Mangaliso Ndhlovu, a Gwanda resident, had hoped to buy her five year old son, a Super Man suit as a Christmas present but she will not be able to afford.
Together with her small family of four, will for the first time in donkey years, rely on the small food reserves they have in their small pantry to see them through the Christmas festivities.
“At first I thought it was just for people who are lazy or homeless, but then I started thinking about it and we’re doing everything we can and we’re still coming up short,” she says.
As most families will be rumbling high sound volumes in celebration of this day, Mangaliso’s family will be watching movies from pirated disks and hope that the few liters of fuel they bought from the black market will be enough to switch on her generator which has since seen its best years as it sounds like an old John Deere overused tractor.
The family fell on hard times after the father of the family, Admire, succumbed to a chronic disease a few months ago after they failed to raised funds to take him to hospital and since he was a bread winner, life has been tough for the widow and this is going to be the worst Christmas, ever.
Like a child anticipating the rapturous joy of opening presents on Christmas morning, Mangaliso is holding on to her faith and anticipate a rebirth, a renewal, a restoration for her family.
“This year, our family has lost so much, and I continually pray for a miracle. As our family awaits the celebration of the birth of Jesus, we anticipate and long for a better world not just for us but for others who suffer in the “new” economic reality, poverty.
“My greatest hope, as we await the birth of Jesus, is that God restores our family financially,| his year, our family has lost so much, and I continually pray for a miracle. As our family awaits the celebration of the birth of Jesus, we anticipate and long for a better world not just for us but for others who suffer in the “new” economic reality, poverty.
“My greatest hope, as we await the birth of Jesus, is that God restores our family financially,” she says.
This is not for Mangaliso only, the country is reeling from a huge economic crisis which has seen prices of basic commodities sky rocketing beyond the reach of the poor and middle income earners in Zimbabwe.
In a little over three months, prices of basic commodities have fluctuated by more than 300% and most families will be counting their losses since the few dollars they are earning will not be enough to see them through the festivities.
Most families also have the burden of saving for the dreaded January school fees and school uniforms and they cannot afford to part with the hard earned bond notes, which are however, useless when converted to the US Dollar.
Christmas, a Christian holiday honoring the birth of Jesus, has evolved into a worldwide religious and secular celebration, incorporating many pre-Christian and pagan traditions into the festivities.
But for millions of Zimbabweans, there is no feast as they cannot afford to spend on luxuries while basic needs to be taken care of.
The government has, since assuming office in August, tried every trick in the book to resuscitate the ailing economy but early indications are that it has failed.
MDC leader, Nelson Chamisa while presenting Christmas gift to the elderly recently, said Zimbabweans are likely to face their worst Christmas ever due to the crippling economic condition which he attribute to the lack of will power from the government.
“…I know this is the worst Christmas ever. I know for many people there is no Christmas. You felt the hardships during Ian Smith’s time, the same during former President Robert Mugabe’s tenure and now you are experiencing the difficulties again in the country under President Emmerson Mnangagwa,” Chamisa said.
South African based businessman, Joseph Makamba Busha blamed the dull Christmas on the government which he said had failed to fulfill its election promises.
“I really wish i could wish everyone a merry Christmas but as i know its very difficult in these difficult times where people have close to nothing to celebrate for.
“However, the people have until 2023 to change this and to make sure that our Christmas are not the same and return to normalcy,” said Busha.