Cigarette smuggling has emerged as one of the most lucrative enterprises between Zimbabwe and South Africa, with border authorities seizing contraband worth millions of dollars in recent years.
Two decades ago, Trynos Mahamba left Zimbabwe for the United Kingdom, but back home, he has changed the lives of his relatives.
Since the day after he left, Mahamba (53) has been sending money home while Zimbabwe’s economy faltered amidst violent land seizures from commercial white farmers during Zimbabwe’s land reform programme.
When driving at night in Zimbabwe, watch out for a pair of eyes on the road and slow down. You may hit a giraffe inside a pothole. So goes an often-told joke.
Activity in the streets of Zimbabwe’s second city is testimony to a thriving informal sector where thousands of people eke out a living selling all sorts of wares.
On January 10, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) arrested three men found with fertilizer worth about 130,000 US dollars.
In her wildest dreams, smallholder farmer Sarudzai Sithole never imagined that her pineapples could someday stock the produce section of Europe’s finest supermarkets.
Thirty-six-year-old Thandiwe Mtshali* watched helplessly as her informal cross-border trading (ICBT) enterprise came to a grinding halt when the Zimbabwean authorities closed the border with South Africa as part of global efforts to stem the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus.
Ndaba Dube, a Bulawayo resident, says he built himself a home on a small piece of land after the authorities kept him on the housing waiting list for more than two decades. The land he chose is in an old township established before Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.
International correspondent Jeffrey Moyo, who was a released from detention today after being arrested for breaching Zimbabwe’s Immigration Act by helping two foreign journalists work in the country, says press freedom is undermined when journalists cannot work undeterred.
As international correspondent Jeffrey Moyo was denied bail for allegedly breaching a section of the Zimbabwe Immigration Act by helping two foreign journalists work in the country without proper media accreditation, local organisations have called for his release and for him to be accorded a fair trial.
Before Zimbabwe imposed lockdown measures last March as part of global efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic, Grace Mashingaidze* would attend workshops in Harare arranged by a nongovernmental organisation assisting trafficked women who had safely made it back home.
It is not everyday that a young farmer registers success in his enterprise and vows this is what he will do for the rest of his life. Yet this is the story of Lihle Moyo, a 27-year-old farmer from Gwanda, about 160km south of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city.
A long-running gag says “in Zimbabwe there is freedom of speech, but no freedom after the speech”. But for journalists and activists who have been forced to endure nights in the country’s overcrowded and filthy holding cells, this is no laughing matter as prison inmates have no personal protective equipment to guard against COVID-19.
“I have long given up on active politics,” Gertrude Sidambe, a 36-year-old member of one of Zimbabwe’s opposition parties, tells IPS.
When female members of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front complained last month about political violence as male members chose brawn over brains to solicit for positions, the party’s National Secretary for Women’s Affairs Mabel Chinomona advised that they enter the punch-and-insult battlefield and “fight” like everyone else.
For Zimbabwean farmer Sinikiwe Sibanda, planting more sorghum and millet than maize has paid off.
As the coronavirus pandemic has led to decreased incomes and increased food prices across the southern African nation -- it is estimated that more than 8 million Zimbabweans will need food aid until the next harvest season in March -- Sibanda's utilisation of traditional and indigenous food resources could provide a solution to food security here.
Dotted across the Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo, the water tanks installed in private residences is evidence that years of a water crisis, that has seen some suburbs here going for months without running water, has not spared anyone. The large plastic drums, locally called Jojo tanks after the company that manufacturers them, and which have a storage range of up to 10,000 litres, have assumed a class status of sorts in Bulawayo.
Sarudzai Moyo, a former teacher, has begun a new career as a fishmonger. Once a week she makes the 450km journey from Bulawayo to Binga, on the shores of Lake Kariba, where she buys between 100 and 150 kilograms of fish for resale as the demand for cheaper dietary options increase in Zimbabwe.
“As tall as he is, if he continues to do that I will kick him out of the country,” thundered Zimbabwe’s former President Robert Mugabe in 2008, his anger aimed at the then United States ambassador James McGee after the diplomat questioned the results of Zimbabwe’s 2008 general elections.
Shurugwi communal farmer, Elizabeth Siyapi (57) can no longer be scammed by unscrupulous middlemen to sell her crops cheaply. Nowadays, before she takes her produce to market she scours her mobile phone, which has become an essential digital agriculture data bank, for the best prices on the market.
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe' second city of some 700,000 people, has experienced a shortage of vegetables this year, with major producers citing a range of challenges from poor rains to the inability to access to bank loans to finance their operations. But this shortage has created a market gap that Zimbabwe smallholders — some 1.5 million people according to government figures — have an opportunity to fill.
Similo Ntuli* looks like a ordinary, fashion-savvy woman in her twenties. As a hairdresser and beauty therapist in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city, Ntuli has her finger on the pulse of the latest styles and trends. But she also has, what she admits, are dark secrets.