Life in Zimbabwe, 2008: Snapshots from the archive

I was going through my old photos and found some from 2008. Life in Zimbabwe was very different during that time: fuel was in extremely short supply and people used to queue outside fuel stations for days, not knowing when the next delivery was coming. The Zimbabwean Dollar spiralled out of control, and the government kept on printing more money and removing zeros from millions of trillions of dollars. In 2007, I remember a cup of coffee costing 5 million dollars at a local cafe.

Great Zimbabwe Guide 2008 tombstones fuel queue

As cars queue for fuel during a time of shortage, tombstones are on sale at the side of the road.

Anyway, these photos triggered some memories of those crazy times, so I thought I would share them with you. They aren’t very good technically, as they were taken with my point-and-shoot camera, but they’re interesting nonetheless.

Today, the situation is much better: hyperinflation has disappeared since the US Dollar was adopted as the primary currency. Fuel is now readily available, and shops are well-stocked. If you’d like to know more about what life in Zimbabwe is like today, check out my articles about Practical information and Ethics, as well as the City guides.

Life in Zimbabwe, 2008

Great Zimbabwe Guide 2008 Harare Fuel Generator

In 2008, power shortages were rife in Zimbabwe and many businesses bought generators in order to run their refrigerators, lights, etc. Here, a fuel station uses a generator to power its kiosk refrigerators.

Great Zimbabwe Guide 2008 Fuel queue HarareCars queue for fuel in Harare, Zimbabwe, in 2008, when petrol and diesel shortages were common.

Great Zimbabwe Guide 2008 Car Road

Used cars for sale, Harare, Zimbabwe.

Great Zimbabwe Guide 2008 Supermarket Shelves

Products are grouped on a single stand whilst the majority of shelves are empty in a supermarket in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, 2008.

Great Zimbabwe Guide 2008 shop shortages

Products are pushed to the edges of shelves in an effort to hide low levels of stock in a supermarket in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, 2008.

Great Zimbabwe Guide 2008 Bulawayo Supermarket

A comparatively well-stocked supermarket in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, 2008.

Great Zimbabwe Guide 2008 Bulawayo Market

Entrepreneurs sell toffee apples for the meagre price of $1000 each in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, 2008.

Great Zimbabwe Guide 2008 Shoe Shop Harare

A popular shoe shop in Harare has nothing to put in its window display, 2008.

Great Zimbabwe Guide 2008 Harare Water Tower

A schoolboy and his mother wait in front of a water tower in Harare.

Great Zimbabwe Guide 2008 Ten Million Dollars

In 2008, Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation had led to the printing of more money. This Ten Million Dollar bank note or bearer’s cheque is one of the more rare notes because it was in circulation for just a few months before the currency was abandoned.

Great Zimbabwe Guide 2008 currency money hundred trillion dollars

In 2008, Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation had led to the printing of more money. This One Hundred Trillion Dollar note or $100,000,000,000,000 bill had more zeros printed on it than any other bank note in history.

Great Zimbabwe Guide 2008 currency money

Assorted bank notes including some Ten Thousand Dollar notes (top left) which were printed by the government during Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation. They became worthless in a matter of months.

Great Zimbabwe Guide 2008 Bulawayo Park

An overgrown park in Bulawayo, 2008. The fountain does not run due to water shortages.

Great Zimbabwe Guide 2008 fuel shortage

Containers at the ready during fuel shortages in Zimbabwe, 2008.

Great Zimbabwe Guide Bulawayo street

An intersection at a main Bulawayo road, 2008.

Great Zimbabwe Guide 2008 Dog Stray

A stray dog wanders outside a suburban home in Bulawayo, 2008.

Great Zimbabwe Guide 2008 Cash Machine

People waiting in line at a cash machine outside a bank in Bulawayo, 2008.

Great Zimbabwe Guide 2008 Bulawayo Street

An intersection of a main road in Bulawayo, 2008.

Zimbabwe grocery shops

A comparison between supermarkets in 2008 and 2013.

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