Two years ago, TBWA/Hunt/Lascaris launched a campaign for The Zimbabwean newspaper, called the Trillion Dollar Campaign, to raise awareness of the atrocious situation in Zimbabwe. This week, the agency continued its activism for the expat publication with the unveiling of the hard-hitting The Voiceless campaign,
Citing the fact that recently, across North Africa, people have found their voices and raised them in protest against decades of dictatorial governance, but that in Zimbabwe “46 people have been arrested, detained and tortured for gathering to watch footage from Egypt and Tunisia”, The Zimbabwean and its agency are determined to expose Zimbabwe’s suffering under the ZANU-PF regime.
Zimbabwe’s press labours under enormous restrictions and Mugabe’s ruthless henchmen, the Central Intelligence Organisation, curtail their activities. But The Zimbabwean is published in South Africa and the United Kingdom by a network of journalists exiled for refusing to write propaganda. It gives voice to the voiceless.
“Despite arrest warrants, attacks on their vehicles and their vendors, the Zimbabwean has succeeded in bringing the real news about Zimbabwe to its people, as well as over a million Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa and abroad. In these dangerous times, The Zimbabwean’s brief to us was to break the silence,” writes TBWA.
In a statement, TBWA said: “Late last year, reports emerged from Harare that the police had raided an exhibition as it opened. Realising that anything the regime sought to silence was exactly what we wanted to show, an appeal was sent to photojournalists who had worked in Zimbabwe over the past two years to donate images.
“As these visual accounts of the brutality inflicted upon ordinary Zimbabweans arrived at our agency, all we added was the iconic map of Zimbabwe, positioned to appear as an empty speech bubble, demonstrating The Zimbabwean’s promise: to give a Voice to the Voiceless.”
This week, The Voiceless Campaign launched in South Africa. Billboards across major cities direct viewers to a website where they can read more about the photographs, hear eyewitness accounts and locate the images in context on a satellite map. Visitors to the site can buy subscriptions to The Zimbabwean, but they can also purchase subscriptions on behalf of reading groups, schools, training colleges and libraries within the country itself.
The website also co-ordinates live information across several social-media channels, with a blog to be launched later in the week that will include live correspondents from Harare. As the ZANU regime starts campaigning to steal another election this year, The Zimbabwean will stop at nothing to ensure that Zimbabweans across the world are empowered with the information their government seeks to silence.