Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe Court Finds Author and Activist Tsitsi Dangarembga Guilty of Inciting Violence

The 2021 winner of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade was among scores of people arrested during anti-government protests in 2020. Tsitsi Dangarembga has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Zimbabwean author and activist Tsitsi Dangarembgaon Thursday was found guilty on charges of inciting violence.

Her husband, Olaf Koschke, confirmed the ruling to the German press agency DPA.

The author was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence as well as a $120 (€123) fine.

The author, activist and playwright was among a number of people arrested in July 2020 for joining demonstrations against government corruption.

Why was Dangarembga convicted?

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She was arrested and charged, alongside another friend and journalist Julie Barnes, with incitement of violence, breaching the peace and bigotry.

The two argued in court that they had been exercising their freedom of expression.

But the judge, Magistrate Barbara Mateko, said the pair were intent on provoking violence.

"Clearly they wanted to pass a message. It was not peaceful at all," Mateko said in her judgment. "They were expressing opinions, and it was meant to provoke."

The trial had dragged on for many months, with Dangarembga having already made dozens of court appearances.

Rights groups have said the charges are part of President Emmerson Mnangagwa's attempt to clamp down on opposition figures.

Dozens of opposition supporters, political activists, journalists, trade union members and church leaders have faced similar charges.

Dangarembga's artistic achievements

Dangarembga was the recipient of the 2021 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade.

She was the first Black woman to win, with the judges praising her as "not just one of her country's most important artists but also a widely audible voice of Africa in contemporary literature."

The author found her first success aged 25 with the novel "Nervous Conditions" in 1988. This was followed up by two other books in a trilogy, with the most recent one coming out in 2018.

ab,kmb/jcg (AP, dpa, EPD)

Artmotion S.Africa

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