BY SHARON SIBINDI
A SOMBRE atmosphere engulfed the Rainbow Hotel auditorium on Wednesday night during the premiere of the documentary Zimbabwe Shutdown: The January Protests, during which some members in the audience broke down in tears at the reincarnation of security forces clamping down on protesters.
The 45-minute-long documentary, also showcased by online streaming organisation CITE director and human rights activist Zenzele Ndebele, was shot in different locations in the city, with some of the shots taken during the January 14 to 16 protests.
The documentary was unwrapped by short clips that also showed the massive looting of shops in the city during the January 2019 shutdown.
This was followed by a clip of President Emmerson Mnangagwa announcing the rise in the prices of fuel, a development which sparked the protests.
The documentary then showed CITE talking to the people whose shops were looted, those beaten up by the security forces and included gory pictures of the injuries sustained in the assaults.
Ndebele, who is also a journalist, said he was grateful for the support he got from residents of Bulawayo, including the scores who attended the event.
“First thing I want to do is thank the people of Bulawayo for the support that you gave us since we started. It has not been easy, but we know that each time if we say, we have an event, you are going to attend,” he said.
“There is nothing that is fulfilling as knowing that everyday when you wake up, someone is going to listen and watch what you are doing.”
Ndebele said part of the documentary was inspired by some of the CITE staff who were victims.
“What inspired us to do the documentary is that two of our staff members were thoroughly beaten by soldiers. One of them took two weeks to tell us the story of what happened to him. If the guys who are telling other people stories take them two weeks to tell us what happened, what about the ordinary person?” Ndebele quipped.