The man behind #ThisFlag, Zimbabwe's accidental movement for change

Digital Content

What started as personal rant has quickly become a rare way for citizens to vent anger against Mugabe’s government, the Daily Maverick reports

Pastor Evan Mawarire was sitting at his desk in Harare, worrying about how he was going to pay his children’s school fees, when something inside him snapped.

The Zimbabwean, who isn’t paid a salary by the church, decided to film himself venting his frustrations with the Zimbabwean flag around his neck, explaining to camera: “When I look at the flag it’s not a reminder of my pride and inspiration, it feels as if I want to belong to another country.”

The pastor then posted the video using the hashtag ‪#‎ThisFlag, and it quickly racked up tens of thousands of hits, with other users posting their own messages to the Zanu-PF party, led by president Robert Mugabe, which has been in power for more than 35 years.‬‬‬

Speaking from his home in Harare, Mawarire says he has been shocked by the reaction, which he described as “like an avalanche”. Some fellow social media users started posting pictures of themselves wrapped in the flag on his Facebook page. Others wrote to say that he had expressed the feelings that they were too scared to vocalise.

He responded to the widespread enthusiasm by declaring five days of digital activism using #ThisFlag, which was then extended to 25 days by popular demand.
Read the full story in The Daily Maverick here: