May 20th, 2011
05:49 PM GMT
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When you buy a 50 cent newspaper in Zimbabwe, you don’t receive change in coins. Instead, you get a small, round, grey token, which you redeem at the same newspaper vendor when you buy from him another day.

When your supermarket bill is rung up and the total is $5.21 the cashier offers you some sweets to make up the 79 cents change difference.

When you buy a pizza or a burger at a Harare fast-food center, your change is a thin paper voucher, which you’d better cash in quickly because within days the ink has rubbed off in your wallet. All you are left with is a grimy blank piece of paper.

When you hop off a local minibus taxi be sure get your change from the driver. Sometimes he hands it over, other times he rounds up the cost of trip, leaving passengers shortchanged. Mostly, he hands over a dollar note to two strangers exiting his taxi at the same place – telling them they have to divide the change.

Sometimes, frustrated, poor commuters come to blows on the side of the road over how to split taxi-fare change.

Taxi passengers – like shoppers and newspaper vendors – can’t receive their change because there are no coins in Zimbabwe. The smallest denomination is a $1 U.S. note.

The country adopted the U.S. dollar two years ago after the collapse of the Zim dollar. Since then, rampant, record inflation has stabilized but the realities on the streets indicate there are still very challenging economic realities for Zimbabweans.

Firstly, the price of produce and goods has become more expensive because the country now has to import most foodstuffs. A chicken at a supermarket costs around $10 U.S.

Secondly, because there are no coins, many shops and restaurants automatically round up the price of their goods and services – so ordinary Zimbabweans find themselves footing the bill for an ad hoc “change tax.”

Zimbabweans say proudly that they are a resilient people, that they survived even tougher economic times in the past decade. Indeed, that seems true because from what I have witnessed this week on the streets of Harare, they seem to have stoically adapted to an economy that is run on dollars and sweets, not dollars and cents.

soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. mukudzeyi

    there are some people who, even when the tree is full of ripe apples, will just be frantically looking for that one bad apple. If you nothing good to say about Zimbabwe, let us be. We do not need your false analysis which paints a bad picture of the people in it... and change is given out in rands.

    May 21, 2011 at 7:32 am |
  2. Colin J. FRYER

    Zimbabweans are indeed a stoic lot. They have over the last 32 years experienced the end of an uncivil war, negotaited political negotiations through an eventful and arranged election in 1980. Respectible growth in the early to mid 1980's flowed into a period of the 1990's that saw the beginning of the " fault lines " that came to be farm invasions from 2000. Yes, these good folks ( I refer to the ones who remained within Zimbabwe ) can be characterised as stoic but I would apply the word heroic rather. Indefatigale, tenacious, classic and still there abiding their time in true Africa manner. Respectful, tolerant and smaaking ( making ) a plan. Pamberi ne Zimbabwe, pamberi.....

    May 21, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  3. Nick Mhlanga

    I find this article extremely hard to comprehend, based on the fact that I'm a Canadian that just returned from Zimbabwe. I never had that problem, of shortage of change. People of Zimbabwe are very smart, they knew they didn't have US coins, so they adopted South African coin, and Botswana coins. So for the writer to claim that people fight over change, it's beyond believe. If one has nothing to write about a country, please don't...

    May 21, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  4. xavi

    Someone should be sure to recommend Robert Mugabe head of IMF. This man is pure genius.

    May 21, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  5. Zvokwe

    Robyn's article is old news. Zimbabwe actually beat the CIA who were trying desparately to ruin the economy, through devaluation tactics that they have used all over the third world. Articles like this are written to cariculture the Africans as uncivilized people. Zimbabwe economy improved after switching to the USA dollars and the South Africa Rand. Robyn also does not mention that most of Zimbabwean economy was 90% white minority run. Today, there are very few business controlled by a small white elite. The economy of Zimbabwe has been growing by 6 -9% each year.

    May 22, 2011 at 3:12 am |
  6. Jeff Hwan

    This is complete propaganda of western imperialists chicken is Zimbabwe cost $2.50 and not $10,Zimbabweans are living pretty well and such reporters make us question the credibility of CNN when it publishes such lies

    May 22, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  7. Johan S

    Jeff Hwan, OK .. then why don't you do your own report with a camera phone or something and put it on youtube or submit it as an iReport? I'm seriou.

    May 23, 2011 at 6:57 am |
  8. Pinetree

    Hey, don't be upset about the opinions of this CNN writer.

    It's the treatment he recieved in Zimbabwe, maybe chicken costs $10 for American tourists and $2.50 for locals.

    May 23, 2011 at 7:01 am |
  9. Wuhenry

    We should not intervene in others' internal affairs.
    Seem the Zim are very happy with their country and the old man.
    So be it ,enjoy yourselves growing 6 – 9 % every year.
    You live in a GREAT country.

    May 23, 2011 at 7:08 am |
  10. Stephen Taylor

    Zimbabwe used to export food – an African country actually exporting food. Now it is in a state of absolute chaos. If people are making excuses for the present regime than they should acknowledge the good things of the past. When Mugabe dies (or is overthrown by the people) the mansions he has built for himself will be exposed for all to see. Did the anti-apartied campaigers really want this (and why are they very quiet)?

    May 23, 2011 at 7:09 am |
  11. Ben

    I am extremely disappointed in this article. Has the writer even ever visited Zimbabwe?

    I have visited Zimbabwe a lot recently, and I find the people very educated and with a make-do and can-do attitude. For example, change is mosty in South African and Botswana coins, I have never seen people fight publically and Zim has a cash economy where most people own their own homes and cars.

    I did see the result of economic boycott against the country – empty shop shelves, and it just hurts the poor and innocent, nobody else.

    May 23, 2011 at 7:55 am |
  12. A New York Giant.

    @ Stephen Taylor. I don't think that people are making excuses for ther present regime, However I can understand the unfair criticism that is levelled at the country. This reporter mentions people coming to blows over change. Now I know that is not true, as I have lived and worked in Zimbabwe amongst some of the most deprived and vulnerable. I can say it has not been easy, but as a well travelled individual, I can state that the situation in Zimbabwe is by far much better than in many African nations. Zimbabwe for example has a much steadier electricity supply than Nigeria with all its oil wealth. Nigeria with all its oil, is still importing petrol and diesel, unable to refine crude oil. If it does, then it must be very little.

    What is happening and has happened in Zimbabwe is sad, and you cannot excuse the regime of Robert Mugabe. However, I can sympathise with Zimbabweans who sometimes wonder if the criticism of their nation is justified. In Western eyes and media like ours, Mugabe's real crime is not that he destroyed his nation's economy and tortures opposition politicians. He did this for many years and none of our ' Humans Rights-cherishing' governments in the West cared at all. We in the West only became offended when he took land away from white farmers. His real crime is that he dared to take land away from white farmers.

    The good news is that Jesus Christ is restoring the land and the people of Zimbabwe. Things have been tough, but like ancient Israel, God shall restore and heal Zimbabwe. Dictators shall rule no more over this beautiful nation and her beautiful people. And biased media shall have nothing to say but 'Bless the Lord!, Praise the Lord!!', when they see how God has blessed this nation. Be Strong Zimbabwe, for there are many in the West who are praying and interceding for you. Amen and Amen!!!

    May 23, 2011 at 7:56 am |
  13. Theodora Gutuza

    The quality of Ms Robyn's article is fickle, to say the least. Zimbabwe adopted a multi-currency policy, USD, South African Rand, Botswana Pula, British pounds too to a lesser extend. Change is available in South African coins. To get change in the form of a product is not only optional, but also just about any item up to the amount owed can be purchased in lieu of change, a pen, a pencil, a loaf of bread, matches, razor blades. Credits notes are readily issued for one's next shopping trip at the same outlet.
    Zimbabwe's economy is not run on dollars and sweets, but by the resilience of an empowered nation which lives on what is mostly a cash economy. What Zimbabweans have, they own, its not owned by credit card companies. A commendation of the recovery and progress made would have been more professional, positive. President Obama doesn't seem to have a problem with the USD being used in Zimbabwe without the coins...

    May 23, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  14. Alpha Matumbura

    This is a serious case of biased reporting and i don't expect to read such blatant lies on the website of a respectable organisation like CNN. Come on guys, what kind of journalism is this? We thought you could lead by example, now i can't believe every article i read on your website, we are using South African coins and our life goes on. Financial Engineering hey? Who cares? We are an intelligent lot, we always come up with survival strategies even in the most difficult of circumstances.

    May 23, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  15. mpumelelo nyoni

    the grea token you receive as change can be redeemed at any newspaper vendor and NOT the SAME vendor Ms Curnow.

    May 23, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  16. Joe Cimino

    Well I live in South Africa and have watched the boarder jumpers and towns being demolished as that tyrant holds on. I have 800,000,000,000,000 (800 Trillion) Zimbabwean dollars and want to retire. Guess how much it's worth? The Chinese are buying it up whilst Mad Bob feathers his nest. When will Mandarin be the local language?

    May 23, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  17. Ignatus J

    Re a NJ Giant. Is this a serious comment??? On reflectional – wouldn't you think it's.... well.... deslsional???

    May 23, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  18. sam

    At Angola is the same!

    May 23, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  19. Chatunga

    It seamas news is only news when there is bad stuff . Zimabwe was in the news for wrong reasons a lot, now that the people are managing and things are turning around we dont hear much of zimbabwe. This is why we have such a negative story instead of going to report on the people doing well for a change! The problem is we have a lot of people out there who sympathiose with the white minority rule and the aphatheid governments. This is Africa and the people should be allowed self rule and manage their own stuff. About chineese, everybody is doing busness with the chineese from Australia to zoimbabwe so whats wrong with that. Its good for Keven rud the formaer Oz prime minister to speak mandarin but not good for Tsvangirai why? wake up CNN, we need more facts and not fiction, zimbabwe is doing a lot better and most resources are still in the ground, we havent started yet!!!

    May 23, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  20. Neo Sin Huat

    Madness of the greatest kind for these people to adopt the US currency. Do I need to say more?

    May 23, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  21. waitamin8

    I've been to Zimbabwe on business a couple of times. Much of what the correspondent says is true, but a little bit misleading. She may well have bought a chicken for $10, but this is hardly the average price. It's a lot lower. She also forgot to mention that while Zimbabweans may have to visit a few filling stations before they get the fuel (petrol/diesel) they are looking for, they are currently paying for fuel one third of what it costs in the US. Bizarrely, the price of fuel in Zimbabwe costs less than South Africa to the south at times – although much of Zimbabwe's fuel comes from South Africa.

    May 23, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  22. André

    Zimbabwe is proudly getting rid of all notions of the Imperialist Colonial era: Buildings, roads, infrastructure, money.. why not get rid of the Imperial language – English – also.. ?

    May 23, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  23. BMK

    Its a small deal, lets leave Zimbabweans alone to shape their destiny after many years of economic struggle.

    May 23, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  24. Susan

    I live in Zim for half the year and in the "west" the other half. This article is just simply laughable. Did the author spend a week there? or did one of her friends?

    In the paragraph that uses the importation of goods as the reason for high prices, she uses chickens as an example. Why in the world would anyone by the "imported" chicken for $10, when you can buy the local NON-IMPORTED Irvine's chicken for $6? What terrible reporting and shame on you for not doing due diligence when writing this article. By the way, where did you buy your "imported" chicken and what was the brand? I'd venture a guess this part of the story is simply imaginary.

    If you are going to talk about importing goods, at least use an example of an actual imported good! In actual fact, it is often the imported good which is cheaper. For instance, the local unwashed, untreated carrots sold a few weeks ago for $3/kg, while the nicely cleaned and packaged South African carrots sold for $1.79/kg. Local manufacturers of goods are going out of business because they cannot compete with the prices of imported goods.

    CNN would be well-advised to write an article on the real economic crime being committed in Zim of raising prices on goods for no apparent reason, thus continuing inflation to an unreasonable degree. When I asked why the price of the rock salt I was purchasing had gone up 30% within the span of 1 month, I was told that it is "new stock." What kind of reason is that? If you were to report on chicken prices, then find out why the price has gone from $4 to $6 in just six months! That is a story. Who is getting the price difference? Certainly not the laborers. The bigger problem in Zim is the lack of understanding of the value of the US dollar (which continues to weaken unfortunately). It seems as though the thought process of business owners in Zim is, "Its been a few months, time to raise the price of this item." How long will this continue? When will chickens actually cost $10, like this article has reported?

    That's your story, CNN.... now go report real stories and not make-believe ones.......

    May 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  25. Gordon

    As with a number of comments that have already been made – change is often made in SA or Botswanan coins. Of course, the savvy travellers in the taxis pay in these currencies too, and keep US$ for other, larger purchases.

    May 23, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  26. Lucy

    What a load of BS. You get your change in rand. Robyn get your facts right, journalism 101

    May 23, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  27. shingy

    Has Robyn ever visited Zimbabwe.I doubt that

    May 23, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  28. calichan

    I was born and educated in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Very Interesting I am thinking of going back to live the last years of my life any advise would be appreciated.

    May 23, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
  29. iklindo

    I just wish Arica the best of luck getting their affairs in order. I would love to see them as a major player on the world stage one of these days. Africa is a wonderful Continent with culture, history, resources and amazing beauty.

    That is if they want to come play in our dirty playground. Maybe the Africans know something about life we don't

    May 23, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  30. Stephanie

    Zim is slowly getting back on its feet! I was there in December & had an AWSOME time.. Many of my friends are now back in Zimbabwe & working as young professionals. Although It is a bit tough for the average Zimbabwean who does not have any outside help from family members in the diaspora who can contribute to their lively hood but it is MUCH better than it was a couple of years ago. I can't wait to go back again!

    May 24, 2011 at 7:56 am |
  31. Miss Debby...

    i really dnt thnk there z need to be overly rational abt zimbabwe as has been reflected by ths reporter, becoz in all truth, evry Zim national holds a certain amnt of dignity for being a national in ths country. as has been said by many, we in zim dnt live on credit, bt cash, wc means tht zim pple actly r richer than most pple in e west, most pple own their own properties....hths z dfntly nt a well resrch report, n thre z need for revision of e 90% lise tht r in it....nw i do undrstnd y CNN ws banned from covering elections in Zim, n ths z dfntly e reason.....thr z no need to try n alwys search for e bad in any country jst becoz of wat t has gone thru in e past....Zims knw n applaud all e dvlps tht hapen in any counrty n neva say nthg yall wana be negative 2wrds us....ths z wrong n mks me ?n e "profesionalism" in these types of reports....please, as 9ja pple wld say "I BEG OF U ABBI...2 SAY DE THING THAT U KNW OF...NT JST SAY ANY WAHALA U TINK Z CORECT 2 U...I BEG, I BEG, I BEG....."

    May 24, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  32. Oladipo Akinyemi Omole

    Hi Robyn,
    Most African nations don't have a monetary system per se.In Nigeria too there are no coins i.e you would not be able to buy any item valued at less than N10 for instance.No merchandise sells for N1,N5,or N7.Some say Nigerian coins are ugly and annoying and heavy to carry which is hardly tenable in a country with a bona fide monetary system.You can't be given change for any item that's less than N1 or N5.Coins exist,but only in bank vaults,because in the 70s we had a quarter of the Naira(25k),10k and 5k.It's simply weird . Add to this the unacceptability of the Naira world-wide.Ditto for other African "money".Sure they can't be money,if they're not generally acceptable.At least that's what economists say.
    It's me your friend,

    May 24, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
  33. Desmond

    CNN is biased! You know nothing about Zimbabwe, $1 is not the smallest dinomination, we have R0.50, R1, R2 and R5 South African Rand, your assertion is incorrect. Even if that was the case, how was that of any concern to you Imperialists. Zimbabwe will never be a Western Colony again!!!

    May 25, 2011 at 8:17 am |
  34. Trevor Kamuzonde

    Honestly Robyn & her CNN stationed in our region are & have been on a mission that has very much failed.Zimbabwe has defied all odds & came out tops!CNN has unleashed Robyn as its asassin on Zimbabwe after the failure of this shallow Mabuse.Only this year i have travelled to Zimbabwe twice & all is well in this unbelievable land of oportunities,all thanx to RGM!The masses are up & down making ends meet & everyone is on their toes to put a meal or two on their tables.Like it or not the rural are coming out tops too with barter trading instead of cash in exchange for basic commodities!Robyn will try & impress on a failing nation which i find insulting considering that Zimbabwe is in an untold revival without the paymasters which Robyn is very much up to impress!Jump into the lake Robyn!!!

    May 25, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  35. Susan

    Follow up to my previous post:

    I discovered via Robyn's twitter account that she wrote this article after being in Zimbabwe for only four days.

    This is irresponsible and narrow minded journalism. Once again I say shame on CNN for publishing an inaccurate article with no fact checking what-so-ever. Is this your approach to all journalism? or are you just partial to countries that you hope have limited internet access so you can't be "found out"?

    Are you planning on responding, Robyn? Are you prepared to recant some of your statements or do you stand by your article? Remaining silent on the matter just proves the unanimous comments above as accurate.

    May 26, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  36. mingijacques


    May 26, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  37. dhindindi

    this article is of a false nature, i completely do not agree to all these malicious allegations. chicken is 3 bucks not 10 bucks.. this reporter is crazy. The problem with Americans is that they always think that they are superior in every sense, even reporting falsehood.

    May 26, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  38. Gracious

    How is this report false shamwari? I get my change in sweets from the supermarket, don't you?

    Bad apples, good apples – thats what news is, it's reporting on apples.

    May 27, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
  39. Moron_alert

    Before you illiterate morons go harping on about americans and colonial western regimes, Robyn Curnow is south African, she worked for Sabc, the south African broadcasting corporation for years,even after 1994 she may work for CNN,but she is based in southern Africa, So a southern African is writing about a southern African country. Truth hurts hey.

    May 28, 2011 at 9:02 am |
  40. Susan


    If you had read the comments you'd find that several of us are aware Robyn is from South Africa, but thanks for pointing it out. However, being from South Africa doesn't suddenly make this article factual. If anything, it makes it more baffling that there are so many flaws in her reporting. The article was written after a four day stint in Harare, which is simply not long enough to become a authority on the monitary system in Zim. Being from South Africa, shouldn't she know that Rand coins are the smallest denomination in Zim, not $1US as reported in the blurb? This but one of many flaws in the article. How many "flaws" should be tollerated before an article is regarded as propaganda and a lie?

    The truth does hurt, doesn't it?

    May 28, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  41. Zimbabwean

    It has long been known to those of us discerning enough to see beyond the lies. CNN is an American mouthpiece bent on, like their government putting pressure on the Mugabe regime. This strategy unfortunately only perpetuates the suffering of ordinary Zimbabweans. The double standards of the Western world: who claim to be the custodians of human rights yet they inflict endless suffering for millions around the world in pursuit of ambitious foreign and economic policy! As far as ordinary Zimbabweans are concerned, nothing people like this lady say really matters because it does not put food on their table. Her views are not only elitist but shameless as well because of the lack of research put into writing her little puff piece.

    May 29, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  42. Kenny from Zim

    Calm down folks, let's examine what we know thus far. The "journalist" is a South African working for an American news network. She may have a number of basic facts wrong but let's try and look beyond that for a moment and try to work out what we can all learn about how erroneous pieces like this get published by an otherwise reputable news network.

    Firstly the journalist is not inexperienced, she knows her editors will happily sign off on a story which paints Mugabe's Zimbabwe in a poor or at least comical light. "Bad bad Zimbabwe regime" they will say as they sip their premium roast coffees in Johannesburg, Atlanta or wherever. "Bad bad Mr. Mugabe, we gotta publish this right away". And so the story gets published. The journalist gets paid. The CNN website gets many clicks from all over the world, from California to China, from South Africa to South Korea and everywhere in between. People will read about this "bad bad African dictatorship" and they will be grateful for and its extensive news coverage. The online advertising revenue at increases as a result. Everybody gets paid and many readers all over the world move on to another web page feeling content that they have been informed about an African issue.

    However, and here's the problem for the journalist on this occasion: Zim folk are by no means perfect, no human beings are, and the Zimbabwe economy did indeed almost collapse in the mid to late 2000s largely through mismanagement (if you're an MDC sympathiser or voter) or foreign meddling and sanctions (if you are a ZANU PF sympathiser), or a combination thereof. Indeed the country's politicians have often behaved deplorably, to say the very least.

    On the other hand Zimbabweans are often observed as one of the most hard working, most educated and tech savvy populations in Africa. When it became clear that the journalist had her facts wrong, they were unlikely to just let it slide. At least not without spirited comment and maybe a touch of well deserved ridicule.

    Zimbabweans know the journalist is a South African who hails from, let us say, a particular demographic which does not generally sympathise with Mugabe. Many in this demographic paradoxically call anything north of their borders "Africa" (which loosely translates as "the rest of Africa excluding us"). Many, although by all means not all, are somewhat anti-African in general. And while there may be many many good and positive things about South Africans and the South Africa which has surely shaped the journalist's viewpoint, we must also recall that SA is a country with deep seated xenophobia in a fair number of its citizens, a country with one of the lowest education rates in Africa, and to top that off insanely high, government acknowledged, crime rates.

    Ergo, a South African journalist may believe that an article which paints Zimbabwe in a poor light and which is supported by an element of established public opinion, may well be generally accepted as an accurate portrayal of the country, whether it's misleading, unlikely, irrational or not. Many South African readers may laugh or shake their heads, and for a moment they may feel that things are not so bad in SA, a country which has been called the violent crime capital of the world. And for a moment all is well in the journalist's world. Until an angry mob of Zimbabweans decides to descend upon the comments section of her blog and point out the obvious falsehoods.

    To put it differently, this type of perhaps afro pessimistic article appeals to a certain target market, be it Western or South African. A target market which is as mistrustful and unsympathetic towards "Mugabe's Zimbabwe" as it is ignorant of daily life anywhere in Zimbabwe and Africa. Now of course, once CNN sees this uproar on the comments section and the editors verify that Ms. Robyn Curnow did indeed get her facts wrong, they could simply dismiss this as a poorly fact checked piece by a well intentioned journalist. And who knows for sure, there may be some truth to that.

    But as Zimbabweans I say we should correct these types of misrepresentations when we see them, we should comment where counter comment is deserved, and then let us move on and continue to rebuild our country into the relatively peaceful, low crime, productive society it once was and one day will be again. Let us carry on building and working and educating ourselves my fellow Zimbabweans. Yes we can.

    May 29, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  43. Love Chicken

    Hey so what if we receive change in sweets or a credit note! It's not a train smash or an indication of how the country is performing. Stay in New York or wherever it is you live and don't compare your shitty life under a much more oppressive system to ours.
    Go and find something to write about in the Hampdens.

    May 30, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  44. farai

    @Jeff Hwan chicken in Zimbabwe cost somewhere between U.S$5 and U.S$7 not $2.50 or $10 as reported. For $2.50 you get two day old chicks plus sweets for change.

    May 30, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  45. farai

    Most of what was reported was true until the point when commuters come to blows on
    the side of the road and when the chicken was $10. Was this a cooked chicken? She also forgot to mension tha use of rands. And those saying checken cost $2.50 and $3, where are you getting them tinotengawo ikoko kwakachipa, because here in Hararte they are somewhere between $5 and $7.

    May 30, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  46. Tech-nique

    i am suprised by this article honestly... "..commuters come to blows on the side of the road over how to split taxi-fare change" ... chicken going for $10...??? i am in awe and still wondering if this is a serious article.. it saddens me to see reporters go out of their way to lie like this.. worse still to exagerrate Zimbabwes problems in this manner.. even worse on CNN's website, i would expect this from Kwayedza where you get stories of the man who grew a magnificent pair or antelope horns on his head after fiddling with the neighbours wife...

    I have had my fair share of travelling in and around Africa... it suprises me that Zimbabwe is still being talked about as "having problems".. you would be suprised Zimbabwe in comparison with other countries is like heaven .. right now i am in Liberia, Monrovia and believe me CNN needs to come here and see for themselves what i mean so they can spread the news to the world so people can see what the situation is really like in Africa and hopefully act positively towards the problems they feel they can make a difference in.. think of Liberia, Rwanda, Uganda, Sudan, Nigeria, Sierra Leone the list is endless of countries with acute social and economic problems but guess what.. CNN Business 360 is taking about imaginary $US10 chickens, Wrestle Mania for change and lack of $US coins in Zimbabwe????? absolutely amazing!! :)

    May 30, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  47. Mandla Mdawini

    The CNN report is generaly correct on the issue of change. Ask Biti, the finance minster , there is just no change. the so called rand coins the morons are bragging about are smuggled in by the omalayitsha. I bet you you most of these people defending the zim system are on a payroll of one geriatric in Harare.

    May 30, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
  48. Taffy

    @ Mandla yes change is an issue in Zim but the problem with this jono is that he is exagerating things here. People are not fighting for change thats one, secondly nowhere in Zim is chicken going for ten dollars it cost between 5-6 dollars, thirdly in taxis i can give one example of town-westagate route. if the driver has no change he will give you a ticket wc yu can use to all the taxis operating that route. In my view there is nothing wrong with that. Extreme cases are found everywere in the world were a taxi driver can be rude to customers,its not a zim issue only. finaly i think this CNN guy didn do any research at all because he should have brought out a lot of positive issues. whilst we want world sympthy in some things negative publicity which is unfounded is not good for our beloved Zim. i challenge this jono to do proper research and publish again.

    May 31, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  49. Michael Tarusarira

    Its sad the jounalist decided to write imaginery stories, i am Zimbabwean and the facts presented in this article are flawed and gives a wrong picture of Zimbabwe. We all know nagative news sells very well but journalist you got it all wrong Zimbabweans also read news on CNN and i am challenging you to support your facts ??????? Otherwise CNN should withdraw this flawed article from their site. Shame on you

    June 1, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  50. Michael Tarusarira

    Infact Robyn if you are a proffessional jounalist you owe Zimbabwe an apology......

    June 1, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  51. PritchD

    Robyn's article is quite on point, sad as it may be to admit it i am a patriotic zimbabwean who hasnt lived outside my country for more that six months. I have been short changed personally by commuter bus operators, the token thing is being done by Newsday because as they as a company came up with a solution for the problem, & quite frankly the smallest denomination is a dollar evidenced by vendors yelling $1 for 4, $1 for 5 etc. Supermarket cahins like OK have been giving out lollipops for 15 cents change, rands are in short supply except in border towns & big cities, so whoever disputes this article is living in an imaginary Zim though the $10 chicken i admit was a rip off.

    June 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  52. mocho

    am proud to be zimbabwean, things may be tough, even tougher for others, its no reason to scorn us. if you can help please do, don't undermine us.

    June 1, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  53. Vincent Mapiye

    We need to get food and some other basic commodities but we don't have coins so that's the only way out of our scenario.
    Robyn should be saying Zimbabweans are very creative they found way to make transactions without coins.

    June 2, 2011 at 9:15 am |
  54. muchadura

    This woman does not even know what she is toking about i was watching her report on back story just now i mean is she serious.

    June 3, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  55. Rony

    I luv Mugabe so much becoz he is our hero for Africa and for all over the world. Everyone talk about him thats why God is keeping him.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  56. NewGBush

    Get rid of the US dollars and use Chinese Renmimbi. The US dollar is going on a free fall. It is losing value everyday.

    June 4, 2011 at 4:33 am |
  57. Elisha

    Just watched a report by CNN on CNN Backstory, these guys need a life. i really wonder what they still want in Zimbabwe, they failed to bring war home now they are on a new attack path. I just wonder why they are not banned for good from reporting in Zimbabwe. I have worked around the world for more than 20 years and everywhere i go there are rules and in each country media laws are the most toughest. You do not bully your way into a foreign country as if you you going onto a toilet. we need respect.

    June 5, 2011 at 6:30 am |
  58. Papenfus

    'Hitler Tenfold': Robert Mugabe
    "This Hitler has only one objective: justice for his people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people and their rights over their resources," Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe once said. "If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold." Regardless of his spotty grasp of history, the onetime guerrilla fighter against white rule in Africa himself assumed the role oppressor once in power. He has directed his government to get involved in neighboring conflicts, and targeted whites, homosexuals, and political opponents (his men allegedly hacked off the hands and feet of a political rival's wife, then set her on fire). His once-successful country now claims the lowest life expectancy in the world - 37 years for men, and 34 for women - and the world's highest inflation rate - 11,250,000 percent by June 2008.

    Source Life Mag.

    June 6, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  59. Bill

    MissDebbie makes a very valid point: in a cash economy, what people own, however little or much, they own. They are not floundering in debt. My wife and I have never financed a major purchase except our house ... which we bought on land contract with pre-paid interest. (Remember, even if offered a pre-printed contract, everything -everything- is on the table at the negotiating stage of a purchase! The time for win-win brilliancy is over once the contract has been signed ... all your leverage is gone. All of it. So do the math with pre-paid interest. You may find that it works for you and is an easy sell to the landowner.)

    If a Zim chicken is going for $10 USD, then that means that there is lots of room for local chicken farms to undercut that price and still make a ton of money ... that's all.

    What's an acre (or hectare?) of good farm land going for in Zimbabwe? In the city of Detroit, it's going for ~$3,500 USD and you can pay for the land by what you grow on it in your first year.

    June 6, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
  60. Adam

    Well,well, the writer sure got everyone going.... and she should be pleased with all the responses!!

    What is certain is that Zimbabweans are very proud,resourceful and passionate people.This is reflected in all the responses. Being a Zimbabwean living overseas for half the year and the rest of the year spent in Zimbabwe, I must confess I enjoy my life more in Zimbabwe. I can't wait to return after stability in the political area.There has been no stability in this land since UDI.

    I feel more for the rural folk than I do for the urban population.

    Pamberi ne Zimbabwe.....

    June 12, 2011 at 7:01 am |
  61. GARI

    but the issue of change is a problem especially to the so call commuter busses (makombi) that one l faced it myself about the prize of chicken l dont know

    June 12, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  62. angry zimbo

    i find this article disgusting, how can weak economies rise when the media is always finding that little salt grain in a lump of sugar? The usd is a solution,and it has raised us where do you find ques for petrol, diesel, mealie meal? Please if y'all dont have things to write dont tarnish zimbabwe, who even told you that chicken goes at 10dollars, spare zimbabwe focus on libya or syria.!

    June 15, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  63. Ian


    June 15, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  64. Mugo

    Man, quite a forum of discussion, I wonder if the Journalist can respond to the comments.

    June 19, 2011 at 12:11 am |

    I do salute all the Zimbabweans who are still at home tryind to solve the critical issues.What i would like to say is that,Zimbabwe is ours and it will remain ours forever,it is our responsibility to make sure Zimbabwe remains as Zimbabwe and for Zimbabweans.Even amongst families,ups an downs are there SO to nall other Zimbabweans who are in diaspora PLEASE lets not forget the land of our ancestors,the land which was once of milk an honey an i promise you one day is one day,those days will come back.PROUDLY ZIMBABWEAN

    June 21, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  66. Rinae

    As a South African, I do love Zimbabwe, and i know that this article has been pulled way out of Context, as they do with South African Stories, Zimbabwe is a beautiful place, some places are a lot better than some western Countries, this reporter is trying to bring awareness and attention about Zimbabwe, and unfortunatly he has failed to do so, though some of the context may be true, but what country does'nt have its own UNIQUE way of doing things. This is a way of Life of Life, i wonder what they would think of South Africans when they find out we eat Grass Hopper's, Mopane Worms

    June 24, 2011 at 3:46 pm |

    cant they import coins from America?

    June 24, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
  68. chinx

    Please save us a break!!!!!!!! They thot zim was goin in a civil war for them to intervene like wat they r doin in Libya, under the guise of protecting civillians n finally recolonise the country but alas zimbos remained resolute n focused, we r not like rebels in Libya who call foreign powers to drop bombs in their country not knowing how much damage they r doin to their nation. those bombs r not bein thrown for free mind u the Libyans r goin to pay for them. So to Zimbabweans (black /white/indians) lets get united n find amicable solutions to our problems. I`m quitely convinced there is goin to be light at the end.

    June 25, 2011 at 9:08 am |
  69. eno

    leave zimbabwean problems to zimbabweans, mind your own business

    June 27, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  70. MN Man

    This article is down right false. Period.

    July 5, 2011 at 5:22 am |
  71. alonzo

    You need to get a life. All day long you preach about transparency in the media. Did you dream about this story which Zim are you talking of. You gotta get an oscar 4 the biggest lie. Get a life man

    July 6, 2011 at 2:21 am |
  72. Turbo4

    Hey yankees the reason Zim fuel is cheap than RSA it because Zim dont road accident fund while RSA do.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:25 am |
  73. trish

    guys... i live in zimbabwe. i experience the coin-change crisis everyday.....
    let us not hide behind a finger and pretend as if we dont see the dollars and sweets transactions going on
    i was given a credit note for my change at a very popular supermarket that was around 1800hrs, only to be told by the cashier that id have to use the credit note within the next hour before the supermarket had closed! imagine? so i found the sweets better than the credit note, and someone says ' the writer doesnt live in zimbabwe'

    July 7, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  74. Mel

    Dear Robyn,

    I am disappointed but not surprised at your article and how it distorts the truth about how people manage everyday life. I live in Harare, I buy the papers and I have never seen your story in reality... "50 cent newspaper in Zimbabwe, you don’t receive change in coins. Instead, you get a small, round, grey token, which you redeem at the same newspaper vendor when you buy from him another day". This happens with one daily paper and you do not have to go to the same vendor to redeem the token. I have been following your reports over the last many years and I am not sure what is motivating you to report as I find your take as very much running the country down. If you have disagreement with the policies, it is fair to take an informed position and critic as a journalist and not use the platform as a way of expressing your subjective feelings... I have lived and worked in Zim for many years and I find the people gentle and accommodating. Table your personal issue if that is getting in the way... do not run the country down by giving a bad image of everyday life. The strength of the people is their ability to manage...whatever.


    July 7, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  75. Kazy

    Robyn u should visit Zimbabwe again and get your facts right...
    Its not paradise but tz nt half as bad as you picture t,who knows maybe this time you myt actually like it like we all do!!!!
    tz okae that u pointed out the bad thingz abt Zim bt wat happnd to the good part...
    Ltz nt compare Zim wt USA Robyn be professional abt t n 2 al my fellow zimbos 'm extremely impressed by e wae u support ur country

    July 8, 2011 at 9:14 am |
  76. Ngaliwah

    You forgot to write about the peace we enjoy, the fresh air we breath, the treasures we inherited, the landmarks, the natural resaurce, a dynamic people, the rich culture. How empowered are we, a people who own their resources, where else in Africa do you find this?

    July 8, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  77. Yesaya

    I cant say thank you for lying against my country. I am a Zimbabwean in Nigeria. I left Zim 2 years ago and we were using South African coins then. It seems absurd for me to believe that "When your supermarket bill is rung up and the total is $5.21 the cashier offers you some sweets to make up the 79 cents change difference". That is not only a lie but madness. I know Zimbabwe is undergoing great challenges but you are not doing any good by exaggerating our problems. Next time please be professional...

    July 14, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  78. latchy

    I am not surprised. Most times when i read CNN (and its likes) reports on Nigeria, i wonder if i am living in the same country they are reporting on. They are masters at exaggeration! Sad but true!

    July 14, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  79. hararean

    The article painted zimbabwe in bad light as do most western media reports but what i love the most is that people commented and defended zimbabwe which shows me that there is hope for our nation. It has gone through so much but if we can stand by our nation and envision a better future then Zimbabwe will prosper

    July 19, 2011 at 10:51 am |
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  82. david B

    ANd it is ABSOLUTELY true that when there are no Rand coins, we are asked to take sweets, matches or Buddie Airtime (for cellphones) in return. It happens all the time. Not a lie and no embellishment. Granted the Rand and Botswanan coins are in more regular use in the high-density suburbs as compared to the lower-density suburbs north and east of the city center (Mt Pleasant, Highlands, Chisipite, etc.).

    October 2, 2012 at 12:36 pm |

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