She crossed the Zimbabwe border illegally when she was 12 and now lives in a women’s shelter.

To survive, Nyasha, like many others in Zimbabwe, lives by his wits and his brawn.

War veterans attacked five MDC party workers in 2008. Two died. Edson and the others were locked in a burning room.

Thabo and his four siblings live together without their parents.

In 1984 she and her husband were victimized by soldiers of the North Korean-trained Five Brigade.

After Michael’s family immigrated to South Africa in 2010, his brother was attacked and killed by men with knives. Two years later Michael tried to take his own life by cutting his throat.

Speaking Out

EVELYN, 14, Musina, South Africa

“I want to be a lawyer. I need to help people who are sick, and people who don’t have anywhere to stay…”

“My father passed away. My mother, she is in Zimbabwe. I am going to school, and I am living in the shelter. I want to be a lawyer. I need to help people who are sick, and people who don’t have anywhere to stay, and then they steal or they do something, so I have to defend them so that they cannot be arrested.”

EVELYN, 14, Musina, South Africa

(00:34)

Speaking Out

NYASHA, Manicaland Province

“I used to work in Harare in 2005. I lived in a home, but it was demolished. I was forced to come to the rural area; I had nothing else to do, so I would come in the river and look for gold—that’s the only job.”

Speaking Out

EDSON, Masvingo Province

“We didn’t have any tool to fight. They took a 25 liter of petrol and started to spray all of our bodies. The whole room was a blaze of fire. I was thinking I am gone, but due to God, see—I am still kicking…”

“They started to fire, inside the office. Two of our colleagues who we were working with died in this spot, were shot dead in this spot. They took a 25 liter of petrol and started to spray all of our bodies in the office. After that they locked the doors, light only a candle and throw it inside the room. The whole room was a blaze of fire; we were in pain and agony. One of our guys jumped after the door, kicked it off, and it opens. By that time I was thinking I am gone, forever, but due to God, I am still kicking, existing.”

EDSON, Masvingo Province

(00:36)

Speaking Out

THABO, 12, Matabeleland South Province

“Our father died in 2005, and he lies in that grave on our fields. Our mother left us immediately. We used to sell firewood, but now the donkeys are thin; our cart has no tires. This year I am doing form one; I like going to school. When I grow up, I want to be a teacher.”

Speaking Out

EMILY, 85, Matabeleland South Province

“My husband had been beaten the previous day. These soldiers came. I really felt scared. After they had beaten me, this other person came and placed the barrel of the gun on my breast and said, ‘Do you know I can rip this thing apart.’ My husband was standing there. He couldn’t say anything. That’s the last time I saw him alive.”

Speaking Out

MICHAEL, 29, Cape Town, South Africa

“By that time there was no electricity in Zimbabwe. We were just going in the bushes, cutting trees to sell in the streets. The situation by that time was just to struggle…”

“You know, the situation by that time was just to struggle. I made my decision—no, let me just try to sell firewood in the streets, because by that time there was no electricity in Zimbabwe. I decided to come to South Africa. I was staying with…Me and my brother, and later my wife joined me after a period of six months. I was at home with my wife, and my brother was just relaxed at his small shack there. He came out of his shack. There were two guys who were standing on the roadside, coming towards us. I saw the man raising his hand towards my brother’s neck, and I saw some blood, and I saw my brother was just struggling. By the time I get to hospital, they told me, no, it was bad news, and by that time I collapsed. From that point of view, I think it was much better for me to die. I just keep on praying, I know God is going to be the one who can decide about my life.”

MICHAEL, 29, Cape Town, South Africa

(01:07)
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