Six nights a week at The Book Café

People & Power report from this unique oasis of free expression.

The Book Café attracts an eclectic
crowd from all races 

With Zimbabwe’s presidential and parliamentary elections imminent, Robert Mugabe, the country’s president, is facing an unexpected challenge within his own party, the ZANU-PF.

Simba Makoni, a former finance minister, has broken away from the ruling party, taking many supporters with him.

Often described as a modernizer or technocrat, Makoni has a strong following.

Yet, many Zimbabweans remain sceptical about the likelihood of an effective opposition to Mugabe, who has been in power since independence in 1980.

As with every pre-election period in the country, security and surveillance of individuals considered to be enemies of the regime has intensified, particularly in the capital, Harare.

 The Harare Book Café is one of the most
popular cafes for free expression

Strict censorship laws and the threat of arrest or harassment loom over voters.

Despite this, freedom of expression still exists. What cannot be guaranteed, one Zimbabwean artist jokes, is freedom after expression.

One of the most popular spaces for diverse and creative expression is in the local Book Café.

Situated on the top floor of a Harare shopping centre, the Book Café attracts an eclectic crowd. Farmers, students, artists and workers from all races and classes frequent it six nights a week.

Filmmaker Eugene Ulman reports from this unique oasis of free expression.

Watch part one of this episode of People & Power on YouTube

Watch part two of this episode of People & Power on YouTube

This episode of People & Power aired from Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at the following times:

Wednesday: 0300GMT and 14:30 GMT
Thursday (repeat): 01:30 and 13:30
Friday (repeat): 06:30 and 20:30
Saturday (repeat): 03:00 GMT

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