Remembering August 1 Shootings

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An account of my day on the fateful day when the army of Zimbabwe shot dead 6 people in cold blood, four of whom were shot in the back. An additional 35 people injured. The deceased were Silvia Maphosa (53) Ishmael Kumire (41) Gavin Dean Charles (45) Jealous Chikandira (21) Brian Zhuwao (26) and Challenge Tauro (20)

August 1, 2018, I was facilitating a workshop with some youths in Avondale so I passed through town early and passed by the Kotamai boutique at construction house. I was whiling up time while hoping to be surprised.

I was surprised as I found a pair of really cool crocs loafers for $5 or 7 Ecocash, I bought them but asked if the lady can keep them so I can collect after the training that afternoon

As I left I heard a commotion behind Coal House and when I got to Nelson Mandela I saw a group of about 40 people singing and running past. I thought If I didn’t have the training I was just going to follow and see. Jumped into Mushika shika off to Avondale.

The Shootings

At around 12 we got a message that we need to finish early as there was fracas in town. We were working with were minors so their safety was a concern. They were all given taxi fares and by 1pm we left.

I walked with these kids they were talking about walking to town to save the money they got! 😔 I advised against this but there was a group of about 6 and they insisted. I thought well how bad could it be. We had seen lots of demos before.

I had a meeting in the avenues so I dropped off there early. While in that meeting my brother called me asking where I was. He warned me that there was gunfire in town and there was a huge commotion. It wasn’t safe to come into town. So my client dropped me off at showground.

When I got home I started hearing the stories of people arriving home at 9pm after walking from town. My aunt ran from soldiers in town to Mbare where they met up with more soldiers there. They ran through the industrial area to Rugare to Warren Park.

I found out later that the kids we had a workshop with passed through town safely and arrived home. As more news and pics started to come through via social media it was just unbelievable what had just happened.

The army was in town shooting people as the police watched! Another addition to the long list of sad days in Zimbabwe’s history. Obviously, the coup had set a bad precedent and now things were definitely at another level.

Next day people didn’t go to town so I couldn’t collect my crocs. I only collected them two days later on my way to the airport. When I had travelled a week earlier I had come under no illusions that the election would not be rigged.

But I had decided months ago that I would participate in the process. Oddly enough the day of the coup I was holding a typography masterclass at Alliance Francais and I had to reschedule my flight so I could register to vote!

As we have already seen by the January shootings, abductions and harassment, anyone who is still under any notion that this is a new dispensation is naive and disillusioned or is benefitting from this system.

I had no idea how the vote was going to be defended. After Aug 1, I knew that whatever the result would be there was not much we could do about it. These people would stay in power at any cost.

We were to accept our rapists. We would be expected to live with them and also say it was consensual when the whole world could see that we were raped, again. They would just turn a blind eye

The setting up of the commission was just a total farce and insult to the people of Zimbabwe and the victims of the shootings. All those in that presided over the Mothlante commission were complicit in this evil.

With the Commander in chief claiming to have no idea who deployed the army. And up to today, we have seen bootlicking at levels never before witnessed. A year later we are no better off and the facade is off and the repressive regime continues its rule…