The Sunday Mail
On Friday November 14, 1997, Zimbabweans woke up to the news that the local currency had crushed against the United States dollar by 72 percent.
That fateful day, which marked the beginning of the country’s economic turmoil, came to be known as Black Friday in Zimbabwe.
Fast forward to Tuesday November 14 2017 at 11pm, exactly 20 years later, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces announced that they had stepped in to address the political, social and economic situation obtaining in the country.
Then ten days later, November 24 was also a Black Friday, but a different kind of Black Friday altogether.
On this Black Friday which is mainly commemorated by Western countries a day after Thanksgiving as prices are slashed to usher in the festive season shopping mood, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in as the President of Zimbabwe.
While thousands thronged the National Sports Stadium to witness the inauguration ceremony, shoppers received a rare treat in celebration of Black Friday.
Clothes, footwear, homeware and food prices were drastically slashed.
Clothing retail outlets like Edgars reduced prices by up to 75 percent.
Supermarkets such as Bon Marche and OK were also offering massive discounts.
For Zimbabweans, the day could not have come at a better day. For some, they were convinced this was the work of the Generals or President Mnangagwa.
“I had only seen such events taking place in countries such as America, the United Kingdom and South Africa; I had never witnessed this in Zimbabwe,” said Beauty Nzira who hails from Budiriro.
“I think General Chiwenga has something to do with it,” she added jokingly.
Black Friday is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
It is regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season but Zimbabwe has only recently adopted the concept which is believed to have originated in Philadelphia as far back as 1952.
Black Friday was originally used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic on the day after Thanksgiving.
Years later, retailers then realised that on this day, they begin to make huge profits as shoppers prepare for the festive season, thus going from being ‘in the red’ to being ‘in the black’.
Retailers across the globe have taken advantage of the day to extend beyond normal working hours with some opening as early 12 midnight and closing late.
So as the sun set on Friday, Zimbabweans embraced the new season of new beginnings and hope.