News Brief

Zimbabwe's Inflation Rate has Now Risen to 290 Percent

There seems to be no end in sight for the mounting crises occurring in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe has been embroiled in nationwide protests following the announcement of a crippling fuel hike. As if that were not bad enough, it has now been reported by the SABC that the country's inflation rate has now risen to 290 percent, the second-highest in the world after Venezuela.


A few weeks ago, Zimbabweans took to the street to protest against how it is becoming increasingly difficult to eke out a living. Several people died whilst others were wounded in clashes with armed forces. The police and the army exercised what as described by the UN as an 'excessive use of force' and further condemned by other countries.

READ: Prominent Zimbabwean Activist Sheds Light on Current Crisis

During these protests, the government also disabled the country's internet and access to social media in an attempt to prevent any information regarding the volatile situation from leaving the country's borders. Whilst the government denied this, mobile network providers Econet and TelOne communicated to their customers that they had been a directive from the government. The internet shutdown was later deemed illegal by the courts.

READ: The Zimbabwean Government Has Reportedly Shutdown the Internet

Due to the shortage of foreign currency in the country, along with the use of the American Dollar and bond notes, the inflation rate has now reached 290 percent. And just to get a sense of just how high this is, Zimbabwe's neighboring country South Africa, currently has an inflation rate of around 4.5 percent - approximately 64 times less that of Zimbabwe.

The hopes that had been pegged on current President Emmerson Mnangagwa after dictator Robert Mugabe stepped down last year, have all but vanished. There is rising concern over his competence with regards to restoring the troubled country to its former glory.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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