Bulawayo: a faded industrial giant

By Voumani Madonko

Bulawayo was once revered as the industrial heart of Zimbabwe and of Southern Africa to a greater extent. But scenes of desolation and abandonment now characterize Zimbabwe’s second largest city.

Bulawayo’s vast industrial areas remain mostly abandoned. The roads are filled with potholes. Warehouses lie empty with broken windows. Their grand entrances, once crowded with workers, are now filled with overgrown elephant grass. Faded signs, rusting roof panels and chained gates tell a story of something gone horribly wrong.

How did this happen? How did Zimbabwe’s once industrial powerhouse become a shadow of its former self? A brief look at the political and economic decisions made over the past century or so gives an indication.

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