#ZimbabweanLivesMatter Goes Viral After Writer’s Arrest

Over the last few days, in response to a particularly brutal, public, widespread, and on-going clampdown by security forces, the hashtag #ZimbabweanLivesMatter has gone viral, globally.

Celebrities like rappers Ice Cube, AKA and Lecrae and actresses Thandie Newton and Pearl Thusi have expressed support for – or at least interest in – what appears to be an exploding grassroots campaign against the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the man who took over from former leader Robert Mugabe.

“It captured the imagination of the population. Citizens coming together. I think this is what the whole world felt,” said the novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga of the hashtag and the non-political movement behind it.

She was arrested by troops last Friday, and later charged and released, after taking part in a planned street protest which the government described as an attempted “insurrection” by “terrorists”.

“I was in the holding cells with two men who had been tortured. One has severe kidney damage,” said Ms Dangarembga, who was recently longlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize.

“I am just grateful the world has taken the [#ZimbabweanLivesMatter] message seriously. Things seem to be coming to such a head now that it is impossible to look away.”