Archive for November, 2011
Hosted by Def Zee (Definitely Zimbabwean) at the US Embassy’s Public affairs section, was a discussion entitled The Small House Saga. The team from Def Zee showed 2 video clips, one of an interview with a young woman who is currently a small house (having a committed relationship with a married man), and a prostitute from the Avenues area of Harare.
Small houses, are a growing phenomenon and are very much an ‘officially’ unofficial part of societal and family structures. It is not to say that this is a new practice. Men have been having long-term extra-marital affairs, even having families, since time immemorial. The majority of men at the event thought that having a small house was okay. The small house interviewed explained that she was faithful to her man and that she trusted that he was faithful too and that they therefore do not use condoms. The truth of the matter is that many people are not faithful, and since couples tend not to protect themselves during sex when in these types of relationships than in casual sexual encounters, small houses may be loopholes that continue to spread HIV.
The role of prostitution in the spread of HIV/AIDS was also discussed. The prostitute interviewed revealed that over 75% of the men who paid for sex with her did not want to use a condom, and that the vast majority of her clients were indeed married men. Nearly half the audience was in favour of legalizing prostitution in order that the country can benefit from the tax revenue and that the practice may be monitored and regulated for the safety of all involved. The reasons women turned to this ‘profession’ were also explored, with poverty being identified as the chief reason. Clearly, the issues of small houses and prostitution are multi-faceted and require careful consideration, but it is encouraging to see youth talking about such issues in the hope of curbing the spread of HIV. Let me leave you with a question that was asked at yesterday’s discussion: In light of the prevalence of small houses and prostitution, do you think that an HIV/AIDS-free generation is achievable in Zimbabwe?
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In an article titled Thoughts on Gender based violence and international development Pamela Scully writes:
We need a far more expansive understanding of gender-based violence as a category of analysis. We need to move beyond seeing women as victims and men as rapists. A more nuanced definition would see the ways that men are forced into particular roles either as rapists or as victims themselves of sexual violence.
In addition, we have to query the solutions that the international development community is currently using to try to end GBV. I worry that we focus so much on the state. The models of intervention, of what makes a good society, emerge from places where the state largely works. Yet the state is in basic collapse in the kinds of conflict and post conflict settings that are receiving much attention for the problem of sexual violence. We need to look to local institutions such as women’s societies, religious communities, consumer cooperatives, and traditional councils far more than is currently done as staging places for dialogues about ending sexual violence.
Pamela Scully is a professor of women’s studies and African studies at Emory who teaches courses on feminist theory, sexuality and genocide, and post conflict societies in Africa. Scully is the author of books on race, sexuality, and colonial cultures. You can read the full article here
On Thursday 24th November, Chiedza Childcare Center held celebrations for their 10th anniversary of service, at their Ardbennie premises. Brightly dressed drum majorettes, who danced in celebration, and aptly set the mood for the festivities, greeted attendees.
Co-founder David Sheehan gave the welcoming remarks, whilst caregivers, a representative of the children, a representative from the Australian Embassy and representatives of the Qantas cabin crew (who have supported the organization from its conception), made speeches.
The caregiver’s choir and the children, through drama, poetry and traditional dance, provided entertainment during the celebrations.
Certificates of appreciation were handed out to members of the original board of directors, and to the many volunteers who have contributed to the many programmes Chiedza conduct, helping to improve the situation of the children. The anniversary was then concluded with a special tree-planting ceremony. Various staff members gave visitors a tour around the center’s buildings, and showcased some of the fund-raising projects the children are involved in.