The Rhodesia Herald,
January 1, 1966
RHODESIANS appear to be as pleasure-bent as usual, despite petrol rationing.
A survey of cinemas, drive-in theatres, nightclubs, hotels and restaurants in Salisbury shows no change in attendances during the week.
The managers of two of the city’s nightclubs said that there had been no noticeable drop in the number of customers since petrol rationing was introduced.
One of them said it was difficult to judge now because it was the festive season.
He was sure there would be noticeable differences in attendances next week.
The other manager said he expected business to be affected in January.
“Everyone had a fling during last week,” he said.
He attributed this to the festive season and the “reasonable” petrol ration.
A hotel manager said there would be a definite drop in the number of after-work sundowner customers from now on.
Soon after petrol rationing was introduced, a number of people rode to the hotel in bicycles and parked them on the veranda.
“People thought it a terrific joke,” she said.
The manager of a club in Union Avenue said that the same number of the “younger set” came along nightly.
He did not think there would be any real change this month.
Attendances at an Oriental restaurant had been slightly down this week, according to the manager.
But there had been the usual Christmas and New Year business.
Cinema managers said as long as good films were being shown, people would attend.
Meanwhile, New Year liquor sales followed a similar pattern to previous years, according to a number of Salisbury supermarkets and bottle stores.
Beer sales increased, while there was less demand for whisky.
Sales for New Year were described by most store managers as “quieter than for Christmas”, but this was the normal trend.
Whisky was still selling well, but not as fast as last year, probably because of its increased price.
LESSONS FOR TODAY
There is nothing new under the sun. Zimbabwe is currently facing serious challenges procuring fuel, that has affected various sectors of the economy. The cycle has repeated itself several times, dating back to the Smith regime, soon after the declaration of UDI. In 1966, after the imposition of sanctions, Rhodesia had to ration fuel, despite the fact that there were few vehicles on the roads.
Challenges or no challenges, the festive mood has lived to its billing: it’s a season of merrymaking and joy. People go the extra mile to ensure they enjoy themselves during the festive season, with the little that they have.
When there are trials, there is need to think outside the box, and be innovative. Bicycles and other less costly means of transportation remain an option today — not just for the poor.