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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Harare reports

You cannot help but like Hopewell, standing some 6 foot 3 inches or so with a penchant for shiny, stripy, flowy shirts and trousers atop ankle boots, he looks like an upcoming rap music producer without the bad attitude. Everyone at Mont Fleur loved Hopewell. Mont Fleur is the truly divine mountainside conference resort in Stellenbosh where we had our fellowship program. Hopewell Chin'ono is the award winning Zimbabwean journalist in my fellowship group with the infectious laughter, the mischievous glint in the eye and the fondness for the happy hour. He is also this gifted documentary maker with the unique ability to stand aside and simply let the story be unflinchingly told no matter how grotesque, how harrowing. People instinctively trust Hopewell so they let him have their stories. His award-winning documentary eliminates drama, politics and grandstanding to follow two AIDS victims till the on camera death of the victim with the young child whose cries and vacant eyes still haunt me.

Because of Hopewell I was forced to confront over and again the madness of the situation in Zimbabwe and the crime that the effort to steal the people's mandate is. I would like to humbly share (with his permission) some parts of the emails and pictures Hopewell sends to us from Harare. Please read as I have arranged them, from the slightly incredulous first emails and pictures to the dejected one I received only yesterday from him. I don't know how much longer he and other brave Zimbabwean journalists will be able to continue sending these reports but our job is to kindle a wildfire of resistance against yet another African despot.


I am sure you are following the drama unfolding in my country as we
prepare to go and chose our political leaders on the 29th of March.

I have been banned from working during election time, read:

My client media organisations, ITN and South Africa's e.tv have also
been banned from covering the election. I hope i can see through to
the 30th of March without being hurt or arrested as I have been warned
by the country's dreaded intelligence services that I am under

I will keep you updated of any new developments.

Best regards,

Hi Guys,

I hope I find you well. I do not know whether to say I am fine or not because through my work I am seeing the brutal face of my government. I guess that is why I was very passionate about the fact that the Nigerian scenarios should have emphasized or accentuated the role of the media in cultural transformation.

Those who watched ITV News @ Ten in the UK would have been shocked by the visuals I shot 2 days ago of houses burnt and granaries with maize razed to the ground. Those of you in SA will see that Friday night on e.tv's enews.

I have attached pictures of visuals I shot today of victims of violence that were beaten up last night for being MDC supporters.
Now the government wants a Re-Run of the election not a Run Off. They are telling people in rural areas to declare that they can't read and write at the polling stations so that they can be assisted by "polling officers" who will put an X for them on the "RIGHT" party presidential candidates.

If you are in London you can watch ITV News @ 10 for the full story of the violence against opposition supporters or on E in SA tomorrow evening.

Best regards,


From: Hopewell Chin'ono
Date: Tue, Apr 22, 2008 at 8:40 AM
Subject: suffer continue

Hi guys,

I do not know what needs to happen for the world to stand up against this. People are continuing to be subjected to horrible beatings and deaths. I have attached pictures of some of the people I filmed yesterday. The footage went out yesterday on ITV News @ 10 in the UK and SKY and we are hoping to have it on E in South Africa by tonight since we have no direct feed to e.tv from Harare due to state dirty tactics.

I have attached pictures of a man who was tied down to the ground. The militia had burning plastic dripping to his body. The other pic is of a 73 year old man who had his hands and legs broken and left for dead.

The head in a pic attached is of a man who was hit by an axe and left for dead. The dark picture is an undercover filming we did 2 days ago of ZANU PF militias beating people up in the township of Highfield. The violence has taken a new twist with the military and the militias beating anyone seen outside their houses after six in the townships.
I have also attached a pic of a refuge centre where people are seeking sanctuary from the beatings. How can we hold a free and fair re-run election under these circumstances.

I have also attached a pic of an election official counting votes wearing a VOTE ZANU PF t-shirt. That is the life we are living down here.

"To try to own knowledge, to try to control whether people are allowed
to use it, or to try to stop other people from sharing it, is sabotage."

From: Hopewell Chin'ono
Date: Sun, May 4, 2008 at 9:01 PM
Subject: Re: Also Jo'burg bound

Hi all,

I wish I had good news to tell you all. But I don't.
I have absolutely nothing but bad news and I am getting low in spirit because of what I keep seeing day in day out.
I find what my government is doing as the worst sadistic act any government can do to its people. Its heart breaking. I have just come from filming and the man in the film below was beaten so bad that he can't talk.
He was left naked and picked up in the middle of the night by a family that was traveling to Harare. The government militias and the state security services are now telling their victims not to seek medical attention threatening them with more beatings if the do. This is to mask what they are doing.

The young kid in the film is the youngest victim of the violence, he is 1 year old and those of you in the UK you probably watched our Friday report on ITV News which included the kid.

I have included stills of more kids I filmed today who are being beaten up in the villages.

We have been warned by sympathetic state security details that this week they coming after us (media) so I am taking a break. I am down and out, I have no mental strength but I have to keep doing it for the sake of the victims, if I can help save one life it would be worth it.

Best regards,


Anonymous said...


omohemi Benson said...

What is Africa going to do about Mugabe?

Nigerian Drama Queen said...

Wow.People like Hopewell, who dare to do the right thing simply because it is right, inspire me. That he would dare to put his life on the line to speak the truth in it's bare form, is a testament. A testament that maybe, just maybe there is still hope.

Those pictures will be engraved on my memory for a while. Images like these inspire me and sadden me.

Anonymous said...

Dear God, i dont intend to put blame on u.But i cant help wonder how u watch terrible and heart rending things like the situation in Zimbabwe happen.Well, i can guess,i think judgement day will b very-very tough.I pray for more strength for Hopewell.Thanks Funmi for this.God no dey sleep

Today's ranting said...

This is so sad and wicked. Oh my God these pictures are so terrible. All because of power tussle, human beings are treated as if they are no humans.


Anya Posh said...

those were very disturbing pictures fun,o...my goodness.