George Floyd, 46, was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota shortly after he was arrested under suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill on May 25.
Footage of a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck while he begged for his life has gone viral, inciting outrage and horror. The officer involved has since been charged with murder, but protests and riots have spread like wildfire in major cities across the United States and the world.
Zimbabwean celebrities have spoken out about the killing and the ensuing protests.
Music star Leonard Zhakata said while the USA claims to be a world leader in many aspects including human rights, the way they treat African Americans is so unfair and inhumane. “How can a trained Police Officer be so callous, it means previous perpetrators of such acts were not properly punished? If that happens to their Keith here, we will be severely punished.” He added that while police brutality is a big problem the world over, “however with America it seems more racial yet Black Police Officers there seem to abide by the rules.”
Playwright Daves Guzha said witnessing such acts of brutality is extremely painful. “That issues of race should even be taking centre stage in the 21st century in a country that’s so vocal and projects itself as the leader of human rights just goes to show how they have sold a lie to the world that they appreciate and understand the humaneness within our humanity.” He said police brutality has also been witnessed in Zimbabwe, “that’s why the American one makes it even sadder for it becomes difficult for perpetrators to lecture each other. Maybe there are lessons to be learned from the Scandinavian countries.”
Nash TV proprietor Tinashe Mutarisi said the Floyd murder should not have happened at all. “Racism and police brutality has no place in modern society. I however think we have weeds on our backyard that we need to remove first before giving our two cents on other people’s yards. Here soldiers should not just beat up people for nothing. If you park your car…you are astonished when they clap you yet there won’t be any sign notifying you that this is a ‘no go area’. If ever you say you have rights then you will spend the whole day being punished. No one deserves to die the way Floyd did in the USA or in Zambia,” said Mutarisi.
Music producer Gilbert Muvavarirwa agrees with Mutarisi saying local journalists need to also focus and be vocal on Zimbabwe human rights violations issues first and always. “My advice to you and other journalists is to please focus and stick to Zimbabwe issues first. All journalists need to be voice of the Zimbabwe people…for too long that voice has been absent.”
Singer Tendai Chidarikire said: “As a person who strongly believes in the victory of good over evil, I strongly condemn this philosophy of racism and its fruits which include the casting system in India and these on-going killings of fellow Black Brothers in the USA. I guess Emperor Haile Selasse was divinely inspired in one his speeches and I quote ‘The dream of everlasting peace, World Citizenship will remain but a fleeting illusion to be pursued but never attained’.”
Actor Tafadwa Muzondo said: “Police brutality whether due to racial or political impunity is an affront to humanity and tantamount to insanity.”
Guitarist Mono Mukundu: “The truth is black people are still far from being free, whether in USA, Europe, Israel and even here in Africa. The reason why Africa is silent is because while America is mourning just one black man, people in Africa have more corpses in DRC, Sudan and many other African countries. We are being hunted, at the same time we are hunting each other down. Even in USA black people die more in the hands of other black people, so until black lives starts mattering to us, they will not matter to white people.”
Guitarist Isaac Chirwa: “I am not a racist and I think that lives of all races matter anywhere in the world but killings of black people in America are way too much; this happens every week in America black people get shot at by white police the other day a white police poured some liquid on a black child face and he was not charged because it’s the system.”
Singer Willom Tight said: “Bob Marley sang One Love and these same white racists who have even listened to the song more than 100times still can’t see the light; which means it’s in them.”
Mbira singer Tendai Mavhenengi said: “We have heard these stories since birth that blacks are being racially abused and it looks like it won’t end soon. It looks like if one racist dies another one is born. It looks like Black people have their own God.”
Playwright Cont Mhlanga said: “This is straight forward racist motivated manslaughter by a white police team who knew what they wanted to archive, to kill the African. There was no sign of resistance of arrest by Floyd conforming that the emotions exhibited by the officer whose knee was on Floyd’s neck for so long when Floyd was motionless on the ground was not motivated by what had happed on the scene of the crime. It was brought over by the officers to the scene from elsewhere with a clear context from the history of black and white relationships in the American society.”
Music teacher Clayton Ndlovu said the racism issue is an important one that needs not only to be talked about but to make sure that those certain conditions that continue to exist in the Americaan society and elsewhere where racism is thriving, must fall.
“For how long shall people of colour cry – murder because of racism. The killing Floyd is without a doubt murder based on racism. Floyd is not the first one who has been affected by racism many more have died before him, many more continue to be brutalized and discriminated against just because they are black or they are people of colour. These horrible heinous crimes in most cases are never captured and exposed through videos as much as the Floyd’s one.
“Black lives matter is a movement that has been consistent in making everyone who cares not only to listen but a call for something to be done about racism against black people. How many should die before the world declares – All lives matter and Racism should fall? Based on the video of what we saw on how Floyd was brutally treated by four policemen until he died reminds me of Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo’s famous quote that “a nation can win freedom without it’s people becoming free”. Through a repressive system, in most cases, black people are not free in America. The treatment of black people by the police is brutal and deadly and it makes black people not to breathe and yet USA boasts of being a great nation. How great is the Nation when people of colour don’t have a right to be black in a Great America?
“So, for me Floyd’s death is the reason why Will Smith’s quote has gained so much prominence when he said to Stephen Colbert during an interview several years ago (and it seems like he said now), “Racism isn’t getting worse. It’s getting filmed.” This simply means that it has always existed but now it’s getting exposed more and more.
One of Steve Biko’s treasures which he left for generations to come was when he was responding to the brutality of Apartheid, he said ‘Not only have they kicked the black but they have also told him how to react to the kick. . . . he is now beginning to show signs that it is his right and duty to respond to the kick in the way he sees fit. . . .’ that is why America is burning now and the fire is spreading everywhere. So Loyd’s death and others who died or continue to face the brutality of racism represents that vigorous rise to Racism must fall.
His demise at the hands, chains, knees and choke because of racism represents the reinforcement that black lives matter and racism must fall. Yet, it is clear that if you want to build a great nation ‘the way to heal society of its violence . . . and lack of love is to replace the pyramid of domination with the circle of equality and respect.’”
Austrian based singer Vusa Makhaya said: “Racism has no place in today’s society. I hope that the police who killed George Floyd will be charged accordingly. The police should protect citizens and not become enemies of its citizens.”