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Letters from Zimbabwe began in February 2000, providing eye witness accounts of seventeen years of upheaval, farm invasions, political violence, social turmoil and catastrophic economic collapse which eventually led to the resignation of Robert Mugabe in November 2017.

These blogs about life in Zimbabwe, continue the story, starting from January 2018.

Hostages and hostage takers

Dear Family and Friends, For the past fortnight we’ve been melting in Zimbabwe as we wait for the rain to move down the continent and bring us some relief. Early in the mornings when the temperature is still around 16 degrees Celsius we look up at the wide blue sky and wonder if we’ll get …
Dear Family and Friends, Watching election USA from the other side of the Atlantic we begin to feel as if it is election Zimbabwe. The same emotions, frustrations and anxieties. This was the last thing we expected from a beacon of democracy and yet we hear phrases from the incumbent such as: ‘stop counting,’ ‘illegal …
Dear Family and Friends, There’s nothing nicer than sitting outside these early mornings when its cool and quiet and the weavers are building, breaking and rebuilding their nests and hanging upside down flapping and quivering, trying to entice females to come and inspect their constructions. In the Mulberry tress the red winged louries are fidgeting …
Dear Family and Friends, It’s that time of year when the first early rains of the season are starting to fall. Blue sky turning purple; crashing thunder, streaks of white lightning and then the heavens open, washing away months of suffocating dust. Almost overnight brown is flushed with green, the ground is gentle underfoot and …

Surviving Zimbabwe

Dear Family and Friends, September is a raw, beautiful month in Zimbabwe: yellow, gold, orange and brown. Many of the trees are still leafless or just starting to get their spring colours and whirlwinds swirl for miles across parched, dusty countryside and over wide, dry, sandy river beds. September is survival month when everything is …
Dear Family and Friends, Under the beautiful red Msasa trees a woman sits on the ground, her precious wares fidgeting in front of her. Balanced across a wheelbarrow is a home-made cage filled with live chickens; chicken dinner is the intention but business is slow, very slow. “How much,” I ask; “Five usa,” she replies, …
Dear Family and Friends, On the dusty highway kids sit on the roadside alongside the potholes. It’s sugar cane cutting time in the lowveld and the enormous trucks are hugely overloaded with blackened sugar cane sticks being taken from the fields to the processing plants. As you get closer to the town it’s not just …

Zimbabwe on the edge

Dear Family and Friends, “Zimbabwe on the edge.” “Crisis in Zimbabwe.” “De facto state of emergency in Zimbabwe.” These are not my words but the banner headlines on South African television news channels this week.  After a fortnight of crisis which saw over 60 people arrested including journalists, internationally acclaimed author Tsitsi Dangarembga, Advocate Fadzayi …
Dear Family and Friends, I write this letter from a bitterly cold Zimbabwe where tension is high and people are anxious. There are 300,000 civil servants in Zimbabwe. A month ago they were promised a “cushioning” allowance of US$75 a month for the next three months and pensioners would get an allowance of US$30 a …
Dear Family and Friends, On these late winter mornings you don’t have to listen hard to hear Zimbabwe’s clock ticking towards an immense crisis. Civil servants at ground level: teachers, nurses, security personnel, clerical and office workers are barely surviving, earning a basic salary now worth the equivalent of less than one US dollar a …

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