Zimbabwe is gripped by drought and could be on the verge of total economic collapse. However, things may not look so bad to a casual visitor. There is a veneer of prosperity in Zimbabwe today, particularly in the country's cities. Scratch the surface, though, and there's a country on the edge. The shop shelves may be laden with goods, but no one can afford to buy them.
In 2015, Global Finance Magazine placed
Zimbabwe second-poorest after the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in its survey of 184 countries. Some estimates put the rate of unemployment at 95%, but official figures are never revealed. Based on IMF data, the survey showed Zimbabwean's average annual income between 2009 and 2013 was around $589 (£410). In contrast, South Africans earned more than $11,000 per year (£7,600) on average.
British news and documentary photographer Mary Turner spent some time in Zimbabwe looking at life after 36 years under Robert Mugabe.
Fortunate, who lives on a farm in Chitungwiza with her family, cuts up vegetables by torchlight as her little brother Washington eyes up the fish. Fortunate failed her O'Level exams at school and the family cannot afford let her take them again so she will instead look for work on a farm or as a maid. Her mother Chengatai works as a seamstress making curtains and maids' uniforms. Her father is a sculptor, but there is little call for his work now that the tourist industry in Zimbabwe has died. Mary Turner/Getty Images Fortunate, aged 16, collects clothes for washing in her family home in Chitungwiza Mary Turner/Getty Images Chengatai talks to her son Washington as she makes curtains in their home in Chitungwiza. She makes clothes and curtains and sells them on street corners for $US10, but the fabric alone costs her US$5 and it is a struggle for her family to survive. Mary Turner/Getty Images A girl dances to music on the radio in her family's yard in Chitungwiza. Residents only receive electricity after 8 to 9pm for much of the year, and those who can afford solar panels use them to power small items such as radios and to charge mobile phones. Mary Turner/Getty Images A woman does a child's braids at a makeshift hairdresser's shop set up outside her home in Chitungwiza, a suburb of Harare. There is little work and few customers, so the women spend much of their days chatting and hoping quietly for change. Mary Turner/Getty Images A family sit outside and share food by torchlight, in the Harare suburb of Chitungwiza where electricity is only provided for a few hours, usually after around 9pm Mary Turner/Getty Images People are illuminated by car headlights as they walk in the darkness in Chitungwiza. The country's power shortages are believed to be due to a lack of water in the Kariba Dam which supplies most of the country with power, but also mismanagement by the authorities. Mary Turner/Getty Images An Apostolic Christian family are caught in the beams of car headlights as they walk home from their religious service in Chitungwiza. Mary Turner/Getty Images Young boys play pool by torchlight in the gathering darkness in Chitungwiza. The boys cover the pockets with their hands so that they do not actually pot the balls, because they have no money to begin the game again. Mary Turner/Getty Images Bottles of water are stockpiled by Margaret Jack and her family to get them through the week as there is no running water available except at the weekend, in the town of Chitungwiza Mary Turner/Getty Images
Residents walk through the busy flats which comprise part of Mbare, the township on the outskirts of the capital Mary Turner/Getty Images Children play outside a vast block of flats in Mbare township, on the outskirts of the capital city of Harare Mary Turner/Getty Images Michael touches his daughter's cheek as they stand in the doorway of their home in Mbare, a township on the outskirts of Harare. Thousands of people live in Mbare, although large parts of the township were destroyed in 2005 when the government forcibly cleared slum areas across the country. The UN estimates that 700,000 people were made homeless as a result of the operation. Mary Turner/Getty Images Locally grown vegetables are on sale in the bustling market in Mbare. Much of this food goes to waste, as a the majority of Zimbabweans are able to grow such basic vegetables and staple foods on their own plots ensuring there is no demand for the immense supply. Meanwhile the country's shops are full of imported produce that most citizens cannot afford. Mary Turner/Getty Images Metalworkers craft old pieces of wire and machinery into new items that they hope they will be able to sell on the streets of Harare. Mary Turner/Getty Images Apostolic Christians conduct a religious service in a piece of open land in Harare. On Fridays and Sundays members can be seen conducting services in open fields. Some Zimbabweans view the faith as a cult that takes money from already impoverished people. Mary Turner/Getty Images Schoolgirls take part in a small carnival along the streets of Harare Mary Turner/Getty Images Two women sit in a railway waiting room in Harare, beneath the ubiquitous portrait of president Robert Mugabe Mary Turner/Getty Images
A wind-up torch handed out by the ruling Zanu PF party during their election campaign in 2013 lies on the floor of a home without any power in Bulawayo. The torches were handed out to help people in the long hours of darkness induced by power shortages in the country and such signs of heavy campaigning are still visible in the rural towns and villages of Zimbabwe's provinces. Mary Turner/Getty Images A piece of fabric printed with the face of President Robert Mugabe is used as curtains in Michael Judge's home in the developing town of Waterfalls in Zimbabwe. Items emblazoned with the president's face are regularly handed out by members of Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party to encourage love and respect for the leader who has ruled the country for over 30 years. Mary Turner/Getty Images People wait on the roadside for a lift into the town of Chimanimani. The majority of the rural population do not have cars and rely on lifts and community buses to transport them long distances. A Zanu-PF T-shirt carrying the slogan 'Indigenise, Empower, Develop and Employ' is seen reflected on the right of the photograph. Mary Turner/Getty Images Children play outdoors after a Baptist church service in the developing township of Waterfalls Mary Turner/Getty Images Michael Judge carries his daughter Younis into the shed where he keeps chickens that he sells for US$5 in the developing town of Waterfalls. He buys the chicks for 90 cents but it costs him nearly US$50 each month to keep and feed the chickens, ensuring that he barely breaks even. Mary Turner/Getty Images Younis Judge stands in an outbuilding on her father's land that he hopes to convert into a 'tuck shop' selling small items to local people in Waterfalls. He is currently struggling to make any money from selling chickens and his shop will remain empty until he can afford to invest, a prospect which he says is unlikely for some time. Mary Turner/Getty Images Clarence and Previous, two young men who work in a Russian-owned diamond mine in the Chimanimani mountains during the day, smoke out a bees' nest at night to earn extra money Mary Turner/Getty Images A woman from the town of Chimanimani carries branches of a fallen tree to use as firewood in her home. Mary Turner/Getty Images Maud cleans her employer's house in Chimanimani. She is the only employee allowed into the home to 'minimise the risk of theft'. Her employer is a former tobacco farmer who lost all his property in Mugabe's land reforms. Mary Turner/Getty Images Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe, 92, is Africa's oldest leader and has been in charge for 36 years. He has indicated that he intends to stay in power for life, saying he will rule "until God says come.". He plans to contest the next election in 2018 aged 94, seeking his last five-year term under a new constitution that would see him through to 99.