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Power of Pink and the Zapu Woman - Why is there a history of women being sold short??

09 Jun 2016 at 23:19hrs | Views
Sipho Sibanda - ZAWU Provincial Chair-Europe
Women are always presented as the "weaker sex" but as my Granny used to say, the man may be regarded as the head of the family but the woman is the neck which controls and turns the head. All over the world women were treated very poorly. In some quarters they are still treated badly and are not afforded the respect their contributions deserve. In biblical times we have examples of women at the fore of various religious, social and cultural struggles. Rahab saved her family, Ruth put herself in danger to provide for her mother in law, Abigail had to correct the foolishness of her husband and Hagar had to deal with jealousies and underhand treatment by so many, yet they fought on and never gave up.

Did you know that in some parts of Europe women could be sold at the local market by their husbands in the 19th century if they were not up to the mark? Yet even then most industries depended on women. Take the Sheffield Women of Steel during WW1 and WW11 who worked in dangerous conditions in the ammunitions industry to keep the war efforts adequately resourced. They were able to juggle this with caring for children and the ailing elderly at home. At least some medals are finally coming their way. After independence in Zimbabwe, the majority of the women who contributed to the struggle were soon cast aside and we wonder why this country has turned out the way it has. I am talking about women like the late Mama Thenjiwe Lesabe, Mama Ruth Chinamano, Mama Jane Ngwenya, Amai Ruth Nyamurowa former Victory Camp commander, Amai Masawi and not forgetting Amai Musarurwa just to name a few. They were relegated to meaningless cabinet posts or completely discarded. Under-utilising the talents of women is not only a party problem but also a national and international problem. In just one day, 1 December 1955, it took a woman, Rosa Parks, to define the struggle for black empowerment in America. Hers was a simple act of defiance by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person. Women can turn the struggle just like that while men stumble through long speeches.

Thank God we still have women leading from the front, raising the liberation flag and walking in the steps of the other great women.  WOZA has been championing our struggle since 2003 and were recognised internationally for their contributions in 2008 when they received the Amnesty International Human Rights Award. Jenni Williams Magodonga Mahlangu, Sheila Dube and others silitshayela ihlombe.

ZAPU has always had strong female voices, women that continue in leading and fighting for change, education, health, boosting the economy, breaking through fear barriers all the while being full time mothers and/or wives. The contribution of women in Zapu should not be limited to ZAWU (Zapu's women wing). The Zapu woman needs to continue to shine in the main wing which is currently dominated by men. Zapu can make more progress if women are given more breathing space to lead from the front. Arise Zapu Woman Arise!

Women are still fighting for equal job opportunities and recognition at boardroom level but their value, ethos and strength has not changed, remaining as potent as ever. It is a long road and a fight that will continue to be fought but the role of women is still the root around which a family grows, the listening ear for advice and the wise words that will help in times of trouble. Siyasho isitsho ukuthi wathinta abafazi, wathinti mbokodo!! (You strike a women you strike a rock). These words from the famous resistance song have come to symbolise the courage and strength expressed at the Women's March of 1956 as South African women refused to give into increasing oppression without some form of protest.

I will be bold enough to say that the world we live in revolves around women. Talk of a man's world, it's a just a term that glorifies man's attempt to gain control. So even though this world we live in is a so-called 'Men's world' let nobody forget that women decorate it and make it liveable. And again that is why they say teach a woman and you educate a nation. Women are influential and should take up their rightful place in advancing the struggle for complete liberation in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe will never be free unless the women play a more active role in delivering the freedom we all yearn for. It is time to remind our male counterparts', that while we appreciate the Women Suffrages for giving us the right to vote, our role should not be limited to just voting men into office and top party positions. We are here to liberate, to lead and to consolidate any gains we make as a nation of women and men.

Strong  ZAWU woman hold your head high, our Zimbabwe, a nation once regarded as an economic power house in the Sub Saharan continent and once considered to be the bread basket of the African continent, is still calling for you. It's calling for you to wake up and remember your worth, remember your capabilities and do not let anyone undersell you. Show them the true power of pink.

The head will NOT move without a neck. Arise Zapu Woman Arise!
ZAWU!! Iyawoza.Wathinta'abafazi, wathinti'mbokodo.

Source - Sipho Sibanda
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