|Saturday 22nd September - Mozambique - Vilanculos (Day 3)
Back in the spring of this year Mozambique suffered a category 5 cyclone. To put this in perspective, the New Orleans cyclone was a category 3. Amazingly no lives were lost, but a lot of damage was done to property. The damage in Vilanculos was, and still is, extensive. The teacher training college barely has a section of roof that is still intact and several hotels are still closed, hoping to reopen for business towards the end of the year.
Over the last few days we have met a lot of white South Africans and Zimbabweans. It is sad to hear about the destruction of Zimbabwe from people who lived there and loved the country. Here are some interesting nuggets of information that we have been told. Disclaimer: We have not checked the accuracy of these statements, these are just what weve been told.
10 years ago people would bring things like jeans and western food products from Zimbabwe to Vilanculos to sell them here. Now there is trade in the same sort of things but going the opposite direction.
It is possible to buy things in Zimbabwe, but it can take you all day to find them. If you do find what you want you have to buy it quick because often the morning prices will have doubled by the late afternoon.
10 years ago it was possible to buy a Landcruiser with 30,000km on the clock for less than 50,000 in Zimbabwean currency. Now a loaf of bread costs 150,000 . and they have taken three zeroes off the end of the Zimbabwean currency.
Exchange rate from Zimbabwean currency to the dollar used to be approximately 30:1, now it is 450,000:1 (but, bear in mind that 3 zeroes have been removed, so that really mean 450,000,000:1!!
An average big farm may have employed approximately 200 black Africans. All these families were displaced, along with the eviction of the white farmer. Its not true to say that black people benefited and white people suffered Zimbabwe as a whole has suffered.
In South Africa now any white businessperson must have a black African business partner in both existing and new businesses. Many white South Africans feel that they are now the victims of discrimination and that South Africa will inevitably go the same way that Zimbabwe has gone.