In Zimbabwe, much of the news that makes international headlines involves the latest antics of political leaders and the intense dog fights that play out as corrupt ZANU-PF bureaucrats cling to power. But while the politicking of the country’s elite makes waves day in and day out, Zimbabweans continue to suffer, generating little notice.
BBC photojournalist Kate Holt recently addressed this gap, publishing an important photo slideshow that tells the stories of a group of Zimbabwean pensioners. As Holt notes, many elderly Zimbabweans watched hyperinflation decimate their savings, and now, without an ability to work, they are forced to live out their days in abject poverty.
One particularly telling photo shows David, who immigrated to Zimbabwe from Mozambique looking for work thirty years ago and now finds himself without a livelihood. Decades of greed and negligent mismanagement transformed Africa’s breadbasket into the most food aid dependent country in the world. International debates about how to resolve Zimbabwe’s political and economic chaos should do a better job of underlining the effects of the crisis on civilians who have lost their livelihoods and are fleeing Zimbabwe for dire conditions in South Africa – and for those, like the elderly featured in this photo essay, who have no choice but to stay.
Photo: Jesca Seremani has nowhere to turn for support now that her savings were decimated – seven of her eight children have died of AIDS. BBC/Kate Holt