A pile of second hand cloths on the market
The current challenges crippling the country’s economy has forced the majority of the citizens to resort to second-hand clothing as they cannot afford to buy new clothes from established outlets, the Zimbabwe Advertising Research Foundation (ZARF) has established.
ZARF which is the custodian of the Zimbabwe All Media and Products Survey (ZAMPS) revealed this in its latest report and attributed the choices of most citizens to the biting economic hardships the country is going through.
The ZARF 2021 first-half report released recently revealed that 68% of Zimbabweans in both rural and urban areas, be it in the formal or informal sectors of the economy choose to buy clothes from second-hand traders.
The report shows that 68% buy from second hand bales, 51% from flea markets, 29% from boutiques, 12% from cross-border runners, 10% from Jet stores, another 10% from Edgars and 8% from WhatsApp traders.
Speaking to TellZim News, Progressive Teachers’ Union (PTUZ) president Doctor Takavafira Zhou said it is abnormal and a clear sign that most government workers are incapacitated.
"It's certainly abnormal but a reflection of their incapacitation. Most workers have no capacity to buy from Jet, Edgars, and boutiques. Teachers earn a little salary and shoes from Edgar's cost half of their salaries. So a reasonable person cannot simply spend a salary on a pair of shoes.
"Workers' salaries must be improved to enhance their buying power. Government must fix our economy so that there is a balance between export and import. We need to protect our industries rather than becoming a supermarket for products produced from China and other neighbouring countries,” Zhou said.
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) Masvingo regional officer Ndumiso Mgutshini said the prices of commodities which are higher have led to the thriving of the second-hand clothing markets.
“It’s a question of prices. Obviously some shops have become elitist for the majority of low income earners as they cannot afford to buy the merchandise.
“Also second-hand clothing is now a source of income for some families as they rely on the trade to provide for their families and almost every household rely on informal trading,” said Mgutshini.
Mgutshini however urged people to support the local industry’s products by buying locally manufactured goods.
“As CCZ we encourage the buy-Zimbabwe campaign as it promotes the local industry and farmers,” said Mgutshini.
Musician-cum-social commentator Hosiah Chipanga said everything is upside down in the country because Zimbabweans chose to move in that direction and the country is being punished by God.
“The government should have banned second-hand clothes long back when the local clothing and shoe manufacturing factories owned by whites were still operating. The government turned a blind eye to the issue of second-hand clothes and shoes giving them room to ruin the local shoe and cloth manufacturing companies. Second-hand clothing is now chewing a huge chunk of the clothing market and this collapsed the local industries.
“Everything in the country is upside down because we decided to take the way we are moving in. We decide to view the eastern countries as our all-weather friends and turned our backs to the western countries because we view them as our enemies but why are we failing to use the currencies of our all-weather friends? I am pained by the way our government is running the country,” he said.
Bales are smuggled into Zimbabwe from mostly Mozambique and other Southern African countries.
Recently traffic movement along the Christmas Pass road in Mutare was brought to a standstill after a fight broke out between suspected smugglers of second-hand clothes over the control of illegal routes connecting to Mozambique.