A single line of hundreds of brick makers advertising and molding bricks stroll for more than 500 metres. The line stretches from the heart of Harare’s tightly populated suburb of Budiriro into Glen View suburb where hundreds more brick molders work like busy ants.
As the country’s economy continues on its downturn, multitudes of unemployed people have resorted to the business of molding bricks for survival.
The skyrocketing levels of unemployment have led many Zimbabweans to find any legally possible way of surviving. Brick molding appears to be an occupation that anyone who can use sand, cement, water and a shovel appear to be taking up.
This is the status of the economy that has been simulated across major towns and growth points.
Godfrey Cherayi, a 28 year old from Budiriro, is just one of many people who bear the hardships of the weather conditions just to feed their family from the molding of bricks.
He vowed that he has never been formally employed.
“I have never been formally employed, all my efforts to get employment were fruitless and I had to resort to brick molding for survival. I decided to venture in the brick molding business and as it stands it’s paying.
“When business is good, mostly during the end of the month, we pocket close to $400 a day,” Cherayi says.
The 28 year old who hails from Buhera said he has been able to take care of his family as well as his parents from brick molding.
Molding bricks has become the way of life for many people including university graduates in a country where the economy continues to shrink.
Handmade bricks cost $125.00 for a thousand bricks.
According to brick makers who spoke to 263Chat, these prices vacillate, often declining in the course of the month. The prices of the bricks are also influenced by the demand and increase of housing cooperatives.
“During the course of the month business is very low but it upsurges towards month end. With the increasing number of housing cooperatives our monthly sells also goes up,” said John Chitima who runs a brick molding business in Damofalls Park, Ruwa.
Despite their appearances homemade bricks are popular because of their long lifespan and negotiable prices and this has attracted many clients.
There are however challenges associated with this informal trade and occupation.
“We face many challenges some of which include conflicts with Environmental Management Agency (EMA). They forbid us to collect river sand so we have to fetch it by night.
“We also have challenges with ZINARA (Zimbabwe National Road Authority). As you can see our cars do not have registration so we are always playing a cats and dog game with ZINARA officers,” said Chireya.