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Zimbabwe female vendors play hide, seek to survive street wars

by Staff reporter
08 Jun 2024 at 12:33hrs | Views
The streets of Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, serve as both battlegrounds and lifelines for female vendors. In interviews conducted by WAN-IFRA, these vendors reveal a daily struggle, hiding their goods and children from municipal officers while striving to earn a living. With over five million Zimbabweans turning to street trade due to high unemployment, survival hangs in the balance.

Despite comprising 60% of the country's GDP, the informal economy comes with risks. Women, the majority of vendors, face extortion and harassment from corrupt officers. Harare City Council emphasizes licensing for health and order but acknowledges the widespread presence of unlicensed vendors.

Stories abound of vendors losing their goods to raids and paying bribes to reclaim them. For many, vending is the sole means to support their families, yet the cost of formalization often outweighs the gains. Women bear the brunt of these challenges, hindering their economic growth and contribution.

As the cat-and-mouse game persists, vendors like Claudine and Ashlyn navigate the constant threat of loss and instability. Despite the hardships, they persevere, driven by the need to provide for their families amidst a challenging economic landscape.

Source - the independent