Social media is emboldening young Zimbabweans to finally stand up to Mugabe

Digital Content

Protests against the rule of Zimbabwe’s ageing president, Robert Mugabe, have become commonplace in recent months. In one of the latest incidents on Aug. 24, police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse a “Mugabe Must Go” protest in the capital Harare.

In April, Evan Mawarire, an unknown pastor, inadvertently started a wave of online activism when he started the #ThisFlag movement in a pleading Facebook post. Within hours, copycats had appeared online and the ZANU-PF regime found itself party to an upsurge in online and offline criticism.

Since then social media activism in Zimbabwe has ignited. WhatsApp, a mobile messaging service that is frequently subscribed to in a prepaid form in Zimbabwe, has been widely used as a tool to mobilise. It accounts for 34% of all mobile data use in Zimbabwe. Facebook reports 260,000 daily users, of 890,000 Zimbabweans online, but this only accounts for 3% of mobile broadband usage in the country. Newsday Zimbabwe, an independent news outlet, increased its Twitter network by 10,000 followers in the past month alone. Read the full story here: