”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.