Zimbabwe’s drought-stricken rural district of Chiredzi, news of the biggest protests against President Robert Mugabe in a decade reached Peter Mufaro only after a week.
The demonstrations in Zimbabwe’s towns and cities are being organised through social media that few people have access to in remoter villages such as Malipati, where Mufaro works as a carpenter and part-time farmer.
“When you catch up with the news, it feels like you are not part of the country,” he said of last month’s ‘stay at home’ demonstration when urban Zimbabweans vented their anger at Mugabe’s handling of a failing economy.
Many urban residents come originally from the villages and return home to visit family and friends, bringing with them tales of what’s happening in the cities. Use of the WhatsApp mobile phone messaging system is also spreading, despite the low internet penetration in the countryside.