Articles

The struggle for human rights continues


The struggle for human rights continues

I am honoured by the decision of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition to honour me as the regional office holds the first-ever Zimbabwe Human Rights Arts Festival from 9-11 September 2011 in Musina. It is gratifying to receive recognition for the work that has been such a central feature of my life for the better part of the last decade.

In the years working for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, I learned at first hand, the cost that Africans, especially young people, pay to sustain the despotic dictatorships that are sadly such a dominant feature of the political landscape of our continent.

When I joined the Coalition, I imagined that it would be a temporary phase that would end with the end of the dictatorship in Zimbabwe. I never imagined that in 2011 we would still be prey to ZANU PF hegemony and that millions of peace-loving and hard working Zimbabweans would still be forced to struggle for a livelihood far away from home. I have felt a deep sense of sadness about this, especially since we failed to mobilise resources for young refugees and migrants.

It is appropriate that the Human Rights Arts Festival is taking place in Musina, the scene of so much pain and despair for Zimbabwean migrants. As we learned during the anti-apartheid struggle, the role of artists and art in all its forms, in mobilising as well as healing, cannot be overestimated.

I wish you every success with the festival and hope that it will provide inspiration to continue with the struggle for true democracy and respect for human rights not only in our beleaguered motherland but also throughout the region. This for me will be the greatest award that I can receive.

By Elinor Sisulu, award recepient at the first-ever Zimbabwe Human Rights Arts Festival held in Musina, South Africa between 9-11 September 2011. This was her acceptance speech.

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