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No freedom to criticise the GNU in Zimbabwe

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Poetic Journey is the story of Zimbabwe told through poetry and mbira music. A young man refuses to celebrate the GNU because he can’t afford electricity, water and a host of other necessities. He realises that whilst he lives in poverty; the leadership is living in the lap of luxury.

The play was scheduled to premiere on the 25th of November and run from 26-27 November @ Amakhosi Theatre Upstairs.

The premier went very well on the 25th, with the audience interacting with the writer/director  and the cast after the show.

Trouble began after the performance on the 26th. After the show we walked into town; two members of the cast and I. We went our separate ways when we got into town. I decided to go into one of the smaller supermarkets along Leopold Takawira Avenue. As I was standing by the fridges, a guy in his late thirties approached me and asked a seemingly innocent question about the price of yoghurt in US dollars.

After buying what I wanted I walked to 6th Avenue to look for transport. The guy I had met in the supermakert was there and I immediately bacame suspicious and got into the nearest combi. He got in as well and sat next to me.

Speaking in shona,¬† he said, “you getting too clever”, and he left.

The next morning I received a lot phone calls from people who were saying they had been “advised” not to attend my show.

On the 27th I met the cast for our final show at Amakhosi. Two guys showed up around 6.30 pm. They pulled me asside and said my show wasn’t in the spirit of the GNU and I needed to stop the nonsense or else. They refused to identify themselves, but I recognised one as a police officer based at Queenspark.

I wanted the show to go on since it had not been officially BANNED but the cast members except one, were too scared to perform.

We had to turn people away and close the show.

2 comments to “No freedom to criticise the GNU in Zimbabwe”

  1. Comment by m manyange:

    I am distressed about the Amakhosi play re; GNU play sabotaged by govt officials. We are a long way to go. Anyway freedom of expression and association is here to stay whatever some of our primitive brothers and sisters think or try to do.

  2. Comment by Philani Nyoni:

    You are not alone. When I was still in Zimbabwe I was arrested for ‘talking too much’ and brutally beaten. I know the story and it is sad that we as artists are being marginalised and being silenced through the use of violence and threats to our lives. But we will not back down, we will continue to speak out fearlessly until the tomb ceases our speach. How many of us can they kill?!