“Unfortunately you will find that most Zimbabweans have become used to power shortages, inconsistent water supplies, the corrupt practices of service providers and policy makers and heavily potholed roads, which they see as normal.” –Precious Shumba (Harare Residents Trust).
With the much anticipated Zimbabwean 2013 elections come and gone, issues that plague the country still loom over locals. For many people nothing has changed.
Power cuts are a common practice in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe Electric Supply Authority (ZESA) manipulated power supplies during election times, and now since Mugabe’s inauguration, the power situation has worsened. Cutting power from different residential and commercial areas for 8-15 hours a day, and at times for an entire day, puts a serious strain on working and living.
Running water problems also persist for locals, leaving them without water for long periods of time. Relying on personal wells to supply water for sometimes up to 2 weeks at a time. All of these issues cause a domino effect, resulting in other problems like fires in aging infrastructure. Without water readily available to fight fires, the flames engulf more property causing increasingly extensive damage.
Desperate for resources people would stand in line for free giveaways during election time. Every political party lobbying for voters would bribe supporters with all sorts of things. Fast food, groceries, beverages, and clothing like wrap cloths and t-shirts bearing Mugabe’s face only bring temporary help to people in need. “It is unfortunate that these freebies come at a certain time only. What happens when the t-shirts wear off and the wraps are torn? What then? Wait for the next election period?” (ZAFP Blog)
These issues in Zimbabwe need to be brought to light for any change to take place. The Zimbabwe Association of Female Photographers (ZAFP) is one organization working to do so by creating a photojournalistic visual story. These local photographers are trying to make a difference and speak truth to power despite their difficult economic, structural, and security situations. These women are taking risks to tell a story that is important for the world to hear, so let’s listen.
ZAFP has a blog project called Inside Out Every Day that aims at “telling the story of Zimbabwe from the inside looking out.” Follow their blog to get a personal perspective on the situation in Zimbabwe as it evolves.