After months of preparations, the 26 Zimbabweans who took up this physical challenge met up at Brighton Pier at 06:00am on Friday (18th of August).
It started to rain heavily after an hour into the walk as the protest walkers pounded the streets of Brighton. Not deterred, the determined protesters continued, with conviction, in their long walk for freedom.
This extreme challenge required dedication, commitment, and desire to highlight the human rights situation back home. ZHRO has been instrumental in providing a platform for Zimbabwean Activists to challenge the Zimbabwean authorities on human rights abuses and for a right to vote.
Whilst the Zimbabwean Government cracks down on the opposition and activists, the diaspora is able to freely protest against the injustices in Zimbabwe and campaign for human rights from their host nation.
105km walk was a real challenge but the trek cut through some of the most exciting countryside. The protesters encouraged and reminded each other that the purpose of enduring such pain is to represent the struggle in Zimbabwe.
On approaching the Devils Dyke, a -DRONE video – organised by John Burke was taken. The drone and stills operator, James Coutts, Operations Manager of Airborne Visual Solutions Limited was so inspired by the impromptu singing at Devils Dyke that he joined us at the bottom of the South Downs to do more filming.
The seemingly disoriented walkers arrived in a single file at Christ Hospital [Downs Link], 40km mark stage at 16:00hrs. We had Sadza and other high carbohydrates energy sustenance that was delivered by Sarah Bayisai, Edward Murota, Mabel Russel and Chipo Parirenyatwa. A few had to pull out at this stage due to injury or exhaustion. They were ferried to a base organised by Chipo in Horley [near Gatwick].
The route finder and trek leader Rashiwe Bayisai finished first along with Salome Nkiwane and Patience Musasiwa. The three girls were presented with special cups with their names engraved on them.
Speaking after the presentation Salome Nkiwane said “This walk was like a journey to freedom. After reaching the finishing line having walked 105 km I felt that with determination we are going to get our country back. We walked through rocky roads, hills, streams, and rivers which was a stumble block to reaching our destination but we got there: similarly Zimbabwe going through untold suffering; oppression, violation of human rights, living beyond poverty level , high unemployment rate and its so.painful that we have no freedom of speech”
“This terrorist regime of dictatorship has increased nomadism and migration of the poor Zimbabweans: Health and infrastructure is dead! Zanu Pf officials have racked our health and now they resort to medical treatment abroad. How about the the marjority of the people? I am sick of this; we want our country back. Zimbabweans work up and get rid of this tyrant. Together we stand, divided we fall . Let’s our journey frendom with bravery, determination and strength” she said.
Quoting Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Patience Musasiwa said”[If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor]”
“My 105km walk is a plea for freedom in our beloved country, Zimbabwe. I yearn for freedom to express our views as a nation, freedom to speak and act, freedom from corrupt leaders” she continued.
“We need emancipation from unjust political, social and legal restrictions. Liberate Zimbabweans who are suffering both home and away. Home is not rosy, Diaspora is thornier. We are humans and need to belong and to me the heart lies home- Zimbabwe. Our people deserve better and more, lets claim our freedom. It is a long awaited right, I claim freedom with my 105km looooooong walk” said Patience.
“Even when I sprained my ankle, I soldiered on with the knowledge that the pain I felt was nowhere near what activist like silvanos, Itai and Linda have endured at the hands of the Mugabe regime and as a citizen of Zimbabwe I say, enough is enough” said Tsungirirai Kahiya.
“Walking for freedom with such dedicated and passionate people was electrifying. It is encouraging to see that many Zimbabweans want to see a better, however, this walk would be classified as treason back home”
Full support and great hospitality was provided by activists Sarah Bayisai, Edward Murota, Mabel Russel and Chipo Parirenyatwa all the way to the finish line where medals were presented to the walkers by Rev Canon Lameck Mutete. Rev Mutete aslo took part in the first and last stages of the walk. He was accompanied by Robert Chilowa, the hero who saved children from a fire in Withington, Manchester.
The walk ended with a welcome and triumph speech from Alfredy Mukuvare followed by the presentation of medals to all who participated.
Those who participated;
105 km – Rashiwe Bayisayi
70 km -John Burke
Phillip Mahlahla [in detention but registered to take part]
105 km Patience Musasiwa
Rev Canon Lameck Mutete [Trustee of ZHRO]
105 km Salom Nkiwane
Masline Xavier Anesu Mutatapasi [only for last 4 miles]
Pride Nyandoro [only for last 4 miles]
Support Teams – Cars, Deliveries of food, ferrying the injured!
Hope that these creative forms of protests will act as a communicative vessel to their repressive government. They want to see a “STOP IT” to the abductions, torture and government induced poverty.
Post published in: Human Rights