“If we cannot cause the politician to change, then we must inspire the citizen to be bold,” said Pastor Evan Mawarire, founder of Zimbabwe’s #ThisFlag movement, at the Atlantic Council on Wednesday, August 17.
Mawarire gave his remarks draped in a Zimbabwean flag, the symbol of the movement. “We are rising up to say that our government has failed us. We’re not afraid anymore to raise our voices, because it is the truth. […] the Zimbabwean citizens are the missing voice that has not been present in the timeline of building Zimbabwe.”
In April 2016, Evan Mawarire, a previously unknown Zimbabwean pastor, inadvertently launched the #ThisFlag movement by posting a video on social media calling the government to account for corruption, injustice, and poverty.
“I thought to myself [that] this flag makes a promise to me as a Zimbabwean. But what the promise stands for and the state of my nation are so far apart. I felt like this flag was a fraud.” He added, “I’m not a man of vast educational assumptions. But I do know when I’m hungry. But I do know when I can see that my future is being destroyed.”