Since independence, pandemics in Zimbabwe have manifested in myriad ways. Beyond epidemiological disease and related deaths, the chronic plagues are metaphorically state corruption, a disintegrating economy, police brutality, unwarranted arrests, abductions, poor education, and an appalling healthcare system.

The maladministration of Zimbabwe under Zanu-PF has been frequently documented as one of southern Africa’s worst tragedies. This state chaos impacting all areas of human life inspired my past research in anthropology that analyses child health and disease at Maphisa growth point in rural Matabeleland South.

Being my familial homeland, I have observed its decline since my childhood, an area whose physical realities illustrate the vulnerability of the Zimbabwean body.

The weakness of this region after Zimbabwe’s independence dates back to the mid and late 1980s, during which the Gukurahundi occurred under the Mugabe administration. During the time of my research, 30 years on, Matabeleland South not only suffered the traumatic aftermath of a politically motivated ethnic genocide, but also a heavy burden of tuberculosis (TB) and HIV-Aids, which for years have been the most prevalent in this province.

Even before Covid-19, the country suffered multiple pandemics that I unpack below. More than ever, Covid-19 exposes the country’s plagues and looting of…



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