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Christmas fever grips Bulawayo

by Staff reporter
25 Dec 2020 at 07:08hrs | Views
HUNDREDS of people yesterday thronged supermarkets in Bulawayo to make last-minute shopping ahead of Christmas Day today.

Shop attendants said they recorded much business with many outlets restricting entry to ensure social distancing inside and to be able to better manage the crowds.

Shoppers were happy that they will this Christmas be able to afford seven colours meals following stability in prices of basic commodities in retail shops. In an effort to cushion its workers, the Government recently paid them bonuses and introduced Covid-19 US$75 allowances.

Introduced in June, the foreign currency auction system has stabilised prices, which is expected to cushion consumers during the festive season.

Chronicle yesterday visited a number of retail outlets in Bulawayo and observed that a significant number of consumers were buying a wide range of food items including vegetables like carrots, cabbages, beetroot, green peas, green, red and yellow pepper.

Long queues of shoppers were witnessed outside TM Supermarket situated between Sixth Avenue and Leopold Takawira Avenue along Jason Moyo Street.

Chronicle caught up with Ms Sithandazile Ndlovu of Pelandaba while shopping in one of the city's supermarkets.

"I have been in the queue for the past 45 minutes waiting to get into the shop because as you can see the building is congested. People are actually taking turns to get inside and, in my case, I am now rounding up my Christmas shopping," she said.

Ms Linnet Dube of Pumula South said unlike last year, she was able to purchase more grocery items for Christmas and New Year's Day celebrations.

"Last year was terrible because of overpricing by retail shops. However, this year, it is better and I managed to add a few more stuff on the grocery list because of price stability," she said.

OK Supermarket along Jason Moyo Street and Greens Supermarket situated at George Silundika Street and 8th Avenue were crowded as shoppers jostled to buy groceries.

Jeremiah Moyo (18) of Parklands suburb said: "Usually I avoid last-minute Christmas shopping, but today, I was forced to do so because my brother who is based in the United Kingdom delayed in sending money. I arrived in town at around 8am and spent almost an hour in the queue because there were so many people in the queue."

Chronicle also observed that most shops selling cooking gas had run out of the commodity due to high demand. Most households have resorted to using gas following a recent sharp increase in Zesa tariffs. A shop attendant in one of the gift shops in the city said unlike last year they recorded brisk business.

"We have been recording brisk business in the days preceding Christmas and most of the merchandise that we had stocked in the run up to Christmas was sold out unlike last year," she said.

Retail outlets, both grocery and clothing shops normally record brisk business towards and during the festive seasons, as hordes of consumers jostle to buy foodstuffs, beverages and clothes. However, last year, Christmas was bleak due to unjustified price increases of commodities, which had been the order of the day since the beginning of that year.

Traditionally the festive season is a merry period as members of the public take time from their busy schedules to meet family and friends while enjoying a little bit of carefree spending. But Covid-19 disrupted life as it is known, forcing the Government to impose a national lockdown at the end of March.

The Covid-19 pandemic induced national lockdown impacted negatively on the socio-economic lives of almost every citizen. Confederation of Retailers Zimbabwe (CRZ) president Mr Denford Mutashu said while previous festive seasons were marred by unjust price hikes, this year there was stability.

Consumer Council of Zimbabwe southern region manager Mr Comfort Muchekeza urged consumers to be cautious with their spending especially considering that this year has been hard. He reminded parents and guardians of the need for school fees payments upon schools reopening on January 4. A Bulawayo-based nutritionist, Mr Graig Nyathi said a seven colours or several colours meal ensures diversity in a meal.

"When talking of a seven colours or several colours meal we are simply talking of variety or diversity in a meal. For instance, if you find something yellow, green, orange, brown or red, you automatically visualise the kind of food. When a person thinks of white, isitshwala, rice or chicken comes to mind. The same applies with a brown colour you think of beef," he said.

"The good thing about a seven colour meal is that it has a lot of fruit and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, pumpkins, beetroot, cabbage, beans and as a result of fusing colour you get to eat something which is diverse with a variety of nutrients. The biggest problem for most of us is that we don't get enough macronutrients and notably, in Zimbabwe, half the population of official child bearing age don't have enough iron," he said.

"So, by giving food based dietary guidelines it means for a lay person they check whether all the colours are there. Just that effort of putting those colours makes it sure that a person gets variety as opposed to telling a person that he should include carbohydrates and proteins thus making it difficult to understand from a lay man's point of view."

Mr Nyathi said for a person to absorb iron they need foliage and vitamin C in the same diet hence mixing a meal into seven colours also ensures that there would be a mix of 23 vitamins and minerals coming out better than not taking all of them. Another nutritionist, Mr Innocent Mazarura said the seven colours meal is affordable although it is too Westernised.

Source - chroncile
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