By Sesisa Gumede
BULAWAYO – With times getting tougher by the day, companies facing closure and industries shutting down, most Zimbabweans find themselves jobless everyday and this has forced a lot of people to turn to self employment.
Such is the tale of Renkini Long Distance Bus Terminus located in one of Bulawayo’s oldest suburbs of Makokoba.
The terminus is not only a hive of activity but it has turned into a source of income for a lot of citizens who find themselves without formal employment.
Drawing parallels with any central business district one would be shocked by the resemblance between the two. Like any city centre Renkini has shops, entrepreneurs, leisure spots, even a bank — after all EcoCash booths and osiphatheleni save the same purpose.
“Business here is good and there is nothing that people do not sell around this place. You have people selling fruits and vegetables, then you have the flee market where you can buy clothes before you board the bus to rural areas.
“If it so happens that you are hungry the caravans are there and they offer you any dish even umxhanxa. For those who want to indulge themselves in a binging spree, there is the Blue Lagoon Bar close by,” said Vitalis Mthetho, a street hawker.
Mthetho is a young man trying to earn extra pocket money by selling cream doughnuts and there are a lot of people like him around the rank.
One such entrepreneur is Tendai Rambanepasi who claims that he has been vending at Renkini for the past six years.
“I have worked at Renkini selling soft drinks for the past six years and during that period I have been able to provide a decent living for my family, I have even built a house in my rural home,” said Rambanepasi.
However, business is not always rosy for everyone especially the illegal hawkers who do not have licences to carry out their dealings within the rank.
“Omakhokhoba (Municipal law enforcers) don’t take kindly to people operating without licences, they take away your goods if they catch you and you also get to pay a fine,” said Amos Baleni.
Among the illegal operators are the infamous osiphatheleni (money changers) who have also found a platform for their dealings with their target market being people travelling to rural areas.
Since Renkini has evolved into one of the busiest business platforms for most people this also means even societies’ low lives have found a place to pursue their “business”. Pick pockets have become common site but mob justice is not uncommon whenever the thieves are caught.
People from the rural areas also come to Renkini with the purpose of making money and they will seek shelter in any of the garages until their goods have been sold out.
No space is considered unsuitable for carrying out business ventures even the toilets have also been used as “offices” by especially those selling different kinds of muti for men and women alike. B Metro