In Zimbabwe, It’s Crisis as Usual

A new round of hyperinflation was taking a heavy toll on daily life, even before the coronavirus hit.

by Reecy Pontiff

“Zimbabweans are heartbreakers, trust you me,” drawls Prince Matsika as he reworks a hand-strung necklace in front of his stall at an outdoor city market. People bustle by, but few even glance at the beaded trinkets and wooden crafts crowded onto tables and baskets. With rapidly rising inflation and food shortages across the country, now only the wealthy and foreign tourists can afford his wares.

“Even if [tourists] come, they would think our prices are ridiculous,” Matsika says. He’s selling a piece of his own design for $20, a king’s ransom for the developing world. “But we are trying to earn that little money,” he explains, even though “it doesn’t really have serious value around here.”

It is January, and the coronavirus epidemic in China has just begun making headlines in the West.

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