Mugabe's nephew and the 'diamond' dress: 5 stories you might have missed from Zim


Harare - Diamonds are a girl's best friend, they say - but not always if you're a Mugabe or related to one.

Robert Mugabe's big-spending nephew Philip Chiyangwa nearly saw his daughter's wedding ruined when South African customs allegedly confiscated her crystal-encrusted dress.

The problem? They thought the crystals were diamonds, apparently.

Here are five stories you might have missed from Zimbabwe in the last few days.

All that dazzles 

Phil Chiyangwa – remember the guy whose bed mysteriously refused to burn? and likes to turn heads. So does his daughter apparently. Stephanie Chiyangwa had ordered a 25-kg crystal-encrusted dress by Elie Saab for her recent wedding to Milroy Sawyer in South Africa, according to Zimbabwe's Herald.

She very nearly didn't get to wear it. South African customs "said they needed to send someone who would come and inspect the dress because it weighed 25 kg so they thought it was made of real diamonds that hadn't been declared," Ms Chiyangwa told the Herald. Happily the dress was released in time. Stephanie is a pastor, if you're asking.

Cheetah has five cubs (and keeps them alive)

Here's a rare bit of good news from Zimbabwe's wildlife sector: a cheetah from Hwange National Park has apparently managed to keep her five cubs alive for 10 months. This is cheetah HNP013 who is six years old, according to Zimbabwe's Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

The news is doubly heartening, given the threatened status of cheetahs in Zimbabwe.

News24 reported back in September that Zimbabwe's cheetah population had declined by up to 85% in the last 15 years with no more than 170 of the big cats left. Somehow cheetah hunts are still being advertised for 2017 in Zimbabwe.

Sex workers turn to railway wagons in Harare

Sex workers are working from unused National Railways of Zimbabwe wagons in Workington suburb, Harare, the state Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation reports.

"Some sex workers have invaded the NRZ disused wagons which they have converted into brothels. Nearby workers told ZBC News prostitution is rife in the area," ZBC reported.

The struggling parastatal got 31 new wagons from China in October this year. But it still needs around $2bn to recapitalise, according to official media.

Zimbabwe one of "best places to travel to in 2017"

Despite bond notes and the fear (mostly unfounded these days) of social unrest, Zimbabwe has been named one of Conde Nast Traveler's 17 best places to travel to next year.

"The country is building up its tourism infrastructure despite — and, sometimes, in spite of — years of economic downturn and authoritarian governance," CN Traveler said.

This is a massive coup for Zimbabwe's cash-strapped tourism authorities and will raise hopes that foreign tourists might bring in some of the forex Zimbabwe so desperately needs. Tourists may be less delighted to be described as "low-hanging fruit", as the sector was by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries this week, according to Newsday. They'll also need to know if their Visa cards will work.


Painting a Coke bottle in the colours of Zimbabwe's national flag shouldn't be a problem - or should it? That's the question some have been asking this week after Coca Cola Zimbabwe unveiled a new ad. "You might know Coca-Cola by the iconic red, black and white bottle. But we see ourselves as red, black, white, green and yellow," reads the ad, which was flighted in the press on Wednesday.

As anyone who's followed Zimbabwe in the last nine months knows, the national flag is a touchy issue.  After Harare pastor Evan Mawarire wrapped himself in the flag and kicked off his #ThisFlag protest movement, Zimbabwe's flag is seen as nearly synonymous with opposition to Mugabe. Movement for Democratic Change legislator Trevor Saruwaka was refused entry to parliament in October for wearing a blazer that looked a bit too much like the Zimbabwe flag.

Can a bottle of coke be seen as a threat?

In always-look-over-your-shoulder Zimbabwe, anything is possible.

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