In dire economic crisis under the leadership of President Robert Mugabe, many Zimbabwean citizens and human rights activists felt that Zimbabwe was a “dictatorship under another name.” Political violence was common, especially in the months leading up to the general election of March 2008, and the government used police to violently suppress any voices that opposed the current leadership. The organization Women of Zimbabwe Arise (“WOZA”, a Ndebele word meaning “come forward”) was formed in 2003 to give women a voice against injustice and violence.
After almost ten years of guerrilla warfare, Zimbabwe achieved independence from Britain in 1980. The Lancaster House Agreement included a constitution for Zimbabwe that described a multi-party democracy.
Workers in the British colony of Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, bore an increased workload to support the war effort during WWII. As extraction of mineral resources increased, employees of Rhodesia Railways worked upward of 65 hours per week to transport the minerals to ports on the Indian Ocean. While white European railway workers had strong unions representing them, black African employees received inferior treatment and lower pay grades than whites.