Giraffe Heroes Zimbabwe was launched in 2014 with the purpose of moving more and more citizens of that country to “stick their necks out” for the common good, and to give them tools to succeed. The organization joins similar groups launched over the last four years in India, Nepal, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Singapore and Egypt. Although completely independent, all are inspired by the work of the Giraffe Heroes Project in the USA.
Giraffe Heroes Zimbabwe Director Terry Mutsvanga is back from two months of studies and visits in the US, culminating in a meeting with Pres. Obama last August. He was in the US as winner of a prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of US President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. YALI empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking.
Terry is the producer of two award-winning documentary films, Dhamu "Voices from a Tent: (which exposes human rights abuses at Tokwe Mukosi and Chingwizi transit camps) and "Thirsty Throats in the City," which highlights critical water challenges facing Harare city as well as the core reasons behind the crisis. Terry was named Best Human Rights Defender Journalist in 2015 by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights). He won the same award in 2014.
Farai Maguwu, the very first Zimbabwean Giraffe Hero, is sticking his neck way out to protest corruption and injustice in the diamond industry in Zimbabwe and indeed all of Africa. HIs brave action names names and is a strong blow to those leaders who favor their own pockets over the good of their people. Read the full story here.
A Zimbabwe court has thrown out all charges against Giraffe Hero Daniel Chuma . He had been arrested following a peaceful march for jobs organized by his organization (see his story below). The judge ruled that the demonstration was peaceful and lawful according to the country's laws. We breathe a sign of relief. Justice is often hard to come by in Zimbabwean courts.
The disappearance of Giraffe Hero and political activist Itai Dzamara off the streets of Harare (see his story below) has underscored the risks of speaking out against government policies. Itai was abducted March 9, 2015, presumably by Government security forces or their allies and has not been seen or heard from since. Giraffe Heroes Zimbabwe and Giraffe Heroes International, working with the US State Dept and NGOs, continue to make every effort to find him and secure his release.
My name is Terry Mutsvanga and I am the Chairperson of Giraffe Heroes Zimbabwe. It is my pleasure to introduce you the GH Zimbabwe (GHZ) Chapter. Although the concept is still young, we believe that we will grow big. We have already honored 30 Giraffe Heroes. You can read their stories below.
GHZ focuses on social and economic rights activists although we do not limit the political aspect. The idea is to honor such individuals for ‘standing up’ against injustice or doing something positive for the community. Just like a Giraffe that keeps its neck high so is the GH.
GH Zimbabwe strives to recognize “unsung heroes” that have positively contributed immensely in society and we hope to leave a legacy of positivity to future generations through our work.
We are now calling upon nominations for individuals from around Zimbabwe whom you think deserve to be honored for their outstanding contributions inasmuch as advocating for social and economic rights as well as contributing positively in communities they reside in.
Do you know of a fellow Zimbabwean—man or woman, young or old, from any tribal, economic, political, social or professional background, who is acting bravely ("sticking her or his neck out, just like a giraffe!) to help solve one of our country’s pressing problems, including, for example, poverty, poor infrastructure, mismanagement, corruption and enormous challenges in almost every sector of the economy. If you do, email the information to me at Terry Mutsvanga firstname.lastname@example.org.
Giraffe Heroes Zimbabwe, as all other Giraffe Heroes programs around the world, will not take sides with any one political party or ethnic group. Rather, it will find and celebrate the work of those citizens whose lives transcend party, ethnicity and class—people whose work is dedicated to the good of all people in the country, from all parties and all groups.
More stories will be posted as Giraffe Heroes are confirmed.
As nominations for more Giraffe Heroes are received, a broad-based jury of citizens will select which candidates fully meet the main criterion for being a Giraffe Hero—courageous action that serves the common good. Those candidates selected as Giraffe Heroes will have their stories told throughout the nation in newspapers and magazines, and over television, radio and social media. Other citizens will see and hear these stories and be inspired to stick their necks out too. Telling the stories of heroes to motivate others to action is a very simple strategy but it works—as it has in every culture for thousands of years.
Each story will end with a call for more nominations so the cycle is created–nomination–selection–publicity–nomination.
As the new NGO grows and more and more Zimbabweans learn about it, Giraffe Heroes Zimbabwe will initiate training programs in civic action, including a curriculum helping young people from elementary through university age gain the inspiration and skills to build lives as courageous and compassionate citizens.
Every effort will be made to convince the leaders now in power that Giraffe Heroes Zimbabwe serves them as well as the entire country. It is in the interest of all political parties to support Giraffe Heroes Zimbabwe as a powerful means for harnessing the problem-solving ideals and efforts of every citizen.
Artist Tafadzwa Muzondo transformed an old, dirty foot bridge into a scintillating arts center and educational site for the town of Highfield’s troubled youth. Though one of Muzondo’s controversial plays was banned by the government, and two others shut down, he continues undeterred. More
Busani Sibindi is an activist in Zimbabwe who wants justice for the thousands of people massacred in a tribal purge decades ago. The government threatens, arrests, and harasses him. Still, he persists, founding the Save Matebeland Coalition Trust and organizing protests throughout the country. More
At a University of Zimbabwe graduation ceremony attended by the country’s president, student activist Tonderai Dombo held up a placard protesting the lack of jobs. He was immediately arrested, detained overnight, fined, and—at least temporarily—denied his graduation certificate. But he won't quit. More
Kumbulani Zamuchiya is an award-winning Zimbabwean film-maker focusing on civil rights abuses. His documentary, “Voices from a Tent,” told the story of how villagers were evicted from their homes without compensation after a dam broke. Another film profiled Itai Dzamara, an activist kidnapped by suspected state security agents. More
Attorney Fadzai Mahere has continually challenged the Zimbabwe government about malfeasance and corruption. She’s been vilified and arrested, but she continues to speak out in favor of her fellow citizens’ rights and in support of the disadvantaged. Being a woman in a male-dominated profession—and society—has not deterred her. More
Zimbabwe has been rocked by a series of strikes and protests as citizens pressure President Mugabe's government to provide employment as well as food to millions of citizens who are suffering. Stan Zvorwadza is a key leader of these brave fights. More
Obert Masaraure leads the way in the struggle to provide decent education for the schoolchildren of Zimbabwe. More
Jenny Williams is one of very few women in Zimbabwe who have dared to stand up and fight for their rights, Cultures that have long discounted and suppressed women are hard to change. More
As the Gender Officer for the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) Joana Mamombe has shown immense courage in fighting for student rights. More
Comedian and actor Silvanos Mudzvova toured the country with a one-man play calling sharp attention to the looting of diamond income meant for the entire nation. The authorities aren’t pleased. More
How far would you go to track down the truth about a brother snatched off the street by suspected government agents? For Patson Dzamara, there are no limits. More
For Grace Chirenje, it’s not easy being an activist—especially when you’re a woman. Especially when you’re focusing on empowering people who have never before been empowered. More
O'Brien Makore is an urban planner and civic innovator with a great passion for finding innovative solutions to emerging urban development challenges. A key part of that is fighting corruption. More
Promise Mkwananzi is a human rights defender and currently Director of the Zimbabwe Informal Sector Organisation (ZISO) a nonpartisan body that promotes and safeguards the interests of the millions of Zimbabweans who work in the so-called “informal” sector of the country’s economy, more
Kuchera Masimba, born with a visual impairment, in high school began his life’s work as an advocate for the rights of people with disabilities. In one famous case, Masimba fought and won a court case against the government so that blind people could vote without government interference. more
Chenjerai Hove was a prolific poet whose literary work was humorous, hard hitting and educative. From 1982 till his death in July 2015, Hove dedicated his time to writing short stories and poems that depicted the struggles and travails of Zimbabweans under the autocratic rule of President Robert Mugabe. Hove died in exile in Norway on 12 July 2015. more
In 2010 more than 1700 households from Chisumbanje village in Chipinge were forcibly displaced from their homelands to pave way for a multi million dollar ethanol project run by a local business tycoon. Claris Madhuku resolved to fight for proper compensation and relocation for the villagers, many of whom were living in abject poverty. more..
Retired Anglican Bishop Sebstian Bakare, born in 1940, is an iconic figure in Zimbabwe whose work in the church and society has one connecting thread – quest for social justice and equality . Bishop Bakare has lived his entire life fighting for human rights, freedom and dignity for his people. more
In 2008, the government of Zimbabwe took control of the Marange diamond fields, an important resource for the country’s economy, discovered just two years before. The government claimed that wildcat diamond miners were funding rebel groups and so needed to be controlled. However, activist Farai...more
Betty Makoni knows all about the traumas that can befall a girl child in her country, Zimbabwe. She lived through horrors herself and is making sure that other girls' childhoods are nothing like her own.
Makoni escaped abuse by getting a working scholarship to an all-girls boarding school...more
Imagine being rendered destitute and homeless from ancestral land that you once called home for decades following heavy flooding that ravaged everything that you possessed?
Like the infamous Cyclone Katrina which pounded parts of Mississippi, that was the similar situation which...more
When the “diamond rush” struck the impoverished populace in 2006, thousands of poor Zimbabweans flocked to the Marange district in the country‘s Manicaland Province in a desperate attempt to “get rich quickly”.
The fortunate ones became instant millionaires whilst the unlucky perished...more
In a number of African cultures, women are confined to the kitchen were they are expected to cook and perform all the household chores. Such is the patriarchal system that allows only men to engage in political and social activities, thus depriving the “girl child” access to challenging...more
When Zimbabweans voted “Yes” in favor of a new constitution, little did they know that it was just a “worthless paper” that the ruling ZANU PF government did not care to abide to.
Arbitrary arrests of citizens characterized by brutal police torture typical before the ushering in of the new...more
“I was heavily assaulted by the police and spent two days in hospital but that hasn’t broken my spirit. I will keep on fighting for what I believe in."
These were the words uttered by 37 year old journalist cum human rights activist Itai Dzamara whilst addressing scores of people who had...more
The HIV/AIDS pandemic that has ravaged Zimbabwe since the 1980s has resulted in millions of children being rendered orphans.
The situation has been worsened by the failure of the government to provide a “safety nets” that are crucial in assisting towards the upkeep of such...more
When Zimbabwe attained Independence in 1980 after 90 years of British colonial rule, a majority of white nationals took the backseat in participating towards participating in active politics or civic activism.
They were further alienated by the 2000 land reform which witnessed a greater...more
31 year old James Bayanai has set himself on a track to make his contribution to change the world through spearheading projects to promote literacy in rural Zimbabwean communities.
Since 2010 James has been involved in International Youth Advocacy and plenty humanitarian...more
The Zimbabwe government still violates citizens’ rights despite a new constitution. Human rights defenders, including lawyers, risk beatings whilst defending human rights violations victims.
Kennedy Masiye, a lawyer with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), was recently severely...more
Beatrice Savadye is a 27 year old human rights activists and current Director for Real Open Opportunities for Transformation Support (ROOTS) an organization working to promote social and economic justice for young people in Zimbabwe.
Beatrice comes from a humble background where she had to...more
“I was beaten the whole night by the police but that will not deter me from pursuing the fight for a better Zimbabwe “I am now very much committed and strong in standing up for the rights of my fellow citizens’.
Such were the courageous words uttered by Charles Nyoni following his...more
Zimbabwe has not been spared challenges that other African countries have faced. Once a glorious bread basket of Africa, Zimbabwe has suffered economic, social and political instability for the past two decades, leaving the majority of the ordinary people vulnerable. Government operations like...more
Speaking against state sponsored violence is a huge crime in Zimbabwe. Those who speak out from rural communities do so at great risk to their
personal security and that of their families. The vulnerability of human rights defenders in rural communities is even more severe for women who...more
State security agents who were deployed into the Marange diamond fields between 2006 and 2011 have been accused of committing gross
human rights abuses. These include murder, torture, rape, robbery, extortion and forced labor. Within a few months Marange, a once peaceful and serene rural...more
The rate of environmental degradation due to alluvial gold mining has left the community of Penhalonga devastated. A once beautiful, serene
and quiet natural habitat has become ravaged, dusty and made uninhabitable by the mining operations of DTZ OZGEO. The company has caused such...more