Home » Industry » Brisk Business for Vendors At Harare Cemeteries

VENDORS are making brisk business at Harare’s Granville Cemetery which is popularly known as KuMbudzi by selling not just flowers and epitaphs but also beer, soft drinks and Sadza to people burying their loved ones.

Funeral companies are said to be among the better performing corporates in an economy which finance minister Patrick Chinamasa admits is now dominated by vendors as formal industries have collapsed over the years.

And the vendors are now moving in to benefit from the country’s high death rate and the business it generates.

Traditionally, cemeteries have been considered nearly sacred, with only families and friends burying their dead or remembering them normally seen at these sites.

But as designated vending sites are overwhelmed around the country, vendors are now looking for new sites and events at which to peddle their wares.

And with the local authorities yet to cotton onto the idea, cemeteries and burials have become a new business platform as the vendors can do their business without needing to worry about the city councils’ levy collectors.

NewZimbabwe.com recently caught up with vendors selling various items at the famous Mbudzi cemetery in the capital. The items ranged from clear and opaque beer to air time vouchers as well as fruits and Sadza.

Some of the vendors said they were making an average of $20 on a good day.

“Remember some people would have come here in the morning to dig the graves and will naturally get hungry and thirsty. We are here to serve them,” said a vendor who identified himself as Diva Dollar.

Another vendor selling bottled water and Sadza said business was better at the cemetery because of the absence of municipal police compared to Mazvimbakupa Shopping Centre near Boka Tobacco Auction Floors were she used to operate from.

“You see, here we are selling our stuff hassle-free as there is no police,” she said.

“Do you think they will come and look for vendors at the cemetery? No because cemeteries are places which are regarded with high respect, and that is the aantage we are having here.”

A customer at the cemetery said the prices were fair but feared for his health.

“I see nothing wrong with these people selling things like beer and bottled water because, truly speaking, they are helping people who would have spent the whole day here manning the graves.

“What I am against is the selling Sadza, rice or roast or cooked meat because with this type of food there is great risk of contamination which might result in the outbreak of cholera,” said the male customer who has just bought a one litre bottle of opaque beer.

Harare city council spokesperson Michael Chideme said selling of anything at any point which is not designated for vending is illegal.

“It must be known that doing any business at an undesignated place under the jurisdiction of Harare city council is illegal,” she said.

“We have however, realised that there are people selling oranges, bananas and water at cemeteries.

“As the responsible authority, we are planning to identify and properly organise such sites because there is a genuine need for the goods and services that these people are offering.”

Source : New Zimbabwe