Ivor W. Hartmann, Zimbabwean writer, editor, publisher, visual artist, and author of Mr. Goop (Vivlia, 2010). Nominated for the UMA Award (‘Earth Rise’, 2009), awarded The Golden Baobab Prize (‘Mr. Goop’, 2009), and finalist for The Yvonne Vera Award (‘A Mouse amongst Men’, 2011). His writing has appeared in African Writing Magazine, Wordsetc, Munyori Literary Journal, Something Wicked, The Apex Book of World SF V2, Litro, and other publications. He runs the StoryTime micro-press, publisher of the African Roar annual anthologies and AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers anthology, and is on the advisory board of Writers International Network Zimbabwe.

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28 March 2010

Free Owen Maseko!

On Thursday 25th of March 2010 a new exhibition opened up at Bulawayo National Art Gallery in Zimbabwe featuring the works of Owen Maseko.

"an artist’s impression of the harsh reality of Gukurahundi as well as the decades of oppression and violence that have characterised Zimbabwe. Gukurahundi was the name given to the violence in Matabeleland and the Midlands in the mid 1980s that led to the deaths of an estimated 20,000 Ndebele people, after ZANU PF unleashed the notorious North Korean trained Fifth Brigade in the area. In a combination of graffiti, 3D installations and his painting Maseko unflinchingly dared to tell the truth, adding his usual and whimsical element of humour." -Owen Maseko's website

The next day Maseko together with the gallery director Voti Thebewas was forcibly arrested and the exhibition shut down. While Thebewas was later released the same day, Maseko remains in jail until he appears in court on Monday, he has been so far charged with, 'Undermining the authority of the president', 'Causing offence to people of a particular race/tribe/etc.' and 'Promoting public violence'.

There can be no doubt about the continuing oppression within Zimbabwe, in the wake of this event and many others.

"This latest development comes a day after a photo exhibition at Harare’s Delta Gallery, organized by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association, was abandoned after police tried to confiscate the photographs on show, in defiance of a court order. They had previously seized all the photos and briefly arrested the organization’s director." -Violet Gonda (SW Radio Africa news - The Independent Voice of Zimbabwe )

What you can do you, lend your voice of protest:

Blog, twitter (#owenmaseko #zimbabwe #art), facebook about it.

Join these groups at Facebook:
Sokwanele
Release Owen Maseko

And share images of this exhibition as widely as possible, which can be found at the Sokwanle and Release Owen Maseko groups.

Updates:

Monday 29th March
Owen Maseko has been remanded in Custody till tomorrow, when we expect the magistrate to make a bail application ruling. He will spent his 4th night in prison at Bulawayo Remand.

Tuesday 30th March
Owen Maseko has been granted a US$100 bail. He will be back in court on the 12th of April 2010.

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