Au Revoir 2016!!!

Gender, Women

Goodbye 2016

The year I didn’t write
The year I didn’t create
The year I didn’t nurture my creations
The year that drained all my energy in work I didn’t love
The year my creative juices were dried up by the demands of bureaucracy
The year I matured and accepted that I desire a fulfilling career more than  the money a drag of a job could get me

Goodbye 2016
The year I got myself a home
The year I became an interior decor expert
The year I became a natural gardener; an avid student at taking hard earth and making things bloom
The year I became a plumber, an electrician, a fixer of everything
Nurturing my own home, my sanctuary

Goodbye 2016
The year I became my own woman; caring less about what people think or say about my chosen state of existence and caring more about what makes my happiness
The year I did not step my foot in a church:
-tired of being told I’m possessed by demons because I do not yearn for marriage
-tired of being the subject of alter calls so the ‘blessed’ pastor could lay his ‘holy’ hands on me to attract the heavens’ blessing and whip my average looking self into a glorious mass of ‘marriageable’ meat
-tired of being the subject of special sermons that assume single=sex positive=sinful; and so what if these are individual choices

Yet the very same pastor who constantly preached about ‘sinful’ existence went on holiday paid for by a man he knew very well to have a wife and 2 small houses; seems being single is more ‘sinful’ than adultery because that man never got his special sermon, his ‘special sins’ forgotten or maybe prayed for by the pastor while snorkeling in Durban? 😂
I could not and would not and never will; again, subject myself  to the wiles of patriarchy; ringing its bells loudly in my ears every Sunday and telling me I am not enough because my choices do not subscribe to the ‘norm’!

Goodbye 2016
The year I embraced the word ‘Fuck’; a vocabulary on its own, a multipurpose expression
Of joy: Fuuuuuuck, I got the job!
Of anger: Fuck! That driver just cut me off!
Of surprise: What the fuck! Did he just say I can’t get the service here when I have been waiting in queue for the past hour?
Of concern: Oh fuck; are you alright?
Of love: I fucking love you ❤️!
My friend Clara, with whom I spent my 2015 Christmas in Barcelona, topped it off with this post:img_6337

Goodbye  2016
The year I witnessed the extent to which the world despises women leaders:
I had always known women’s leadership was suppressed and feared but the extent wasn’t always clear to me
Dilma Roussef got impeached for ‘alleged’ corruption by a bunch of corrupt males
Hillary Clinton, with all her flaws, but with enormous experience as a global leader, was rejected and America chose a narcissistic, sexist, homophobic, islamophobic, self absorbed and immature caricature of a man as its President
The UN continued in its trend of thinking that women are good enough as as deputies but not good enough to lead, rejecting the idea of a woman as Secretary General despite there being several qualified candidates.

I welcome 2017 and all it’s surprises, joys, triumphs, defeats, pains & whatever else it has.

After 2016, this bad-ass woman is ready for anything! Sounds like self-praise? Well yeah! A famous Nigerian proverb-thank you Chinua Achebe 🙏🏾- says “the little lizard that jumped from the high Iroko tree said if no one praises me then I will do it myself” and so is this little lizard praising herself!

When will we learn?

Activism, Human Rights, Zimbabwe

*Disclaimer*
[This article does not mean in any way to trivialise the struggle by sexual minorities for their rights, neither does it seek to force the writers’ own views on sexual minority rights on the reader. Rather it is a call on a nation blinded by intolerance and hate to see how political leaders are manipulating that intolerance to drive their own agenda to derail meaningful constitutional reforms]

“Where after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home-so close and so small that they can not be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: the nighbourhood he lives in; the school or college he attends the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world” [Eleanor Roosevelt on the Universal declaration of human rights]

Our children are starving

This quote speaks to the essence of what Zimbabweans, as a people need right now, a concerted popular effort to demand human dignity and all that comes with it. We need food on our tables; decent wages and employment; a good education for our children; proper health-care including affordable medication when we need it; roofs over our heads; reliable electricity supply; running and clean water; and proper working sewer systems. These are things we should be demanding to see in a new constitution and as Eleanor Roosevelt said, without concerted citizen action, as Zimbabweans we will continue to look to ‘donors’ to assist us, yet we could solve our problems ourselves.

...we now use candles for light and firewood for cooking...

Yet, overnight, we have stopped deliberating over these fundamental issues. Suddenly, the discussion on a constitution that carries all fundamental rights has been overtaken by the debate on whether gays and lesbians’ rights should be put in the constitution. People’s focus has been shifted from socio-economic guarantees and political freedoms to one issue-homosexuality. So, will Zimbabweans blindly accept a constitution that has no guarantees for either economic, social and cultural rights or basic freedoms simply because it does not contain gays and lesbians’ rights? Will we also blindly reject a constitutional framework that has all these guarantees simply because it also contains gays and lesbians’ rights?

...we find rubbish at our doosteps...

Have we forgotten our fight for justice, freedom, equality, and dignity which began with the liberation struggle and cost the lives of many? Is this what our liberators died for; a nation of hypocrites who fornicate, commit adultery, lie, steal, murder, oppress the poor and yet find themselves better ‘sinners’ than others?

Who are we to judge gays and lesbians? Who are we to condemn them to the extent of segregating and ostracising them? What makes us think they are worse-off sinners than we are? From a Christian standpoint, if we find their behavior sinful are we then being Christ-like when we shun them? Should we not be drawing them into our circles as disciples of Christ and evangelists so they may know the truth we purport to know? Tolerance which Christ preaches demands that we take standpoints against their behavior not individuals, deeds not the doers, choices not the choosers and hence be our brothers’ keepers; are we doing that when we remove them from our circles and call them trash, filth, pigs and dogs? Who and what give us the moral standpoint to consider our own sins less “sinful” than their perceived sins? Why have we all become God- to be the judge and condemn and even kill (in the case of Uganda and David Kato) and rape (corrective rape in South Africa)and deem that they deserve to “be punished severely for their behaviour which is inconsistent with African and Christian values” in our case? [Excerpt from the Herald 24/11/11]

...yet we betray our struggle out of hate!!!

As for Zimbabweans one thing stands clear to me, we have been waylaid!!!

We must always remember that politicians have an agenda and will play on our emotional and moral senses to manipulate circumstances to their own advantage. We are being manipulated and most of us do not even see it. Our oh-so-upright population (my foot) is up in arms against gays and lesbians and has been brainwashed to reject a constitution that so much as mentions that,
“every person has the right to marry a person of their choice.”

The individuals leading this campaign because they find gays and lesbians ‘morally reprehensible’ have committed or instigated the murder, disappearance, torture, abduction, rape, sodomisation, and grave assault of men, women and children to remain in power. Why has the nation suddenly become so blind to their sinfulness? Do these leaders really care about this issue or are they not merely using the question of homosexuality to derail the constitution-making process by diverting our attention from issues they never want to see contained in the constitution?

I think we need to wake up and smell the coffee. Let us leave God to judge His people as He commands. Our priority should be to challenge issues that shape our day to day lives. Whether or not gays and lesbians’ rights are part of our constitution will not bring food to our tables nor guarantee water in our homes. It will neither stop the incessant power cuts nor will it guarantee the nation’s political freedoms. This I believe we need to learn.

I woman

Activism, Emancipation, Gender, Women

Picture credit Carrie's Art & Soul

I woman

Where I come from, I am not just myself
I am a bunch of identities
I am my father and mother’s daughter
Sister to my 5 siblings
Aunt to my 11 nieces and 1 nephew
Niece to my several aunts and uncles;
Maternal, paternal and the kind borne out of societal bonding
I am my friends’ friend …I hope
I woman

Where I come from, I am the girl who finished school without falling pregnant
And not only got one degree but two
A few hate me for it
Some envy me because of it
Others admire me for doing it
I might even be considered a role model by a few because of it
I Woman

It is also where I from that I am considered an ageing spinster
27 years old and not married!
I am considered to have outstretched my era of ripeness
Who wants to pick fruit that is ripe to the point of getting rotten?
I am almost totally unmarriageable
Worse still with the label ‘lawyer’ hanging over my head
I am more than spoiled goods
Who wants an opinionated and argumentative wife?
They prefer them soft spoken, keeping their opinions to themselves
I woman

Where I come from I am a member of my congregation
I love to sing, praise and worship in my church
I love listening to my Pastor’s sermons
Delivered in Shona; my mother tongue
If translated to English, TD Jakes’ own
Would pale in comparison
I woman

It is also where I come from
That I love to hang out at ‘Jazz 105’
Listen to the soothing sounds of African jazz
Go to the Red Fox watch my reggae brothers and sisters
Delivering amazing performances
Reggae music is conscious music
But if my pastor were to see me there
He would find a reason to pray for me the next day
I woman

I want to be a mother and wife
Have the proverbial husband, two kids (make that 3 for me) and a dog
I want to raise those kids and watch them grow
But I want to be a career woman too
I want to see the world, explore it, and transform it
But I also want a home and roots
I woman

I am a woman, yes
I am educated, yes
I love my career, yes
I want to get married, yes
I am a Christian, yes
I love art and will go nether beyond to find it, yes

How do I keep these aspirations together?
How do I fight these stereotypes?
How do I make people understand that the
Multiple facets of my character make the whole me?
How? How? How?
Should I even bother?

I fight patriarchy and patriarchy fights back
I fight societal prejudices and they fight back
Subtle is their fight that when I make noise against them
I am the fool, I am paranoid, I am being defensive
This struggle must end
This struggle will end
And I can be who I want to be
I will be who I want to be
I must be who I want to be
Without having to face judgement at every turn
I woman