The other side of Mbare Msika

By Peter Chivhima

The Mbare Musika produce market is often misunderstood by the uninitiated who often associate it with chaos.

However, contrary to this misplaced view it is a land of opportunity for the hard-working.

Before the crack of dawn, men and women are already sweating it out at one of Harare’s oldest fresh produce markets.

Time is of the essence as traders are ready to cash in on buyers, while cart pushers line up their human pulled wagons jostling for potential clients.

An energetic 34-year-old Zvidzai Poteredzai, who knows no other job, has been pushing his cart for 12 years and is part of a group of cart pushers who are trying to earn an honest living.

“It’s now my 12th year doing this job and I’m 34 years old now, but I am very grateful because I am managing to look after my kids. I have two kids. My clients now know me and trust me. Some can now send me their goods in their absence,” said Poteredzai.

The way they operate can be mistaken for chaos but not when you dig deeper u will get to understand their modus operandi.

“There is no chaos here, as you can see we have numbers so these numbers are enough for one to trust us and it identifies us. We are orderly here and we do not allow strangers to come as they scare away our customers,” said another trader.

True to the name Harare, which loosely translated means ‘The city that does not go to sleep,’ and which derives its name from Mbare, there is no time to sleep for people from one of the country’s oldest suburbs.