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18 Feb 2018 at 18:22hrs | Views
First letter to the women of Zimbabwe: International Women's Day 2018

I read two articles about women yesterday and today from different Zimbabwe social media. The two articles really inspired me to the point of taking a pen and give, add or comment on what Tinomudaishe Chinyoka and Don Chigumba have already alluded. The article that inspired me most was the written by Tinomuda Chinyoka, not because the article was better than the other written by my fellow woman Don Chigumba. Both articles emotionally took me and shook me, hence my reply to them both immediately.

Tinomudaishe's article is inspiring because here is an article written by a man of Zimbabwe: a Zimbabwean man dear ladies and gentlemen; seriously concerned about the plight of women in our societies. Zimbabwean men, most of them are known to be misogynistic, chauvinistic, they inherently hate women! The word sex alone torments the Zimbabwean men because he will have to give it with the object called woman, an object-woman he hates. As a result sex has to be rough in some cases! In most cases women feel like he has been raped by the man he is married to. These are issues women suffer silently in those matrimonial homes.

Dear Tinomudaishe, these are thechallenges we women have been talking about all the time that we women face untold ridicule, humiliation, insults, beatings when we try to assume any position of public offices, at homes as wives, as mothers, as sisters, as daughters and grandmothers. To fight for our basic human rights, already we are called rebels: misfits, rotten eggs in the families. Remember not so long ago, how Amai Mujuru was humiliated by George Charamba and George Rutanhire, and not so long ago! I have decided to page back this relevant article just to refresh all of us what we have gone through in our lives as women of Zimbabwe especially in freedom war of independence. We still experience a lot of gender issues in 2018; curiously 38 years after independence.

It all started with Amai Joyce who was labelled as cheap by the once commander of Zanla Armed Forces George Rutanhire. Those sex utterances against Joyce curiously exposed all of us both men and women of this great country Zimbabwe. It exposed the atrocities committed in the freedom struggle seriously to the extent that some living persons could be answerable to crimes committed on women during the war at international court of laws. To use women as sex mules during the war is a crime against humanity, crime against womanity. Rutanhire is a pathological misogynist; there is no room for such low values, low virtues in our global village. Sadly we still experience untold domestic horrors of femicide. We read everyday how are our children are sexually abused by the people who are supposed to protect them from abuse of sexual naure.

Zimbabwe has perpetuated a culture that uses sex to shame women. Sex is sneaky and as a result, Amai Joyce has been judged as a whore, a person who is deviant and therefore immoral. Who made her deviant and immoral? Is it not the struggle, the very commanders who wanted sex, abducted teenage Amai Joyce and many other girls of her age from the village and made her a sex mule? The commanders slept on duty and were killed by the enemy; now the fault is the then teenage Amai Joyce. It can never be the fault of a men; whole commanders who lacked absolute discipline in the fighting for freedom of the country. How does a whole commander still envisage sex pleasures with a minor first, and second, in a war zone? George Rutanhire does not see any wrong saying the abomination, does not see any serious failures in a whole commander executing the liberation war.

George Rutanhire's utterances dehumanized Comrade Joyce Mujuru. Amai Joyce for leaving Zanu PF is now the cheapest bucket to vomit on. He saw her as a slut, ka Hure, a slag, a woman who engages in sexual activities with multiple men. He wants to rubbish her so that she feels small and dirty: Chihure! Ask all those women who went to the freedom struggle, they will tell you that sexual intercourse with male freedom fighters was through coercion in most cases, no women and girls had choices to make. In most cases going to war was forced on girls, were abducted in most excruciation circumstances. Under normal circumstances most commanders are supposed to be ashamed of the way they treated their women folk during the war. This freedom war we all boast about, it's the women who paid the highest price!

Instead of being ashamed of himself, he instead use painful situations, those painful times, where women in the struggle had it rough, to dehumanize her further if he thought he had a bone to chew with her. George Rutanhire sees this as natural, a weapon he has, to put Joyce in her place: sexually shame her! Why are those men who abused under-aged girls not ashamed of paedophilic activities they crafted in the war? Did these, then girls, teenagers, not become goalkeepers, standbys to men's sexual demands in the struggle including George Rutanhire?

We women of Zimbabwe should fight again this dehumanization of men using sex to reduce women, using sex to insult women, using sex to shame women. Women were victims of war. This sexual script must be broken. We must say it that the struggle for freedom justified men to sexually abuse women violently and now we are supposed to be cowed by those sex accusations and be put into "our place." We must say it too and very loud that some men are guilty of crimes against womanity, sexual crimes committed in the name of freeing the country.

We women must break this sexual script: accepting shame in any sexual encounter, instead we must challenge the belief that men sexual aggression towards women is normal: we must refuse to be characterised as Mahure (Whores) if a woman had more than one sexual encounter with a man. We must challenge those embedded beliefs that men have the entitlement of accessing sexual pleasures to any woman. We must challenge this belief that men alone can take the high moral ground and condemn women for the same sexual sex behaviour which men are praised.

The sexual violence against women and young girls, like the one experienced in the freedom struggle, mostly in Zanu camps, will continue to exist because men are socialised into believing that women are there for the purpose of sexually servicing men. The society must redefine women and men sexualities wherein mutuality and respect replace biological assertions of men dominance and woman submission. It would be interesting to know how many chimbwidos did George Rutanhire bed himself during the freedom war or did he keep his v*rginity until he married his wife he still has today. A decent nation in our global village and communication world should be defined by the way it treats its women and children.

Let's come back to Tino and Don's articles of yesterday and today. Muroora Riza or Elizabeth had to be sidelined well before the death and funeral so that the relatives make sure much of the inheritance does not go to her. There is money at stake and there is inheritance in kind at stake. Moroora Riza haana kana mnwana mumwe chete pamhuri yekwa Tsvangirai. This is the bone of contention: and nothing else. There are courts that are competent enough to give Riza what belongs to her. By associating Riza with Chamisa as love-birds culminates from the fact that they have to smear her with some dirt that will stick, some reason must be manufactured to reduce her first, to deny her the inheritance. It resembles the way as Amai Joyce Mujuru was treated: to be reduced first: was a hure during the freedom war ever to attack her better: to remove her from the Party of Zanu PF.

You need to tell us which women in Zimbabwe are not labelled a Hure, whore, slut - frustrated, ugly, liars, slanderers, cheap…it goes on? We start with Amai DR. Grace Mugabe: 24 hours after the coup, we heard from people who literally worshiped Mrs. Mugabe before the coup, turning against her and were calling her a Hure. Dr. Thokozani Khuphe by being single is a problem to men and women equally: remember women play a part in putting other women down. I have personally been put under great pressure to get married and be counted as decent, a move I vehemently resisted to this day. I did not need that respect at all if it means getting married first. I have done relatively well without "respect" from home country Zimbabwe and home town Bulawayo. If we remove this tag "respected because you are married" we shall be emancipated women of today's advancement.

Dear Tinomudaishe and Don, I can bet with you today that if we started this "ME TOO" movement, it will be crushed by women themselves some of whom experience untold suffering of male domination in their homes. I have heard this on several times when I go home to Bulawayo: a single and slender discussion about equal rights of men and women: it's the women who will put you down: "uzenza bani wena Nomazulu?" Such women will overlook anything that advanced my life and of course all those edifices that emancipated me as a woman: decent education, adequate self esteem, a successful single mother, a professional in my own right, I can go on. These are women who will only accept and not accept what they deem "very important" She is not married, and therefore less than a married woman, it is for this reason that they call Dr, Khuphe: kambuya kaye kasina murume! Here is a PHD holder who still does not count because SHE IS NOT MARRIED!

I personally have been insulted for turning down a weird visit to Germany by a married man, a professor at NUST in Bulawayo. I was called all sorts of names: Nomazulu! You are a professional gossiper! Ms ugly! I don't have time for stupid people like you! Get lost! Ngangisithi ngiyaxoxa lawe but you are immoral and expect people any man who talks to you to express intimacy. It's typical of uggly women like you Nomazulu to think ukuthi bayakhonjiswa each time a man innocently talks to them. Please get away! Get lost Ms Ugly! I will not ready anything from you anymore. You are evil and ugly woman. Slanderer! Anything you send me, I will just delete. Regards, RK Nomazulu, you are heap and ugly 200kg woman! I wouldn't want to associate with a liar like you. I was innocently conversing with you not knowing that you are a lier, gossiper. It's a serious combination if you are like that and ugly at the same time.

Bye! This is the last communication you will get from me. I am happily married to a beautiful intelligent woman. I do not need a heap next to me! I think Nomazulu is a very frustated woman expecting to be solicited by anyone who speaks to her. That is very cheap. I would not under any circumstances wish to have a relationship with you, Nomazulu. I am married and I am happy. That I have known now what kind of person you are, I would not want even to have a conversation with you. I wouldn't interpret, as you have done to my response, that you want a relationship with me. I am not a fool. I do not even know how you look like. In fact because of what you have done to me with, Noma, I would not ever (with emphasis ) wish to see you. You are not worthy seeing!

The reason for turning him down was because I could not possibly entertain a stranger, a cold-caller and married man in my home. I indeed exposed him those ill-intensions to his niece. In this particular incident we as women we cooperated very well. There was woman-to-woman emotional assistance. We held together. I am grateful for the position his niece took and she braved all insults from her uncle. This man I will RK, thinks since he has a royal totem, he can bully, insult, denigrate, call her all sorts of names to the women the way he thought it fit, if they turned down his advances. This man is of Khumalo clan: evidently uzibona eyinkosi all the time, if a woman did not respond to his advances the way he wished, he would get a good threshing, threshing I got anywhere albeit by email. I really put down my foot and said no to abuse! We wish our girls should watch out for such obvious abuse and never be victims of male domination, man-rudeness, misogynist and all forms of abuse on women. This professor is obviously and evidently a very rude man: but he has no shame for his rudeness.

We women still need to fight tirelessly to get our rights as equal to men: we are not going to accept piece meals of our women emancipation: nothing short of emancipation of women and girls are we going to accept. The struggle will be long because we are fighting women too who deem emancipated women rebels of society. Indeed our struggle is made much more difficult by the fact that we fight women who are masterpieces of men, custodians of patriarchal regimes at homes. Those women who have been given rights to torture other women be it at home or in public spaces. Those women who on the side of men fight are meant to keep men as the superior gender than women. We shall continue fight for our gender independence, it may happen that we shall not win this war, but our girl-children will pick the fight from where we shall say we have done our part.

I am deeply grateful to Tinomudaishe Chinyoka and all those men who fight together with us women for the good cause of Zimbabwean women and our girl-children. Evidently it simply means that not all our Zimbabwean men are misogynistic. I am grateful equally for the article written by Don Chiguma. The article from Don simply reminds us of how vigilant we should be when one of us loses a husband. There are numerous stories of widows who left their homes with nothing but a suitcase of her clothes. The emotional burden she has to carry is hard: one of loss and the other of fear about her future without her husband on her side.

Firstly they will be rumours that Risa poisoned her husband because in our African-ness nobody dies naturally. When a man dies, she will have been poisoned by the wife. They will be rumours that she was having extra marital relationships when her husband was ill. The accusations will go on unendingly. We pray for Risa to get power to endure it all. Risa must know her rights as a married woman/wodow despite the fact that she has no child in the Tsvangirai family. We invite many other men out there to brave it and fight for our cause for the good of the country.
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Source - Nomazulu Thata
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