Pastor Evan Mawarire emerged as a leading voice against the government of Zimbabwe’s former President Robert Mugabe. Mr. Mawarire ’s activism galvanized public anger over Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule and the nation’s crumbling economy. Pastor Mawarire, who is head of a small church in Harare, shot to prominence in 2016 after posting a video on Facebook draped in Zimbabwe’s flag, voicing his frustrations about the economic hardships and hopelessness facing many Zimbabweans. He then launched the #ThisFlag campaign, which drew widespread support online and in the streets.
In the country’s biggest popular act of defiance in a decade, Harare, and other cities were shut down after Mr. Mawarire urged Zimbabweans to stay home as a protest against Mr. Mugabe’s government.
Mr. Mawarire faced 20 years in prison on charges of trying to overthrow Mr. Mugabe’s government, but was acquitted shortly after Mr. Mugabe’s forced resignation in November 2017.
In November 2016 Foreign Policy magazine named Mr. Mawarire one of the top 100 global thinkers of the year. South Africa’s Daily Maverick honored him as African person of 2016.