Most if not all of the so called female political activists in Zimbabwe are in fact not political activists. They are social justice advocates. Most women in Zimbabwe are not preoccupied with the overarching male oriented perception of power as success but rather a collective sense of well being as success. Hence the availability of food on the table, access to healthcare, the availability of safe sanitary wear, the cleanliness of the environment where they bring up their children and other socio-economic guarantees matter more to women than the number of women in parliament. No women are not apolitical beings, and that is not what I am saying here, but their concern with the quality of life they lead matters to them more. Yes women are concerned with the quality of leadership, such quality being measured by the ability of the leadership to deliver the bare essentials that women require to live decent, fulfilled lives.
Hence political freedoms become an essential component of Zimbabwean women’s lives and livelihoods –as a precondition for their access to and negotiation for basic rights. It is through the exercise of these freedoms without fear or censure that women champion the cause for social justice.
The Zimbabwean scenario is unique in that any expression of dissent, dissatisfaction, dissonance or disgruntlement is perceived as political propaganda or opposition to the seating government. Elements within Zimbabwean politics’ appreciation of politics as the discourse of divergent views with a view to pitch one’s views and buy the support of the populace based on what citizens perceive to be the best policies in their best interests is next to nil.
Today’s blog is about mapping mothers’ journeys and understanding why political activists, social justice activists, human rights activists and women’s rights activists risk their safety, security, lives and well being. Here is a short amateur clip that I put together to explain why Zimbabwean women take up activism and take to the streets and risk facing the same consequences as Sisi Abby suffered for the work she did with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA).
Click here to view the photo slide show.