Last night in the Avenues of Harare

I attended a function last night which finished just after 9pm. I asked a friend to take me home and he graciously agreed but had to drop someone else in the Avenues first. It’s been a long time since I was in this part of town at night and I was stunned by what I saw.

Coming out of town, we turned off Samora Machel, left into 6th Street and there in the full glare of the headlamps were three half naked women. Mico micro minis and minimalistic tops. They moved closer towards the road when they saw the car. I had just barely finished digesting the sight, when I saw another woman in the smallest pair of shorts I have ever seen, then two more, then another.

So many of them. I was in a state of shock. Was it really this bad?

“Bacossi,” Said my friend jokingly- but I could not laugh. These were young women like me, some even younger.

Then I remembered a scene from “Country of My Skull” (which stars Samuel L Jackson) where this guy who committed atrocities during the aparthied era in South Africa is accosted by his sister who is asking him how he could have done such horrendous things. His response, paraphrased, is: “Don’t pretend you don’t know that these things were  happening. Seated in the comfort of your home, enjoying the fruits of our hard work, you chose not to see.”

So in the same way I started thinking that I knew all along. With the poverty that’s in Zimbabwe right now it has to be obvious that more women than ever are out there selling their bodies to make ends meet. And all of us know.

When we had dropped of the person who lived in the Avenues, I asked my friend to drive in the Avenues a bit longer so that I could see how many more women there were. It’s as if I felt like I owed them something and just seeing them there was acknowledging their tough situation.

He gave me a strange look but I said a really long “please” and we went down Chinamano all the way from 6th Street to Rotten Row. That’s at least 8 blocks and for the length of what must have been the most painful drive on that road for me ever I saw women trying to outdo each other to get the attention of our headlights, some nervously clutching handbags, others doing little dances to show what they were capable of and others striking poses meant to make one step on the brakes and stop the car.

I cried.

My friend turned the car down Rotten Row and in a sad silence that no words could make happier, drove me home.

About Virtugirl Africa

My name is Fadzai (aka Fadz, aka Virtugirl). I exist only on these pages, on this blog, on the Internet. Most of the other things you will read here are figments of my creator’s imagination. The rest is from your own mind. So if you remove me from the web, my thoughts, my joys and my tears vanish. It’s like I’m not there…. and yet online I breathe like you, I have a life like you. I have passions and dreams and keep track of all those things my blog. I was born on the 1st of September 1985 in Bulawayo. I grew up in Gweru and now I live in Harare. For more about me, read the blog… Thank you- Virtugirl

5 thoughts on “Last night in the Avenues of Harare

  1. Take a walk in the Avenues in broad daylight and you will find a deceptive innocent calm. A well groomed mask is adorned. But once night falls the mask is ripped off with demonic zest. Of course, all along, behind closed doors, beneath the veneer of innocence, far from the public gaze, a lot of inequities are taking place…

    I was talking to a cab driver the other day and he told me that quiet a number of ladies of the night are in various states of pregnancy after the long winter we had…I am sure this will give you another reason to cry…For as long as they can, the pregnant ones will continue hitting the bars, and walking the streets, so that they can get money for all maternal requirements…

    The tragedy of it all, is that the Avenues are but just part of the malaise…What you saw last night is reenacted with variations to the same theme all over the country…and the women get younger and younger all the time…

    The predators continue to prey… You are right, this is no laughing matter, it is literally a life and death one…

  2. That they are pregnant points to the fact that there are still many men who even with a commercial sex worker will not use a condom. What the hell is that? After all the protect yourself messages. Zvinoshamisa.

  3. Why is prostitution referred to as the oldest profession in the world? Does this also imply that whatever is done i.e even if Zimbabwe was a wealthy nation there still would be prostitution. Virtualgirl you certainly are an astute observer of the human condition, I suggest you continue to use your gift for the benefit of humanity

  4. Indeed the number has increased because of poverty and it is a great shame.Prostitution has always been around and will always be around! When Zimbabwe was a stable nation with a strong economy i can remember my Father and I driving through the avenues on our way home at night and our car was flashed by prostitutes.
    There are some women though, who actually enjoy being prostitutes.In other nations they have called themselves escorts which is basically a highend,elaborate and well organised prostitution service.
    I guess the difference is the fact that some prostitutes have chosen to be prostitutes as opossed to being driven to be come one by the economic situtation.
    Excuse my lack of sampathy here:many women are suffering in Zimbabwe ,but they have not chosen that route. I still conclude that if you have not been trafficked and forced into such a proffesion its a matter of choice.
    It would be interesting to hear from a woman who has felt or feels that prostitution is the only option, then maybe, I can change my view .

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