Zimbabwe: Where citizenship went to die.

Published: 22/Mar/2013
Source: The New York Times

At the Registrar General’s office in this city, queues form as early as 3 in the morning. By 8, they wind all the way around the building and into the street, where vendors sell a medley of randomness: bananas and airtime, shoe polish and ice cream. Inside, crowds of desperate people stand skin to skin, babies squashed on their mothers’ backs as they struggle to breathe in the fetid air of the mazelike corridors.

In this chaotic atmosphere, the government issues the documents that confirm the identity of Zimbabweans, and that entitle them to go to school, to drive, to get jobs, to travel and to marry, the documents that confirm that they exist.

The first circle of this hell is the birth certificate office, where mothers are asked publicly about the paternity, and often the legitimacy, of their babies. The innermost circle is Room 100, where citizenship comes to die.

Read the full article here.

Themes: Discrimination, Ethnic/Racial/Religious, Dual Nationality, Identity Documents
Regions: Southern Africa, Zimbabwe
Year: 2013