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Film: Protest Theatre In Zimbabwe

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Beginning in the late nineties, Zimbabwe has been mired in an inferno of political repression and unremitting economic hardship. Over the last decade or so an estimated 3 million people, a quarter of the country’s population, have fled the troubled nation’s borders to settle in neighbouring states or abroad. For the many that stayed behind it has been a time of quiet despair; of gritting teeth and holding onto the ledge.

Robert Mugabe, the country’s autocratic leader since Independence from white-settler colonialism in 1980, has over the years systematically clamped down the space where voices of dissent – artistic, political and intellectual – can articulate themselves.  In Staging Protest, a forthcoming documentary on protest theatre in Zimbabwe, first-time filmmakers Imraan Jeeva and Vinayak Bhardwaj look at how theatre is used to confront truths that have largely remained unspoken for fear of retribution.

The playwrights, actors and directors of these politically charged plays risk limbs and jail time but in order to understand the motivation why; the words of holocaust survivor and writer Primo Levi may hold the answer: “for these survivors” he says, “remembering is a duty. They do not want to forget, and above all they do not want the world to forget, because they understand that their experiences were not meaningless.”

Photo by Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

Dying Lagoons Reveal Mexico’s Environmental Racism

In the heart of a traditionally Black and Indigenous use area in Southwest Mexico, decades of environmental destruction now threatens the existence of these communities.

On an early morning in September 2017, in a little fishing village in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, called Zapotalito, thousands of dead fish floated on the surface of the Chacahua-Pastoría lagoons. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which rattled Mexico City on September 19, was felt as far down as Zapotalito, and the very next morning, its Black, Indigenous and poor Mestizo residents, who depend on the area's handful of lagoons for food and commerce, woke up to an awful smell and that terrible scene of floating fish.

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