Mozambican Hustlers "Flood" Harare Streets

6 months agoWed, 27 Dec 2023 07:09:48 GMT
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Mozambican Hustlers "Flood" Harare Streets

Scores of young Mozambican men are eking out a living on the streets of Harare by selling sweets and mobile airtime vouchers.

According to NewsDay, the Mozambicans, popularly known as mano, which means a boy in the Mozambican language, are driven from their country by limited economic opportunities and civil war.

22-year-old Gabriel told NewsDay that in Mozambique, “there is nothing”. He added:

Here (in Zimbabwe), I can send money home, and build a future.

However, “mano” face several challenges on Harare’s streets, which include competition from Zimbabwean vendors and the constant threat of arrest and deportation due to their irregular migrant status.

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At times, they are exploited by unscrupulous middlemen and are always at risk of losing their wares and meagre earnings. Said 21-year-old Ricardo:

Some of the police and municipal police take advantage of us because they know that we have no proper immigration documents.

They sometimes take our stuff. It’s not easy. The competition, sometimes people don’t trust us. But we have to keep going. We have families depending on us.

However, the language barrier is a minor issue as most of them come from Manica Province where a certain version of the Shona dialect is spoken.

The Mozambicans sell their products to taxi drivers and learners. Tariro Nyatanga, a young office worker in Graniteside Industrial Area, said:

Their airtime is convenient as they walk around, and their candies brighten my day. They add a bit of vibrancy to the city.

[However], it’s tough for them. They are always looking over their shoulders, worried about getting caught.

In the evening, the Mozambicans retreat to their lodgings in Mbare, where they share a single bedroom and use a communal kitchen.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Zimbabwe was, in 2021, still home to approximately 8 000 Mozambican refugees and asylum seekers who fled the country due to political instability or for other reasons.

More: Pindula News



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