Thursday, January 19, 2012

When mere survival is a revolutionary act

Zimbabwean street vendors reflects on the battle to survive in this article from the UN's Inter Press Service. Though perhaps 90 percent of working-age Zimbabweans are unemployed, the article notes that "police and council officials move around the city in trucks arresting vendors who sell goods without a licence and confiscating their merchandise. The raids are often violent as the vendors have now organised themselves and are fighting back. On Jan. 11 the Harare city centre came to a standstill as the police and vendors fought, with vendors throwing stones at the police."

As Tafadzwa Nyamupfachitu, a 27-year-old mother of six-year-old triplets who earns a living for her family by selling fruit, cigarettes and cell phone airtime, told IPS, "We fight the police because they are the ones who started attacking us. They took our goods to eat or sell at their houses when we also looking to survive. We are angered by this because we also want to survive. We must enjoy ourselves in our country of birth freely. If we don’t survive that way there is no life for us because we cannot become criminals or turn to prostitution for a living."

It's not just the Mugabe reign-of-terror. All over the Africa--from Zimbabwe to South Africa to Liberia to Nigeria to Tunisia to Egypt--and almost all the countries in between, street vendors are being harassed and threatened. Why is daring to make a living such a revolutionary act?

1 comment:

Max Mogren said...

Michael C. Ruppert would love to get Author Robert Neuwirth on a
natonally syndicated radio program to discuss Stealth of Nations.
Please let me know how to contact him.

The show is The Lifeboat Hour (archives here: It is an
hour long program that airs every Sunday at 6pm pst.

Thank you,

Max Mogren