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Communities exploiting women while women rights organisations ignore the rural women

10 Mar 2016 at 09:49hrs | Views
(Written on International Women's Day 8 March 2016.)
 
Today is International Women's Day
 
Yesterday I was in rural Gwanda South to buy some goats, two things struck me.
 
First this young girl comes to me. Looked at her must have been be about 19, but looking very tired and one would have thought she was about 30 or so. She was heavily pregnant and carrying another about one year old baby on her back battling to pull two goats yoked together.

The young girl says to me she had met me before and knows I can not recognise her. Indeed I couldn't remember her face. She tells me she knows me from a Secondary School in Gwanda North where we had gone to distribute sanitary pads with my partner Lorraine Ndlovu in 2014.

I was so touched. Asked her what she was doing there in her condition. She told me she was married off in November 2014 and didn't even get a chance to sit for her ordinary level examinations.

I took my phone and opened photos of the days we distributed sanitary pads at the school. She identified herself on the pictures with a huge smile and called some women there to come and see the picture.

While it was joy to her to see the picture, I was not amused at all. I have a natural weakness of being emotional on such issues. I was a bit teary, thank God I was putting on dark sun glasses no one could see my teary eyes.

The innocent and hopeful little girl on the picture and the tired certainly futureless young woman standing in front of me were two very different people. Two years  was like some twenty years later.

Amongst the woman she was showing the photo to was another also pregnant young lady in her mid thirties who she was referring to as "mam' omdala" who I established to be the first wife in her polygamous marriage.

I didn't want to go into further discussion with her because of the emotion I was going through seeing the level of abuse our society is exposing our women to.

Second thing that struck me was that majority of people who had brought goats for sale were women accompanied by children who at that time should have been at school. A couple of men were seated a little distance off relaxed under the trees sharing some opaque beer.

I asked why it was women not men who had come to sale the goats, the women immediately shouted that they needed the money to buy food for the families in the drought.

Then another lady says to me if only we had brought food hampers to buy the goats with instead of cash which the men are waiting take from the women before they even got home. The offer being a bag of 50kg grain with 4kg sugar, 2 litres cooking oil, 1kg salt and 1kg tea leaves for a goat.

Tried to reason with them that the grocery was below the cash equivalence of the price for a goat, the women were content in that it was better than losing the cash to their husbands and end up with no food at home and no goats in the pan but with a drunk husband.

Being International Women's Day today it really gets me thinking what are we men really doing to the women we live with? Where are all these women rights organisation we see around every city holding workshops and splashing donor funds when the rural women are exposed to such levels of abuse by the community?

Can only wish every African woman out there a happy women's day albeit with all the difficulties our communities, cultures and governments put you through. No hope is lost.

Bekezela Maduma Fuzwayo writes this article in his personal capacity and the article is extracted from his personal Facebook page. He can be contacted on bekezelamaduma@yahoo.co.uk

Source - Bekezela Maduma Fuzwayo
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