Until its recent digitisation, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) was one of the last remaining manual, call-over stock exchanges in the world. It was a contradictory and anachronistic place in which, each day for forty-five minutes, twenty traders haggled across wooden desks, dealing mainly in agricultural and mineral commodities. Although the ZSE seemed to have been left behind by the rest of the world, some argue that its traders are the unsung heroes of the Zimbabwean economy and can be credited with keeping things afloat during the extraordinary years of hyperinflation.
Lisa King photographed at the ZSE from 2011 to 2014. Her project is a reflection on the physical and symbolic space that it occupied in Zimbabwe, and a portrait of the people who participated in its rare form of exchange. Her photographs, and Sean Christie’s incisive essay, suggest that the rise and fall of the stock exchange is indicative of the transformations in the country’s sociopolitical landscape, and of the resourcefulness and resilience of the traders and Zimbabweans in general.
Lisa King was born in Harare and graduated from the University of Cape Town with a BA in Film, Visual and Media Studies. In 2012 she participated in the NOOR master class and the Photography and Narrative class at the Salzburg International Academy of Fine Arts. In 2013 the independent British publisher, Oodee, included her project Ghanzi in their POV series. She is completing her MA at the Wits School of Arts. Sometimes I make money one day of the week was named Juror’s Pick in the 2014 Daylight Photo Awards.
Zimbabwe-born Sean Christie has been published in numerous publications, including the Mail & Guardian, African Cities Reader and Neue Rundschau. He received the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa Fellowship in Foreign Policy in 2011, and his work has been recognised withthe Thelma Tyfield Prize for Fiction (2001) and the Caxton Press Writer of the Year Award (2010). He was a finalist in the 2014 CNN African Journalist of the Year Awards.
Featured in the latest edition of Acumen Magazine, which is the official publication of GIBS and the University of Pretoria. See below link to the online version – the feature begins on page 76.