By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
After almost two months of fighting President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s persecution of human rights activists and journalists in the country, Beatrice Mtetwa and her law firm have joined the viral Jerusalema dance challenge in what is being seen as a message of peaceful defiance.
Prominent lawyer Mtetwa and her colleagues who include Douglas Coltart this week joined a dance challenge to a gravitating number by outstanding South African musician Kgaogelo Moagi, known professionally as Master KG featuring Nomcebo, the Jerusalema hit maker.
Coltart took to Twitter to explain the jovial moments of dancing to the Jerusalema song, saying it was a message to Zanu PF’s under-fire administration that they were strong even after fighting with the state in courts persuading the judiciary to release political prisoners.
“Beatrice Mtetwa and her law firm have recorded the most wonderful statement of peaceful defiance against all that Zanu PF has thrown at them and their clients these last few months – a joyous rendition of the Jerusalema dance. Amhlophe one and all ! What a riposte!” Coltart said.
On July 20 this year, police arrested investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume and charged them with allegations of inciting public violence in connection with 31st July protests against corruption.
Mtetwa and Coltart among other lawyers within her firm under the direction of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) spent 45 days defending Chin’ono and Ngarivhume, who had been incarcerated and detained at the country’s largest and most notorious jail, the Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.
Three times they were denied bail in the country’s courts (two times at the Magistrate Court and one time at the High Court).
At one point, Mtetwa was barred by Magistrate Judge Ngoni Nduna from representing Chin’ono accusing her of criminalising the court with Facebook posts, allegations that she refused.
Many times, the lawyers clashed with the police, who claimed they were enforcing Covid-19 related lockdown regulations.
MDC Alliance Vice Chairman Job Sikhala was also arrested in connection with 31st July protests and charged with inciting violence. He is currently being detained at Chikurubi.
The party’s national youth organiser, Godfrey Kurauone was also arrested in connection with inciting public violence and undermining President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Meanwhile, in their Jerusalem dance they wore red and white striped jerseys in solidarity with all political prisoners.
“We love to dance at Mtetwa & Nyambirai. We’ve had a rough few weeks recently. So to let off a bit of steam we teamed up with @bustoptv to have a bit of fun and take up the #JerusalemaDanceChallenge.
“We stand in solidarity with all political prisoners unjustly incarcerated, denied their rights and made to wear these prison jerseys…and with the Zimbabwean people and all the oppressed people of the world struggling towards freedom. #AlutaContinua #ZimbabweanLivesMatter,” Coltart said.
Meanwhile the track, released in late 2019 and became an instant hit in South Africa has now gone global.
From transport industries and law firms in Zimbabwe, hospital hallways in France and Sweden, to roof tops, public places in Italy, Romania, the UK and Canada, the beaches of Cape Verde and in Jamaican compounds the Jerusalem Dance Challenge has hundreds posting videos on Facebook, Twitter and TikTok.