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Zimbabwean Women Shut Down Bulawayo Over the Weekend: #BeatThePot in Photos

Powerful photos from the women-led #BeatThePot protest campaign in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, MDC-T, led an all-women #BeatThePot protest on Saturday demanding President Robert Mugabe to resign from the post as the country’s socio-economic crisis worsens. Approximately 2000 protesters, led by MDC-T deputy president, Thokozani Khupe, took to the streets.


Starting the march with women beating their empty pots singing revolutionary songs, and thereafter spiraling into anti-Mugabe chants as they entered the streets, the protest brought business in the country’s second largest city to a brief hault.

Speaking to Okayafrica, Khupe said that women are beating the pot because it is empty and people have nothing to cook in their homes due to economic hardship. They’re reaching out for international intervention as the situation has become unbearable.

“We are hungry, we need money and food, our children are not employed so we are beating the pots. Maybe they will hear us, we have nothing to cook in them,” an elderly woman said in the local Ndebele language.

Khupe brought up the threat of more protests by women, citing the country’s high unemployment rate and corruption as a reason for further protests.

Armed with their pots and cooking utensils, women of Bulawayo told Mugabe’s government that enough is enough. Some women held dolls to symbolise the custody of the children that they're struggling to take care of with regard to food, education and health issues. Some claim that the children have reached adulthood (18 years of age) but are still living off their mothers due to high unemployment. Despite heavy police presence, it was a peaceful demonstration against hunger and poverty.

Friday 15 July, the High Court in Bulawayo granted MDC-T the right to hold the protest, after police, citing issues of possible violence, declined.

Last week, Zimbabweans brought business to a standstill after they heeded a stayaway call organised by #ThisFlag and other pressure groups against corruption and the economic meltdown facing the country. Roads leading to Bulawayo were barricaded by burning tyres and huge boulders before anti-riot police indiscriminately cracked on protesters.

#BeatThePot protest on 16 July 2016, at the City Hall in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Photo by Zinyange Auntony.

#BeatThePot protest on 16 July 2016, at the City Hall in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Photo by Zinyange Auntony.

#BeatThePot protest on 16 July 2016, at the City Hall in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Photo by Zinyange Auntony.

#BeatThePot protest on 16 July 2016, at the City Hall in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Photo by Zinyange Auntony.

#BeatThePot protest on 16 July 2016, at the City Hall in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Photo by Zinyange Auntony.

#BeatThePot protest on 16 July 2016, at the City Hall in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Photo by Zinyange Auntony.

#BeatThePot protest on 16 July 2016, at the City Hall in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Photo by Zinyange Auntony.

#BeatThePot protest on 16 July 2016, at the City Hall in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Photo by Zinyange Auntony.

#BeatThePot protest on 16 July 2016, at the City Hall in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Photo by Zinyange Auntony.

#BeatThePot protest on 16 July 2016, at the City Hall in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Photo by Zinyange Auntony.

#BeatThePot protest on 16 July 2016, at the City Hall in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Photo by Zinyange Auntony.

#BeatThePot protest on 16 July 2016, at the City Hall in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Photo by Zinyange Auntony.

Zinyange Auntony is a freelance Zimbabwean photojournalist with growing interest in less reported stories. He's currently studying Peace and Conflict Resolution studies. You can keep up with him on Instagram at @zinyange.

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