As the curtain came down on 2020 Thursday, Bulawayo residents expressed feelings ranging from pain, anger and disappointment over the year severely plagued by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The year, which had started with lots of promises like any other, quickly came to a halt for most Zimbabweans on March 30 when President Emmerson Mnangagwa placed the country under a Covid-19 induced national lockdown.
From there on, things never changed for the better as dreams for many got shattered.
Schools closed, companies downsized while some completely shut down.
A significant number of people who were formally employed lost their jobs while some, due to limited production suffered excruciating salary cuts.
Be that as it may, sectors such as health, police and military got overwhelmed all of a sudden as they attended to infected and affected people as well as ensuring the rest of the citizens adhered to lockdown regulations in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.
CITE reached out to Bulawayo residents on the New Year’s Eve, who hardly had positive things to say about the year.
Nozipho Maphosa, described the year as a difficult one which affected a lot of families financially.
“The year suddenly came to a halt for most breadwinners. Informal traders were left stranded as to how to fend for their families. Children were not aware of the hardships faced by their parents; they kept demanding food and anything else they desired,” said Maphosa.
“Some people also failed to accomplish their resolutions for the year. With no means of making money, people hardly managed to realise their dreams.”
Marylyn Sibanda, a teacher by profession, lamented the setback that hit the education sector.
She said pupils had their learning negatively impacted by the lockdown adding recovering lost time will not be a stroll in the park.
“As teachers we have a huge challenge. After all this break it will be difficult for pupils to get back to their studies. Not all can afford online lessons. The least we can do is to hope for the best for this coming year,” said Sibanda.
A 26-year-old man, Future Shoko, said his hardest blow during the just-ended year was the restrictions at leisure places.
“We never got to freely go to clubs and bars. Cops have been everywhere arresting us, killing our vibe. This life is full of stresses so when we go out it helps us forget our stresses.”
He said 2021 would also be unbearable should Covid-19 restricts remain in place.
However, James Sai, another resident, said he was not affected much by Covid-19 restrictions as he has been working from home and getting his normal salary.
“The only challenge we have is we are not used to this normalcy. There is no certainty that 2021 will be any better. Maybe this is now our new normal and we have to live with it,” he said.
“We however sympathise with those who survive on cross-border trading. The closure of borders has drastically affected them. We really hope that in this coming year (2021), these traders will be considered so that they can be able to sustain their families.”