HARARE — Two days after Zimbabwe’s Independence Day, a pastor started an online movement by sharing a video about his disappointment in his home country.
Evan Mawarire began by sharing what each of the colours on the flag symbolise.
“This flag, this beautiful flag, they tell me that the green is for the vegetation and the crops. I don’t see any crops in my country. The yellow is for all the minerals… I don’t know how much is left. I don’t know who they sold it to and how much they got for it. They tell me that the black is for the majority people like me and yet for some reason, I don’t feel like I am a part of it,” Mawarire said.
The video has been watched over 26 000 times thus far, and prompted the hashtag #ThisFlag on Twitter. Zimbabweans took to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to openly vent; sharing their stories of disappointment and anger in politicians and the mismanagement of Zimbabwe’s resources and how they no longer fear reprisals. Zimbabweans at home and from around the world expressed their support for #ThisFlag by posing with their national flag and posting photos on social media.
The hashtag got yet another boost when Mawarire spoke to Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa on The Platform on Zimbabwe’s ZiFM radio station.
Mawarire told Parirenyatwa that he began to speak out shortly after independence day when he realised that he could no longer pay his children’s school fees. Station owner Supa Mandiwanzira — who moonlights as Zimbabwe’s Information Communication Technology minister — then had a bust-up with Mawarire after the interview. Twimbos (Zimbabweans on Twitter) then began a parallel hashtag to voice their anger against Mandiwanzira, as well as on-again, off-again Zanu-PF minister Jonathan Moyo.