The story of the Zimbabwean women …rich, but troubled journey


AWAY from ‘factionalism’ and vote buying issues, perhaps the major highlight at the just ended 6th ZANU PF National Women’s League Conference held in Harare last week was how President Robert Mugabe described the story of the Zimbabwean women from time immemorial and how Mbuya Nehanda refused to be converted to Christianity before she was hanged on April 27 1898.
“The story of the Zimbabwean woman is a rich, but troubled one,” said President Mugabe in his opening remarks.
“Yes, history talks about Chaminuka, Munhumutapa, the successive Rozvi emperors, Mzilikazi about the many chieftaincies that symbolised power and authority over our land.
“But these emperors, kings and chiefs were all woman born.”
Mbuya Nehanda, said President Mugabe, fought for black peoples’ rights and beliefs, while her male counterparts, including Sekuru Kaguvi succumbed, but they were all hanged.
“Mbuya Nehanda was unrepentant when it came to the national question and she rallied resistance against her colonisers,” he said.
“When finally captured, she never buckled, refusing even to convert to Christianity which to her was a religion of invasion, subjugation and occupation.
“But her male counterparts, Kaguvi, Mashayamombe and the lot succumbed, embracing the new religion and its new names, hoping to be spared.
“They were hanged all the same, having soiled their integrity by failing to stand up to the bitter end.
“In other words, it is the woman, not the man, whom history credits with solid and fearless resistance.”
President Mugabe also spoke about Jane Ngwenya, a female war veteran killed by Rhodesians in cold blood at Mkushi after she refused to shoot fellow comrades at their behest and reiterated that the spirit of determination should continue to drive women in the fight against imperialism and economic emancipation.
He encouraged women to always bear in mind that the Women’s League was a creature of the anti-colonial struggle.
“You are a face of the revolutionary history,” said President Mugabe.
“You are made by a legacy of struggle and resistance and you pool together the diverse experience called from bloody moments of our history.
“We are Africans first and foremost.
“We have a culture which is forever evolving, preserving and fortifying its strengths and positives.”
In line with the theme of the conference, ‘Zim-ASSET: Leading Women to Empowerment and Employment’, delegates from the country’s ten provinces resolved to take part in the country’s economy in order to be in tandem with the country’s economic development, particularly the Food and Nutrition Cluster and the Social Services and Poverty Eradication clusters.
Presenting the resolutions, the outgoing Secretary for Administration, Cde Flora Bhuka who is also the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, said the need to increase food security and poverty eradication is against the background that the liberation war was fought to repossess the hitherto stolen land and acknowledging that the land is the economy and the economy is the land.
The resolutions urged Government to allocate more land to women, assist women farmers with the appropriate technology in the production, processing and value addition and to train women in the new farming technologies and farming systems that will ensure they cope and adapt to the effects of climate change among other issues.
Pundits contend that if these needs are met, women will be able to contribute meaningfully to the country’s food security.
On ‘factionalism’, delegates resolved that those involved must be dealt with decisively, exposed and punished because electoral fraud is unacceptable.
They agreed that everyone must recognise the importance of a shared revolutionary ideology among party membership and that Zimbabweans must safeguard and advance national interests rather than pursuing individual and selfish interests.
As instruments who contributed immensely to the liberation struggle, women reiterated the need for Government to preserve the liberation war heritage through the revival and implementation of the National Youth Service Programme, with a curriculum that includes liberation history ,cultural values and norms and sport to promote social cohesion ,cultural identity ,national unity and patriotism.
The resolution comes at a time when the country is under siege from the infiltration of Western values and decadence to the social and moral values.
The conference which was attended by nearly 4 000 delegates from the country’s 10 provinces also resolved to endorse President Robert Mugabe as the ZANU PF First Secretary and Amai Grace Mugabe as the Secretary for Women’s Affairs at the Party’s Congress to be held in December.


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