COVID-19 in Zimbabwe
Photo Collage of COVID-19 Change and Challenges in Zimbabwe
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. Ten days later, on March 21, Zimbabwe recorded its first Covid-19 case and on March 30 the nation began a 21-day lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Worldwide, business literally came to a standstill with only sectors classified as essential services being allowed to operate. The majority of citizens were confined to their homes. The overnight changes brought about by the pandemic affected all spheres of life.
In Zimbabwe, life took a new turn under lockdown as people struggled to adapt to the new life of following WHO guidelines on Covid-19. Reduced business hours coupled with the public’s panic buying of basic goods resulted in overcrowding at most shops and vegetable markets, exposing the populace to the risk of contracting the deadly virus. Maintaining social distancing and staying safe became a challenge. For the sick, accessing medical attention at clinics or hospitals became almost impossible owing to lockdown rules that greatly restricted movement. Informal traders in all major cities and towns were among the hardest hit by the effects of the pandemic. Market places had to be closed as local authorities sought to decongest city centres. Zimbabwe’s economy is primarily informal. The southern African nation, with a score of 60,6 percent, has the world’s second largest informal economy after Bolivia (62,3 percent), according to the International Monetary Fund. This picture book provides an overview of the pandemic’s effects on Zimbabwe and its people through pictures. It seeks to unpack the pandemic to the reader using graphics that are easy to comprehend and have clarity.
A picture is worth a thousand words. The photo-book encapsulates the challenges born out of the pandemic, how people’s social, political, religious and economic lives were affected. It captures the “new normal” in various forms: from the serious to the not-so-serious. Captured are scenes from both urban and rural setting under lockdown. Pictures of people breaking lockdown rules and regulations for various reasons make up part of the content of the book. It is, however, the abuse of human rights by the government during lockdown that arguably ranks as the highlight of the lockdown drama. Government decided to use lockdown rules and regulations as a weapon against its people and all perceived
dissenting voices. More crucially, the pandemic is affecting socioeconomic and gender groups differently. In both rural and urban setups, women, children, poor households, persons with disabilities and people living with HIV and AIDS are the most adversely affected. It is difficult to fully unpack the total effects of a pandemic of this magnitude on communities in a single book, but it is our hope that this picture collage publication will go a long way in helping you understand better how Covid-19 touched and changed lives in Zimbabwe. This photo-book is the product of a collaborative effort by various stakeholders. Primary content was created and contributed by three of the country’s top photojournalists, Aaron Ufumeli, Annie Mpalume and KB Mpofu. The project was made possible through support from Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom(FNF).