Tag Archives: African States

Silvanos Mudzvova abducted and tortured

mudzvovaThe 38-year-old theatre artist and activist from Harare (Zimbabwe) has been arrested in April this year for staging his play “Missing Diamonds, I Need My Share”.  Mudzova was abducted by six armed men from his home late in the evening on 13 September 2015. They drove him out of the capital city and brutally tortured him.  “They targeted me as I am responsible for the creative side of a movement called Tajamuka and was also acting as its spokesperson” Mudzvova told Freemuse from his hospital bed. The group Tajamuka has been involved in calling into question various governmental measures over, among other things, policing, unemployment, the country’s cash crisis and an accounting of the $15 billion President Mugabe recently said went missing from mining operations. The group is also in the final stages of submitting an application to the International Criminal Court addressing cases of abduction and political violence.

Sources: Freemuse, Daily News (Harare, Zimbabwe), News24


Book: How Free is Free? Reflections on Freedom of Creative Expression in Africa

howfreeisfree25 Authors, 14 Countries: The e-book was produced as part of the Artwatch Africa project that aims to defend freedom of creative expression on the continent, and who better than the artists themselves to share their creative environment, their questions and their experiences. Themes like freedom of artistic expression, subversive art and political responsibility of artists are discussed.
English version can be downloaded for free at Arterial Network, French will follow soon.

Source: Arterial Network

Update: Jelili Atiku cleared of charges

On Monday the 18th of July 2016, Nigerian performance artist Jelili Atiku (see ACAR blog entry from February 5) , poet Adeola Goloba and 4 others regained their freedom as the Ejigbo Magistrate Court struck out all criminal charges instituted against them by the Nigerian Police. According to a press release by Ayodele Ganiu, National Coordinator for the Arterial Network Nigeria, Atiku’s release, “is a victory for artistic freedom; not only in Ejigbo or Lagos State, but the whole of Nigeria. It shows immense progress for freedom of expression in the country.”

Sources and details: Arterial network, Artafrica

Zimbabwe: theatre producer and actor Silvanos Mudzvova arrested for controversial play

Police arrested the theatre producer and actor Silvanos Mudzvova on 13 April 2016 in Harare for staging his new one man play “Missing Diamonds, I Need My Share” in front of the Parliament building. The 30-minute play was inspired by President Robert Mugabe’s recent statements that about $15 billion raised from diamond sales was missing. After five minutes the performance was interrupted by the police and Mudzova was arrested together with journalists who were covering the event.
The same night Mudzova has been released without charge but beeing warned that he could disappear like other political activists.
Already in 2011, he and seven others were arrested and detained for 48 hours for putting on a play entitled ‘Rituals’ and were later charged with criminal nuisance and disturbing the peace. The case was later dismissed.In 2007, he and another actor were arrested at the premiere of his play ‘Final Push’, which was seen by some as an instigation to remove Mugabe’s party Zanu PF from power.

Sources: Newsday.zw; Dailynews. zw; artsfreedom.org

Submission to UN’s Universal Periodic Review of South Sudan

ARTICLE 19 observes that little progress has been made to protect freedom of expression in South Sudan. Authorities, especially the National Security Service (NSS) continue to harass, intimidate, and arbitrarily detain journalists. As a result, freedom of expression has been increasingly eroded in South Sudan since independence in 2011, a situation which escalated following the outbreak of internal armed conflict in mid-December 2013.
Source and full submission text: Article 19

Artistic freedom in Zimbabwe: Joint stakeholder report submitted to the UN

Zimbabwe should abolish its Censorship Act and any prior-censorship bodies or systems, according to a joint stakeholder submission to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review process (UPR) by Freemuse and Nhimbe – two civil society organisations defending artistic freedom in Zimbabwe and globally. Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution guarantees the right to freedom of artistic expression. However, several laws significantly limit artistic freedom, and practices of the police and government agencies create an environment of fear and self-censorship. The new report was filed ahead of Zimbabwe’s second cycle Universal Periodic Review – the UN system’s official mechanism for reviewing all member states human rights records in cycles of four and a half years – that will take place on 2 November 2016 in Geneva.

Source: Freemuse
Freemuse has held Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 2012 and has previously submitted UPR stakeholder reports on artistic freedom in Belarus, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Turkey and the United States