods.
“I’ve had to give a lot of things up because of this illness”, she says.


Young women are stopping child marriages

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet
7 March 2016
By Thelma Chikwanha

Zimbabwe. Child marriages are common in Zimbabwe, despite being against the constitution.  When Ruvimbo Tsopotsa was 15 years old, her father forced her to marry a man who went on to abuse her. Ruvimbo turned to the constitutional court to repeal the  marriage and was successful. Now child marriages may be stopped. 

Full article (in Swedish) here: http://www.svd.se/unga-kvinnor-stoppar-barnaktenskap-i-zimbabwe