Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 25th April 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 26 April 2009 17:17
Another big turnout. Our average attendance for the first four months of the year was 279. The average for the same period last year was 198. We remember the days when we were happy to get 30. People come hundreds of miles to join us in our weekly protest – some undoubtedly because they believe that being a ‘Vigil Activist’ will help their asylum claim.  But that doesn’t explain why people still keep coming even when their asylum status has been resolved. They share our belief expressed in one of our banners ‘No to Mugabe, No to Starvation’.  

We expect a smaller turnout next week because the Vigil coincides with a meeting in Peterborough (some 85 miles from London) at which Tendai Biti is to address MDC supporters. 

We hope they ask him what he wants them to do: is it to continue their financial contributions to the party and keep quiet about the failure to establish the rule of law and respect for human rights?  Is it to return home to this situation? Is it to pressure Western governments to finance a bloated Zimbabwean civil service payroll including Green Bombers and Zanu-PF thugs? The Vigil hopes that, while we wave the flag for Zimbabwe in London, people attending Mr Biti’s meeting in Peterborough will ask him why the MDC has been silent about the SABC’s revelations of barbaric prison conditions in Zimbabwe and remind him there is such a thing as quiet complicity. They might also ask him to explain exactly why the UK should ever lift targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his murderous gang? We say ‘No to Mugabe (and thanks largely to the US and the EU) No to Starvation’.  

There was much talk at the Vigil about the South African elections and many were hopeful that President Zuma would be better for Zimbabwe than the disastrous Mbeki.  

Several other points:
·        We have booked the upstairs room at the Theodore Bullfrog on Saturday 23rd May at 6.30 pm
until late for a Vigil forum. This is the first of our monthly forums to enable us to get to know each other better and offer input about the way forward for the Vigil.
Through illness and other commitments the Vigil management team were scarce on the ground today. Many thanks to Reginald Gwasura, Linda Hopkins, Tafadzwa Madjgara and Batson Chapata who stepped in to help with the Vigil register, the sale of t-shirts and general running of the Vigil.
·        We were joined by a group of schoolchildren from St Malo in France over in London
for a few days. They joined enthusiastically in the dancing.
We were happy to have back with us David McAllister who has been working as an IT manager on a round-the-world cruise liner but still managed to maintain our websites which he set up.
·        After our Independence Day protest last week, Batson Chapata and Fungayi Manhunu were interviewed by BBC Three Counties radio.  They spoke about prison conditions in Zimbabwe
·        We urge everyone to support a musical initiative by the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. On Friday 8th May from 3-6 pm in the Khalili Lecture Theatre they are holding a seminar with Professor Paul Berliner (Duke University) and Zimbabwean mbira dzaVadimu master Cosmas Magaya. The seminar will focus on their 35-year endeavour to document the music and performance contexts of the mbira, and will include plenty of playing! All welcome and those who play mbira are invited to bring along their instruments. On Saturday 9th May at 7pm Paul and Cosmas will perform in a concert featuring a combination of performance and storytelling. ‘This concert will be at once a tribute to the mbira greats that have passed away and a poignant exposition of the intersection between human rights and music in Zimbabwe’.  The concert will take place in the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, Russell Square campus.  Entrance to both events is free! Vigil supporter Kudaushe Matimba, a former member of the Bhundu Boys and a postgraduate student at SOAS, is involved in this concert. 

For latest Vigil pictures checkour pictures page 

FOR THE RECORD: 270 signed the register.  

·        Central London Zimbabwe Forum.Monday 27th April at 7.30 pm. Dr Alex Magaisa will talk about the chances of Zimbabwe's recovery plan working.Venue: Bell and Compass, 9-11 Villiers Street, London WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross Station at the corner of Villiers Street and John Adam Street.
·        ROHR South East London launch meeting. Saturday 2nd May from 1.30 – 5 pm. Venue: Wessex House, 375 Old Kent Road, Bermondsey, London SE1 5JQ. For info contact Priscilla Chitsinde 07853199722, R Zvomuya 07961418715 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070
·        ROHR Leeds general meeting. Saturday 2nd May from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Dock Green Inn, Leeds
LS9 7AB. Contact: Wonder M Mubaiwa 07958758568, Donna Mugoni 07533259373 or B Sikosana 07940181761
·        ROHR Bournemouth general meeting. Saturday 2nd May from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: East Cliff Reformed Church, Holdenhurst Road, BH8 8AW. Contact: Mike Mhene 07774521837, Abigail Nzimba 07917458873 or Gift Pfupa 07909831158.
·        ROHR Harlow general meeting. Saturday 2nd May from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue St James & St Luke's Church, Perry Road, Harlow CM18 7NP
. Speakers from the executive and others. Contact: Kuda C Sabau 07853205523, L Kashangura 07506481334 or Grace Kachingwe 07785017858
Strangers into Citizens’ Rally. Bank Holiday Monday 4th May at 12 noon in Trafalgar Square.  Meet in Tothill Street SW1 at 11.30 for walk to Trafalgar Square. The event is preceded by services in  several churches including Westminster Cathedral, St Margaret’s, Parliament Square and Central Hall, Westminster. For more information:
·        Mbira Seminar and Concert: Friday and Saturday 8th and 9th May. Seminar on Friday from 3-6 pm in the Khalili Lecture Theatre. Concert on Saturday at 7 pmin the Brunei Gallery. Entrance free. Address: Scholl of Oriental and African Studies,Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London, WC1H 0XG. Features Professor Paul Berliner (Duke University)and Zimbabwean mbira dzaVadimu master Cosmas Magaya.
·        ROHR Cambridge general meeting.
Saturday 16th May from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Arbury Community centre, Campkin Road, Cambridge CB4 2LD. Substantive committee to be elected. The ROHR President and his executive and a well known lawyer will be present. Get advice and learn more about your rights. Contact: Josephart Hapazari 07782398725, Maggie Jenkins 07894064600, A Mubaiwa 07846170094 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·       First Zimbabwe Vigil Forum. Saturday 23rd May at 6.30 pm. Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog, John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.
·        Service of solidarity with the torture survivors of Zimbabwe.  Friday 26th June from 7 – 8 pm. Venue: Southwark Cathedral. This is the 8th year the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has marked UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. For more information, visit:
·        Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays). 


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The Zimbabwe Vigil exists entirely on donations from the public and well wishers. You can help us by donating via a deposit into our account Thank you.