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The war against Anne’s petition : Not about panties, it’s about priorities

After massive attacks from fellow Zimbabweans after Anne Nhira being ecstatic over having the minister’s response on barring Zodwa from coming to perform, I think she and the ‘Team Anne’ have got it all wrong. People are not necessarily angry that Zodwa is being barred from performing, we are angry that Anne could surely petition over something so petty when we have more pressing issues.

ANNE-NHIRA

A few weeks back, Zodwa was trending on social media for flaunting her legs without a panty.  A lot of people were bashing her on social media, including my fellow Zimbabweans who thought it wasn’t proper for one to be dressed without underwear. I am still not sure though why it was an issue.

Fast forward to this week, there came Anne with a letter signed by Minister Zhuwao that they were considering her plea to stop Zodwa from performing. I think she was trying to be relevant, considering the fact that people had bashed Zodwa a few weeks ago so maybe she thought she would get loads of support from people.

What angered us is that we have a lot of problems in this country, serious problems for that matter for one to seriously consider barring a woman who doesn’t like panties (which is her personal choice) from performing at a Carnival where Brazilian ladies who perform dressed next to nothing also perform. On that note, why is this about Zodwa only and not about the Brazilian and Cuban ladies who perform barely dressed?

For me, this letter shows that Anne doesn’t think the unemployment rate in this country is an issue, she doesn’t care about the shortage of hospital equipment, she maybe thinks the vendors in the streets chose to be there and she doesn’t understand that a number of children aren’t going to school because they cannot even afford  school fees.There is a reason why she is residing in a foreign country and not her own.

My point is , Anne should have petitioned for better things. You will be surprised to know most people don’t even know about that carnival because they can’t even afford it. What if our own artists are barred from other foreign countries because of this? What if Anne is chased out of that country because of something she might do which the South Africans think it is against their ‘culture’.

When we seek relevance, let’s find better ways to do it. Things that you thought would push you up might actually bring you down. Some are defending Anne with the notion of culture, don’t tell me about culture because culture is dynamic, I wonder if Mbuya Nehanda knew anything about panties.

Whether she comes or not, I don’t think her presence here has any effect on our culture or our well being as a society. We have our own Bev, Zoey etc. Let people be. People have different ways of making money, let’s not shun them because we do not believe in what they believe in.

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He messes up, it’s a ladies’ war

Of all the violence that happens among us as human beings, domestic violence is the most talked about, the violence that is most advocated against and the violence that we are all afraid to be victims of. It is traumatic, and although women are mostly the victims of it, men are victims too and many campaigns have been done against it but I feel there is one type of violence that we have all ignored, but if investigated into, I bet in terms of statistics, it is just after domestic violence. This violence is between us women.

women-fighting-over-guy

In most scenarios, when women fight, it is usually about men, not only fighting for our lovers but even for attention from our brothers and sons. So many strained relationships between mothers and daughters-in-law, as well as sisters-in-law. Many times, the issue is about money, it’s either the mothers and sisters-in-law feel their son is leaving them out since he married, or the husband or boyfriend is cheating in which we come out guns blazing to fight each other.

Just this past week, the most talked about issue was that of the incident between the first lady Grace Mugabe and Gabriella Engels whom she attacked after finding her in her sons’ room in Sandton. There have been many points raised by the social media jury on the issue, the dominant being how could the first lady do that, shaming the country, and for others they were celebrating with the thought that this was her downfall. It’s sad that nothing has been talked about how women attack each other in some circumstances that are mainly caused by men.

Well Robert Jnr and Chatunga are two grown men, who knew what they were doing when they invited the ladies to their room. Yes, she was frustrated as a mother, but attacking the lady was not really the solution. Am pretty sure if it had been a man who had attacked Gabriella the way the first lady did, there would be screams of how women are victims of the males in most situations. Unfortunately, we are not just victims of men, but of women too.

My point is when we fight as women, usually the main cause is men. It’s sad that the women’s organisations have been silent about this issue. The fact however is, if we are to advocate for gender equality, we have to stand up not only when a woman is attacked by a man, but when a woman is also attacked by a fellow woman.

Men will make us hate each other, and when we fight, they are proud that women are fighting for them. I don’t think it’s worth it. As a woman, instead of dating a married man knowingly, why not move to a single guy to avoid conflict. As in-laws, instead of back chatting, why not speak out where there is a problem and resolve issues. No matter how much you do not like your daughter or sister-in-law, so long your brother or son loves him, the ideal thing to do is to accept and appreciate what has been brought in your home.

Some will end up in hospitals with scars that will never fade after fighting with another woman over a man. Some will also end up in prison after attacking girls you find with your son, not all of us are ‘above the law’. Bottom line is, if we are ever to make it as women, if ever we want the men to believe in us, we have to show a united front, and desist from attacking each other. Sometimes we fight against each other and the man will leave us both, what would we have gained?

May we desist from fighting against each other and focus on achieving our goals. Let’s not be our own enemies.

Women, let’s be bold for change

For years now, we have been crying for change, for platforms to express ourselves, for equal opportunities as well as reasonable representation in policy making platforms. Platforms have been provided, opportunities are there and representation has since improved, but are we bold enough for change. I believe change begins with us and it all begins with changing our mindsets.

Photo on 25-9-2014 at 4.52 PM

  1. Getting rid of the Inferiority complex

Everyone is talented in different ways but some people tend to hide their potential, leaving success for the others. What we forget is success is not for anyone else but us. We often complain that not many opportunities have come our way but sometimes it is not about the opportunity that comes your way but it is all about standing up and doing what you can do to the best of your abilities and opportunities will certainly come your way. Never think less of yourself, you are worth more than you can imagine. Women are so gifted and I believe if we stop feeling inferior and come together, we can do wonders and change the world to be better.

2. Changing the dependency mindset

Most ladies my age, who are not yet married and looking forward to marriage tend to have the mentality of looking for someone who will take care of them while they sit and gladly accept hand overs. Yes, a man is ‘supposed’ to take care of his wife but what are you doing to sustain yourself in case he leaves you. Society has taught us to rely on men but it is time we changed that. Let us teach self reliance to the little girls and change the gospel of finding a rich husband but the gospel of working hard and being a rich wife. Be a rich girl before you find a rich man, so that you complement each other. Marriage should be about companionship and not financial benefits.

Reliance is the same reason why most women have stayed in abusive relationships, mainly because they do not have anywhere to go, if they leave that marriage they have nothing to sustain themselves hence they live for the money. I don’t blame them, but I blame society that has, from the very first day, taught us to rely on men. It’s time to change that and try as much as possible to be able to sustain ourselves before we can think of marriage.

3. Making other people’s lives your career

Unemployment is on the rise and this has often seen most people having nothing to do other than spend the whole day on social media, admiring and criticizing the celebrities’ lives and also following other people’s lives. ‘Who is dating who? Who got dumped by who? Who got married? Who got impregnated by who? And so on..’ But how does this edify your life?What benefit is it to the world? What value does it add to your life knowing and rejoicing on someone’s progress or recline in life?

If the answer is nothing, then why not invest that time in doing something that will help in making you  a better person. If you can’t invest in the smallest project, better invest your time in reading and in that will you find motivation or tips on how to be a better person.

Gossip, viral threads and jokes only give you something to laugh about at that moment but it does not make your life any better. Make something out of your life and find things that will bring food to your table.

Use social media to your advantage. Social media is a chance to show yourself to the world, what you can do and how you can help in the world. There’s more to facebook other than selfies and funny skits. Take action.

4. From Pull-her-down to pull-her-up syndrome

Women tend to have a problem of finding it hard to support fellow women in what they do, they are good at telling her, ‘you are bound to fail’. It is difficult to let the men believe in us if we do not believe in our fellow women. The more we support each other, the more we are represented in policy making affairs. It is quite unfortunate that recently, the minister of women’s affairs, Nyasha Chikwinya, who is supposed to be supporting the women, recently appointed a male chairperson for the women’s bank where there were a number of female applicants. So much for empowering the women.

From a tender age, let’s teach the girl child to support the women as much as they support the male counterparts. Opportunities and positions should not be accorded as to one’s gender but as to one’s abilities. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie puts it, “Teach her to question or culture’s selective use of biology as ‘reasons’ for social norms.” If the girl wants to be a mechanic, let her be, mechanics is not in the DNA of men, neither is cooking in the DNA of women. As a woman, you should not be bound by societal expectations but by what you want to do. Never mind the other women who won’t support you, well they will admire you when you are up there.

5. Getting married because society feels you are ‘ripe’

So when ladies get to their twenties, and they graduate from university or college, what society expects from them is marriage. They are now old enough to get married, which has often put pressure on them. Ladies end up getting married because of society and not because they have found the right person which I think has contributed to the influx on divorces before five years. Get married because, deep down in your heart you feel you have found the right person and deep inside, you are ready.

It is all about changing our mindsets, shifting our focus not only on being caregivers but being leaders and innovators. Women are blessed with the gift of multi-tasking, there’s nothing we cannot juggle. Let’s stand up and do something for ourselves, something we can be proud to stand up and say, I achieved this as a woman. Get rid of people who do not push you up and discourage you and start associating yourself with those who encourage you to do better and become innovative.

Happy women’s month! May we aim to change the world for the  better.

Note to Olinda……

I would be lying if I said I know how u feel right now, because I don’t.  Probably that’s the reason why I thought you were overreacting when you posted your first video. I even laughed and regretted feeling sorry for you when you posted an apology the next day, putting all the blame on yourself. But I do know you are hurt.

olinda-chideme

I must say I am sorry for that. I have come to realise that there are situations when one is depressed, when you haven’t done anything wrong but the world seems cruel to you. Having tried to be the perfect woman but the person you are doing it for never notices, they instead make you feel worse.  You cry, scream and shout and sometimes feel a bit over the edge, suicide becomes an option.

Probably you told a number of people about your predicament, hoping they would make your burden lighter, but they could have made it worse, telling you ‘we told you so’ or spreading it over to more people to make it worse. Maybe that is why you decided to take it to social media.

I am not married and probably am not the right person to try and comfort you but I just thought I should say what I feel might be helpful.

You are worth more than you feel you are.You are beautiful the way you are and no one should ever tell you other wise. You can never please everyone, so do what you are comfortable with and not what the next person thinks is better for you. When you are disappointed, cry, shout and scream all you want, just let it all out.

Suicide should never be an option, it’s your family that loses their loved one and your death will only leave scars to those who truly love you and fulfillment to those who don’t. I understand what could have made you more emotional is because you lost your mother recently, you wish if she was there you could tell her all your problems. Whenever you think of suicide, think of what your mother would have wanted for you and what she would have loved to see you achieve and work towards that. I am sure she wouldn’t have wanted you crying over a man.

You can never tell someone in love to leave their partner because they have been wronged because tomorrow you might seem to be the enemy. I won’t tell you to leave Stunner but I will tell you to think of who stands to benefit in this marriage or if you divorce, who benefits more. But what matters the most is what your heart wants, follow you heart.

There are many organisations that are willing to listen to you cry, their doors are wide open and at any time you can call or visit. Social media might have been your last option but I feel posting videos of yourself in tears might even worsen your situation, with some nasty people who are there to curse for no apparent reason.

Go away for a holiday if you have to, forget your misery and think things through. I can see you have started retail therapy, great going! There is more to life than cheating lads. Tomorrow will be a better day. Pray as much as you can and ask God for forgiveness.

I am sorry for what you went through, I hope you are recovering.

Have a great life!

‘Lovely Violence’:The emotional scars that never heal

Nine years later, with vivid memories lingering,she narrates her ordeal about what she went through at that time. There are scars on her body that remind her of the man she used to love dearly but had the weirdest way of showing his love to her. Although the wounds have healed, the emotional scars will never heal, she still is traumatised. “Why didn’t she run?” is what we are quick to ask but when we are in  abusive relationships, at times we do not realise it, we think it is love, even defending the perpetrators of abuse with statements like kuchengera rudo or ulobukhwele. Nandi, was abused by her fiancé 9 years ago and she narrates her story: Continue reading

A day in the life of a vendor

It’s 4am in the morning, already she’s on her way to Mbare musika to get fresh vegetables for her small market. It’s dark and she’s hoping she gets a lift before some thug attacks her and robs her of her $30 that she’s going to use to buy the produce and her Nokia c3, or worse still rape her. She could have asked her husband to accompany her to the bus stop but he surely won’t wake up after he came home drunk two hours ago. Waking him up might risk herself getting beat up for waking him up or even taking ten dollars from the thirty she has, which might risk her business. She would rather risk her life for the sustenance of her family.

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Tribulations of a Woman

Her first cry marks the beginning of her trials and tribulations, the beginning of being stereotyped, already her life is planned, the society celebrates because not only have they received a daughter, but at the end of the day, they are looking forward to the wealth that will come from her in the form of bride price.

From a tender age, she is taught to be dependent, she is allowed to cry, girls do cry but boys don’t, it’s a girl thing. She is molded into a woman already, burdened with the responsibility of taking care of dolls and plaiting them, she has to ‘nurse’ them and take them to sleep, in preparation of what will become of her in the years to come.

Her hair is plaited and colorful, with bands and all, so that she looks beautiful. She is taught from a tender age that a woman has to look her best; it’s the way you look that attracts the kind of men you want.   vie Continue reading