In Zimbabwe's meltdown, Christmas is out of reach for many

2016-12-24 19:01


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Harare - Naison Makwechede rummages through piles of used clothes at a busy flea market in Zimbabwe's capital in hopes of finding Christmas clothes for his family. This secondhand search is new terrain for the father of three, who always buys new clothes for his children this time of year in line with local holiday tradition.

"The bond note is the only new thing in my possession," said Makwechede, referring to Zimbabwe's latest attempt to address a spiraling currency crisis.

Most people in this once-prosperous southern African country are struggling to afford Christmas as the economy implodes.

The US dollar, the main currency used since Zimbabwe abandoned its own in 2009, is in such short supply that some people sleep outside banks in the hope of withdrawing what they can.

In this predominantly Christian country, the holiday period is traditionally associated with wild merry-making, travel, family gatherings and new clothes. This year is different.

'It is sad'

But not for everyone. The 7 000 delegates who attended the ruling Zanu-PF party's conference last weekend took home goodies, including 5kg of rice, in a holiday bag decorated with pictures of longtime President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace.

The political meeting brought a temporary boom to the usually sleepy town of Masvingo, where hotels and lodges were fully booked and usually empty beerhalls teemed. Informal vendors, who now make up the bulk of Zimbabwe's adult population, said they had brisk business of several items, including condoms.

The party conference endorsed the 92-year-old Mugabe, who has led the country since its independence from white minority rule in 1980, as its candidate in the upcoming elections.

Mugabe told the delegates the economy was on the mend. But the government, which has failed to pay civil servants on time since June, indicated it will only be able to pay the military, police, prison services and health workers before Christmas.

"It is sad. Our members will not have their salaries, so they are foregoing Christmas this year," said Sifiso Ndlovu, the chief executive of the Zimbabwe Teachers Union

Read more on:    zanu-pf  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.