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Top Zimbabwe novelist defiant after acquittal bid fails

By AFP
Zimbabwe Dangarembga and the protest placard.  By ZINYANGE AUNTONY AFP
AUG 4, 2022 LISTEN
Dangarembga and the protest placard. By ZINYANGE AUNTONY (AFP)

Award-winning Zimbabwean author and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga will go on trial next week for inciting violence after staging a street protest, a court ruled on Thursday.

Dangarembga, 63, was arrested in July 2020 for staging an anti-government protest alongside her neighbour in the affluent Harare suburb of Borrowdale.

She stood by the roadside holding a banner that read "We want better -- reform our institutions" before being hauled into a police van. She was freed on bail a day later.

Dismissing her bid to have the charges dropped, magistrate Barbra Mateko said a trial was warranted because the message conveyed by the placard entailed "a possible breach of peace".

She was ordered back to court on August 10.

Dangarembga said she was disappointed at the decision but remained defiant.

"l had hoped for a discharge of the case," she told reporters outside the courtroom.

"Zimbabweans have the right to demonstrate and if an issue arises and l feel it needs demonstrating (against), l will surely do it again".

An arrest warrant issued against her after she failed to appear in court due to illness, was cancelled last month.

Author of three international award-winning novels, Dangarembga first stepped into the international limelight in 1988 with her groundbreaking debut novel "Nervous Conditions," the first book published in English by a black Zimbabwean woman.

The work earned her the prestigious Commonwealth Writers' Prize the following year.

She was one of this year's winners of the Windham-Campbell Prizes.

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