South African actress accused of lying about Zimbabwe’s growth
Sonia Mbele, a South African TV actress, has sparked outrage among Zimbabweans for praising the country’s economic and social progress during a visit to the presidential palace. Mbele, who was reportedly invited by a controversial businessman and ally of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, claimed that Zimbabwe was experiencing “immense growth” and that it was “in your face”. She also said that the country had made “leaps and bounds” in development and that she was impressed by the hospitality and warmth of the people.
However, her remarks were met with disbelief and anger by many Zimbabweans, who accused her of being a paid propagandist and ignoring the harsh realities of the country. Zimbabwe is facing a deep economic crisis, with 95% unemployment, hyperinflation, chronic shortages of basic goods and services, and widespread poverty. The health system is collapsing, with hospitals lacking essential drugs and equipment, and many women dying during childbirth. Millions of Zimbabweans have fled to neighboring countries, especially South Africa, in search of better opportunities and living conditions.
One of the most vocal critics of Mbele’s statements was Hopewell Chin’ono, a prominent journalist and human rights activist, who has been arrested several times for exposing corruption and abuses by the Mnangagwa regime. Chin’ono posted a video on his Twitter account, where he denounced Mbele as a “shameless mercenary” who would “do anything for money”. He said that she was lying to South Africans and the world about the situation in Zimbabwe, while millions of Zimbabweans were suffering and dying. He also questioned how she could talk about growth while traveling on potholed roads and seeing Zimbabweans seeking healthcare in South Africa. He said that he was sure that any sane South African would be ashamed of having their country associated with such “charlatans”.
Mbele has not responded to the criticism or explained the purpose of her visit to Zimbabwe. She is best known for her role as Ntombi Khumalo in the popular soap opera Generations. She also appeared in other shows such as Soul City and Gold Diggers. She is currently working on a new project called The Estate.