In January 2014, Rikki Nathanson, a Zimbabwean trans woman and modelling agency director was detained by police* after Farai Mteliso, a Zanu-PF Youth League leader, performed a citizen’s arrest on her. She was arrested for being a ‘criminal nuisance’ because she visited a bar in Bulawayo, dressed as a woman, and allegedly used the bathroom reserved for female patrons. 

Rikki Nathanson
Rikki Nathanson, 2014

Following her arrest she was humiliated by being forced to undress in front of five police officers to ‘prove her gender’ to them. She was also forced to undergo a physical examination to assert her gender. Rikki transitioned in 2005, 9 years prior to her arrest. After her arrest, she was detained for two days in appalling conditions and released after a Magistrate ruled that prosecutors failed to prove the charges of ‘Criminal Nuisance’.  After her release, she filed a lawsuit against the police, other government officials and the man who called the police.

* Some articles in the media will refer to Ricky. As of 2022 she formally changed her name to Rikki, and the TIHA website respects the name Rikki chose.

Video by Iranti (Please note that Rikki’s name is misspelt in this video).