|Stephane Tchakam, Charge de Communication Pan Africa ILGA|
Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) just released Tinzweiwo (Hear Our Plea) on YouTube.
Tinzweiwo was the 15-minute documentary submitted to Zimbabwe's Constitutional Select Committee in February 2010 advocating for the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in Zimbabwe's new constitution. At the time, GALZ organised an Indaba that resulted in a plan of action and draft resolution declaring that sexual orientation and gender identity are integral to every person’s dignity and humanity.
Here is Behind the Mask's description about the DVD:
Titled Tinzweiwo (Hear our plea) the DVD, according to GALZ, is a plea to Zimbabweans who have always brushed the issues of homosexuality aside as non-existent or unnatural to listen and address these issues.
The DVD contains testimonies of about 10 GALZ members, their experiences of homophobic in the hands of family, society and law enforcement agencies.
The members also highlight their reasons for advocating for the decriminalisation of homosexual acts as well as their call for an end to state instigated homophobia. This has led to constant attacks and threats to gay and lesbian people who at times run the risk of being blackmailed once their sexuality is discovered
In the DVD participants tell their stories as gays and lesbians who were born and bred in Zimbabwe who say that they have not been influenced by any foreigners contrary to the myth that homosexuality is a Western behavior imposed upon Africans.
Although most the interviews are in Shona, the video has English subtitles.
The Indaba organised by GALZ resulted in a plan of action and draft resolution declaring that sexual orientation and gender identity are integral to every person’s dignity and humanity.
After the Indaba and the submission of the DVD to the Constitutional Select Committee, President Robert Mugabe (Zanu-PF) and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) came out strongly against including sexual orientation in the new Zimbabwe constitution at a belated Women's Day celebration.
GALZ offices where subsequently raided by police and two employees were arrested as Zimbabwe moved into the constitutional outreach phase where people throughout the country offered their views about what needed to be included in the new constitution. This was a strategic time to discuss LGBTI human rights.
Zimbabwe's judicial system dismissed all charges against GALZ activists. Ellen Chademana, one of the arrested activists, tells her story in "For six days and six nights I was in this hell."