With Your Life in the Balance

Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nonhle Mbuthuma and Bergdís Jóelsdóttir

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Who Has the Right to a Future? Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nonhle Mbuthuma and Bergdís Jóelsdóttir

«Every time we say it can’t get any worse it does,» writer Tsitsi Dangarembga has said about the situation in her home country Zimbabwe.

The UNs special envoy has reacted to the arbitrary arrests of activists and politicians from the opposition. Last year, Dangarembga was herself convicted after partaking in a peaceful protest with one other activist in 2020. While large parts of the middle class and cultural elite has left Zimbabwe, Dangarembga has staid out and fought for change. Now she debates moving countries.

Across the world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to protest governments and large corporations. Environmental activists are especially vulnerable: According to the human rights organization Global Witness, 200 environmental activists were murdered across the world in 2021 alone.

In 2016, South African activist Nonhle Mbuthuma lost a close friend and colleague. Ever since, she has lived with constant death threats in her work to protect the nature and community where she lives, on the east coast of South Africa.

Mbuthuma and Dangarembga will join for a conversation about the conditions for human rights and civil society in Zimbabwe and South Africa. How do you keep fighting for grass roots engagement and change under such perilous conditions?

Moderating the conversation is Bergdís Jóelsdóttir. She has worked with civil society and human rights initiatives in Southern Africa for a number of years, and is currently the policy director for Amnesty International Norway.

The event is supported by NORAD.

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