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Abducted For Demanding Freedom: Prison Experience Of A Young Human Rights Defender


My name is Gift Ostallos Siziba. I am a former Student Representative Council (SRC) president of the University of Zimbabwe under Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) and currently studying towards masters in International Relations. I am one of the founding members of Zimbabwe social movements in particular #Tajamuka/Sesjikile campaign.

On the 26th of October 2016, I was abducted by what I suspected to be state security agents and I was taken to the Zanu PF headquarters. This happened in Harare in broad daylight.

Protesters in Harare engaging in running battles with the riot police

I was taken to the Zanu PF headquarters by a Toyota vehicle that had 4 man and a lady.

ON my arrival at the Zanu PF building, I experienced brutal, callous and inhuman treatment.

I was tortured and assaulted with my feet hanging upwards and my head downwards as 21 youths and old men exchanged chances to beat me up till I passed out.

In the same torture chambers, I was instructed to engage in unprotected sex with an old lady, of which my refusal resulted in further beatings and torture.

It was after a long beating that a drum of what I suspected to be sulphuric acid was brought and I was to be put inside only to be saved by calls from outside where I was told people are making noise for my release.

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I was further tortured as they asked for my information about my involvement in human right defenders.

At Chikurubi Maximum Prison

After I spent the whole night in Harare remand, I was transferred to the maximum security prison in Zimbabwe where I received no treatment and I became my own doctor in a place that was overcrowded with no food.

I survived what I knew was the gate of hell as two weeks went by without treatment up until I was sent to Parirenyatwa Hospital where they put a plaster on my right arm.

In the Courts

My left hand was never treated, my nose, back-born and legs but the court denied ‘us’ bail until the High Court intervened on the case and I was released after a long month and some days.


In defence of our freedom we stand where we stood.

 Going forward

My thoughts are that the 2016 struggles came as a real harbinger of a radically different Zimbabwe and there is real need to document those experiences but in the process share the flaws of the same of that particular historic epoch- this is as a bid to learn from our mistakes and to MOTIVATE our fellow compatriots on what should be done I terms of how youths can play a role in the socio-economic development of our country.

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As we go for elections or transition as it were, we all question ourselves about the the position of young people.

At this time around the anger in young people can make them to be used as objects of violence wheres there is a role they can play in the attainment of freedom in a peaceful manner.

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