Supporters of Zimbabwe's former ruler Robert Mugabe react upon the arrival of his remains at RG Mugabe airport in Harare, Sept, 11, 2019. As controver
A woman walks past a graffiti sign in Harare, Sept. 6, 2019. As controversy continues around the burial of Mugabe, the capital, Harare, bustles with p
A resident looks out from the stairwell of her housing block, on which is painted an informational mural against sexual abuse, in the low income neigh
Children help each other to carry a bucket filled with water in Harare, Sept. 8, 2019. Shortages of electricity, water, fuel and cash are the latest s
Schoolboys walk back home on the first day of the school term, in Kuwadzana, on the outskirts of the capital Harare, in Zimbabwe, Sept. 10, 2019. Zimb
Children play on swings in the low income neighborhood of Mbare, known to have many supporters of former president Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, in t
Schoolchildren attend a class in the Shona language on the first day of term at the Vimbai Primary School in Norton, west of the capital Harare, in Zi
Young men play a game of pool in the open air in Norton, west of the capital Harare, in Zimbabwe, Sept. 10, 2019. Harare once enjoyed a reputation for
A fisherman rows his boat after casting his nets for the night, in Lake Chivero, west of the capital Harare, in Zimbabwe, Sept. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Be
A street seller is seen reflected in mirrors for sale, at a market in the low income neighborhood of Mbare, known to have many supporters of former pr
Zimbabwean women and girls walk down a path as they return from church and from washing their clothes in a nearby lake, on the outskirts of Harare, Zi
A young child walks past a poster of former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in a building in Harare, Sept. 6, 2019. Harare once enjoyed a reputatio
Mary Chipiro, a farm worker at Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's Dairy farm, sits with her child outside her thatched hut at the farm compou
A man pushes an empty cart past a portrait of former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in Harare, Sept. 6, 2019. Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, a city o
An ice cream vendor reads a newspaper on a street in Harare, Zimbabwe, Sept. 7, 2019. As controversy continues around the burial of Mugabe, the capita
Supporters of former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe place his portrait next to that of Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Harare, Sept, 10
Zimbabweans sit and pray on top of a large rock on the outskirts of Harare, Zimbabwe, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Girls carrying buckets of water on their heads, people praying at sunset, children in uniforms going to their first day of the new school term.
As controversy swirled around the mourning period and burial for former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, most people in the capital Harare were busy coping with the challenges of daily life, amid shortages of electricity, water, fuel and cash.
The shortages are the latest symptoms of Zimbabwe's economic decline that began in 2000 when Mugabe launched the seizures of farms owned by whites. The chaotic, often violent confiscations triggered a collapse of the once productive agricultural sector and began a downward economic spiral. Further mismanagement brought about hyperinflation reaching more than 1 billion percent in 2009, which was only halted when the country abandoned its currency for the U.S. dollar.
Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, a city of 1.5 million, bustles with activities of people scraping by, including street traders selling second-hand clothes, people striding to work past faded murals of Mugabe and women carrying baskets of laundry they had just washed in a muddy creek.
But life in the capital is not all work. Children play on swings and unemployed young men wile away their time playing pool and drinking potent, and illegal, home brew.
Harare once enjoyed a reputation for being a city with lights on all night. But with widespread power cuts lasting 19 hours per day, residents find themselves living like rural famers, getting up at dawn and going to bed at dark.