Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Farai Sevenzo: Salute or slur?

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In our series of letters from African journalists, film-maker and columnist Farai Sevenzo considers efforts by the authorities in Zimbabwe to protect the country’s flag.

Steps are under way by the Zimbabwean authorities to protect the nation’s flag, which has featured heavily in the news this year, from what they call “abuse” and “disrepute”.

As flags go, the southern African nation’s flag is not one you might spot at the beach, covering personal assets in a two-bit bikini or designed as a pair of golfing slacks.

It is a flag of nationhood that resurfaced in the headlines after a young preacher urged his fellow citizens to reclaim it from the politicians – to show loyalty to the nation the flag represents, rather than to the politicians who will be dead long before the flag and its symbolism have expired.

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It comes as no surprise, then, that Harare’s politicians have sought to curtail the flag’s presence on the streets.

They have been irked by the recurring images of young men and women protesting while draped in the flag, of lawyers volunteering to defend the pastor, who while dressed in the gold, green, black, white and red stripes of the flag was accused of attempting to overthrow the government, and the loyalty shown to the #ThisFlag movement following its explosion on social media.



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