FACT CHECK: Are Zimbabweans Selling Their Toes For Thousands Of Dollars?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims Zimbabweans are selling their severed toes due to the high cost of living.


Verdict: False

There is no evidence that Zimbabweans are selling their toes. The claim appears to have originated as a joke.

Fact Check:

Zimbabwe is currently in the midst of an economic crisis and facing a rapid devaluation of its currency in part because of a thriving black market, according to Reuters. The country’s national bank froze all lending in an effort to curtail illegal activity but its business chamber has warned the move could worsen the crisis, the outlet reported.

The Facebook post, shared over 3,700 times, claims Zimbabweans are now selling their toes for thousands of dollars. The first image of the post features someone with what appears to be clippers preparing to cut one of their toes off. The second photo shows the same foot with a bandage.

“In Zimbabwe,people have started selling their toes for thousands of dollars due to high cost of living. Each toe goes for around 20000$-40000$ depending on size,” reads the Facebook post’s caption, which cites Uganda-based news outlet FreshTV as its source.

There is no evidence to corroborate the post’s claims. Check Your Fact found no credible news reports suggesting citizens of the country were amputating any body parts for money. (RELATED: Did The South African Transportation Minister Say,, ‘Potholes Produce Very Good Drivers’?)

BBC News reported the viral claim is a ruse that started with tongue-in-cheek blog posts on the Zimbabwe-based Gambakwe blog. The posts alleged such a trade-in system was taking place at the Ximex mall in Zimbabwe, according to BBC News. The Zimbabwe-based news outlet the DailyNews likewise described the reports as “sick jokes.”

“We did research on this issue and we realized it is false,” Zimbabwe Deputy Minister of Information Kindness Paradza told The Herald. “These are social media reports aimed at tarnishing the image of the country.”

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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