Africa At Work: Making A Living In Zimbabwe

Africa At Work: Making A Living In Zimbabwe

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In the 2013 Zimbabwean presidential election, then-incumbent President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party promised to create 2 million new jobs. Almost two years later, Zimbabweans continue to struggle to find employment.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the country’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change, said in 2013 Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate is 85 percent.

Zanu-PF claimed in its 2013 election manifesto that unemployment stood at 60 percent.

More recently the government says unemployment is more like 11 percent with most people working in the informal sector.

Zimbabwe is a country of vendors. Everyone from professionals to unemployed youth is trying to sell something to survive, Nehandaradio.com reported, according to a News24 report.

Here are some examples of what ordinary people do for a living in Zimbabwe’s formal and informal sectors. It’s part of our AFKInsider series, Africa at Work.

Sources: News24, AfricaCheck

Photo: Kudakwashe Hunda/SundayMail

Clothing vendor

The size of Zimbabwe’s informal economy dwarfs the formal system, according to the Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Economic Policy Analysis and Research Unit. Some Zimbabwean entrepreneurs don’t have a fixed address, according to a SundayMail report, making them difficult to count.

Source: SundayMail


work zimbabwe Ipaishe Masvingise prepares to water her wheat crop using water from an irrigation scheme developed by Oxfam.
Photo: Annie Bungeroth/Oxfam.org.UK

Irrigating crops

Ipaishe Masvingise prepares to water her wheat crop using water from an irrigation scheme developed by Oxfam.

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 Selling hunting trophies

Workers prepare hunting trophies in a taxidermy store in Bulawayo.

152922739 work zimbabwe soap stone carving Zvishane


An artist works on a soapstone carving in Zvishane, an area rich in minerals in Midlands province. Zimbabwe is renowned for its soapstone carvings and figurines dating back as far as 900 A.D., according to evidence found along ancient trade routes. Minerals in the hilly Zvishane area include huge deposits of diamonds discovered recently, platinum, gold, beryl, chromite and asbestos.

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 Child care

A child cares for an infant in a village near Wedza.

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Chrome miner

A chrome miner sits beside his carbide lamp on the Great Dyke, a geologic feature that runs almost north-south through the center of Zimbabwe. This 550-kilometer (340-mile) band of ridges and hills is full of ore deposits, including gold, silver, chromium, platinum, nickel and asbestos.

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Picking cotton

Field workers pick cotton by hand on a farm near Shamva, Zimbabwe.

139820467 getty work zimbabwe Zimbabwe. Women preparing thatch.

 Preparing thatch

In developing countries, thatch is an inexpensive way to make a roof using local vegetation. Thatched roofs are a selling point in Zimbabwean tourist lodges and accommodations because they’re beautiful. In some developed countries, affluent people choose thatch when they want an eco-firendly roof and a rustic look for their home.


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Jump master at Victoria Falls

Jumping off the Victoria Falls Bridge between Zimbabwe and Zambia is a no-brainer for thrill seekers, and the last person you’ll see before plunging 111 meters (364 feet) towards the Zambezi River with a cord around your ankle is a jump master.

The jump master will write a number in bold permanent marker number on your forearm, attach body harnesses and ask questions like “do you trust me?” Then he’ll do the countdown, “5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – B-U-N-G-E-E!!!!!!”

You’ll need your passport to get on the bridge.

When it’s time to winch you back up again, someone with the job description of recovery operator will hook you up and return you to the catwalk below the bridge.

Source: VictoriaFalls.net, AfricanTravels.com