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Evan Mawarire’s #ThisFlag as Tactical Lyric: The Role of Digital Speech in Imagining a Networked Zimbabwean Nation

  • Susanna L. Sacks

Abstract:

Evan Mawarire’s poetic video “This Flag,” first posted on Facebook on April 20, 2016, mobilized an international protest movement against then-president of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe between April and September of 2016. In the video, Mawarire built on the poetics of anti-colonial resistance and nationalization to create a rallying cry. The piece’s remediation through the hashtag channel #ThisFlag created rhetorical links between digital organizing and grounded action. This literary perspective on contemporary discussions of social media and collective identity formation shows how the poetic elements of the video enabled Mawarire’s claim to spread and motivate a grounded movement.

La vidéo poétique d’Evan Mawarire, #ThisFlag, a été postée pour la première fois sur Facebook le 20 avril 2016, mobilisant un mouvement de protestation internationale entre avril et septembre 2016 contre le président du Zimbabwe de l’époque, Robert Mugabe. S’appuyant sur la poétique de la résistance anticoloniale et sur la nationalisation, ce mouvement a créé un cri de ralliement. Cette réparation par le biais du canal hashtag #ThisFlag a créé des liens rhétoriques entre les organisations numériques et l’action ancrée (grounded action). Cette stratégie apporte une perspective littéraire aux discussions contemporaines sur les médias sociaux et crée par la même la formation d’une identité collective. Cet article soutient que les éléments poétiques de la vidéo ont permis au message de Mawarire de se propager et de motiver un mouvement ancrée (grounded movement).

“This Flag”, o vídeo poético de Evan Mawarire, foi publicado pela primeira vez no Facebook a 20 de abril de 2016, tendo gerado um movimento de protesto internacional contra o então presidente do Zimbabué, Robert Mugabe, entre abril e setembro de 2016. Apoiado sobre a poética do nacionalismo e da resistência anticoloniais, este movimento criou uma palavra de ordem motivadora. O movimento propagou-se através do hashtag #ThisFlag, o que deu origem a ligações retóricas entre a organização virtual e a ação no terreno. Ao associar uma perspetiva literária ao debate contemporâneo acerca das redes sociais e da formação da identidade coletiva, o presente artigo defende que os elementos poéticos do vídeo permitiram que Mawarire alcançasse o seu objetivo de propagação e motivação de um movimento de ação local.

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Evan Mawarire’s #ThisFlag as Tactical Lyric: The Role of Digital Speech in Imagining a Networked Zimbabwean Nation

  • Susanna L. Sacks

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