Auxilia Mnangagwa is a political veteran. Forget the fact that she is the first lady of Zimbabwe, she is also an active member of the nation’s major political party, Zanu-PF.
Across Africa, you will mostly find first ladies that support their husband’s political careers without being politically active themselves, this is not the same for Auxilia.
She has served in government since 1982 and she has represented her party in many capacities.
On behalf of her party, she has set up a number of women’s banks across Zimbabwe’s midlands provinces.
She joined the party’s Central Committee in 2009. In 2015, after her husband was appointed as vice president before becoming president, she stood as the Member of Parliament for Chirumanzu–Zibagwe constituency. She got 94.4% of the votes in the parliamentary by-election after the withdrawal of the other two candidates.
Auxilia grew up in a farm in rural Zimbabwe. In an interview with The Standard, she described her childhood as difficult.
She said It was very difficult and we had to endure serious hardships. It is this history that has made me a determined and hard-working woman who wants to promote children’s rights and access to education. After school, I would fend for my brothers, collecting firewood, fetching water and looking for vegetables for relish, including fishing at Kumhakwe river. When it flooded we would catch fish for sale. During school holidays, I would go to white-owned farms to pick cotton and soya beans and do many other chores that the pikinini baas (white farmer’s son) would give us to do at the farm and for the white family as he followed us on horseback or motorbike with his shotgun and a sjambok. After that I would dry okra (derere), catch lots of mice and locusts and dry them to take them back home after work at the farm.
This motivated her to work hard and rise through the ranks of her political career.
She advocated for the abolition of child marriage and she is also described as a philanthropist in Zimbabwe.
Sr. Veronica Openibo, an Elected Leader of The Society of the Holy Child Jesus recently spoke to Catholic Summit of Bishops and Church Leaders on “The Protection of Minors in the Church” on February 23, 2019.
The Nigerian titled her speech “Openness to the World as a Consequence of the Ecclesial Mission,” was widely talked about. CNN International described the speech as a riot act hence the title of this article.
With widespread news of decades long child abuse in the catholic church, the church can no longer turn a blind eye to the news.
Sr. Openibo said The church must do everything possible to protect its young and vulnerable members. The focus should not to be on fear or disgrace but rather on the church’s mission to serve with integrity and justice.
Yes, we proclaim the Ten Commandments and ‘parade ourselves’ as being the custodians of moral standards/values and good behaviour in society. Hypocrites at times? Yes! Why did we keep silent for so long? How can we turn this around for a time to evangelise, catechise and educate all the members of the church, including the clergy and religious? I often ask myself: Is it true that most bishops did nothing about the sexual abuse of children? I want to believe, and from that, I have read, some did act and some did not out of fear or cover-up.
She was thorough in her speech, she prescribed solutions, examined the current situation and she was straight forward without cutting corners. The moment she said “Women have acquired a lot of useful experience to offer in this field and have already done much to support victims – there are women who are also offenders – and also to work creatively on their own use of power and authority. “
As African women, we often forget the power of audacity. When we speak up rather than lay back, we can effect true change in our communities. Our audacity is nurtured by strength that allows us to live and survive in an environment and culture that is designed to repress you.
Take a cure from Sr. Veronica Openibo, speak up, talk, say something about the crimes beguiling your community. When you find opportunities for discourse, be prepared and converse.
Domestic violence, poverty, illiteracy, poor healthcare, unemployment these are issues we ought to have conversations about. These are issues we as women needs to highlight and talk about.
When we speak up, the problem is half solved. Use your social media handles, talk to your community leaders, put heads together.
Don’t ask when will the government do this, ask how can we improve our society as individuals and how do we get authorities to do something about it.
In 2016, a few days to my birthday, I conceptualised Araba. It started out as a platform for women entrepreneurs who are looking for business advice and mentors to help them along the way.
A year before, I had embarked on my first business endeavor that failed because I didn’t have enough access to practical business knowledge that was specific to my line of business.
Araba was supposed to be a platform to help young female entrepreneurs like me get access to information and find mentors from a diverse business background. Basically, a restaurant owner advising a restaurant owner and access to information on running restaurants.
I choose the name “Araba” because at that time my father nicknamed my niece, “Araba” which means a very big tree that dominates the forest.
Araba means strength because every woman is a tree with many fruits. Our roots are solid and our heart is pure. When you empower one woman, she will empower an entire generation.
You see, the concept of being an African woman means a lot to me. I come from a line of women who defiled norms to stand out and be triumphant in the face of so many obstacles.
My paternal grandmother, Comfort was not a woman of her generation, she was extraordinary. She was not perfect but she fought for whatever she believed in. My grandmother never took no for an answer. She was tenacious. Whatever memories you hold, vicious or virtuous, you cannot deny her strength.
My maternal grandmother, Beatrice was ice. She was faithful in every aspect of her life and she accepted her lot in life without question. I remember the first time I saw her, I looked into her eyes and I saw a warmth that showed how much she understood life. Sometimes I think people like my grandmother had lived over and over again to the extent that they have come to understand the essence of life itself.
You know that bible verse that says, I have seen everything under the sun and it is all vanity upon vanity. That is exactly how she took life.
My mother is my best friend. We have a complicated relationship like all mothers and daughters. We disagree to agree and we argue. Sometimes I am brash and most times I am not the perfect daughter but in everything, my mother has always been supportive. She listens, she cheers me up and when I told her I was going to create a blog, she didn’t say no or how will you do it.
My mother gave up her career to take care of her five children and although she is grateful for us, she regrets it sometimes. On days like that, she will lament and warn me not to give up anything for anyone or anthing. Her decision is what helped us to have a sane life but as I got older I realised that African woman are often boxed into making decisions like this because of inherent cultural beliefs.
A woman’s place is in the home, a woman should not interact with men in her office, a woman should not be too ambitious, a woman should not give all to her career, a woman should not abandon her children, a woman should not be too successful, a woman should not be too beautiful, a woman should not be financially independent.
There are men who would rather have a woman not be anything at all because he wants to continually stroke an ego that is almost non-existent. We are ingrained with these false assumptions and beliefs that anyone who dares to thread outside the line is labelled extreme feminist. You hear people saying things like “don’t join bad feminism gang.”
The truth is a woman can be everything she wants to be and still be a good mother and a good wife. A woman can be financially independent and still have a good marriage.
The lies that draw us back are not realistic. Who says you were not created to be the best version of you. Who says you shouldn’t go for another degree because you are married.
As I get older, one thing I have realised is that there is a work-life balance and it absolutely amazing. Growing in your career should not stop you from having a successful marriage because society has ingrained the idea that you cannot have it all.
Who says submitting to your spouse involves not fighting for a promotion or not entering a partnership that will expand your business. Who says being a good mother has to involve resigning from work to set up a store across the street.
As women, the narrative is exactly what we make it.
One blog post at a time, I want to help young African women shape a better narrative that empowers us to be the best version of ourselves across board.
The Araba journey is evolving, yes I am still figuring out a whole lot of things and I am still juggling different aspects of my life.
The amazing thing about all this is that Araba is a legacy, when I am old and grey-headed and I breathe my last breath, I want to be thankful to God for all the women whose lives were full because of Araba.
To you, the reader who has read a few blog posts over the years, the reader who follows Araba on social media and the reader who calls me to say how excited they are about Araba.
A film documentary, “Stolen Daughters: Kidnapped by Boko Haram”, a tale of the kidnapped Chibok School Girls, has been released by Home Box Office (HBO), American premium cable and satellite television network.
The documentary was written and produced by Karen Edwards and directed by Gemma Atwal, and is an HBO collaboration with BBC2 and ARTE France.
According to HBO, the documentary, which showed interviews with 82 Chibok Girls rescued by the Nigerian government in 2017, premiered on Monday, and will be available on demand globally on Oct. 23.
In the films synopsis, the producers explained that it chronicles how the girls were adapting to life after their difficult and traumatic experience living with their abductors for years.
It read: “In 2014, 276 Nigerian school girls were kidnapped from a school in Chibok, Northern Nigeria and hidden in the vast Sambisa Forest for three years by Boko Haram, a violent Islamic insurgent movement.
“A year ago, 82 were released, and ‘Stolen Daughters: Kidnapped by Boko Haram’ tells the story of the girls’ time in captivity and follows their lives over the past year.
“The film shows how the young women are adapting to life after their traumatic imprisonment and how the Nigerian government is handling their reentry into society.
“It chronicles reunions with family members they have not seen since they were kidnapped, as well as their process of coming to terms with what has happened to them.”
The producer added that it was granted exclusive access to the freed girls, who upon their release were taken to a secret government safe house in the Federal Capital Territory adequate counseling and reintegration.
It added that, as the film documents, they eventually progress to a residential, government-funded program at the American University of Nigeria.
“Their fate could not have been different than that of thousands of other Nigerian women and girls who have fallen prey to Boko Haram and are known as the “Forgotten Girls.”
“Many live hand-to-mouth in slums and refugee camps, but are determined to tell their stories and move forward with their lives, despite the obstacles”, the synopsis read in part.(NAN)
The organisers of the Oscars announced a string of new initiatives on Thursday aimed at encouraging female filmmakers.
Called “Action: The Academy Women’s Initiative,” the program will include a one-year fellowship for women filmmakers and executives, a lunch that will bring together women across the industry, and a directory aimed at improving female networking and hiring opportunities.
The announcement by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences followed pressure from women in the movie industry for stronger voices, better pay and more jobs behind and in front of the camera.
“As we continue to advocate for inclusion, we are honored to bring Academy members and the filmmaking community together to support women in all stages of their careers,” Academy Chief Executive Dawn Hudson said in a statement. The Women of the Academy lunch will take place in London and Los Angeles later this month.
The one-year fellowship will be awarded to an emerging woman filmmaker in the United States, and in Britain.
The Academy, whose 8,000 members vote on the annual Oscars, has made efforts in the past two years to diversify its mostly white, old, and male-dominated ranks by inviting hundreds of women and people of color to join its ranks.
In 2016, the Academy vowed to double its number of women and diverse members by 2020.
According to a June report by the Directors Guild of America, only 16 percent of the 651 movies released in the United States in 2017 were directed by women. (NAN/Reuters)
Chimamanda Adichie was in Lagos recently for a hangout tagged ‘An Evening With Chimamanda’ hosted by Workstation.
A couple of attendees went to social media to share everything the learnt. Adichie shared her thoughts on feminism in Nigeria and Africa as a whole and everything in between.
Unfortunately, we were not able to attend the event but in curated content from attendees, here is the crust of the discussion.
“Feminism is not about women wanting to be men, I’m very happy to be a woman, IT’S ABOUT CREATING EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR BOTH MEN AND WOMEN. We’re saying Gender should not be a reason to hold people back”. —Chimamanda; Lagos 2018.
In a world where, you are ridiculed and asked to step back in diverse scenerios because you are a woman, equal opportunities for both men and women is what feminism should really be about. We often misconstrue feminism as the fight for whether women have the right to walk naked on the streets or not. Sadly in Africa, feminism is the fight for equal opportunities for girls and women like the teenagers who are sold into marriages in Beecheve community, Cross River.
Female youngsters who are told not to go into certain careers because they are not men. Young ladies who face sexual harassment and obligatory conditional advancement because they are women. These are the people feminism is and should fight for.
Male children are born with too many expectations that often defy logical thinking. Men are not expected to cry, men are expected to bear the brunt of ever responsibility “like a man” they will say. Why is it that we often forget that they also have emotions. Masculinity is not being ashamed of vulnerability
I think we should get rid of the whole idea of money in marriage, it ruins things. We are not selling anybody – Chimamanda Adichie pic.twitter.com/JUtrPfdOR4
Bride Price Should Be Symbolic Exchange Not Exchange of Actual Cash
Adichie insisted that bride price should be symbolic, not exchange of actual raw cash. I completely agree with her. We have to abolish this mentality of after all, we paid your bride price, that means we own you. The husband’s family should be made to understand that bride price is a symbolic exchange doesn’t mean, you have come to buy a slave.
In a recent Instagram post, Club owner, Eze Nwalie Nwogu popularly known as Pretty Mike wrote
SEX is one way women can keep controlling men. That’s why you see a 19 year old girl causing a 45 year old man to behave like a 13 year old boy. Sex has done well for women empowerment because women are the gatekeepers of companionship, sex and satisfaction.
Men condone very disrespectful behaviors from very young girls of their daughter’s age because they are hoping to have sex. So many beautiful and smart women have benefited uncommon favours and placements from powerful men who would do anything to have sex. Meanwhile, men are expected to hustle and die for half the benefits being handed to sexy girls for nothing🙈😂. No thanks to men’s high sexual drive and the steady overration of sex, women have managed to make the world believe that men want and enjoy sex more than women.
A woman can manipulate a man’s attention, kindness and obligations through smart adjustments and rationing of sex. That’s why a guy will keep chasing the girl he is yet to sleep with.
There is a growing number of emotionally strong and mentally commanding young girls who have mastered the game of sexual consenting and rationing and they are using that knowledge to empower themselves. Sexual consent propaganda is a powerful weapon women have used to bring men down. It’s crazy but I think sex has unimaginably helped women empowerment and the fight for equality.
Here is a fact, women using sex for conditional advancement is not a form of empwerment.
Women empowerment is not using a body part to acquire things or move forward in life.
The main principle of women empowerment is empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors is essential to build stronger economies, achieve internationally agreed goals for development and sustainability, and improve the quality of life for women, men, families and communities.