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Doing it for myself

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“It is easy to be independent when you’ve got money. But to be independent when you haven’t got a thing–that’s the Lord’s test.”
Mahalia Jackson

These words have really challenged me, as I hope they will challenge many of you. It makes me think of women of the old school, like my mother, who, though widowed early on in her married life, worked hard and struggled on, to look after us, independently. But it seems that women like this are now a dying-breed. When I think about the young women of Zimbabwe, I feel frightened. Even though some of us are ambitious, hardworking and fairly, independent, the majority of us are far from even being able to take care of ourselves, on a very basic level. Times are hard, and with unemployment levels topping 90%, being an independent young woman, is far easier said than done.

Despite how hopeless our economic situation seems I feel as though many young women are not even bothered with independence anymore. Faced, with such a tough economic environment, a lot of us have found it easier to just expect someone else to look after us, with many young women giving up on independence, and instead, seeking out moneyed men to look after them. These young women are making use of their erotic power to get men to take care of them, and in so doing, freeing themselves from the responsibility of their own lives. What these women don’t realise it that they are creating their own monsters.

I mean common sense should tell you that you can’t rightly expect to receive resources without paying for them. All along, unbeknownst to you, the metre has been running. It may not happen today, but eventually your sponsor will get their money’s worth. One may decide to beat it out of you, while another feels that he now has a licence to control you, and another still feels that it gives him the right not to use a condom. And how can you say no to him, when he has supported you for the last year or so. Of course, you can’t say no to him now. You feel beholden, and will therefore comply, right.  And what happens if one day he shows up, and asks for it all back. Unotangira pai? Where will you even begin to source this money?

One of my aunts, a very wise woman, once told me, “Never accept something from a man that you can’t afford to give back.” This advice might be a little extreme, but I think that one lesson we have to learn from it is to not let ourselves be dis-empowered in relationships, by not being independently functional, at the very least.

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