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pharmacies in harare cbd

Pharmacies in harare cbd

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Pharmacies in harare cbd

Reaching the Avenues involves skirting Harare’s Central Business District (CBD), which requires both courage and patience. The streets were designed by a colonial government when motor vehicle traffic was light and a public bus system handled the majority of traffic in and out of the city’s high density residential suburbs. Today, the public bus service has collapsed and 16-seater minivans (“Emergency Taxis”) and private cars dominate the roads. The same shortchanging of infrastructure that brought Harare its unfinished airport road means traffic lights are often out of order, and burst water pipes, potholes and rubbish often block the roads. Zimbabwe’s government has recently suggested setting up an urban tolling system to charge motorists for entering the CBD. They claim the intention is to reduce unnecessary traffic into town, in order to decongest the roads and make driving in town easier. But as it stands, no one drives into town unless they have to: The experience itself provides enough discouragement as it is.

Photograph by Bev Clark

Photograph by Bev Clark

Adding to the challenge, the collapse of Zimbabwe’s formal economy has pushed more and more people into the informal sector. Zimbabweans vend – standing at intersections to sell newspapers, airtime recharge cards, hats, sunglasses, windscreen wipers, cellphone chargers, flags, and steering wheel covers, and sitting to sell vegetables, fruit, sweets, biscuits, nuts, fish, drinks, shoes, clothes, and many other items. In Harare’s city centre, the sprawl of vendors across the pavements and at intersections has generated hostility and tension among local businesses, motorists and pedestrians, who resent the extent to which the growing presence of vendors makes it difficult to walk through town or get into “proper shops.” To combat this, Harare city council has ordered vendors to move to registered vending sites.

As I drive across town, I pass the Borrowdale Wetland, where development is in full swing. The new road is getting a fresh coat of tar, and a fence is going up around an area the size of three football fields. In a few years time, the open space will be a housing development and shopping mall. Yes, it’s a wetland. And yes, there’s legislation that says that wetlands cannot be developed. But this particular wetland was given away as part of a construction deal for the airport road. The road still isn’t completed, and the Borrowdale wetland is collateral damage.

Rather than head to the Avenues, I opt for Ballyntyne Park Pharmacy. The shopping centre is rundown – The lines in the car park are faint and the tar is potholed. It looks like there are more vendors outside than actual shops. But inside the chemist it’s another story completely: It’s even larger than Village Pharmacy, and even more neatly stocked with luxury items. Fancy some lube or a flavoured condom? This is the place to come. Want some Clinique or Lancome make up? Hugo Boss perfume? Ralph Lauren cologne? Solgar vitamins? In Zimbabwe’s bifurcated economy, Ballyntyne Park Pharmacy is the chemist of the comprador class. Zyrtec? You need a prescription for that. Here, try this substitute instead.

So I set off for Trinity Pharmacy. En route, I pass Montagu Shops, which ten years ago had a relatively classy pizzeria where I would often go and read or meet people. On the edge of the Avenues, it catered to the shrinking “young professional” demographic. Now, the shopping centre looks even worse off than Ballantyne Park. There’s an active bottle store, and a busy service station, and that’s about it. An empty lot hosts a half hearted used car dealership. On my right I pass one run-down block of flats after another. These are small complexes that in the past would have held attractive, reasonably-priced garden flats. Or four-storey blocks of flats housing small families. Now they need a coat of paint or three, roof repair, a new wall. Many host signs for small businesses: cell phone shop, appliance repair, business services. In others, washing flaps on the burglar bars outside the windows. Every flat has its own small satellite dish.