How to survive the Zimbabwe cash crisis as a foreigner

Ballet recital is, perhaps, a clear indication of what Harare seems to be. The middle class is non-existent. They are those who really have and those who absolutely have not but no in-between. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • It seems that 2008 was, in fact, a trial run and there is an anxiety by some people in charge to see whether the good people of Zimbabwe are capable of surviving even worse. 
  • While there, we managed to sell all the books that we had, which guaranteed that we had enough money to attend another friend’s daughter’s ballet recital. And the ballet recital is, perhaps, a clear indication of what Harare seems to be.
  • The middle class is non-existent. They are those who really have and those who absolutely have not but no in-between. Like Nairobi, it does not stop people with a fridge, a television and a Twitter or Facebook account stating ‘we the middle class…’

During the holiday season in 2007 and early in 2008, as Kenya was undergoing a post-election crisis, Kenya’s SADC sibling Zimbabwe was in an economic crisis. One hundred rand (then about US$10), would be exchanged for Z$17 million on the alternative market. An egg cost Z$3 million and because we had decided to spend Christmas holidays in Zimbabwe rather than South Africa, when I considered treating the Heir to some corn flakes, I had to quickly change my mind as a packet was Z$15 million. Luckily he is made of sterner stuff and he ate uji for the two weeks we were in town.

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