Zimbabwe hit by nationwide blackout

The lights went out around 8pm last night with some parts of Harare still without power this morning.

Picture: Free Images.

HARARE - On the eve of Zimbabwe hosting a Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit and a major international arts festival, the country has been hit by nationwide a massive blackout.

The lights went out around 8pm last night, and stayed off until just a few hours ago.

The authorities are stressing that this was a regional problem that didn't just affect Zimbabwe.

Some parts of the capital Harare were still without power this morning.

Just before 8pm last night state televisions and radio stations went off air in a cut that could be the worst timed.

Harare is currently hosting a SADC summit on industrialisation with ten heads of state due to arrive today.

The popular Harare festival of the arts is also due to begin a week-long programme of events with hundreds of foreign artists and fans already in the country.

Meanwhile, reports from Zimbabwe said the SADC summit will discuss the recent xenophobic violence in South Africa.

While the xenophobic violence isn't on the main agenda of this summit, an official in Zimbabwe's foreign affairs ministry has told the Sunday Mail that it is likely to be discussed.

Permanent Secretary Joey Bimha said SADC heads of state who won't be meeting until Wednesday may well come up with a resolution on the issue.

The violence is still making headlines in Zimbabwe.

The Sunday Mail carried a front-page report on a Zimbabwean man who had part of his buttocks sliced off in Durban in early April in an attack that Zimbabwe's ambassador to South Africa believes was linked to xenophobia.