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Christmas in rural Zimbabwe: Fun on empty pockets

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Zimbabwe’s acute economic hardships have impacted heavily, not just on the daily lives of the general populace, but also has had a crippling effect on the customs of celebrating long cherished days like the Christmas holiday.

With companies shutting down and thousands of workers being retrenched, the only story is that of gloom, hunger and desperation on holidays that are supposed to be characterised by pomp, fanfare and family reunions.

In the 1990s, before the economic meltdown put Zimbabwe to its knees and turned the Southern African jewel into a basket case, many enthusiastically waited for Christmas-thanks to the 13th cheque that always came hefty and on time.

Despite the government through its destructive policies having taken the role of the Grinch who stole Christmas, some rural based people still manage to squeeze out some joy by dancing to growth point music, imbibing opaque beer, and watching television as a community.

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