At the Tin Cup restaurant round the back of the Chisipite Shopping Centre, white, sun-baked former farmers gather for a lunch of barbecued ribs and cold Castle lagers, and to talk about the good old days.
The owner, Leith Bray, was run off his Tengwe farm in 2002 by a baying mob intent on killing him, but he now laughs that off as part of life’s rich tapestry and gets on with his new career as a restaurant proprietor. “That’s what Zimbabweans do – they make a plan,” says Bray.
Half a mile away along Enterprise Road, past the desperate, ragged street-corner vendors selling everything from mobile phone airtime for nickel-and-dime commissions to rhinos and elephants made from beer cans, a more contemporary crowd is dining on fusion cuisine and South African chardonnays in four acres of lush, beautifully landscaped gardens. Amanzi Restaurant is owned by Andrew and Julia Mama, a gregarious Nigerian-British couple who fled sectarian violence in Nigeria to settle in what they regard as a relatively peaceful African country. Amanzi draws in the diplomats, NGOs, aid workers and visiting European doctors, all of whom give the Zimbabwean capital a veneer of prosperity and normality.