Paying to get paid: Young Zimbabweans trade money, sex for jobs | Unemployment

Harare, Zimbabwe – As quickly as Norman Chisunga arrived in Harare in February 2019 from his rural house in Murehwa, an hour north, he knew he wanted a job urgently.

He figured his uncle, a dealer in Mbare, the oldest high-density suburb of the capital and residential to a thriving recent market and electrical and automotive consumables market, wouldn’t put up with him for lengthy with no job.

And 24-year outdated Chisunga, who obtained his highschool diploma in 2017, was additionally determined for a job, like most of his compatriots. “I needed any form of job,” he advised Al Jazeera. “There simply weren’t any.”

In a rustic the place unemployment hovers round 90 p.c and a lot of the nation’s 14 million individuals do some type of casual work to earn a residing, discovering a job is a herculean activity.

“I went to the federal government’s Civil Service Fee and was advised there’s [a] backlog of candidates and I’m applicant 55,210,” sociology graduate Tariro Makanyera advised Al Jazeera.

Just a few weeks after arriving within the Zimbabwean capital, Chisunga’s luck rotated when his uncle discovered him a job at an area fertiliser manufacturing agency.

However there was a catch; Chisunga must pay a “little one thing”, a euphemism for a bribe, to get the job. It was a suggestion he couldn’t afford to show down. “I didn’t wish to return to the agricultural areas,” he advised Al Jazeera.

For a six-month contract, Chisunga wanted to pay $100.“For a six-week contract, I paid $30 [12,000 Zimbabwe dollars at the current black market rate].”

He ended up paying to remain on the fertiliser firm for greater than a 12 months, carrying 50kg (110-pound) baggage of fertiliser on his again every day.

Calls for for cash or sexual favours

Al Jazeera interviewed plenty of younger Zimbabweans who stated that that they had paid to get a job or knew somebody who had paid to be recruited.

“I needed a job at a grocery store and the supervisor needed $50 to recruit me as a until operator. I didn’t have the $50 on the time however I actually needed the job,” Tayanana Kuteura, a 24-year outdated magnificence therapist who now works as a store attendant within the capital, advised Al Jazeera.

Younger girls like Kuteura are typically requested to sleep with their male job recruiters.

“I encountered one other comparable scenario in Zvishavane. I used to be supplied a job to handle one of many large canteens there however I needed to sleep with the proprietor. I didn’t take the job,” she advised Al Jazeera.

“I do know a lady who was contaminated with HIV when she needed a job,” Kuteura added. “The proprietor of a brand new grocery store chain supplied her a job for intercourse. She agreed, obtained a automobile and have become a supervisor. However she is now HIV constructive.”

Zimbabwe is within the grips of an financial disaster characterised by a nosediving native foreign money, inflation, weakening buying energy, a overseas foreign money scarcity, low manufacturing and unemployment of as much as 90 p.c.

The nation – which adopted the US greenback in 2009 to finish runaway inflation – had reintroduced the Zimbabwe greenback in 2019, however the native foreign money is quickly devaluing in opposition to the greenback. At present, the alternate charge is 400 Zimbabwe {dollars} to $1.

In April, inflation was roughly 100%.

The demand for jobs throughout Zimbabwe has led to linked, well-positioned individuals cashing in on the nation’s financial disaster to make a fast buck.

A fixer often called Banga works with a prime supervisor at a fertiliser firm. He has brokers who search for purchasers somewhere else and gather bribes from the job seekers to cross on to the supervisor.

After the $30 or $100 is acquired, the job seems. “If you arrive on the firm after paying, your job will probably be ready for you, Chisunga advised Al Jazeera. “The store flooring guys are additionally in on it, I assume.”

As soon as-thriving firms have both shut down or are working beneath 50 p.c of their put in capability on antiquated tools, a far cry from the times when Zimbabwe was a promising industrial hub with manufacturing clusters in Southern Africa.

Correspondingly, there are even much less jobs to go spherical, making individuals extra determined. So  Chisunga is certainly one of hundreds of youths trapped in a cycle of paying to be paid.

“After each six weeks, they had been new individuals. The brand new individuals would additionally pay the $30 for the roles,” Chisunga stated.

“I’m positive he [the fixer] was making some huge cash from that. There simply was plenty of us coming and going after each six weeks and extra when the tobacco promoting season opens.”

Zimbabwe’s tobacco promoting season opens from March to about August yearly after which fertiliser firms arrange depots at public sale flooring to promote fertilisers to the tobacco farmers.

As a result of they want extra manpower, it creates recent alternatives for fixers to usher in extra individuals – and take their cuts.


In some circumstances, jobs are reserved for family of these in administration positions, an everyday prevalence within the Zimbabwean labour market.

In a 2021 report on the prevalence of nepotism within the office by Industrial Psychology Consultants (IPC), a number one human sources consultancy agency in Zimbabwe, 27.39 p.c of individuals indicated that there was a excessive prevalence of nepotism of their organisations.

“The medical companies business is rated as having the best prevalence of nepotism at 52 p.c, adopted by the FMCG sector at 42 p.c and Media at 40 p.c,” the report learn.

Specialists say the nation’s present financial scenario has made it a fertile floor for such unethical labour practices.

“Children born say round 1997 or on the flip of the millennium have by no means skilled financial normalcy and but they’ve their very own aspirations,” stated Godfrey Kanyenze, founding director of the Labour and Financial Improvement Analysis Institute of Zimbabwe.

“Given the tight labour market, the poverty within the nation, the corruption that’s there, individuals turn into determined and pay bribes for jobs.

Kanyenze advised Al Jazeera {that a} sequence of monumental financial errors together with however not restricted to the financial Structural Adjustment Programmes of the Nineteen Nineties, the nation’s involvement in conflict within the Democratic Republic of the Congo and land reforms on the flip of the millennium have contributed to the present scenario.

“We’ve not been capable of deal with these legacy points,” he stated. “The financial scenario was averted by the adoption of the US greenback and the GNU. Now we’re again to sq. one.”

Harare-based unbiased political analyst Rashweat Mukundu stated it was tragic that ladies are pressured to have sexual relations with males for jobs, but in addition identified that there aren’t any “mitigation, complaints mechanisms” to take care of this downside. Investigations, he added, “are very weak that nobody bothers to take it up with authorities.”

However younger Zimbabwean jobseekers take into account their ordeal a ceremony of passage, and a mandatory evil.

“If I had not paid one thing for the job, I by no means would have gotten it,” stated Chisunga. “A few of my age mates are nonetheless on the lookout for a job and [I] don’t know that there are straight jobs any extra.”

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