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Behind Mugabe's Iron Curtain

Golidem has seen a lot in her 94 years. Sitting on the floor of her hut, surrounded by a few meagre possessions and cradling her one-month old great grandson Nkosina lovingly in her arms, she talks eloquently of another time in Zimbabwe, a time when the country was a beacon of hope across Africa.

Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe is characterised by poverty, corruption, disease and oppression but the country's people remain resilient and proud. Improvements to the food supply, an economy stabilised by the US dollar and international investment have given hope that the darkest days may have passed. But scratch the surface and the mighty 'house of stone' starts to resemble a mud hut. In June 2010, Tearfund estimated that 1.6 million Zimbabweans faced food shortages, 1.3 million were living with HIV and 1.8 million children had been orphaned. Behind the economic and humanitarian crises, everyday life continues to be hard for the orphans, grandparents, farm workers and pastors. Like Golidem, they toil unseen by the rest of the world, quietly and patiently surviving the grind and hoping for better days ahead.

Kieran Dodds travelled to Zimbabwe with Tearfund. His work received First Prize in the Photo Essay category of the 2010 Press Photographer's Year awards.
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