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Updated: What is Happening in Zimbabwe?

Zimbabwe is almost certainly going through a coup right now.

We are updating this post as news comes in.

Update 10:20 PM EST:

Soldiers from the Zimbabwean armed forces have been deployed across Harare and taken over the national broadcaster. In a contradictory announcement, the army claims that this is not a military takeover and that Mugabe and his family is safe. None of this has been verified as of this time.

Here are the army representatives on ZBC:

The troop deployment comes after the Zanu-PF accused General Constantino Chiwenga of "treasonable conduct" earlier today. There have also been reports of heavy artillery fire in Harare's northern suburbs and at least one news agency is reporting gunfire close to Mugabe's private residence.

Update 9:25 PM EST: According to Pindula News Zimbabwean Defense Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga just appeared on ZBC, the national broadcaster. As reported by Pindula:

In his address ZDF Commander General Constantino Chiwenga says that it is not a military takeover. He urges soldiers on leave to report to their barracks with immediate effect. Chiwenga also said that President Robert Mugabe and his family's safety is assured but they are targeting "criminals around him". He urged Zimbabweans to remain calm and warned that any form of violence will be dealt with accordingly.

Update 9:17 PM EST: Reuters and the BBC are reporting that Zimbabwean soldiers have been deployed across Harare and taken over the national broadcaster in what is looking more and more like a full-blown coup. This comes after the Zanu-PF accused General Constantino Chiwenga of "treasonable conduct" earlier today. There are also reports of heavy artillery fire in Harare's northern suburbs and at least one news agency is reporting gunfire close to Mugabe's private residence.

According to ZBC staff reached by Reuters, the were manhandled when soldiers occupied the premises early in the early morning hours. The US Embassy in Zimbabwe has also announced that they will be closed to the public Nover 15, due to "ongoing uncertainty."



Previously:

Zimbabwean social media was ablaze this morning with images of tanks and other military vehicles headed in the direction of Harare. This comes a day after the head of the army, General Constantino Chiwenga, announced he would step in to end a purge of supporters of former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

"The current purging which is clearly targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith," Chiwenga announced at army HQ yesterday. As reported in News24 he went on to release a statement saying "We must remind those behind the current treacherous shenanigans that when it comes to matters of protecting our revolution, the military will not hesitate to step in."

VP Mnangagwa was ousted last week in a move widely believed meant to help Grace Mugabe's chances of succeeding her nonagerian husband, President Robert Mugabe. After his sacking, Mnangagwa left for South Africa citing threats on his life. He released a statement to the press saying that he would return to lead the party:

This is now a party controlled by undisciplined, egotistical and self-serving minnows who derive their power not from the people and party but from only two individuals in the form of the First Family who have now privatized and commercialized our beloved institution.

Like any event in progress, what's being shared is likely full of inaccuracies and even intentional misdirection but it's quite clear that troop movements are indeed happening. Stay tuned for updates.


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Photo by Jekesai Njikizana

Zimbabwean Author Tsitsi Dangarembga Found Guilty of Instigating Violence

The renowned novelist was given a suspended prison sentence for her role in staging a peaceful civil rights protest.

Celebrated Zimbabwean author, award-winning film maker, and cultural activist Tsitsi Dangarembga has been given a suspended prison sentence after she was found guilty for inciting violence by the masses after she planned a peaceful protests to demand political reform. Dangarembga, who is also an activist, was initially arrested in 2020.


In 2020 Dangarembga, along with another activist, Julie Barnes, got arrested while holding placards calling on the government to reform some of it's policies and release investigative journalist Hopewell Chin'ono, who was also accused of inciting violence for speaking out against the Zimbabwean government. In addition to receiving a suspended sentence, Dangarembga and Barnes were each charged 70,000 Zimbabwean dollars, which is an equivalent of $217.39 USD.

Dangarembga's six-month jail term was suspended for the next five years on the condition that she would not repeat what happened. Since news of the event broke, PEN International has since shared a statement condemning the actions, and calling the conviction a "mockery of justice." In 2021, Dangarembga was awarded the PEN Pinter Prize by English PEN. In the same year, Dangarembga, became the first Black woman to win the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade.

Since news of the verdict broke, several social media users also went online to share their thoughts on the recent development, with many supporting Dangarembga, and others agreeing with the verdict.

Last month, we spoke to Dangarembga about this case and her work. She told us:

"I think the state targets dissenting voices. Some of those dissenting voices are women’s voices... I think the effect of taking action against women is particularly shocking because women’s dissident voices are usually not violent. Peaceful protest is a constitutional right in Zimbabwe.”

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In Her Own Words: Prudence Mabhena's Experience in Shark Infested Hollywood

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Listen to Burna Boy Feature On Popcaan's New Song 'Aboboyaa'


Renowned dancehall artist Popcaan has released his album Great Is He, via OVO Sound, and it features none other than Burna Boy.


Jamaica's Popcaanhas shared his anticipated album Great Is He, and the body of work features Nigerian superstar Burna Boy on the track "Aboboyaa."

The album showcases the Jamaican musical giant's signature dancehall sound, while also exploring the depth of genre's versatility. In addition to featuring Burna Boy, Great Is He includes features from OVO Sound's boss Drake, Jamaica's Chronic Law, and Toni-Ann Singh, among others.

On "Aboboyaa," the two musical powerhouses merge their signature rhythmic melodies and intonations in a way that is both compelling to listen to on the first listen, and in turn inspires a second and third listen.

Ever since he released his debut album in 2014, Popcaan has become an international dancehall sensation, and his repertoire includes a list of impressive features.

His album Forever, which was released in 2018, debuted at number two on Billboard’s Top Reggae Albums. Commercially, Popcaan has made a mark on the music scene too. His last project FIXTAPE — which included “Twist & Turn,” the mesmerizing dancehall hit featuring Drake and PARTYNEXTDOOR — has garnered over 191 million streams and continues to receive accolades from outlets like Pitchfork, who described the body of work as “a testament to his place at the forefront of the genre.”

"Aboboyaa" is not Popcaan's first international collaboration. In the past, the Jamaican icon has worked with several international music acts including Davido, Jamie xx, Young Thug, Gorillaz, Kano, Jorja Smith and a host of others. He also founded Jamaica’s annual Unruly Festwhich brings stars across the globe to experience Jamaican culture.

Listen to "Aboboyaa" featuring Burna Boy below.

Listen to Popcaan and Burna Boy's "Aboboyaa"

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Photo: Nabil Elderkin.

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Every Friday, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column, Songs You Need to Hear. Here's our round-up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks.

If you like these music lists, you can also check out our Best Songs of the Month columns following Nigerian, Ghanaian, East African and South African music. If you missed them, check out our music lists for the Best of 2022 here.

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