Zimbabwe’s soaring prices see online shoppers get groceries from abroad


Zimbabweans have their groceries delivered, like people around the world – only his don’t come from a local shop.

His rice, oil and washing powder make a 600-kilometre trip from neighbouring South Africa to his small brick home in a dusty township of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.

The groceries are brought by runners known as “malayitsha” – literally “people who carry things” – and they’re just one sign of how much of Zimbabwe’s economy now takes place beyond its borders.

“My older sister sends groceries through malayitsha every month which is enough for the family,” said 35-year-old Murape. He said his sister lives in South Africa and has used online deliveries to help out since Murape lost his job as a scrap metal dealer during the pandemic.

“It has really helped me. There are 10 of us here, including some of her children and our sick mother. We just must ration this food so that we don’t go hungry.”

In Zimbabwe’s turbulence economy, two litres of cooking oil costs $4.50 if he buys it locally. But if he buys it from across the border in South Africa, it’s $3.50 – including delivery.

Once synonymous with hyperinflation, Zimbabwe is seeing prices soar once again.

Inflation ran at 66% in February.

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