Economic chaos in Zimbabwe – Straight through Africa

Economic chaos in Zimbabwe – Straight through Africa


Look at what I got now.
The press pass. Accreditation to work
as a journalist in Zimbabwe. With a nice photo.
I look a bit like Bugs Bunny. I never managed this before,
getting a press pass in Zimbabwe. All these years I’ve worked here,
I could never announce it. The government didn’t want
any foreigners snooping around… while all the violence was taking place. So I always arrived at the airport
like a thief in the night. Afraid of being followed
by the secret service. Making sure my phone wasn’t tapped.
That’s what it was like to work here. But apparently there’s no need
for that anymore. You get this. back in Harare Just spray.
It’s yours. You must buy it. Three dollars. I’m back in the capital
of Zimbabwe, Harare. Five years ago, the economy
had collapsed. There was cholera. The police and gangs hunted
the opposition and journalists. For the first time in thirty years,
President Mugabe’s power was tottering. And now? Mugabe is still there. See that? There’s the rooster,
at the top of that building. The symbol of the ruling party,
the ZANU-PF. That’s the headquarters of the party,
but also of Zimbabwe’s secret service. A building we gave a very wide berth
for years. When Mugabe came to power
after independence… he was hailed as the teacher of Africa. Zimbabweans are better educated
than their peers elsewhere. But twenty years later, that generation
wanted what they’d been taught: Democracy. With education,
Mugabe had taken in the Trojan horse. back in Harare He knew only one way to respond
to this criticism. With an iron fist. The police and gangs hunted
the opposition and journalists. The Herald is the mouthpiece
of the ruling party, the ZANU-PF. But in the new Zimbabwe… Government officials milk health fund. Suddenly, all kinds of scandals
are covered in this paper. This is absolutely unheard of. Suddenly, the government clique
in Zimbabwe is criticising itself. Much seems to have changed in
Zimbabwe. But is it real, or staged? How far can you go
in Mugabe’s country? When Mugabe came to power
after independence… I go through my old list of contacts. A country wrapped in a long list
of numbers, many of them inactive. But twenty years later, that generation
wanted what they’d been taught: Zimbabwe is a country of departures. The man who did answer,
had no reason at all to leave. In the Zimbabwe of chaos and crisis,
he managed to get filthy rich. We need cold water. Can you get two of them? The days of hyper-inflation may be
over, but this is the other reality. Eighty percent of the people have
no jobs and survive on the black market. The economy is hanging
above the abyss by its fingertips. If you look at Philip Chiyangwa… you wonder how someone can get
filthy rich in this economic chaos. But it seems he didn’t get rich… in spite of the economic chaos,
but thanks to it. During the crisis years he was able
to buy companies for next to nothing. He took advantage of hyper-inflation… by building houses and selling them
the next day for 1000 times as much. So, for the political elite, the economic
chaos is not an obstacle at all. No, it’s a perfect tool
for getting filthy rich. Barnabas Mdira. One of the activists.
I still have a number listed here. We’re in a suburb of Harare… where many supporters of the MDC
opposition group used to live. Many disappeared
around the 2008 elections. Some were tortured, some were killed. Six years ago, the opposition felt
Mugabe was almost beaten. The days of hyper-inflation may be
over, but this is the other reality. I’m returning to a family
of three brothers who led the struggle. Eighty percent of the people have
no jobs and survive on the black market. So, creating chaos works well
for those in power. Chaos silences the opposition,
or chases them out of the country. And chaos creates apathy
among those who stay… who are only busy surviving. Hello, how are you?
-I’m fine. This is Hopley Farm,
a place just outside Harare City. The countryside begins here,
as you can see. Many supporters of the opposition
were chased here by the government. During Operation Murambatsvina,
which means Clear Out The Dirt. And they all wound up here
a couple of years ago. So the houses are made of stone,
no longer of driftwood. Since 2007. Because of the tsunami. The tsunami? Murambatsvina,
Clear Out The Dirt? We can’t talk about it.
-Everything was torn down. In Highfield. Yes.
-They broke down our houses. They sent in bulldozers to pull
all the unplanned houses down. Every house. Every house that wasn’t planned.
-And then we had no accommodation. I don’t know. No reason. They just said: Murambatsvina.
-You are the dirt. They said: Murambatsvina.
We don’t want this dirt. That is what it means. One day they will come
and send us away. Those are just rumours.
-Nobody knows. Yes, they can come any time. I don’t know. I don’t know.
Maybe they know, but I don’t. Maybe the others know.
Do any of you know? We do not interfere with politics. Yes, that is the best place for me. No. Nothing. Nothing. We can’t talk about it.
-Everything was torn down. My dream was to be a driver. Can I? If there is an opportunity, I would
be a driver. I want to be a driver. I want to do something. Born on February 8, 2014… and died on March the 4th. Not even one month old.
Now, the next one. Born April 4, 2012,
died February 11, 2014. So these are all children. Sometimes a few months old,
and sometimes a few years. There isn’t a more eloquent monument
to the economic crisis in Zimbabwe… If there is an opportunity, I would
be a driver. I want to be a driver. They were so young, all of them. Look at how close the graves are
to Hopley Farm’s newest houses. The houses were put up recently,
at the edge of the cemetery. Which is very unusual in Africa,
living that close to a cemetery. Especially because people here
believe in ghosts and ancestors. They believe the spirits of the dead
can still influence life on earth now. Yes, mostly for our kids. Last month
one of my daughters died here. She went like this, as if she was
seeing something in the house. I don’t know what happened exactly. I don’t know. She was screaming and
crying. She was just a baby, an infant. She was crying, as if she was seeing
something inside. Born on February 8, 2014… We took her to the hospital. That was on a Thursday.
On Friday, she was dead. She died Friday. Where did you bury her?
-We couldn’t afford to. We left her at the hospital. So the hospital buried your child?
-Right away. We couldn’t afford to. I didn’t choose this myself.
Other people told me to live here. You had no choice?
-No. Poor people don’t have a choice. The people in this neighbourhood
don’t have to pay rent… but they do have to vote
for the ruling party. The party officials
watch them like a hawk. They believe the spirits of the dead
can still influence life on earth now. It’s supervised by the member
of parliament… who won the last elections here. I don’t know. She was screaming and
crying. She was just a baby, an infant. Because I want a better future. I was hoping that things would change.
I don’t know. He said he’d change all sorts of things. But maybe he just said that
to get votes. That the housing situation
would be improved. If he were to come into power. You had no choice?
-No. Poor people don’t have a choice. They were filming you. Did you give them permission? They were filming you.
Did you talk to them? Did they film here?
-Yes. Opposing is out of fashion. Young people now use satire
in the struggle for a new Zimbabwe. Through the internet and foreign
stations, they reach millions. listen, my friend
one day you will be arrested listen, my friend
one day you will be arrested one day you will be arrested
so enjoy yourself now Zimbabwe still struggles
with its homemade crisis. Politics didn’t turn out to be the way
to end the crisis. People now find another voice
to say what they think: Their own voice.

18 thoughts on “Economic chaos in Zimbabwe – Straight through Africa

  1. 🤔 hmm so in 2009 they changed their currency to the US Dollar 💵
    Baaaw Haaa 💸💸💸💸
    How’s that working for you now brother ⁉️

  2. Mugabe has been removed from being the President, and the same gangsters are still in control and nothing has changed, only that the economy has got worse , in 2018 there was no gasoline at the petrol pumps.

  3. Dear oh dear! Zimbabwe – yet another pathetic example of an African country given its independence way too early, before the indigenous population had the abilities and training to be able to run the country. The inevitable result? Dictators, war, famine, poverty and chaos. Far-sighted people, both European and African, warned about this at the time but were dismissed as colonialists or racists. But the same scenario has been repeated all over Africa; the “Dark Continent” indeed…

  4. ah Zimbabweans are timid. at the slightest smell of tear as they all scramble over their southern border into Botswana and south africa.

  5. Should feel sorry for yourself heartless hooligans who hav monopolized and capitalized the national resources because they a well connected to the corrupt hierarchy a very rich country with 90%of the population lived way below poverty lines those resources he is boasting about has contributed nothing to the people of Zimbabwe only him and a his friends are enjoying the fruits of tht poor country big head less brains! U no better than anybody u juss a rich man nthing special hope it won’t be long before I realize how poor u are good luck

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