HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsMupedzanhamo- hive of activity

Mupedzanhamo- hive of activity

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Mupedzanhamo market in Mbare – where everything is literary up for grabs – is more than about clothing items sold at give-away prices.
A hub of colourful eccentric characters, one is bound to find an assortment of traditional and faith healers – perhaps to offer assistance that medicines and drugs cannot give.
Here one is guaranteed to find traditional and faith healers, a full range of cosmetics and drugs as well as hardware products and ‘bureau de changers’.
There is plenty of free drama, too as the competition for commuters among ‘touts’ often end up in fist fights.
While a lot of focus has for years been on the market itself, its surroundings also seem to exude a vibrant life of their own.
Close by is a chain of dilapidated and congested Nenyere Hostels.
Many a men unfazed by the dangers posed by HIV and Aids are often seen making a beeline to the nearby shebeens where apart from plenty of alcohol one can also help himself courtesy of prostitutes on the look-out for potential clients.
Prices range from $3 to $6.
Party animals seem unable to resist the lure of ‘The Place’ – popularly known as Pamahuswa where musician Progress Chipfumo often plays.
Dollarisation seems to have injected a fresh impetus of life here.
“Business has drastically gone up compared to the past few years. Memories of yesteryear are being aroused as we play old school music strictly for the mature ears everyday all night long,” says Popcorn Clava a resident DJ at one of the night spots close to Mupedzanhamo.
At kuMagaba, half a kilometre away one is always spoilt for choice as furniture, agricultural chemicals, motor spare parts are available.
“We sell everything, if we do not have it in stock we will definitely find it for you,” said a trader who identified himself as Timothy.
Contraceptive pills and anti-retroviral drugs vendors have been fetching a fortune as they are selling like hot cakes owing to their short supply and high demand.
A female vendor who has been cashing in on people’s desperation for antiretroviral drugs would not say where she got the drugs from.
There have been reports of employees in some pharmacies taking out the drugs for sale.
Zimbabwe Cross Borders’ Association president Killer Zivhu refuted claims that some members of his association were smuggling drugs from Dubai, Mozambique and South Africa into Zimbabwe.
He said he had never heard of those reports. It is illegal to sell drugs without license. Traditional healers have not been left out as they have invaded the uppermost side of Mupedzanhamo where they display their traditional herbs.
The place could be mistaken for a museum as one had to pick their way through leopard skins, ostrich egg shells, tree bucks and animal skulls.
“I have over a decade of serving people and things have been good for me. I have assisted people to get jobs, remove bad spells from homes and business, cast demons, ghosts and cure chronic diseases like sugar diabetes and cancer,” said an elderly dread-locked man identified as Sekuru Goto.
His practicing certificate from Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (Zinatha) was proudly displayed on the table.
Both vendors in Mupedzanhamo and Magaba rely on the toilets in the nearby hostels but some have resorted to desecrating the nearby Pioneer Cemetery which they have reduced into a lavatory.
There is no doubt that the combination of legal and illegal activities being carried in and around Mupedzanhamo makes the flea market one of its own kind – our own Dubai in the making.
Harare housing and community services committee chairperson councillor Charles Nyatsuro recently said they had produced a draft document on the proposed construction of Mupedzanhamo Phase II.
Nyatsuro said individuals and top government officials were allegedly sub-letting stalls at the market.
He said those politically connected were sub-letting for at least $300 per month yet they paid as little as $60 per month to council. This according to council had led to overcrowding at the original market site creating a health hazard because there were no ablution facilities.
“We are worried with the sub-letting system at the market and we want to come up with an open-market policy where no one but council can claim monopoly over the stalls. Vendors will have to pay and use the stalls for the day at the market without anyone having a claim over the stalls,” he said.
A full council meeting recently said that the director of urban planning services had done the necessary planning and designing for Mupedzanhamo Phase 2.
The new market will be situated at an open space next to the old Mupedzanhamo market.
Council faced stiff resistance last year when municipal police tried to take over the old market.

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