From: Tariq Tobias (Zimbabwe, AC06-08)

As I pulled out my camera to take a picture of the hotel I was staying at, two police officers converged on me and informed me that it was illegal to take pictures and that I should give them my camera and follow them to the nearest station. After much argument and negotiation I escaped (with the equivalent of $1 less in my pocket). Oh yes, I kept the picture of the hotel and I was further inspired to take a few more. I share them here for all to see some of what a madman can do.

The room went dark. There was a second of silence as everyone adjusted; then the laughter and restaurant chit-chat resumed. The lights came back with a slight tremble. I was sitting in the Meikles Hotel restaurant on the 12th storey in Harare. Certainly it seemed all were quite used to the unreliable electricity. The waiter approached our table with well practiced grace and a warm smile.

Odd, I thought, to be smiling at a time like this. We politely asked him how life was, as it was our first time back in a year. He was glad to have someone to share his pain with as he explained that his 4 children had not eaten more than a loaf of bread for weeks. I was surprised he said anything at all, for in the land of empty promise and tyranny, it is also illegal. The lights flickered again. Then the building shook.

A group had just entered at the front of the restaurant; 12 of them roughly. The big man walked with a pompous stagger. The room again went silent. Slowly they took their seats laughing like crazed animals feasting on the suffering of a people. The waiters looked scared. Immediately the tension in the room multiplied. All eyes were on the party. The minister’s voice boomed as he cackled with joy; ecstatic with all the attention. The chandelier died and all was engulfed in darkness.

It took a bit longer for the generator to kick in. One couldn’t help being reminded of the revolutions of old; of how the Russian Tsar and nobles must have sat on the eve of their overthrow. The waiter approached the table laden with a largely filled tray. ‘What kind of bread would you like sir?’

A bit of background:

Recently the Zimbabwean government implemented a new policy in an attempt to help deal with growing inflation (currently the highest in the world). This was Operation Reduce Prices (ORP- Also known as: Outrageously Ridiculous Policy).

I will leave out any further judgements on this. There is already too much you need to take in.

The people are suffering.


– United World College Student Magazine –


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