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September 25 2016

Zimbabwe | Silvanos Mudzvova abducted and tortured

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In September 2016, the well known Zimbabwean actor and director, Silvanos Mudzvova, was abducted, tortured and left for dead by his captors. The committed artist had already borne the brunt of repression by the authorities when they cancelled his satirical one-man play, Missing Diamonds, back in April 2016.

Only a few months later, and following the protests currently taking place in Zimbabwe, the artist and activist, who is a member of Tajamuka/Sesjikile (loosely translated as ‘we've had enough’) was abducted from his home during the night of the 13th of September, in front of his wife and children, by six armed men. He was then transported more than 30 kilometres from his home, where he was tortured and then left for dead in the Nharira Hills.

Mudzvova is currently recovering in hospital from several injuries caused by his assailants, including abdominal trauma and an amputated toe. Although he is not currently in a critical condition, he remains under medical supervision. Numerous Human Rights organisations at local and international level have mobilised to support the artist.

Artwatch Africa, the Arterial Network project that specialises in the defense of artist rights and freedom of expression, has denounced the torture of the artist and various other recent pressures that have occured in this difficult context. As a citizen, an artist has the right to express themselves and should therefore be protected when sharing their own opinion.

Art as a Social Self-Portrait

In recent months, protests against the ruling party have amplified as civil discontent has reached a fever pitch. On stage, local artists are no longer hesitating to reflect what Zimbabwean citizens are tired of, namely corruption, unemployment and social economic issues, as evidenced during the recent launch of State of the Nation, presented at Theatre in the Park, Harare - a regular theatre sports (improvisational theatre) piece combining sarcasm, satire and humour, sometimes derision and ridicule, that passes social commentary on Zimbabwean political figures.

For more information about State of the Nation, click here.

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