Photo by Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP.

Disgruntled Zimbabwean civil servants march while carrying protest banners rejecting current salary payments in the local currency and demanded to be paid in United States Dollars so they can a meet their basic cost of living in Harare, on November 6, 2019.

#ZimbabweanLivesMatter: Here are Their Personal Stories

We highlight the experiences of 10 Zimbabweans impacted by the ongoing unrest in the country and the significance of the Zimbabwean Lives Matter movement on their lives.

Since July, there have been scenes of chaos in Zimbabwe's capital Harare and in other regions across the country as police officers assault and arrest protesting citizens. Long queues outside of supermarkets are common as people attempt to buy food they can no longer afford. The homes of journalists, opposition leaders and anyone who criticizes the government are being ransacked. The mere threat of reprisals for those who dare to mobilise and stage demonstrations is enough to keep many holed up in their homes.

Over the past few months, Zimbabwe has been embroiled in anti-government protests both online and on the ground in an attempt to raise awareness about human rights violations and media censorship at the hands of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government. The celebrations of 2017 that followed after longtime President Robert Mugabe stepped down, and the hope that permeated the air at the time, seem like a distant memory.

From mass arrests and detainments to documented instances of police intimidation and brutality, the online movement Zimbabwean Lives Matter has and continues to shine a light on the volatile socio-political and economic troubles of Zimbabwe. And while the government insists there is no national crisis, every day the rest of the world learns that this is untrue.

And so OkayAfrica asked Zimbabweans both in the country and the diaspora to share their personal stories with us. These are stories illustrating the complex realities of real people and their fears, frustrations, suffering, and the sliver of hope they continue to cling to in the hopes of tangible change for their country.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Names have been kept anonymous where requested.

Tendai, Student, 21

MDD, Student, 29

David Orpen, Software Engineer, 36

Anonymous, Engineer, 27

MDM, Self-employed, 56

Anonymous, Lawyer, 27

Anonymous, Unemployed, 41

Nhari Unendoro, Civil Servant, 33

Robert Jones, Digital Marketer, 32

Jongumuzi Lobati, Graphic Designer, 36


Tendai, Student, 21

Are you currently in Zimbabwe or the diaspora? For how long have you been there?

I've been in Zimbabwe my whole life.

How would you personally describe the ongoing unrest in Zimbabwe right now?

I would describe it as an escalation of human rights violations in the form of abductions, torture and lawfare whereby dissenting voices are detained for months using bogus charges as punishment for speaking out. There has been an escalation in corruption too.

Would you say that you are afraid for your life or livelihood or that or your family and friends? If so, why exactly?

I would say I am afraid for both my life and livelihood as well as that of my relatives because the economy is in a freefall. Civil servants now get about 40 USD per month and hospitals are closed during this pandemic because doctors and nurses are on strike. The only way out is to call for the resignation of this government as it has all the levers of power but no intention to fix things. However, if you call for this, you risk being kidnapped, tortured and raped (if you are a woman). We are between a rock and a hard place. If you get sick in Zimbabwe, you die even if it's something minor and this is what the normal citizen is facing.

Do you feel that the online movement #ZimbabweanLives Matter has helped the situation in Zimbabwe in any way? If so, how? If not, why?

I think it has not helped the situation as of yet because the authorities continue to persecute critics. However, it was never meant to be a solution to our problems. It was meant to get the world's attention so as to pressure the relevant international organisations (SADC, AU, UN, UNSC) to intervene or elicit unilateral action from powerful nations like neighbouring South Africa. So far, we haven't gotten the forceful action we were looking for but if it is sustained and intensified, the campaign can be the first step in resolving the decades-old crisis in our country.

What has been your connection to the protests if any?

I haven't had any connections to the protests so far.

What has changed in Zimbabwe under President Emmerson Mnangagwa compared to the Mugabe era?

Nothing has changed in terms of government action. The spotlighting of heinous crimes on social media is the only change that has occured but nothing is happening which hasn't happened before. Abductions, the killing of opposition members, the detention of opposition figures, nepotism in government, hyperinflation and grand corruption have always existed in Zimbabwe since independence.

Mr Mnangagwa is carrying on his party's traditions. Zanu-PF is irredeemable and incapable of any form of reform because they are all compromised. They have committed serious crimes since the Mugabe administration so they themselves can never stop corruption in Zimbabwe. They are the problem and are used to acting with impunity.

What do you want the rest of the world to know about the plight of Zimbabweans?

I want the rest of the world to know that Zimbabweans are suffering and in need of their help to amplify #ZimbabweanLivesMatter until it reaches the right desk so that we can get help. The world helped free us from white minority rule and so we call upon it again to liberate us from the liberators themselves. Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.

What changes do you want to see take place for Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans?

I would like to see electoral reforms so that for the first time in history, the Zimbabwean people get to choose their leader without any fear of reprisals. Additionally, institutional reforms so that the presidency is never allowed to capture the two other branches of government. I also want to see economic reforms so that Zimbabweans rise out of poverty and get to enjoy a life of dignity.

MDD, Student, 29

How would you personally describe the ongoing unrest in Zimbabwe right now?

The unrest and dissatisfaction has always been there. What is beautiful is seeing people speaking out i.e. the general populace, activists, the church, politicians and civic society. People are speaking in one voice..united under the #Zimbabwean Lives Matter banner.

How have you, your family or friends been affected or by the unrest in Zimbabwe?

Politically, [I have been affected] as a supporter of the opposition. I have witnessed consistent electoral irregularities. Currently elected MPs are being recalled from parliament and replaced by individuals aligned to the ruling party. Economically, my family income and savings have been eroded.

Would you say that you are afraid for your life or livelihood or that or your family and friends? If so, why exactly?

Yes. In certain cases you have to hide your identity before speaking out for fear that your family will be victimised.

Do you feel that the online movement #ZimbabweanLives Matter has helped the situation in Zimbabwe in any way? If so, how? If not, why?

Yes. The region, the continent and the world are now aware of what the people of Zimbabwe are going through. We have managed to destroy ZANU-PF's propaganda machinery and tell the world the correct narrative. People now know who ED Mnangagwa is.

What has been your connection to the protests if any?

I make sure to keep the awareness going through daily tweets and the sharing of information.

What has changed in Zimbabwe under President Emmerson Mnangagwa compared to the Mugabe era?

The state has become more militarised. ZANU-PF has captured the state i.e. courts, the army, electoral commission, parliament and police. Zimbabweans can't breathe.

What do you want the rest of the world to know about the plight of Zimbabweans?

The ZANU-PF government is corrupt, murderous, repressive and predatory. Democractic means such as elections and courts are now captured by the party. Activist activity in some cases leads to torture, arrest or murder. We need regional help.

What changes do you want to see take place for Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans?

[I want to see] the opening up of the democratic space and a return to constitutionalism, the demilitarisation of the country and free and fair elections.

David Orpen, Software Engineer, 36

Are you currently in Zimbabwe or the diaspora? For how long have you been there?

[I have been in the] diaspora since 2004, about 17 Years or so.

How would you personally describe the ongoing unrest in Zimbabwe right now?

ZANU-PF is harshly cracking down on peaceful protests engendered by rightful indignation over the state of the economy and the healthcare system. Only desperate people protest in Zimbabwe because ZANU-PF is so good at spreading fear, abducting, torturing and making people disappear. So the fact that there are widespread protests tells you that people are at their limit.

How have you, your family or friends been affected or by the unrest in Zimbabwe?

A friend was abducted a few years ago and she was arrested again more recently. She is brave. Other friends who live in Zimbabwe have seen their lives reduced to a struggle to survive. My parents' generation was hit hard and their children live abroad. My generation is scattered all over the world. It's not uncommon for a family to have siblings on 3 different continents. We make new lives for ourselves but we miss home.

"We make new lives for ourselves but we miss home."

Would you say that you are afraid for your life or livelihood or that or your family and friends? If so, why exactly?

I am afraid for my friends who live in Zimbabwe. Life in Zimbabwe is hard even at normal times. Now with the government cracking down and the coronavirus pandemic, hospitals and medical care are basically non-existent. The Zimbabwean dollar is collapsing again (predictably). The Zimbabwean government has no interest in improving things. Even without actively murdering people (which they do plenty anyway) they are killing them slowly. Preventable diseases. Starvation. Poverty. No one is immune except for the elites.

Do you feel that the online movement #ZimbabweanLives Matter has helped the situation in Zimbabwe in any way? If so, how? If not, why?

I just hope. All Zimbabweans hope. We hope that things can change. I want to help. This #ZimbabweanLivesMatter movement has made me aware that others feel similarly. We need to take action and organize. Sooner rather than later. We as Zimbabweans must stand up and fight for what was stolen from us.

What has been your connection to the protests if any?

Just Twitter. I know it's pathetic. I've also given money as well to a couple of organizations though.

What has changed in Zimbabwe under President Emmerson Mnangagwa compared to the Mugabe era?

Mnangagwa is not bothering to hide his evil nature. Mugabe was a clever politician. He, for example, would never have taken on the Church directly. Mnangagwa is more of a brute, more inclined to rule by force and less bothered to pretend that he rules for the benefit of all. Of course he goes through the motions.

What do you want the rest of the world to know about the plight of Zimbabweans?

To be honest, I am convinced that we as Zimbabweans need to solve our problems. I recently read a book (Gene Sharp's From Dictatorship to Democracy) about how non-violent defiance can bring down totalitarian regimes like that in Zimbabwe and I think we need to do that. It would be nice if more of the rest of the world would notice what an evil bunch ZANU-PF are, but yes, it kind of feels like it's time to go after those bastards and non-violently invite them to get stuffed.

What changes do you want to see take place for Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans?

I want to see a popular democratic movement taking root, which will through non-violent means, overthrow the corrupt and evil ZANU-PF regime and replace it with a truly democratic government. It's important that this is done by Zimbabweans so that we as a population know how to resist if ever another dictator with a bunch of hired guns comes along and tries to hold us hostage again.

Once the new government is in place, I want to see good and transparent governance. Keep the politicians where we can see them. Public accountability. There's a lot of bad stuff to undo. The court system has to be made independent again. The police and army have to be rehabilitated to serve the people. Infrastructure investments will need to be made. Industries like agriculture will need to be restarted. In the short term, food aid may be needed. The rule of law will need to be enforced, but not insensitively and not to serve the narrow interests of the few. Unjust laws will need to be revoked. We'll need to rebuild trust in the banking system. Zimbabweans now suffer from widespread poverty, we're gonna need to address that. Healthcare and education will also be priorities.

These are basic things that anyone can see as priorities for a post-ZANU-PF Zimbabwe. Currently with ZAN-PFU in power, there's no hope that they will take place. They'll talk about it but just like with the COVID stuff and then they'll steal anything that's not nailed down as soon as they think no-one's looking. Once Zimbabwe's back on its feet, I'll be celebrating.

Anonymous, Engineer, 27

Are you currently in Zimbabwe or the diaspora? For how long have you been there?

I have been living in the diaspora for 9 years.

How would you personally describe the ongoing unrest in Zimbabwe right now?

ZANU-PF has the entire country hostage. They control everything: banks, courts, police, military and transportation. There are rampant murders, disappearances and tortures.We can't protest without being shot at. We can't write without being arrested. We can't do even a one-man protest without being tortured and disappearing thereafter. We can't distribute organizing material without being arrested. We can't attend workshops on organizing without being arrested on arrival. All these sentences are not hyperbole––Itai Dzamara, Hope Chin'Ono, the MDC Trio, Maldives 7––we cannot breathe.

How have you, your family or friends been affected or by the unrest in Zimbabwe?

We all live in different countries. My dad died because we couldn't find meds in the hospital for him. My family in the diaspora sends almost a ton of groceries every month which serves as the main source of food for our family in Zimbabwe. As a child, my parents were intimidated and beaten by ZANU-PF youths.

Would you say that you are afraid for your life or livelihood or that or your family and friends? If so, why exactly?

Yes. Even tweets under my real name, I am afraid. The arm of the Zimbabwean intelligence is very long and they work with impunity. They have targeted my family before and they can get us and kill us very easily. Heroism is wonderful but many would agree that partial freedom is better than death.

"Heroism is wonderful but many would agree that partial freedom is better than death."

Do you feel that the online movement #ZimbabweanLives Matter has helped the situation in Zimbabwe in any way? If so, how? If not, why?

A little. I think it has raised awareness about the situation. But sadly, not enough to effect any change.

What has been your connection to the protests if any?

Online support.

What has changed in Zimbabwe under President Emmerson Mnangagwa compared to the Mugabe era?

More death, intimidation and disappearances. It feels like a never-ending nightmare.

What do you want the rest of the world to know about the plight of Zimbabweans?

We are not placid or waiting on a messiah. ZANU-PF has it's knee on our throat. Anyone who has tried any form of organizing (solo protest, sharing masks, meetings, mass protests) has been jailed, killed, tortured or has been arrested and put through a lengthy trial. We have had mass protests before and dead bodies ended up on the streets. If you protest in Zimbabwe, no-one is going to save you or your family when you die. There are no heroes' statues. You die. That's it.

What changes do you want to see take place for Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans?

I want to be free. I hate my nationality.

MDM, Self-employed, 56

Are you currently in Zimbabwe or the diaspora? For how long have you been there?

[I have been] in Zimbabwe since birth.

How would you personally describe the ongoing unrest in Zimbabwe right now?

It is exhausting and frustrating.

How have you, your family or friends been affected or by the unrest in Zimbabwe?

We are under a brutal military dictatorship aided and abetted by China. Elections are a sham. Citizens cannot enjoy their rights. The regime's grip on power is to protect ill gotten wealth. Corruption is rife at the highest level. Cartels have taken over key economic sectors. Day-to-day living is a nightmare due to the unavailability of basic needs such as water, electricity, transport and medicine.

Inflation is at +840 percent (official). Unemployment is +95 percent and at least 7 million people face starvation. Infrastructure has collapsed. Public health and education have collapsed. Teachers and nurses have been on a prolonged stay-away. The government blames everyone else but themselves for the crisis. Some family members and relatives have had to emigrate to escape the harsh economic conditions and oppression. These challenges are causing anxiety, stress and have psychological effects.

Would you say that you are afraid for your life or livelihood or that or your family and friends? If so, why exactly?

Yes. Public critics can be abducted, arrested, tortured, raped or murdered by the state agents with impunity.

Do you feel that the online movement #ZimbabweanLives Matter has helped the situation in Zimbabwe in any way? If so, how? If not, why?

Yes. The movement has provided the only safe platform available to register dissent and alert the world to the crises. The state media is heavily censored, it is not available for the opposition.

"The movement has provided the only safe platform available to register dissent and alert the world to the crisis."

What has been your connection to the protests if any?

None, it's just too risky.

What has changed in Zimbabwe under President Emmerson Mnangagwa compared to the Mugabe era?

The democratic space has been closed. Corruption has flourished. Impunity has worsened with abductions, torture, arrests and extra judicial killings continuing. The economy is haemorrhaging.

What do you want the rest of the world to know about the plight of Zimbabweans?

The world must adopt a more robust response and stop being diplomatic and nice to ZANU-PF. In constitutional democracies, citizens can replace failed governments by diplomatic processes. These processes have been shut down by the regime.

What changes do you want to see take place for Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans?

#ZanuPFMustGo for a complete overhaul of the governance systems.

Anonymous, Lawyer, 27

Are you currently in Zimbabwe or the diaspora? For how long have you been there?

I have been in Zimbabwe for 7 months.

How would you personally describe the ongoing unrest in Zimbabwe right now?

The population is being silenced under the pain of violence, abduction, torture or arrest. Zimbabwe is deep in poverty and decay under authoritarian rule.

How have you, your family or friends been affected or by the unrest in Zimbabwe?

There is no freedom, even in our homes, to say anything critical of the government. The whole country is in a "jail" of sorts where freedoms are severely curtailed.

"There is no freedom, even in our homes, to say anything critical of the government."

Would you say that you are afraid for your life or livelihood or that or your family and friends? If so, why exactly?

Yes, because other citizens have been abducted or arrested and tortured for merely protesting for a better Zimbabwe. This might happen to anyone at any time.

Do you feel that the online movement #ZimbabweanLives Matter has helped the situation in Zimbabwe in any way? If so, how? If not, why?

Yes. It has drawn the attention of the international community. State authorities think twice when others are watching before committing atrocities. The hashtag might save lives if it sustains enough pressure on the regime.

What has been your connection to the protests if any?

I have staged solo demonstrations in my area and have been active online seeking accountability [from the government].

What has changed in Zimbabwe under President Emmerson Mnangagwa compared to the Mugabe era?

Nothing has changed for the better. Everything has changed for the worst.

What do you want the rest of the world to know about the plight of Zimbabweans?

We have a murderous regime that will stop at nothing to preserve political power. They are sitting on skeletons of a 1980's genocide, political murders, election violence, killings by security forces commanded by them, and grand corruption.

What changes do you want to see take place for Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans?

An open and democratic society where people don't have to live in fear, and where public participation in politics is not discouraged, but encouraged. I would like to see accountable and pragmatic governance. I would like to see common sense leadership, consensus-building and a return to the rule of law.

Anonymous, Unemployed, 41

Are you currently in Zimbabwe or the diaspora? For how long have you been there?

Zimbabwe. I've lived in Zimbabwe for about 39 years.

How would you personally describe the ongoing unrest in Zimbabwe right now?

It is intimidation and reprisals mainly. People are living in fear for their lives. The army always drives by wielding guns and is ready to pounce on the public if they are instructed. They beat us up and worse.

Our lives are at their worst. There are no livelihoods. The COVID lockdown, we believe is being fabricated, promulgated and propagated to abuse the WHO guidelines so that they can suppress us and control an already volatile and toxic political environment. It is actually scary to go to the neighbourhood grocery store. The COVID lockdown is downright political. Look at the Khupe ruling against Chamisa or the Chin'ono issue. One can attribute this abuse of the populous to a repressive regime.

How have you, your family or friends been affected or by the unrest in Zimbabwe?

No livelihoods mean we are not able to have proper meals. Food might be in the shops but we cannot afford to buy it. There is poor plumbing, burst water pipes are not being fixed, potholes in the road, etc. Worse, with the quashing of the parallel forex market that was mitigating some disparages in the local currency and enabling us to make ends meet. Now, we are at a loss. If one is caught trying to make ends meet, one is arrested.

Would you say that you are afraid for your life or livelihood or that or your family and friends? If so, why exactly?

Yes, I fear for my life and livelihood. The army or the police regularly come for bribes which eats away at the profits. It is not safe to go to work because the army might be waiting for you to beat you up for trying to make ends meet. We are not free but are all considered to be criminals. One cannot speak without fear of subverting certain laws that protects an elite few.

"One cannot speak without fear of subverting certain laws that protect an elite few."

Do you feel that the online movement #ZimbabweanLives Matter has helped the situation in Zimbabwe in any way? If so, how? If not, why?

I think #ZimbabweanLivesMatter helped a lot. Some stars and politicians have responded to it and I pray that the folks outside Zimbabwe will not be brutalised, arrested without bail or killed for speaking up and keep fighting for us. We need the international community like footballers and sports personnel, to speak out on our behalf. We cannot die and leave our children orphaned. I pray Danai Gurira will do what Thandie Newton did. The #ZimbabweanLivesMatter got Africa talking about what is important.

What has been your connection to the protests if any?

I've posted on social media only and have been issued with a warning against poking my noise into business that does not belong to me. I try not to be too vocal lest I'm singled out and taught a lesson.

What has changed in Zimbabwe under President Emmerson Mnangagwa compared to the Mugabe era?

Mugabe was a sophisticated man. Currently we are in hot soup. Things are worsening. It seems like we went to hunt tigers and they are now hunting us. The suffering continues. We need God to intervene in our plight. Things are just terrible.

What do you want the rest of the world to know about the plight of Zimbabweans?

We are not free to speak freely in public. The constitution is made and changed to the politicians' desires. We do not have freedom of the press. The ZBC is a propaganda channel for themselves, people are arrested for speaking the truth, potholes on the road are the order of the day and so it is impossible to drive in Harare.

It is scary to fall ill or become sick, the currency doesn't work and we are not allowed to use the forex in a place where livelihoods are eroded and salaries cannot take care of family. Everyone has a small illegal hustle (that is morally acceptable) like being a street forex dealer. Fuel shortages are also now the order of the day, electricity has recently started to be shed for hours per day and food prices are too high. Bread is a luxury.

"Bread is a luxury."

What changes do you want to see take place for Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans?

Zimbabwe needs a new leadership that is not corrupt and is for the people.

We need a situation where we can have an apolitical administration to get rid of government ministries. We need reliable fuel availability, electricity supply, an end to corrupt leadership, respect of the rule of law, and end to public reprisals against civic society by the government, an end to state-controlled media churning out government propaganda, political intimidation and reprisals. All soldiers need to go back to the barracks and the police must be apolitical. There needs to be an end to police brutality of any nature.

Nhari Unendoro, Civil Servant, 33

Are you currently in Zimbabwe or the diaspora? For how long have you been there?

Currently in Zimbabwe, regrettably. I have been here my whole life.

How would you personally describe the ongoing unrest in Zimbabwe right now?

Zimbabweans have been under oppression for a very long time and they are desperate to get the world's attention with regards to the brutality they are facing daily under ZANU-PF. Firstly, under the supposed leadership of Mugabe and now even worse, under the non-existent leadership of Mnangagwa who promised a false new dawn.

How have you, your family or friends been affected or by the unrest in Zimbabwe?

What has affected us more is the high cost of living, low remuneration, lack of affordable healthcare and the brutality of state security agents. The democratic space is shrinking by the day and there is no freedom of speech and expression. The government has put itself above the law and beyond reproach while they steal, build ridiculous mansions and buy expensive cars. As an educated youth, I can't even plan for tomorrow because it's basically hand-to-mouth. It's sad that as an employed and qualified graduate with a Master's degree, I can no longer afford the basics for my family. I go to work every day to work for the same government that has impoverished us. My parents get just 1 USD for their pension.

"As an educated youth, I can't even plan for tomorrow because it's basically hand-to-mouth."

Would you say that you are afraid for your life or livelihood or that or your family and friends? If so, why exactly?

We are living in fear every day. The government can just send it's ferret forces to abduct and even murder your whole family if you do as little as complain about remuneration. To this day, Itai Dzamara is still missing. I also fear a lot of my friends will succumb to hunger and depression considering some never got the opportunity to work ever since we left university for our first degrees.

Do you feel that the online movement #ZimbabweanLives Matter has helped the situation in Zimbabwe in any way? If so, how? If not, why?

I feel it has at least gotten the world to pay attention to what has been going on in our country for a long time. The ZANU-PF regime would rather invest a lot of money in propaganda than attend to the issues on the ground so the world has to know what our government is putting us through.

What has been your connection to the protests if any?

[I have] just been retweeting cleverly and encouraging others who are not trapped within the system to soldier on with the hashtag because anything above that, can cost me not only my job, but my life.

What has changed in Zimbabwe under President Emmerson Mnangagwa compared to the Mugabe era?

Things have gone from bad to worse. The emergence of Mnangagwa as president has seen dictatorship being refined. I saw it coming and warned my friends against the 2017 March and they all came back to me saying you were right. Mnangagwa, due to avarice and a mind bent on corruption, missed out on a golden opportunity to reform and let the country move forward. Mnangagwa's many children, perhaps amounting to over 40, are as corrupt as their father.

What do you want the rest of the world to know about the plight of Zimbabweans?

There is a humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe! The leadership is deliberately sweeping it under the carpet so they can continue to loot undisturbed. Zimbabweans are in a tight spot and we need the world to assist us. ZANU-PF has captured everything including the judiciary and we have no hope of an internal solution save for an uprising which will destabilise the country and perhaps the region.

SADC and the AU are also toothless bulldogs that are more of octogenarian gentlemen's clubs serving the interests of corrupt African dictators and supposed leaders. Hopewell Chin'ono is suffering for having exposed Mnangagwa's sons and wife for stealing COVID-19 funds so is Jacob Ngarivhume, Job Sikhala, Mduduzi Mathuthu and many others.


What changes do you want to see take place for Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans?

We honestly need ZANU-PF gone. We need our freedom back and we need to be able to dream for a better tomorrow as the youth. Right now, we can't even plan for the day. It is, at the very least, tragic.

Robert Jones, Digital Marketer, 32

Are you currently in Zimbabwe or the diaspora? For how long have you been there?

I have lived my whole life in Zimbabwe.

How would you personally describe the ongoing unrest in Zimbabwe right now?

I would describe it as being one of suppression and has been ongoing for a long time. We are doing all that we can but are weakened by no central voice and movement.

How have you, your family or friends been affected or by the unrest in Zimbabwe?

Other than the curfew which was put in place, we have been privileged to not be affected as much.

Would you say that you are afraid for your life or livelihood or that or your family and friends? If so, why exactly?

Of course. The amount of people being detained for offenses such as just speaking out on social media and my also being a producer of a Policy Dialogue Forum that discusses the Zimbabwean situation, is very frightening. We will not even get into what it is like as a queer person as Zimbabwe is a very homophobic country so the fear is almost doubled.

Do you feel that the online movement #ZimbabweanLives Matter has helped the situation in Zimbabwe in any way? If so, how? If not, why?

I definitely think so because we finally felt as though this was not a normal reality and our stories were now being reflected and "some" action was being taken (South African envoys that were sent even though it in itself was a sham).

What has been your connection to the protests if any?

I have been part of an online movement and I also produce an online dialogue on the situation in Zimbabwe which includes the current movements taking place.

What has changed in Zimbabwe under President Emmerson Mnangagwa compared to the Mugabe era?

Well, it is a different head of the same animal. That's really the short of it. Emmerson had a lot of power during the Mugabe years and it is really painful to think of how nothing has changed when we celebrated so much when Mugabe was taken down.

What do you want the rest of the world to know about the plight of Zimbabweans?

That we have had generations that have never seen normalcy. I have really gotten as many people as I can to fill this [form] out because I cannot explain what it is like to have dreams deferred. My friend and I sat in her flat last year and decided to go out and protest the next day as we had faced death through suicide so many times that we didn't mind making the sacrifice. To protect ourselves, we really push our pain to the subconscious level.

"We have had generations that have never seen normalcy."

What changes do you want to see take place for Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans?

Normalcy. As Bob Marley sang when he performed "Zimbabwe" just as we got our independence, "Every man got a right to decide his own destiny". I just want that chance.

​Jongumuzi Lobati, Graphic Designer, 36

Are you currently in Zimbabwe or the diaspora? For how long have you been there?

[I am currently in] South Africa. It's been 2 years.

How would you personally describe the ongoing unrest in Zimbabwe right now?

I see it as the downfall of a pillar nation and a platform for the bullies to ruin the legacy of my beautiful Zimbabwe and turn it into a place despised by even us the nationals.

How have you, your family or friends been affected or by the unrest in Zimbabwe?

Splitting up of families and causing uncertainty of life for my family in Bulawayo. I have lost hope, together with patience, for a better Zimbabwe.

Would you say that you are afraid for your life or livelihood or that or your family and friends? If so, why exactly?

Yes I am afraid. I am a person who believes in justice and I fear that voicing out would endanger the lives of my family. There is no freedom of expression and standing for what is right is deemed "rowdy".

Do you feel that the online movement #ZimbabweanLives Matter has helped the situation in Zimbabwe in any way? If so, how? If not, why?

Both yes and no. Yes, because it is voicing out the cries of the common Zimbabwean but no, because no action can come out of "online venting". It's one thing to see the problem knowing the solution with our hands folded. ED and his crew are degrading the nation while we are online. I believe we need a vote of no confidence in not only Emmerson but ZANU-PF as a party. It's time our fathers realize that the legacy of Zimbabwe has to be taken back. We are not yet Uhuru.

"It's time our fathers realize that the legacy of Zimbabwe has to be taken back. We are not yet uhuru."

What has been your connection to the protests if any?

None, as I am currently in Johannesburg. But, I would love to be part of protests in Johannesburg.

What has changed in Zimbabwe under President Emmerson Mnangagwa compared to the Mugabe era?

To be honest, it has changed [under President Emmerson Mnangagwa]. Our freedom was never this worrying, infrastructure development has been forgotten while unemployment as the order of the day.

What do you want the rest of the world to know about the plight of Zimbabweans?

Dear World, without your assistance, we can never remove the reign of Emerson and his gang of thieves and murderous bullies. Stand with us for the change we deserve.

What changes do you want to see take place for Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans?

I want to see my people reacquire their hope and confidently rebuild the country.

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How Technology Is Playing a Crucial Role in the #EndSARS Protests

Young people in Nigeria have successfully managed to use technological innovations to organize and make the #EndSARS protests run incredibly efficiently and easily. This moment will go down in history as a revolution that was birthed via technology.

It has been more than a week since young people in Nigeria took to the streets to demand that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, infamously known as SARS, be scrapped for good. Created in 1992, this police unit was originally set up to beat back armed robbery, the use of firearms and rising cases of kidnappings that grew in the late eighties. However, the unit went rogue, becoming more notorious for its savagery than actual crime-fighting. With a rap sheet ranging from profiling, harassment and assault to, in more extreme cases, slaughtering innocent citizens, these quasi-officers have unleashed terror on the nation for more than two decades.

Their victims are predominantly young Nigerians profiled on appearance—whether they drive exotic vehicles, use the latest gadgets, have their hair dyed or locked, or have piercings. In some cases, working in tech often gets conflated with financial fraud. For people who don't meet the absurd criteria, the mood of the officer can often become the difference between life and death.

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Emile YX? Wants to 'Reconnect The String'

The father of South African hip-hop's latest book release is here to teach you about the culture.