HARARE, Zimbabweans are increasingly taking to social media to express their frustration with the country’s economic situation, with many saying that the “Zimbabwean dream is to leave Zimbabwe”. The country’s inflation rate, which had reached a high of 285% in August 2022, has been gradually decreasing, but as of March 2023, it was still at 87.6%, leading to many Zimbabweans finding creative ways to make a living.

One such person is Noel Ngwenya, who collects torn or soiled foreign currency notes that have been rejected by supermarkets and other traders. Ngwenya pays his clients 50% of the value of the note they bring, such as US$1 for a torn US$2 note or 100 rands for a torn 200 rand note. According to Ngwenya, selling on the streets is the easiest way to survive in Zimbabwe, but one needs to be creative.

Mayibongwe Khumalo is another person who has found a way to make a living in Zimbabwe’s tough economic conditions. He patches up potholes around the city in return for small change from grateful or sympathetic motorists. Khumalo believes that by fixing the roads, those who see value in what he is doing will give him something. On a good day, he has made US$9 and 100 rand and hundreds of Zimbabwe dollars.

Sukoluhle Christine Malima, who operates a restaurant in an old caravan trailer located at a public transport terminus in Bulawayo, finds it difficult to save enough money to register her business, resulting in her having to pay US$4 fines frequently. She buys a broiler chicken for US$6 and cuts it into 12 pieces, which produces 12 plates of Sadza and chicken, giving her US$12 per day. From there she deducts US$1 for mealie meal, US$1.50 for cooking oil, and another US$1.50 for tomatoes and onions, so her profit is around US$2 or US$1.50 per day, which she tries to save for her license. However, the police frequently come to check for licenses and she has to pay fines, which sets her back in her goal of saving for her trading license.

The government aims to formalize the informal sector to increase tax revenues, but they are cracking down on small businesses by sending law enforcement officers to inspect trading licenses and fine those who are non-compliant. Around 65% of the estimated 5.2 million traders in Zimbabwe’s informal economy are women.

Zimbabweans are facing tough economic conditions, with many struggling to make ends meet. However, people like Noel Ngwenya, Mayibongwe Khumalo, and Sukoluhle Christine Malima are finding creative ways to make a living in the face of adversity.

Source – AcrossZim šŸ‡æšŸ‡¼

By Power

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