A gloomy Christmas is beckoning for many Zimbabweans in a country whose economy has been on its knees for years and now reeling from the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Christmas, which marks the birth of Jesus Christ will be commemorated next Friday across the globe.
Traditionally, the festive season is characterised by shopping, travelling and celebrations all which require people to spend a lot of money.
However, cash-strapped Zimbabweans are heading for a miserable holiday.
“There is no Christmas to talk about this year,” said Philani Ncube.
“We were talking about economic hardships in the past year but for this year it’s something not to talk about.”
He went on to highlight that the lockdown worsened the economic situation of many Zimbabweans, destroying their sources of livelihood hence making it even harder for them to have savings with which to celebrate Christmas.
“This Christmas I will be with my family at home,” he said.
“There is nothing much to do as we are waiting for independence in the country. There will be no spending much this year since many people were not working. There is also the issue of school fees for next year; things are not good in the country.”
A resident of Luveve suburb in Bulawayo, Thabani Ncube told CITE that Christmas this year would not be commemorated the way it has been done in the past.
“It’s not going to be easy this year for people to enjoy this festive season as what normally happens,” he said.
“With Covid-19 restrictions there will be less travelling due to fears of this pandemic, which has caused some businesses to collapse. The big issue also with our economy is that most of those who are employed are earning peanuts and cannot afford a month’s grocery and let alone spending during the festive season.”
Ncube said it was a miracle for many families to be still surviving within the prevailing economic conditions in the country.
“It had become our culture to travel to different places, spend more and enjoy with families and friends during the Christmas and New Year holidays, but as for this year it’s a headache for a lot of people,” he said.
Ncube said what was further worsening the plight of many parents is the fees for children, which is due first week of January with schools set to open early next year.
“People are not going to spend much this Christmas because they don’t have enough; prices are very high considering the income for a lot of people in this country.”
He however said he intends to spend the Christmas and New Year’s holidays with his family and friends should he manage to travel to his rural home.
For Kumbirai Nyandoro of Barbourfields in Bulawayo, this year’s Christmas comes at a time Zimbabwe is experiencing one of its worst crises in recent history.
“The deadly pandemic (Covid-19) that is killing people and the economic situation that is spiralling out of control, we have seen the health system deteriorate very much, the corruption that is there in the country and the pillaging of state resources,” he bemoaned.
“Travelling is going to be hard for many people because cash is still not there and it is little when it is available,” he said.
“I am looking forward to being with my family though I might not be able to provide them with a special Xmas as I would have loved to because 2020 has been hard. We will be indoors and as usual looking forward to having more and more rains.”
He added: “What I have realised is that every year it has become a trend that most people go out of their way to make sure that they make Christmas a special occasion.”