Ofeibea Quist-Arcton

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Baptist Pastor Evan Mawarire is something of a cult figure in Zimbabwe. He's known for proudly wearing his country's national red, yellow, green, black and white flag around his neck. And Mawarire has deftly used social media to push his #ThisFlag hashtag campaign seeking social justice and constitutional rights, for which he's been hounded by security forces and jailed in the past.

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Zimbabwe has begun a new chapter. Robert Mugabe resigned after 37 years in office. And Emmerson Mnangagwa took his inaugural oath on Friday. The new president is now focused on forming a cabinet. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is in the capital, Harare. Here's her report.

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After 37 years with one leader, Zimbabwe has a new president. Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in today at a stadium in the capital Harare.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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"The Crocodile," "The Enforcer," "The Bodyguard," "The Spymaster." Those are just some of the names Zimbabwe's new leader goes by.

One could also add "The Survivor."

The nicknames are an indication of what Zimbabweans can expect of Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is 75, and poised to be sworn in as president to replace his one-time mentor Robert Mugabe, on Nov. 24.

As a young 18-year-old recruit to the independence liberation struggle, Mnangagwa was condemned to die by the Rhodesian authorities the guerrilla warriors — combatants and strategists — were trying to depose.

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The man who is poised to be the new leader of Zimbabwe returned to the country today.

(CHEERING)

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Robert Mugabe resigned as Zimbabwe's president today. It brings an end to his 37-year leadership of a nation he helped birth. His announcement was read out by the speaker of Parliament at the start of proceedings aimed at impeaching him.

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