Taking on Mugabe
There appears to be little to celebrate in Zimbabwe at the moment.
Political stalemate; economic collapse and now a deepening humanitarian crisis with reports of a cholera epidemic.
Today I spoke to a writer in Zimbabwe, whose story and spirit is heroic and deserves acknowledgement. His name is Cont Mhlanga and he has just become the first recipient of a prize called the ArtVenture Freedom to Create Prize, awarded by a philanthropic organisation funded by a private investment group in Singapore.
He has won $50,000. The money will no doubt be useful. His freedom to create has been curtailed many times in the last 30 years. As a playwright of political satires, Mr Mhlanga has been the target of state surveillance, intimidation, arrest and detention. His life is always in danger. None of this stops him from speaking out.
He said he wished the world would stop talking to Robert Mugabe. He wants the world to listen to the voices of the people, the people whose lives he writes about. He said he writes in the hope that "even one line I have written might give people the confidence to oppose and get rid of once and for all, the man who is responsible for this country's ills".
I asked him if he was worried for his safety by talking to the BBC? Without hesitation, he said: "You don't have to be scared for me. I use my pen to influence people to do the right thing."