Zimbabwe’s Comedians Ridicule Country’s Depressed Christmas

While maintaining hope, comedians are making fun of the country’s austerity measures hitting the population hard this Christmas season

Source: Zimbabwe’s Comedians Ridicule Country’s Depressed Christmas – VOA

Some Zimbabweans will spend most of their time in fuel queues this Christmas. The country has been struggling to import enough for months, Dec. 24, 2018. (C. Mavhunga for VOA)
Some Zimbabweans will spend most of their time in fuel queues this Christmas. The country has been struggling to import enough for months, Dec. 24, 2018. (C. Mavhunga for VOA)

Zimbabwe heads into Christmas with a struggling economy and shortages of basic goods — enough to dampen anyone’s holiday spirit. But in the capital, comedians are still managing to laugh it off.Sam Farai Munro, a member of the Magamba TV crew, a satirical group, said their version of “Jingle Bells” sums up the problems Zimbabwe faces: high unemployment, rising inflation, a depreciating currency and an acute shortage of basic commodities such as cash and fuel.

“We thought — ‘let’s do a Christmas special, a jingle bells re-mix, with real, real, Zimbabwean context,'” he said. “That is how we came out with it. We are going through tough times, let’s at least get to laugh about it.”

Thirty-two-year-old comedian Victor Tinashe Mpofu, known as Doc Vikela on stage, says humor helps people cope with stress . Dec. 23, 2018 (C. Mavhunga for VOA)
Thirty-two-year-old comedian Victor Tinashe Mpofu, known as Doc Vikela on stage, says humor helps people cope with stress . Dec. 23, 2018 (C. Mavhunga for VOA)

Comedian Victor Tinashe Mpofu, 32, known as Doc Vikela on stage, jokingly said he quit alcohol as its price has gone up. He said humor helps people cope with tragedies and the stress of their daily lives.

“Every time we find a tragedy we polish it up, spin in up, and present it to the people,” he said. “Right now it does help me to sit at home and cry about beer. But if I can talk about it on stage so be it. It’s diverting people from the stresses of the world. I think they will talk about this joke for a week. By the time they finish, it’s is end of Christmas and we are into the new year.”

Forty-year-old Clive Mushayi said he became a street vendor four years ago after he lost his job as an automobile mechanic.

Forty-year-old Clive Mushayi became a street vendor four years ago after losing his job as an automobile mechanic. He says he cannot afford to go to his rural home east of Harare to be with his relatives this Christmas, Dec. 23, 2018. (C. Mavhunga for VOA)
Forty-year-old Clive Mushayi became a street vendor four years ago after losing his job as an automobile mechanic. He says he cannot afford to go to his rural home east of Harare to be with his relatives this Christmas, Dec. 23, 2018. (C. Mavhunga for VOA)

He said sales for Christmas items are depressed this year, and he cannot afford to go to his rural home about 300 kilometers east of Harare to be with his relatives.

“I can’t enjoy life before January because my children have to go to school,” he said. “People will say they were enjoying Christmas [when] my child is fired from school. … Sales are very low, I won’t lie to you.”

Mthuli Ncube, Zimbabwe’s finance and economic development minister, said he is aware of the pain citizens are going through, but there are signs of progress already.

“We balanced the budget in September this year,” he said. “We will be able to do so for the rest of the year. We have an arrangement with our partners, the Paris Club, and they are supportive of Zimbabwe. All this put together will lower the budget deficit to about 5 percent by end of 2019 from the current 11 percent at the end of 2018, so this is good progress.”

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government calls the current pain “austerity for prosperity.” But comedians find the austerity measures biting for the country’s overburdened populace this Christmas.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 2
  • comment-avatar
    Doris 3 years ago

    Much as I admire the comedians for, indeed, making us laugh, and we do, in real terms there is absolutely nothing funny about the situation.  There are more and more people homeless, penniless and sick than ever before in the history of our country. Pensions do not go up but food prices do which means we are eating less. Children and old age pensioners are going hungry. This is not acceptable. How much longer can we go on.? ED, do you have plenty of food on your table? Fuel in your car? Access to any form of medical treatment? Of course you do, along with all the other so called bigwigs in Government. Let’s see you tightening your belt.

    • comment-avatar
      Zviyo 3 years ago

      The sad part of the current situation is the health aspect. There ar many people who ar currently dying for lack of medical care. Many treatable cases ar currently sending many to the graves. Government has no safety nets for the poor. Watch the number of funerals taking place per day everywhere yu will be gravely worried. Where is the government of the people. Dd we bargain for this b4 elections?