Arts, Culture and Sport
How to make money in Zimbabwe II
From selling vagina-tightening creams to impersonating a police officer and setting up a roadblock to do you know what, unemployment in Zimbabwe merely provides inspiration for the creative mind in search of money making opportunities.
In my eternal benevolence, I have shared tips on how to make money in Zimbabwe before, but it appears the employment level is still astronomical and thus necessitating a sequel. We will explore creative methods like vagina narrowing, strategic importing, along with impersonating police officers.
On a recent trip to Harare I met a lot of roadblocks. Let’s just say I gave up counting at twelve (never really had a head for maths). My favourite (being a career cynic) was one between Norton and Chegutu where the police stand in front of a farm gate with the sign: ‘Chenjera imbwa’ (translation: ‘beware of the dog(s)’). From Bulawayo to Gweru I encountered eight, one with a Military Police dude as well. This proves to me that policing is an industry worth the attention of anyone wishing to extend his financial tentacles.
You will need a good tailor for the fatigues and the rest of the costume. This can be arranged by contacting me…discretely. The reflective sleeves for traffic control might be a bit of a hassle, but since every vehicle is required by law to carry a reflective vest, along with triangles and a fire-extinguisher (so we do not have a repeat performance of drunk teenage boys burning to death on my road with steroid-filled arms dangling out the window), a (my) creative tailor could convert said vest into the needed apparel. It’s a fairly lucrative deal, the law has been known to fine people for ‘mixing baggage and passengers’ in vehicles. A creative mind can extort a ‘coke’ for anything as fickle as a dirty headlamp. Do not fear the real guys, a ‘coke’ can solve them, I would be careful though of the Vapostori. Proficient in the ‘firamberi style’ they are known to kung-foot cops black and blue, an impotent phrase considering our police force – note force, not service – is most likely entirely black and dresses in blue.
It appears a majority of black women suffer from ‘Barbie Syndrome’ (coined it!), meaning a severe abhorrence of their curly hair and conversely an adoration of flowing Caucasian locks. Since most of our women are not as comfortable as Lupita Nyoni Nee Nyon’go (a man is allowed to dream, right?) with their ‘fros, the hair market is a wide industry as long as you find black women who want long hair but not dreadlocks. While statistics for Zimbabwe are unavailable, it is reported women from South Africa, Cameroon and Nigeria spend US$1.1 billion on hair annually, and you can have a piece of that. You could either conscript some unfortunate animal’s tail and package it, resell the synthetic Chinese (no Mr Sarcasm, Chinese and synthetic do not mean the same thing) type which lasts from a week to a couple of months depending on the price-slash-quality, but a serious hair-preneur would play in the big league.
Perhaps I am old fashioned, but there is something not quite right with wearing another human’s dead cells on your head, however not all share my feelings. Human-Hair has a large market because it’s more durable (permanent was her word), natural looking (really?) and more ‘attractive’. Chris Rock followed the source of Human-Hair to some temple in India where women go to sacrifice their flowing locks to some goddess and the guys at the temple take it, clean it and sell it to American entrepreneurs. It’s a big global industry. In Zimbabwe Brazilian is a favourite (I just like Brazilian cuts aka landing-strips). Enough of it for a grown woman’s head can cost up to US$1 000. Ridiculous but lucrative; if you want in, let me know. I know a Brazilian mortician who could relieve the deceased of the dead cells they no longer have use for but starving Africans sorely need.
Christianity is another thriving global leviathan of an industry. In his annual Easter ‘Judgement Night’ crusades hosted at the National Sports Stadium, Emmanuel Makandiwa aka Mr. Miracle-Money can get about 100 000 attendees. I saw this guy’s billboards all the way from Mutare to Bulawayo; add the cost of that to renting the venue, I guarantee you it’s a tiny fraction of what he nets (fishers of man…haha!). I have been told in this guy’s church there are queues for people with various amounts, some for those with four-figure offerings, but let’s ignore that and think: what if each of the 100 000 congregants put just a dollar into the offering basket?! And folks that’s how you get to drive a US$300 000 Merc, instead of a stolen donkey.
On my way to my office (that means a bar with Wi-Fi) I met a relative who offered me an aloe-vera ‘drink’ (what kind of ‘drink’ doesn’t contain alcohol?!) for US$30. Being an African by more than aesthetic, I know which direction of the forest to walk in to get aloes. I learnt how to treat chickens with the sap as a boy and, being inquisitive, tasted it. I assure you, that stuff penicillin is derived from is as bitter as…a pill. I wouldn’t drink it even in Abu Ghraib! But everything that comes from abroad and says ‘natural’ or ‘aloe-vera’ is good for you, right? So these phoney-ceutical companies come here with bales of funny stuff and ask us to resell it to our people. You could get into that, and by the way, my mzala just got a shipment of vagina-tightening cream. And skin lightener, it rhymes with the Caucasian hair.
While it is not unusual to find a graduate selling loose cigarettes on your favourite corner, ‘education is the key to success’ goes the cliché. I know a guy with a good printer, if you need a degree to get a job. I am not going to say which university offers ‘legitimate’ fast-trek degrees for a reasonable fee, but it can be arranged. Other favours are also welcome, screwing lecturers for good grades is not unique to our country, but I’m sure we’ve all heard about that woman who’s sleeping with the chancellor of every state university and got a PhD in like a week.