South Africa: Interviewing Hopewell Chin'ono - 'My Arrest Was Meant to Put the Fear of God Into Other Journalists'


Award-winning freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker Hopewell Chin'ono, 49, put the spotlight on human rights transgressions in Zimbabwe - under President Emmerson Mnangagwa's watch - after being ambushed at his Harare home and forced to spend 45 days behind bars.

First published in DAILY MAVERICK 168

You filmed your arrest on 20 July and posted your last tweet: "They are breaking into my home. Alert the world!" Describe the buildup.

State agents came to my house. I called my lawyers and they said they should show a warrant of arrest. If not, don't open the doors. I asked them for a warrant, they didn't have one. I said I would not open until my lawyers arrive. I realised they were going to break into my home. I heard them discussing things - they got a phone call instructing them to break in. I realised I must record it. I live-streamed on Facebook their entry into my bedroom. They first broke my dining room sliding door - four men with AK47s, two from intelligence services and two police officers. They took my phone, but didn't realise they were being live-streamed. They still have the phone.

After Emmerson Mnangagwa came to power...

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