They say once bitten twice shy. There were rumours yesterday that the government could shutdown the internet as a way of handling the anti-corruption demonstrations that were planned by some today. The last time there were demonstrations in Zimbabwe the government illegally blocked access to social media before shutting down the internet completely. There is a rumour the government might do just that today although the internet is still working.

To help counter the effects of blocking social media, leading VPN provider, Tunnel Bear is offering 10GB of VPN data to Zimbabweans:

Zimbabwe must #KeepItOn. TunnelBear has seen nearly a 12x spike in connections in Zimbabwe since protests began. In light of this, we’re giving away 10GB of data for one month to our users in Zimbabwe to support them in this critical time.

Tunnel Bear on Twitter

This is nostro data

In order to use this data you need an internet connection which means if you are on a capped internet connection you ought to have data in that device first. To borrow a phrase this is nostro data. This 10GB of data refers to the amount of data Tunnel Bear will allow you to pass through their VPN network thus allowing you to unblock social media if it is blocked.

This is how it works:

  • Your device which is connected to the internet wants to connect to WhatsApp which is blocked uses data (for example Econet, ZOL, Telecel or NetOne data) to connect to Tunnel Bear’s VPN server which is not blocked
  • Tunnel Bear’s VPN server then connects to WhatsApp because it’s not in Zimbabwe it can freely do so as the blocking of WhatsApp is in Zimbabwe
  • Your device is then able to download and send messages via Tunnel Bear’s VPN servers. During this process use is made of that 10GB of free data.
  • This is where the 10GB data comes into play. Normally you would need to buy Tunnel Bear VPN data in addition to data on your phone but here you are able to freely access this data.

Just so we are clear, this data is for use on Tunnel Bear’s VPN servers. You will still need an active internet connection to access it.

Tunnel Bear Says I am not in Zimbabwe

To access this data all you need is to download the Tunnel Bear App for your Android or iPhone device. When you launch it, create a free account, log in and Tunnel Bear should know you are in Zimbabwe and automatically gift you that 10GB. However, things sometimes do not go as planned. For example, using ZOL our ISP, Tunnel Bear thinks we are in South Africa. In this case, you will need to get with their support to get the Free Data.