WHEN a local retail shop increased the price of a 500g of beef for the third time inside one week, David Murambiwa and his family knew they would invest more in soya chunks.
Now, as everything from sugar, milk and bread drive up their cost of living, David and his family are planning their most radical lifestyle change.
“I never thought I could be in this position counting every dollar. Common-sense has unfortunately become an endangered commodity in Zimbabweâ€™s hyperinflationary atmosphere,” Murambiwa said.
Across Zimbabwe, people from high income earners, indigenous and low income earners are coping with a growing sense that they are being pushed to the margins like never before, as a combination of rising costs and stagnant wages and high inflation erode their purchasing power.
“Prices have by far outpaced my salary which is linked to official rates in this hyperinflationary environment. I have been cycling against the wind since January. I have to pedal faster so we do not slow further,” he said. But pedalling faster with an inflation rate of 9 030 000% does not mean necessarily mean he will go faster.
Families that once maintained pleasant lifestyles afforded by one income find the rise in cost not affordable by even ten salaries earned in Zimbabwean dollars
More worrisome a generation of Zimbabwean youths and the middle aged is grappling with a rising sense of injustice as they face the reality that they have become worse off, not better than their parent.
Economists Tony Hawkins described the price increases as “very sad for every one” adding that nobody wants to hold Zimbabwe dollars because it was increasingly worthless as a result of the very high rates of inflation.
“Clearly nobody wants to hold the currency like that which is losing its value by the hour and in that situation there has been a scramble for anything else,” he said.
Even holding two masters degrees, has become less of a guarantee against economic hardship. That in turn is igniting concerns of an even more uncertain future for their children.
By Paul Nyakazeya