Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has finally resigned. After 37 years, his presidency is over. And though there are images and videos of parties in the streets and celebrations throughout the nation, sometimes seeing the impact an event has on one person can really drive the significance home. This woman has waited decades for Mugabe’s presidency to end and the overwhelming emotion that feels now that it has happened shows just how important this moment is. She left Zimbabwe and lived in the UK for 10 years and, since her return, she says she has seen nothing but the worst for her country. “I’ve no words, I can’t even express myself,” she says. But as you watch her speak, you can see all of the emotions that she can’t put into words. I’m not even going to try and describe it, you should watch it for yourself:
Eloquent, even though she’s overcome with emotion, her impassioned speech shows the frustrations and pain that so many have endured under Mugabe’s presidency. The fact that it is all over is almost too much to process and we can only hope for a smooth transition. “Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai told the BBC he hoped that Zimbabwe was on a ‘new trajectory’ that would include free and fair elections. He said Mr Mugabe should be allowed to ‘go and rest for his last days,'” the BBC reports.
It’s the end of almost four decades of increasingly difficult rule, leaving the country economically ravaged. “Robert Mugabe won elections during his 37 years in power, but over the past 15 years these were marred by violence against political opponents. He presided over a deepening economic crisis in Zimbabwe, where people are on average 15% poorer now than they were in 1980. However, Mr Mugabe was not forced out after decades in power by a popular mass movement but rather as a result of political splits within his Zanu-PF party. The leader of the influential liberation war veterans – former allies of Mr Mugabe – said after the army takeover that Mr Mugabe was a ‘dictator’, who ‘as he became old, surrendered his court to a gang of thieves around his wife’.”
An entire country is celebrating the end of a tyrannical reign. But streets and cities full of celebration don’t illustrate the impact as well as seeing one woman, overcome with emotion, stunned, and in awe that she has just gotten her country back.