Zimbabweans took a deep breath this week and found a few dollars to welcome the New Year in style.
Bars did good trade and many at least partied in the streets, while churches attracted good turn-outs in their New Year services.
All ages were represented, at all areas where festivities took place.
Many people said while 2019 was generally a difficult year for them, there was every reason to celebrate life and hope that 2020 will bring success, at least some catch-up on incomes and stable prices.
As late as 10.30pm on New Year’s Eve, some fast foods outlets that usually close early were still open with good business as people enjoyed eating out.
Most roads, both in central Harare and in high density areas, were teeming with vehicles as people drove up and down either to get to the place of merrymaking or a church, or to make final preparations for celebrations.
The stretch from Leopold Takawira Street, along Jason Moyo Avenue in Harare was almost unnavigable as vehicles were using the only really easy western exit from the city centre.
Even Chinhoyi Street, off Samora Machel Avenue, was congested late into the night.
In Warren Park, Kuwadzana 2, Kuwadzana 7 and Dzivaresekwa, hundreds of people thronged the streets, mixing and mingling with friends and relatives waiting for the New Year.
A street in Dzivaresekwa 1 called Pasipanodya is frequented all day and night by residents doing all manner of activities, but on December 31, human traffic reached new highs.
It was difficult to drive, especially as some young men and women intoxicated by illicit brews struggled to walk out of the road.
Zindoga Shopping Centre in Waterfalls, Harare, was also teeming with revellers, imbibing all types of beverages.
When The Herald visited the popular shopping centre well known for braaing, revellers were in full party mood, dancing to different music blazing from car radios.
At the same time, gospel artistes were belting out their music from Walter Magaya’s PHD Ministries across the road.
Mr Mike Haruzivi, who runs a small business at Zindoga, said business was brisk.
“I am happy I sold most of my stock,” he said. “What a way to usher in the New Year? I hope this is the beginning of better fortunes.”
At Mashwede Village along High Glen Road, in Glen View, Harare, and at Chikwanha Shopping Centre in Chitungwiza, business was thriving, driven by huge numbers of people.
A United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean music promoter, King Alfred, ushered residents into the New Year with a memorable street party at Budiriro Flats car park.
In Harare’s CBD, hundreds of people waiting for the New Year were treated to a scintillating fireworks display at Meikles Hotel, which illuminated the night sky, and was seen from several kilometres.
As usual, a few hundred families assembled in the surrounding blocks in their cars to enjoy the show. Popular nightspots like Club Eclipse were full to the brim as party goers partied into the wee hours.
Christians also converged at different churches for all night and half night prayers, popularly known as “cross-over nights”.
Notable gatherings were at the United Family International Church (UFIC) in Chitungwiza, where thousands of people attended a service conducted by founder Emmanuel Makandiwa.
The service was also graced by Harare Mayor Herbert Gomba.
Gospel artistes such as Michael Mahendere, Psalmist Hubert C, ZimPraise and Jonah Chivasa entertained the UFIC congregants.
Makandiwa said 2020 was the Year of Excellence, a theme emanating from Daniel 6vs 3.
At PHD Ministries, Magaya said 2020 was the Year of Bumper Harvest (Luke 8:22-25).
The United Methodist Church in Waterfalls also hosted an interdenominational event.
Goodness and Mercy Ministries was packed to the rafters as congregants sought to enter the New Year with God’s covering.
Gospel musicians Agartha Murudzwa, Bethany Pasinawako-Ngolomi and Vabati VaJesu, entertained the people.
Church founder Tapiwa Freddy said 2020 was the Year of “Unlikely Candidates”, whereby he was saying those who felt they were undeserving to attain certain things in life, will get them through the grace of God.
At Glad Tidings Fellowship in Dzivaresekwa, Pastor George Kaseke said in the next decade, citizens were going to achieve greater things that people can only imagine.
In Victoria Falls, party goers were spoiled for choice as a number of musical shows were on offer across town.
The main attraction was the Carnival at Victoria Falls Primary School where revellers danced throughout the night despite light showers. Across town at Chinotimba Stadium was the Mapopoma Festival’s ubuntu concert which, however, was downgraded to a low event due to poor turnout.
Other revellers attended the all night-party launch of Club Ace, while others went to Comfort Pub and Grill, and the Invuvu Bar.
In Kadoma, fun lovers gathered at Odyssey where musicians Enzo Ishall, Freeman and Seh Calaz, were playing. Others were at Cotton Country Inn where famous Kadoma DJ Limoluv had an old school session.
In Kariba, Nyaminyami FM ushered people into the New Year with a musical show that attracted many revellers.
Artistes like Jah Signal, Progress Chipfumo and Juntal took turns to entertain revellers, who were also treated to a rare display of fireworks.
In Beitbridge, residents gathered at Pagomba Cafe. The town was a sea of vehicles, both local and foreign registered, with people celebrating the coming in of 2020.
Business centres including Lutumba, Bhangale, Malala, Nuli and Zezani where a hive of activity as people were in a partying mood.
Shops in the border town ran out of fire crackers, chicken and beef.
In Masvingo, hundreds of people thronged entertainment centres like open air arenas and night clubs to celebrate New Year.
Worshippers from different denominations also joined the New Year’s eve jamboree by attending all-night church prayers.
Major supermarkets were busy into the evening, selling the do-it-yourself party drink and food as those on a budget prepared to enter New Year in high spirits.