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Zimbabwe: Unofficial judicial canings

Illicit caning

Commentary by C. Farrell

Zimbabwe - Unofficial punishment: Two clips.

Clip 1 of 2: Illicit caning by police

Duration: 1½ minutes

Date found: October 2014

In this clip, a man and a woman are being caned hard on the clothed buttocks with a long, rough stick. This is allegedly being carried out illicitly by the Zimbabwe police, for having sex outside marriage, although what that has to do with the police is unclear.

 The modus operandi used is the typical African one of having the recipient simply lying flat on the ground, which doesn't work very well if he or she is not prepared to co-operate with the procedure.

 We have seen previously the Zimbabwe police applying similar treatment to their own trainees -- see this video clip.


Clip 2 of 2: Caning by traditional village chief

Duration: 2½ minutes

Date found: February 2019

Judicial corporal punishment is no longer on the statute book in Zimbabwe, but reports suggest that it lives on unofficially at village level in rural areas where there are still traditional tribal chiefs. Here we see what is claimed to be such a person disciplining two alleged "teenage lovers", a girl on her skirt and a boy on his underwear, he having lowered his trousers in readiness. The boy accepts his 8 strokes without fuss, whereas the girl appears to be complaining about it, refuses to lie flat, and keeps trying to obstruct the process with her hand.

 The implement used is clearly less than ideal -- a rough-and-ready switch made from a branch of a nearby tree and visibly disintegrating in use. There is a small audience.


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