On Wednesday 15 November 2017, Zimbabweans woke up to a camouflaged man on state television announcing in a calm and measured voice that they had not staged a coup, but President Robert Mugabe and the first family were in the hands of the military and the defence forces were dealing with criminal elements in the ruling party.
The nation waited with quiet expectation as reports of explosions in the night filtered through our twitter feeds and Whatsapp photos of the raided homes of government ministers and their stashed fortunes circulated wildly. Two days later the leader of the War Veterans Association, Christopher Mutsvangwa, called for a solidarity march in support of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
Tentatively at first and then gathering strength in numbers people from across the country heeded his call, streaming into the historic Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfields, Harare, and then towards State House to call for the President’s resignation.
Hundreds of thousands of people from all races, ages, cultures, ethnicities and religions came together peacefully carrying flags and messages as they marched. For the first time in decades people expressed themselves freely in public without fear of retribution.
And as euphoria spread through the city, country and diaspora, Zimbabweans took full advantage of the opportunity to make light of their leaders and political situation with one prescient message declaring, “It’s not a coup, it’s a kiss goodbye.”
All images © Davina Jogi