Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Archive for October, 2006

Words not bullets

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Wednesday, October 18th, 2006 by Bev Clark

In a country like Zimbabwe beset with so many problems and challenges, becoming cynical and disillusioned is rather too easy. To help counter this, here is some inspiration from Subcomandante Marcos, spokesperson for the Zapatista National Liberation Army in Chiapas, Mexico, who writes that resistance takes place

anytime any man or woman rebels to the point of tearing off the clothes resignation has woven for them and cynicism has dyed grey

Violence is violence

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Wednesday, October 18th, 2006 by Bev Clark

Zimbabwean cartoonist, Tony Namate recently wrote an article entitled We Need An Anti-Violence Bill, published on NewZimbabwe.com. His article is in response to the debate around the Domestic Violence Bill and he suggests that the Domestic Violence Bill shouldn’t only address domestic violence. It seems like Tony wants a one stop shop anti-violence bill because “violence is violence”.

Tony questions whether women’s organisations selectively expose perpetrators of abuse, saying

When women’s organisations come across names of sexual predators but sit on the names for fear of the unknown, by their silence they are contributing to violence against women.

Tony also believes that baby dumping and abortion should be viewed as violence.

He raises an interesting issue, writing at some length about the ill-treatment of maids by their female employers, discussing this as woman-on-woman violence and asks “whether this form of domestic violence will be included in the Domestic Violence Bill”.

In Zimbabwe, it is women who mainly employ domestic workers or maids in our homes. Some of the maids silently suffer the most evil and depressing forms of verbal, physical, and even sexual abuse.

He rounds off his article saying that women engaging in indecent exposure should be arrested

And then there are some forms of violence that are touted as women’s rights. Once upon a time I remember hearing that women had a right to wear what they wanted. Fair and fine, but when they deliberately and indecently violate other people’s sensibilities by “wearing what we want”, then surely they are committing the crime of indecent exposure and should be arrested “on sight”? Or perhaps indecent exposure is a male-only crime?

“I leave it to the “experts” to argue my case” are Tony’s final words on the matter. Does this cartoonist put forward much of a case or does he sound like just another mixed up male?

Tony Namate can be contacted on tonynamate@yahoo.co.uk

Your email message was blocked

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Monday, October 16th, 2006 by Bev Clark

Just recently we featured some homegrown Zimbabwean poetry penned by Bella Matambanadzo on Kubatana.net. The poem is called The Kanga, Part 1, in response to the Jacob Zuma rape case in South Africa.

Several readers requested a copy of Bella’s poem but unfortunately one of our subscribers in Chiredzi had his email blocked because of “inappropriate language”. Can you imagine how many pubs would be shut down in Zimbabwe if the swear word police came down as hard as the email censors?

Here’s Bella’s poem.

The Kanga: Part 1
Isabella Matambanadzo
August 04, 2006

The girl lay under bedding of felt-soft yellow sheets. The corners were neatly turned down in a nurse’s envelope.

He takes it out
Already dripping

Face up, she felt the leaves of the garden of flowers running in neat rows across her single bed tickling her bare, chubby feet.

Holds it with both hands
As if it will break

She didn’t squeal with delight as girls her age are meant to. She kept very, very still. She did not want to make a mess of her new hair.

His pants, belt around waistband, drop
Upon brown laced up shoes.

Her mother had spent the Sunday afternoon melting her tough curls with a Vaseline and a hot comb, etching out fantastically even cornrows. She was careful.

He calls his mothers name in a grunt
No surprise he is back in the thing that pushed him out.

The smell always reached her first. Filling the follicles of her nostrils and bursting past her tonsils into her mouth. A mucky mingling of heavy mucus and swallowed tears that she pushed back into her stomach.

He pulls it back into checkered underpants, hands apart this time tucks the shirt tails in.
Funny thing, that. How they can always fuck with their shoes and socks on.

That smell. And then there it was. The sound of metal turning hinges. Unrolling wood against a green carpet into puffs of dust dragged to life by turned up trouser ends.

And funnier still how Judges can get away with telling you
that you are the sick one, need help.

Get braids, not AIDS

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Monday, October 16th, 2006 by Bev Clark

Get braids, not AIDS is the title of an article on the work of Population Services International (PSI) in HIV/AIDS prevention in Zimbabwe.

PSI have been training female hair dressing salon owners to disseminate information about the female condom to their clients. Maria, a young hair dresser in Chitungwiza, said this in an interview with ZimbabweJournalists.com:

My clients are mostly young girls from a nearby college who are forced to engage in unprotected sex with older men because of economic pressures. They visit the salon on a regular basis and I take this opportunity to talk to them while they are having their hair done on the benefits of using the female condom.

Meanwhile the Government of Botswana has turned to advertising and marketing to give the usually unpopular female condom more prominence in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Female condoms have been re-launched in Botswana under the name Bliss. The new name and marketing campaign are expected to encourage more women to engage in safer sex. Apparently women in Botswana have been using the rings of the female condoms as bangles while discarding the rest.

Reports today also indicate an investment of US$37 million from DFID and USAID in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe.

But at the end of the day, in the bedroom or on the street corner, the majority of women cannot insist on their right to protect themselves during sex with their partners or their clients. HIV/AIDS education needs the involvement of both men and women so we’re looking forward to PSI’s barber shop campaign.

Good governance as characterised by the World Bank

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Friday, October 13th, 2006 by Bev Clark

The United States Embassy in Harare regularly publishes a newspaper called News and Views from The World. The August/September 2006 issue’s theme is Democracy and Good Governance.

On the front page the editors include the following information from the World Bank:

According to the World Bank, good governance is characterised by the following features:

- accountability of government officials including politicians and civil servants
- transparency in governmental procedures
- predictability in governmental behaviour and expectation of rational decisions
- openness in governmental transactions
- the rule of law and an independent judiciary
- free flow of information and freedom of the press
- respect for human rights
- decentralisation of power, structure and decision making

I wonder if the U.S. Embassy included these guidelines in their newspaper as a reminder to America, Zimbabwe or both?

Tsvangirai has a point

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Friday, October 13th, 2006 by Bev Clark

An article entitled Chinamasa proposes amending Domestic Violence Bill in this week’s Zimbabwe Independent caught my eye. Commenting on the demonstration that took place to protest MDC Timothy Mubawu’s statements on women, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe’s main opposition party said:

“We did not see these kinds of demonstrations when other women such as Lucia Matibenga were brutally assaulted by police while in custody. Violence is violence and it must be condemned.”