The Zimbabwean: giving a voice to the voiceless

Joseph Maduma
March 27th 2011
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‘Give a voice to the voiceless’ is the latest campaign effort from advertising agency TBWA Hunt Lascaris, Johannesburg for The Zimbabwean newspaper. Since their success a few years back with The Trillion Dollar Campaign (which won a black pencil at D&AD and is personally one of my favourite campaigns of all time) TBWA now head the account for The Zimbabwean. The newspaper was set up by journalists exiled from Zimbabwe for refusing to write propaganda for the Mugabe regime. Published in South Africa and the UK, the newspaper prides itself on reporting the real uncensored news of what is actually happening in Zimbabwe.

The campaign was created in response to recent events in Zimbabwe, where 46 people have been arrested, detained and tortured for gathering to watch footage from Egypt and Tunisia during the recent political uprisings in North Africa. The posters use images taken by photojournalists over the last couple of years and if you go to the website you can read the photographers’ own descriptions of the circumstances in which they were taken. The idea for using the documentary images was inspired by the news that last year in Harare there was a police raid on an exhibition showcasing similar photographs. There is very clever graphic twist in that the speech bubble used in the posters is also the geographical shape of Zimbabwe , thus strongly re-enforcing the point.

The Zimbabwean campaigns strike a particularly strong emotional cord with myself as my father’s family are from Zimbabwe and I have a lot of family that still live and work there. Having been there I have also seen at first hand how heavily censored and biased the news is in favour of the Mugabe regime and how necessary and vital it is that publications such as The Zimbabwean are there to report the truth. It’s also very heart warming to see an agency as big as TBWA using their creative clout to great positive social effect.

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For more information on the campaign as well as to read more about the photographs, hear eyewitness accounts, and use a satellite map to locate where the images were taken visit: