Clothing factories turned into churches

As clothing companies continue to close down in a struggling economy, Pentecostal churches are moving into the abandoned factories and turning them into places of worship.

Bulawayo was once a hub of economic activity.
Bulawayo was once a hub of economic activity.

Bulawayo was once Zimba-bwe’s industrial hub but has been reduced to a shell as companies close up shop and cheap imports flood the market.

Former textile manufacturers, Suntosha Leisure Wear, Lancaster, Harren Manufactu-ring, Ascot, Belmor Fashions, Cinderella, Rusglen Fashions, True Value and Label Fashion have all gone, leaving thousands of workers jobless.

The sector lost 27,000 jobs in the last 10 years, leaving a mere 8,000 on the factory floor. A recent survey carried out by The Zimbabwean shows that some of the clothing firms like Lancaster, Adams fashions, Blazen Designs and Corporate Wear have been taken over by Pentecostal churches.

“While worshipping is a good thing, it is sad that most of our factories are not operational,” said Kezilina Ndlovu , the deputy secretary general of the National Union of the Clothing Industry.

Ndlovu said the few companies that were still open were struggling and working far-below their normal capacity.

He said tradition dictated that during the last quarter of the year, compani-es in the clothing industry would employ more workers but this year, it has not been the case.

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