ZIMBABWE – Reports that the street traders of Harare had found a friend in the self-appointed ‘mother of the nation’ may have been greatly exaggerated
They are all still there: the great fig trees on First Street mall; the quaint 1890s Indian shops lining Robert Mugabe road; the fountains in Africa Unity Square, with its Union Jack layout, despite 35 years of a British-hating regime.
The centre of Harare is like a tramp’s coat — grubby and frayed, but retaining the shape of past distinction. You can still get a milkshake and a toasted cheese sandwich at the tearoom in Barbours department store.
On the streets outside, hawkers have for decades been selling everything from flowers to airtime vouchers, despite periodic raids by police officers.