BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
TEENAGE female motocross sensation Tanya Muzinda has shown courage and audacity beyond her age, using her influence on social media to call out the Zimbabwean government on the deteriorating socio-economic environment, human rights abuses as well as corruption.
The 16-year-old rider has been consistently at the heart of the social media campaign that has been calling for an end to the rampant brutality of the security forces on the citizens and corruption using the hashtag #ZimbabweanLivesMatter.
The #Zimbabwean Lives Matter hashtag was fashioned after the BlackLivesMatter global protests staged since the killing of George Floyd by a US police officer in May.
The campaign comes after arrests, abductions and torture of high-profile political activists and the incarceration of journalist Hopewell Chin’ono.
A number of top Zimbabwean athletes and sports personality briefly joined the campaign, which began at the beginning of the month and attracted the world’s attention in the early stages, but have since gone silent.
But Muzinda, who is now based in Florida in the US, has continued to speak out against human rights abuses and corruption.
In one of her earlier tweets, Muzinda reached out to global icons such as six-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and Oprah Winfrey to help spread the word about rampant corruption and human rights abuses in the country.
“@Oprah, I am fighting corruption in Zimbabwe and this issue needs to be brought to light worldwide. People are being abducted and put in jail for raising their voices. Can you please help me spread the word??
#ZimbabweanLivesMatter #NeverStopFighting #HumanRights,” she tweeted early this month.
The champion rider also copied similar tweets to other famuos people including Hamilton and world-renowned teenage activists.
Having had to fight for recognition in a male-dominated sport as she rose to international acclaim, Muzinda also called on the entire motorsport fraternity to help spread the word on human rights abuses in the country and corruption.
“I am calling on all motorcycle people in the world. Zimbabwean people are being jailed and dying for raising their voices against corruption. Help me spread the word #ZimbabweanLivesMatter #NoToCorruption #HumanRights #NeverStopFighting #Motocross #SupercrossLIVE #womeninsport,” she said.
On Friday she also called for the involvement of youths in rebuilding the country.
“Courage in today’s youths is not new; it was there before in the older generation of upright men and women. Our problems and challenges are so many that one generation cannot fix them. “There is still time to be sober and do the right thing, until then it’s #ZimbabweanLivesMatter.”
Muzinda is the European Union Zimbabwe honorary ambassador for youth, sports and gender and has been vocal with regard to children’s rights especially over education.
She has been using some of her earnings to send children to school in the past couple of years.
It was no surprise that she made another tweet on the rights of children.
“You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their own eyes. Focus on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible, a crisis needs to be treated as a crisis, power belongs to the people. #ZimbabweanLivesMatter,” she wrote and attached a picture of children learning in the open while sitting on the dirt.
Last week, Muzinda challenged the Zimbabwean government’s scathing attack on Catholics bishops.
“Do not make the church choose between government and the Almighty God!! #TheMarchIsOn #ZimbabweanLivesMatter,” she said.
Muzinda relocated to the United States in October last year following her appearance at the Thor Winter Olympics Supercross and Motocross Championships in Florida.
She is under the tutelage of former three-time world women’s champion Stefy Bau of Italy and she continues working towards her dream of becoming a fully-fledged professional motocross racer.