By Farai Dauramanzi
Several people in Harare have projected a depressed Christmas holiday for many due to the current economic hardships being experienced in the country.
Christmas time is usually time for people to take some time off from work to celebrate with friends and family. However, this has not been the case for many in Zimbabwe for more than a decade now. This has been attributed to the dwindling disposable income among citizens given the continuous job losses and lack of economic opportunities.
Some have gone to the extent of sharing this joke that has been doing rounds on social media especially on WhatsApp which implies that the 2014 Christmas has leaked (just like the Zimsec examination papers) hence it has been postponed to next year. Romeo who works as a flyer distributor in Harare said that Christmas is now meaningless for many people due to the economic challenges.
— zándā tóto (@zandatoto) December 13, 2014
“Christmas to me is now like any other normal day because I will not be able to do anything special. I will eat the same food, drink the same drinks, really I do not see any value in it anymore. If I had money I would travel to my rural area or go out somewhere for a holiday,” said Romeo.
Chipo Darikwa (36) from Highfield who works operates a second hand clothes flea-market in the CBD concurred with Romeo saying that the economic situation was making it hard for many people in Zimbabwe to enjoy the festive season.
“Many people are out of work right now and they are relying on informal jobs such as vending. So I do not foresee a happy festive season for many. In fact many have started buying uniforms and saving school fees for next term and by the time we get to Christmas many will be in debt,” narrated Darikwa.
Another Harare resident Misheck Chimwe (45) from Mbare said that many people will not be able to enjoy Christmas due to their work schedules.
“In the past Christmas was enjoyable because most companies would close down for the holiday only to reopen mid-January but, nowadays it is tough as most people are employed in the informal sector which does not close down. I believe many people will not enjoy Christmas as they will be at work on the day,” said Chimwe.
However, others such as Biggie a kombi driver who plies the City-Mabvuku route believes that this year’s Christmas will actually be better than the past years.
“People are lying to each other saying that they do not have money. I think people have just become selfish and abandoned the tradition of sharing at Christmas. Look at how many new houses have been built this year, is that what poor people do?” queried Biggie.
Sharon Mugondo (41) from Glen-View concurred with Biggie saying that nothing much has changed in how Zimbabweans celebrate their Christmas.
“Just like in the old days, some people will go to rural areas while some will spend it in towns. I think Christmas is more important to kids than elders because they will be expecting a lot of new things from their parents a thing which most parents are still striving to do even in these economic hardships,” explained Mugondo.
Mugondo added that it was unfair to deprive children of a good holiday, “We used to all enjoy Christmas because our parents used to cater for all our needs, now it is our time to provide so we have to do it. Christmas is an annual holiday and I think people should just learn to save no matter what.”
@263Chat Christmas used to be a season for all. But as economy dictates, only those with excess cash can really afford it these days.
— Fungai Machirori (@fungaijustbeing) December 13, 2014