15 things frustrating for most Zimbabweans

15 things frustrating for most Zimbabweans

A depiction of frustration

15 things that frustrate Zimbabweans is the article for you today. Please note that it is not a representative of what everyone finds frustrating. I tried my best to fish out the most common frustrations that most Zimbabweans have. Therefore in today’s article you will find the 15 things that majority of Zimbabweans find frustrating.

Read to the end and find a bonus frustration, and no i’m not going to spoil the surprise for you. If you missed last week’s article click here and keep yourself up to date. Right lets dive into the first item that frustrates Zimbabweans. If you aren’t Zimbabwean or are but residing outside, these are some of the thing we go through here. Okay lets start already!

1. Public Service offices

makombe queues
Makombe registry offices in Harare off peak

Before you are fully recognised as a citizen of Zimbabwe you need to be holding a Zimbabwean birth certificate. At this point, you are still a baby to go through the hustle so your parents do that for you. Come 16 when you want an ID, this is a torturing experience. The queues don’t move, the officers are not friendly (always shouting at people). They respect their tea and lunch break so much that they literally leave people waiting. They do come back though but an hour later.

The passport office is another gruesome public office. It sees people waking up at 5 am just to get ahead of the long queues. “Munhu anotonga pabasa pake shuwa” is the common phrase chanted by frustrated people in the queue.

2. Street kids

frustrating street kids in the city
Street kids in Zimbabwe are on the increase in the CBD of Harare. Here they take a nap after a long night of sniffing glue and begging from revellers at a night club along Samora Machel Avenue.

Street urchins have become a part of us in the streets of every town. Some are nice, they just beg from the pavements. However, some are just bitter and all over the place disturbing people. The classic are the little kids who pester couples and ask for money. The deal here is, the guy will be embarrassed in the presence of the queen and so he gives something. Its a clever strategy but it’s losing its effective power quickly. Another group of street kids are those who steal ladies wigs from their heads. I can almost swear that every woman hates those. Do you have an incident with street kids? let us know in the comment section.

3. Congestion

Frustrating congestion
Depiction of congestion during peak hour

The reality is that most people work in town or at least pass through town as they go to work. Due to this, from 7am to 8am the roads are congested. Some 2-way roads become 4-way roads as motorists cut into the yellow lane to get ahead of the congestion. The worst part comes if there is an uncontrolled intersection ahead or the traffic lights are faulty. It will be just shouting, yelling and sounding horns during this time. Those driving personal cars are the most affected as they keep in their lanes to protect their cars from accidents. Whilst they practise diligence, kombi drivers dominate and drive even on pavements or islands just to get ahead of congestion. People who use kombis this hour actually enjoy it when kombis cut traffic just to get ahead. Is it true though? let me know in the comments.

4. Touts

Touts frustrating commuters
Barbaric touts shouting and yelling on a kombi

In short, these are the guys responsible for filling the kombi before it can take off. “4-4 vabereki” is the common phrase they use to load the kombi. The reason they made it to this list is because of their chameleon barbaric and frustrating behaviour. Most of them lie about the final destination of the kombi. It always ends in a fight with the driver for not taking you to where the touts said.

Sometimes they give you a discount but on the way, the actual conductor dismisses that discount. Now you look like a fool before everyone and agggh it’s frustrating. If you happen to seat on the front row seat, the touts will put people on the engine compartment. This space is commonly known as “pakadoma”. The addition of people pakadoma makes it very uncomfortable to sit there. There is a lot of rubbing feet and thighs and up-close face to face postures. Its very unfortunate if you sit opposite someone with a lot of luggage.

5. Kombi prices

The business model of the kombi business is interesting, not sure if the kombi owners know this but…. Each time the weather changes from sunny to rainy the price of kombis doubles. I don’t know whether this change in weather causes a spike in the fuel consumption of the vehicle? I’m no expert in motor mechanics but my 2 cents tell me it’s not related at all. This frustrates a lot of commuters and often times, they cannot do anything about it. Kombi drivers connive on hiking price such that this new price is adopted by every kombi in the rank. Its either you go with them for that price or you leave late at night.

6. Black market rates

Frustrating black market prices
Forex exchange analysis chart

There is a joke that goes like, “The first thing that Zimbabweans do when they get paid is to buy money”. The conversation about why that is so is too long, let’s just stick to the rates. I honestly don’t know the basis of these rates but they are high and frustrate most Zimbabweans. The disparity between the street rates and official bank rates is just too huge to be logically justified. We just end up buying because if you don’t buy today, the rate will go up tomorrow and you’ll regret. And no we aren’t stupid. We know about the bank rate but there just isn’t forex for sale in the banks anymore. It’s a pain for every Zimbabwean paid their salary in local currency.

7. Internet bundles prices

network operators
Econet wireless Zimbabwe

With the increased growth of mobile phone technology, the need for internet-enabled devices is also skyrocketing. These devices run on battery power and internet bundles too. The prices of the internet bundles are however out of reach. Its official, internet bundle prices frustrate Zimbabweans. Giants in the industry like Econet are the ones who actually bite the most leaving Netone as a better option. At least they introduced online learning data packages for students otherwise parents would become bankrupt. The use of WhatsApp as a tool for communication remains cheaper for most Zimbos.

8. Social Pressure

Society has been the basis of the fabric of our belief systems, our perceptions and sense of success. It comes with its own share of frustrations due to expectations. The popular one: When a guy hits 25 but is still staying with his parents,“when are you going to move out?” or when you get to 30 and still single. “When are you getting married?”

Frustrating society pressure
Depiction of the pressure society puts on people in expectations

 For women, the marriage questions come soon after graduation or at 24 thereabout. It creates unnecessary pressure on one to match up to the standards of society. The society acts as the police of everyone’s life and it’s so annoying and frustrating in one bracket. Talk about forgiving, do one mistake and that becomes your label until you make another mistake.

9. Culture and religion

culture depiction
The mighty great Zimbabwe, Our Origins

Our culture is our heritage and our true image of origin. Things are evolving and so should our culture in certain aspects. Before you start questioning my respect for the culture, let’s talk about “kugarwa nhaka”. Where a surviving sibling takes over their sisters husband or brothers wife when they die. Let’s talk about “mukwasha” the son in law). Some cultures say he is not allowed to eat in the same room as the mother in law. Shall we go on to burying a woman who never married along with a rat? Some of these things are frustrating and should just evolve. Hit me up with comments on cultural deeds that you think need to evolve.

In religion its chaos, there is just a bunch of prophets despising each other all the time. It’s now hard to tell who is who and it’s frustrating when church heads behave like kids. I mean fighting for power over people who belong to God?

10. Unemployment, CVs and certified copies

In a dire situation of an economy such as ours, you don’t want to find yourself without a job. Sadly that’s the reality for most of us and finding a job is a struggle. The employment sector has jobs but it seems like they are locked in for people already employed. They can afford to jump from job to job and not the same for us outside employment. 

Frustrating level of unemployment
Frustrating levels of unemployment

The other frustrating thing comes when you eventually find a job in the paper that suits your qualifications. You realise it was just advertised out of courtesy otherwise they already have their candidate. They ask for six certified copies of your every document. Certified copy of ID, Certificate, Transcript, Diploma even proof of residence and it can be frustrating. I wonder where they put those copies after turning people down without an interview even. If you know where these documents end up for unsuccessful candidates let us know in the comments.

11. ZESA Prices

There is only one thing that is celebrated more than when Messi scores where I come from. Electricity, yes electricity, such a basic thing but when it’s gone for at least 6 hours then comes back! We celebrate “magetsi auyaaaa”.

ZESA meter
ZESA prepaid meter

These days ZESA has been doing justice. We have been having a fair distribution of electricity however, this came at a stinging cost. The staggered ZESA payment structure is so frustrating. It works like this: the first 300 units you buy in a month are the cheapest. The price increases if you top up that balance before another month’s beginning.

12. Queuing for everything

Frustrating long queues
Frustrating queue

Its either we have a short supply of things in Zimbabwe or service providers are just slow. Anyway, in Zim there are queues for just about everything and waiting in the queue is painful and frustrating. Every queue has at least one officer controlling it. The officer usually knows at least someone in the queue and helps them cut to the front of the queue. This has been normalised and people don’t complain about it unless otherwise. Some of the queues that people stand in are:

  • Bank queues for money
  • Fuel queues
  • Zupco queues (Public transport)
  • Queues for basic commodities
  • Queues for queries at MNOs (Econet, Netone, Telecel)

13. TV Programming

Family watching tv
Family watching TV

There was a time when the country used to have TV 2 or Joy TV. Joy TV had amazing shows for kids and family as well. It wasn’t all that rosy but what made it smooth was the fact there was an option. Fast forward to today. Joy TV closed, the reason, i also don’t know. There is only one local station now, ZTV. It’s owned by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. It frustrates when they start showing things that you are not interested in goosh. It’s even worse if you do not have a valid subscription to Dstv. Talk about Dstv, it’s now a luxury paying for it given the current state of affairs to the average family. The only hope is the radio or watching movies on DVDs.

14. Access to Statistics

loss of data
Depiction of statistical data

Have you done any research for anything that needs backing by figures? Something like business, dissertation, journal or a case study? If yes then you probably know that statistics in Zimbabwe are not easy to come by. I don’t know why there is no one collecting statistical data. Maybe they do but why isn’t it availed for consumption or a database for such in the respective offices? Bottom line is its just frustrating. Sometimes you find the information but it will be so outdated and therefore a misrepresentation in your analysis. Some of the stats that are hard to come by:

  • The number of registered schools in Zimbabwe.
  • The exact number of registered companies in Zimbabwe.
  • The figures of accidents in a year.

What other statistics have searched for and not found? let me know in the comments.

15. Policy inconsistencies

I don’t know much about governance and all (if that’s even the right category). But the policymakers in Zimbabwe are just undecided. They act like a kid in a toy store on its birthday, can’t just make up their minds on one thing. They announce certain restriction or amendments on something today. Thereafter, next day if not the same day, changes it back to where it was before. This makes planning ahead very difficult at a personal level. You just don’t know if it’s a good idea to: Take that mortgage, apply for that loan, start that business or quit that job. The rope is even shorter for businesses. 

Frustrating Policy Makers
Zimbabwean parliament session proceedings

Edit: Recently there was an announcement to encourage the use of mobile money platforms. This was strategic since the handling of cash made it risky during COVID-19. Not so many days ago all mobile money platforms were instructed to shut down volumetric transfers until further notice. How did this make you feel, let me know in the comments.

Well done reader

well done
Leonardo DeCaprio Ref: Wolf of Wall Street

Congratulations for reading to the end, i mentioned a bonus frustration in the beginning. Well i didn’t lie its coming. Before i drop it down, i want to thank you for going through the article. Let me know on the following social media platforms what you thought about this article. Additions, suggestions or other crazy compilations that you want me to write about just send them through.

Lets engage more on these platform, follow like and invite your friends over.

Bonus frustration: Public Toilets!

Everybody uses the bathroom before they leave home for town, at least I do. Whilst you are in town, you get some water or juice to stay hydrated. Now after a few minutes, you want to go pee. This is the genesis of the nightmare. You reach into your pockets and no you don’t have extra cash for the paid toilets. The option now is to find a free one. Before you even see the toilet you can already smell it God knows what makes that smell so bad. You are pressed and can’t handle it anymore so you just go but the experience is horrible. Sometimes you just develop a rare case of diarrhoea and you just have to go right there. where do you even start?

And there you have it, until the next one, peace.


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