Streets turned into restaurants

AS Zimbabwe’s economic situation worsens, street corners in the capital have turned into restaurants, as hot meals and beverages get sold from pavements.

Twenty-litre buckets full of sadza and tea as well as pots of vegetables and meat have become common sites in the city centre.

In the morning, women and men with buckets and cups stand at street corners selling tea and sandwiches.
Bus termini in and around the Central Business District, including the Showground bus stop have become major market places for these hot food vendors as they cash in on travellers and touts who operate at the busy terminus.

In the afternoon, the vendors replace the buckets of tea, with buckets of sadza and relish.
While lunch from licensed restaurants, take-aways and supermarkets is considered relatively expensive and out of reach of many, the street meal vendors offer cheaper food, claiming a huge market base, which include even highly regarded office workers.

The food is either served in customers’ lunch boxes or in kaylites for take away.

Some of the “mobile restaurants” operate from car boots, packed with pots full of a variety of dishes.
Mini kitchens have also been installed on the pavements, where chicken offals are grilled in the middle of the city centre, with traders using gas tanks and grills in the busy streets of the capital.

Braai stands with burning charcoal have also become a common feature at street corners as vendors roast?green mealies right in the city centre.

These sights in Harare, are not only a sign of the extent of poverty and desperation of Zimbabweans, but have also become a symbol of high levels of unemployment, that has resulted in a high percentage of the population turning to vending.

The city council tried to remove vendors from the streets, resulting in unending running battles as vendors remain defiant.

Stalls installed for vendors to sell their goods have remained idle as the traders prefer streets with large volumes of human traffic.

Efforts by the city council to remove these vendors from the streets have been fruitless as more and more unemployed citizens take up the trade.

Harare City Council spokesperson Michael Chideme said all public food operations should be licensed.
“According to the Public Health Act, all unlicensed food outlets are illegal. Every activity that involves food should be regulated by the authorities,”Chideme told the Weekend Post.

“What we have been doing is confiscating all pots, buckets, and food items, we take them, and the vendors are made to pay a fine, whose amount depends on the quantity of the confiscated goods.”
—Bridget Mananavire

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