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.
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
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.
Cars queue for fuel in Harare, Zimbabwe, in 2008, when petrol and diesel shortages were common.
Used cars for sale, Harare, Zimbabwe.
Products are grouped on a single stand whilst the majority of shelves are empty in a supermarket in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, 2008.
Products are pushed to the edges of shelves in an effort to hide low levels of stock in a supermarket in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, 2008.
A comparatively well-stocked supermarket in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, 2008.
Entrepreneurs sell toffee apples for the meagre price of $1000 each in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, 2008.
A popular shoe shop in Harare has nothing to put in its window display, 2008.
A schoolboy and his mother wait in front of a water tower in Harare.
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.
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.
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.
An overgrown park in Bulawayo, 2008. The fountain does not run due to water shortages.
Containers at the ready during fuel shortages in Zimbabwe, 2008.
An intersection at a main Bulawayo road, 2008.
A stray dog wanders outside a suburban home in Bulawayo, 2008.
People waiting in line at a cash machine outside a bank in Bulawayo, 2008.
An intersection of a main road in Bulawayo, 2008.
A comparison between supermarkets in 2008 and 2013.