The Sunday News
Rutendo Nyeve, Online Correspondent
WHILE 25 May remains an important day in the African calendar for cultural conservatives and Pan-Africanists for its significance in celebrating Africa, for Large City Hall curio vendors in Bulawayo it has previously proven to bring smiles on their faces as they record brisk business.
The past two years have, however, been very different for the vendors who had to take a long unplanned sabbatical from work, when the Covid-19 pandemic changed the status quo, forcing governments to close borders, schools and enforce lockdowns to try and curb its spread.
This Monday saw an increase in client traffic at the vending bays ahead of the Africa Day celebrations.
Most schools on Tuesday celebrated the day in various ways that have required pupils to come dressed in African attires.
The new curriculum incorporates Arts, Culture and Heritage as examinable subjects at both primary and secondary level of education.
With the new curriculum, arts and culture are seen as essential components of a comprehensive education system leading to the full development of the learner. It is against this background that the Africa Day celebrations have taken centre stage cognizant of this curriculum.
The curio vendors are the major source of traditional attires in the city and this saw parents and pupils embarking on an after-school shopping spree this Monday in preparation of the early celebrations being done in schools today.
Sunday News caught up with some of the vendors at the market who confirmed that indeed the day had inspired profits.
Mr Fryton Kapulo said: “On Monday it was much better than all other days. We recorded significant profits. Mostly we got clients coming for traditional wear that includes traditional skirts, head gear, beads amongst others. Africa Day has usually brought business for us but due to Covid-19 we last had such business three years back.”
Mrs Sibusiso Sibanda said they were a different market that relied on such holidays. She further called on the Government through relevant authorities to consider rebuts and easy importation of some of their raw materials like beads.
“Unlike other vendors who sell consumables like food, we are different and rely on such holidays to make significant profits. This Monday was quite good compared to other days. We sold a number of African gear products.
“Going forward, we wish the Government and relevant authorities to consider that we were also hit by Covid-19 hence they should be lenient with us at the borders as we import raw materials like beads,” said Mrs Sibanda.
The vendors anticipate a vibrate week as the cultural spirit engulfs the city that will see other institutions like companies and churches joining the celebrations through different African themes, programmes and events.
The African Union’s theme for 2022 is: “Strengthening resilience in nutrition and food security on the African continent: Strengthening agro-food systems, health, and social protection systems for the acceleration of human, social and economic capital development.”