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Author and activist Tsitsi Dangarembga’s trial continues – DW (English)

Zimbabwean court has refused to exonerate the award-winning author and filmmaker, contrary to expectations.

Zimbabwean author, activist and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga has been on trial since herbrief arrest in July 2020 for attending an anti-government protest. 

Dangarembga, who received the 2021 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, has been charged with public incitement to violence, breach of the peace and bigotry in her African homeland of Zimbabwe.

The trial is now scheduled to continue on August 10 with defense witnesses being called to testify.

“This is how you live in Zimbabwe,” said the 63-year-old Dangarembga, who is not surprised but disappointed according to Cornelia Zetzsche, the Writers-in-Prison representative of the German PEN Center. Earlier, in an interview with Deutsche Welle, the author had expressed confidence that the court would drop the charges.

Dangarembga must state her case before an anti-corruption court in the capital Harare, which reports directly to President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Until the last minute, it was unclear whether the author would appear at the trial. She had missed an earlier court date due to illness.

German PEN Center observes proceedings on-site

The German PEN Center has sent its vice president and Writers-in-Prison representative, Cornelia Zetzsche, to observe the trial. “A black sunny day in Harare. Again, no acquittal,” Zetzsche declared. “This is a grueling trial with fabricated evidence and false testimony.” 

Woman with long hair smiles at the camera

PEN Germany’s Cornelia Zetzsche is observing the proceedings in Zimbabwe

After the overthrow of longtime President Robert Mugabe and the seizure of power by his former colleague and deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2017, the southern African country has remained mired in a deep crisis that has left its people suffering.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have also denounced the human rights violations in Zimbabwe. In her films and books, Tsitsi Dangarembga addresses taboo topics such as AIDS and violence against women. Her three novels trace the journey of the young protagonist Tambudzai as she confronts a system in which racism, corruption, misogyny and poverty continue to dominate people’s daily lives.

Woman with glasses and holding a mobile phone to her ear holds a placard that says, We want better reform our institutions

Dangarembga was arrested for demonstrating for reforms

A thorn in the side

This alone has made Tsitsi Dangarembga a thorn in the side of the ruling ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union/Patriotic Front). Ahead of the 2023 elections, the situation is coming to a head for opposition figures and activists like her.

“Rule of law and freedom of expression have no forum in Zimbabwe,” said Writers-in-Prison commissioner Cornelia Zetzsche.

The trial of Dangarembga attracted considerable international attention because shortly before her temporary arrest in 2020, the author’s novel “This Mournable Body” landed her on the shortlist for the Booker Prize, Britain’s most prestigious literary award. In 2021, she was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade.

The current trial is about the very issues that the author, who is married to a German, has been championing in books and films for decades: discrimination, human rights, persecution and corruption. The trial has dragged on for many months with Dangarembga having already appeared in court 28 times. If convicted, the author faces several years in prison.

This article was originally written in German. 

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How Black women and queer communities are shaping the future of African electronic music – Mixmag

What many of the perpetuators of toxic practices need to understand is that powerful men are not the ones who will determine the future of Africa’s music industry. More and more women are taking up positions of power in dance music and the industry at large, changing the landscape for the women around them. Women doing tireless work behind the scenes, such as Eva DXB who founded the UAE’s first amapiano scene at Urban Black Events and is now partnered with Universal Music; Zimbabwean-South African Jackie Queens who offers ear, shoulder and stage to women across the content at her company Bae Electronica has earned the industry’s respect as an artist, manager and educator; Kenya’s Faiza Hersi of Soul Headquarters offers a strong alternative to male promoters in Nairobi; Apple Music’s Athandiwe Ntshinga who ideated the African dance music stable Isgubhu, is exponentially growing dance-artist’s international reach; not to mention music managers and moguls Thuli Keupile, Sibu Mabena, Kamo Mailula, Janice Phiri, Reba Shai and Zethu Gqola who have all made their presence felt internationally. African women who were once considered “difficult,” “stuck up,” or “pretty girls won’t can’t DJ” are taking high-powered positions as curators, editors, label bosses and agents.

Tendai Kathemba is a Zimbabwean-born advocate and wellness counsellor based in Cape Town, South Africa, specialising in gender dynamics and holistic mental health, which is particularly difficult to navigate for Africans operating in a world governed by Western influence.

“It is encouraging that Black African women have been, are and continue to re-define themselves and re-imagine different narratives as we carry on the baton from our ancestors,” she says. “It is important to remain critical thinkers as African women, especially in light of feminist movements that exist largely to serve white women, and embodies Western ways of being. As Africans we have a history that has been intentionally and systematically suppressed over centuries by Western civilisation. Many of our African ancestors lived in matriarchal communities, where women were held in high regard and not viewed as threatening and/or inferior to men, however, it is not to say Africa existed in utopia and gender dynamics did not exist. Both feminine and masculine energies (which everyone has) have existed as a duality since the beginning of life. There is no separation. Both are equal and need each other. They do manifest and impact differently, and if we can get to a point of honouring nature, learning from it and recognizing that these power dynamics which have resulted in gender wars are on the whole unnatural and alien, will ultimately destroy us all if we don’t take time to understand who we truly are.”

Whatever your ideas or tastes are about who should do what, when and how, we must remember why dance music exists for Africans, both past and present. Our music far surpasses entertainment, and carries our understanding of who we are, from the superficiality of our skin through to the depths of our bloodlines reaching across generations. Drumbeats that originated on the continent aeons ago were uprooted and dragged across the ocean, our sense of self embedded in our chants and melodies as Africans became enslaved on foreign lands; nestled, nurtured and rebuilt in warehouses for the weary and brought to prominence by the bold, finally finding their way back to Africa when its people needed freedom and acceptance more than ever. It’s music that is meant to unify, liberate and express. Our drum beats, chants and melodies offer a collective experience that is not meant to keep others out and chosen ones in; it’s a chance for the marginalised to find safety and kinship, to cultivate a fullness of living; a chance to remember our pioneers and encourage new voices to speak our futures into existence. A chance for everyone who loves music and is able to move and be moved to “come one”.

We may not see the improvement we need in this lifetime as progress happens so slowly, but conversations like these create community, and communities share the load while keeping each other moving, dancing toward the future we know our music can bring us to. The only way we can make these ideas real is if we damp down the noise and use this moment to fight the silence in harmony – with ourselves, each other and the masculine and feminine energies we all possess.

If you or anyone you know needs someone safe and understanding to talk to about your similar experiences, feel free to contact Tendai at

Shiba Melissa Mazaza is a freelance writer, follow her on Instagram

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British Council, BHC and Paoa FM brings new UK music to the Happy Isles – Solomon Star

It is here, new, hot and happening on Paoa FM at 12 noon this Saturday 13th August 2022. The British Council’s Selector Radio, an hour of new UK Music on each show.

Every Saturday Selector Radio willshare the best new UK music with the world. They play music from any artist, any band and any genre as long as it’s new and exciting. Each week Selector puts together an eclectic playlist of music and artists who are leading the way in UK music.

Presented by BBC Radio 1 Xtra’s Jamz Supernova, it is an insight to the bubbling underground scenes from every corner of the UK. Each week’s show features guest interviews with emerging artists or exciting people in the music industry. The show also provides a gateway to music beyond the UK with features from countries where the show is broadcast, dipping into the key sounds emerging around the world.

Selector is broadcast to over 30 countries around the world including Cuba, China, Zimbabwe, Ukraine, Slovakia, Spain and Mexico and has a global audience of over 4 million listeners.

In Solomon Islands Selector will be broadcast on Paoa FM. It is the largest FM radio station in the Solomon Islands, broadcasting to two-thirds of the country’s population. They play top hits, including Reggae, and local stars. Paoa FM covers Guadalcanal, Malaita, Central, Russell provinces and parts of Isabel and Makira Ulawa provinces.

With Selector Radio launching this Saturday, you can now listen to UK music at 12pm Saturdays each week besides Paoa FM’s usual top of the Hour news bulletins each day to keep up-to-date with the latest news in Solomon Islands.

British High Commissioner to Solomon Islands and Nauru, His Excellency Thomas Coward said:

“I can’t wait to hear new UK music in Solomon Islands. Music has the power to bring us together and this is a celebration of the friendship between the UK and Solomon Islands.”  

British CouncilDirector for Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific, Natasha Beckman said:

“We are delighted to share the best of new music from the UK here in Solomon Islands. I hope we can use this to do more to connect with each other through arts, culture and creativity.”

Ahead of this Saturday’s launch and the first ever show, Paoa FM’s General Manager, an excited Joel Samuel Lamani said:

“We are so excited to have this programme on Paoa FM. Connecting us to the UK, keeping us up to date with what the people in the UK are listening to.

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Seven Charged in Brutal South Africa Gang Rape – VOA Africa

The National Prosecuting Authority in South Africa says at least 14 men out of dozens arrested face rape charges in an attack on a group of women who were making a music video earlier this month.

A court on Wednesday charged seven men in connection with the gang rape, prosecuting authority spokeswoman Phindi Louw Mjonondwane told VOA, adding that seven more would face rape charges tomorrow.

They are all part of the 80 men initially arrested in a major police sweep following the incident, she confirmed.

The women had been making a music video two weeks earlier in the mining area of Krugersdorp outside Johannesburg when they were attacked by a group of masked, armed men.

Mjonondwane said all of those charged with rape were foreign nationals, including from Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

“Seven accused appeared at the Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court facing charges ranging from multiple counts of rape, sexual assault, contravention of the immigration act, as well as robbery with aggravating circumstances,” she said.

Many of those arrested are believed to work as illegal miners, known here as zama-zamas. The incident has sparked anger in local communities, as well as xenophobia, with mobs attacking the zama-zamas.

Police had said they would use DNA kits to try to identify the alleged attackers from among those rounded up, as well as a police lineup. However, Mjonondwane would not comment on how those charged had been identified.

Despite having a very high rate of rape and gender-based violence, South Africa — which celebrated Women’s Day on Tuesday — was shocked by the brutal attack.

Police recorded more than 36,000 rapes in fiscal 2020-21.

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