14 March 2018

Zimbabwe: Kadoma Youths Plant Banana Trees in Potholes to Get Roads Fixed

Photo: VisionAfrica/Twitter
A Zimbabwean youth activist plants banana trees in the potholes. The creative protest led to the road being fixed.

How do you get potholes to be fixed in your country? In the small town of Kadoma in Zimbabwe a creative way of protest has been successfully used. Residents protested by planting banana trees in the potholes and the protest bore fruits. Kadoma Municipality is now rehabilitating most of its roads after the protest.

The goal of protesting is usually to force and push for change. Zimbabwean youths in the town of Kadoma planted banana trees and grass in potholes as a way of protesting the bad roads. The youth activists are members of Vision Africa Initiative in Zimbabwe. The activists, fed up with poor service delivery, and the potholes in their community decided to be creative in their activism.

According to RhizeUp, a global community that supports and connects nonviolent social movements to re-imagine and build inclusive, peaceful democratic societies, the city officials were embarrassed by the planting of banana trees and grass.

The initiative was led by Admire Marufu, Mathias Rwakonda, Trinity Matendere, Lawyer Chikwangani, David Njira and Herbert Makoni of Vision Africa. The police summoned the members of the initiative but later released them without charge.

Almost immediately, after the protest, the roads were fixed. Kadoma Municipality is now rehabilitating most of its roads after residents protested by planting trees in potholes.

Vision Africa said, "We thank the City Council of Kadoma for hearing our plea by fixing the road." They also thanked also the various organisations such as the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, and the National Association of Youth Organisations for their solidarity.

The brilliance of the protest has been hailed by many on social media. However, such forms of protest can only work because the local government was embarrassed and pressed to act. In countries where local governments simply ignore the pleas of protesters, creative forms of protests such as the one employed in Kadoma, Zimbabwe are needed.

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