Not so long ago Harare’s premier street 1st Street was home to street theatre where different groups fiercely competed for attention from passersby, but that phenomenon is gone having replaced by let us call them street preachers.
Under the scorching sun with pitched voices man clad in suits clenching bibles are now a daily feature in the country.
In a country where 80 percent of the populace is unemployed the message from street preachers is usually that of deliverance towards a much sought job.
While many follow the preachers fervently others that I bumped into said they have nothing better today or at least have no food to eat.
Thus listening to the street preachers is an alternative lunch albeit of the soul for a cash strapped populace.
Recently I chose to skip lunch, took a stroll down 1st street and watched people following sermons delivered by sweating man and women.
Last week I counted at least five preachers who apart from preaching also prophesised and casted out demons.
I sometimes wonder if we suddenly have more churches than is necessary or it is just that we are charged with religious verve that it has spilled to the streets where thieves once ruled supreme.
But as I listened to one youthful preacher my heart broke—I was not touched by his sermons but rather by his youthfulness.
Articulate in English and smartly dressed and apparently streetwise the young man, barely 25, could pass for anything but preacher.
I reasoned why the guy was not at work and the answer was an obvious one—there is just no work around.
Without work many people are seeking the heaven rewards which read by some promises riches after life.
Street preachers have taken the country by storm and for a long time we will have them until at least there are replaced by another phenomenon along the fast lane we call 1st street in Harare.