Suddenly the flashy cars and designer outfits were gone. And the streets they used to frequent have become quieter. Even the street vendors, who used to sell everything from clothes to beer, are left without of business.
But despite their fall, foreign currency money traders are determined to pick themselves up they miss the days when they ruled Harare.
A visit this week to the Roadport bus termini in Harare revealed the diehards, returning after a lull and, this time, with new tricks.
They are now practising what is commonly known in Zimbabwe as cross rate.
At the beginning of the year, the rand was being changed one US dollar to one
South African rand. But with the fall of the US dollar, an opportunity has arisen for the money-changers.
Because many Zimbabweans now earn in US dollars, but still travel for shopping to South Africa, they need to change the US dollars into rand.
And the dealers are cashing in, literally.
A female trader at the Roadport told The Zimbabwean that this new money-changing trick in town has given them a lifeline.
Its not as brisk as it used to be, but we can at least buy food for the family, said the trader. She said finding customers wasnt a problem because the rates in South African banks were lower than those offered by the money-changers.
While she was talking to our reporter, the woman was approached by a man with US$10,000 to change.
These are the people who give us business, she said. If we can have more of such people, then we are back in business.
Asked if they still attract the attention of the police like before, sje replied: Yes, they come, but now we just give them a dollar or even nothing because we believe we are not doing anything illegal.Post published in: Economy