Zimbabweans will finally be able to see the award-winning documentary Democrats which chronicles the 2013 Constitution-making process in the country. This follows a recent Harare High Court ruling which effectively lifts the prohibition of the film.
In 2016, the film was banned by the country’s censorship board which described the film as “unfit for local consumption.”
Since its premiere in 2015, the film has been screened all over the world and in numerous African countries but has yet to be shown in Zimbabwe.
Camilla Nielsson, the film’s director, said, “I’m very happy with the High Court order today that lifts the ban on my film Democrats. The Censorship Board’s will now issue a certificate, and we can finally distribute the film in the country where it was made.”
The film’s unbanning is on condition that a warning is displayed at the start of the film that there are scenes of violence therein and certain expletives be taken out of the subtitles.
Democrats follows two top political operatives, Douglas Mwonzora from MDC-T and Paul Mangwana from Zanu PF, in Zimbabwe who have been appointed to lead the creation of a new constitution after years of increasingly corrupt leadership from President Robert Mugabe. The two men are political opponents with wholly different styles but united in their ambition to deliver a new foundation for a reformed Zimbabwe. The film provides unprecedented, exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to one of modern Africa’s most gripping – and previously hidden – dramas of political survival at the highest level.
African Screen Network, the African distributors of the film, have shown the film in 6 African territories where it was received with much acclaim. This includes special screenings of the film in 2016 attended by the film’s co-protagonist, Douglas Mwonzora, in South Africa.
Khanyo Mjamba, African Screen Network manager said, “We’re thrilled to finally be able to legally show this film to the people of Zimbabwe. It’s a hugely important document of the country’s history, it’s extremely relevant to present-day Zimbabwe, and holds its own as a quality piece of documentary filmmaking.”