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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 37, September 10, 2006, Article 12

MODERN-DAY MONEYCHANGERS IN ZIMBABWE

"The Zimbabwe-bound bus has not quite completely stopped at South
Africa's Musina town but this is little deterrence to the young man,
who calmly hops on board with gravity-defying agility that could only
have been acquired through many years of experience.

On board the young man - who later only identifies himself as
Mgomeni - wastes little time, waving a bundle of Zimbabwe's freshly
minted new currency in one hand and an equally tempting bundle of
South Africa's rand currency, he begins chanting.

"The rate is so good. For R100 you get Z$8 000. Change your foreign
currency here good people, because we offer a better rate than
osphatheleni back home," shouts Mgomeni, in a beseeching tone as
he worms his way down the bus aisle.

Osphatheleni are illegal foreign currency dealers operating from
Bulawayo's World Bank, an area in the city centre so named because
it is the hub of the illegal but thriving foreign currency parallel
market.

"They (osphateleni) are cheats they lure you with higher returns
for foreign currency but will pay you in fake Zimbabwe dollars,"
he says in a bid to convince passengers why it makes sense to do
business with him.

Soon, five more illegal foreign currency traders are on the bus,
each after having paid 50-rand bribe to the driver to be allowed to
"trade" on the bus. In the same energetic way as Mgomeni before
them, the new traders are also soliciting for business from the
travellers.

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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