"Males respond more energetically to positive male role models than to being shamed via negative stereotyping."
Men wake up !
Varume svinurai vhukani madhodha
In 2011 the newly formed Zimbabwe Men's Forum has announced it will be observing International Men's Day, 2011.
IMD Celebrations - Zimbabwe 2011
International Men’s Day celebrations in Zimbabwe were held on the 19th of November 2011 in Chibuku Stadium, Chitungwiza, Harare.This event was organized by Varume Svinurai/Vhukani Madoda (which simply means, ‘men awake!’).Men’s forum of Zimbabwe in which I am the chairman and I am the IMD Coordinator. Over 3000 men and women, boys and girls from the satellite town of Chitungwiza attended this event. The town was chosen because it is one area that has a high unemployment rate and is where a lot of disadvantaged boys are slowly loosing hope for the future.
A number of prominent persons attended and gave papers on the need to give the boy child the best possible start in life. Speaker after speaker spoke on the need to start giving attention on the needs of the boy child as he has been ignored for a long time with attention being focused on the girl child.There was drama and poetry from various groups and individual high school students in line with the theme of the celebrations. We have selected a poem for our sister members to read.
The Zimbabwe Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Honorable Dr Olivia Muchena gave a key note address. I quote the following from part of her presentation: ‘It is an occasion for men to celebrate their achievements and contributions, in particular their contributions to community, family, marriage and child care while highlighting the discrimination against them. The ability to sacrifice your needs on behalf of others is fundamental to manhood as is honor. Men make sacrifices everyday in their place of work, in their role as husbands and fathers, for their families, for their friends, for their communities and their nation. International Men’s Day is an opportunity for people everywhere of good will to appreciate and celebrate the men in their life and the contributions they make to society for the greater good of all hence it being important for us to celebrate this day equally as we did with The International Women’s Day.
In giving the boy child the best possible start in life it is important for us to instill positive values for him to be able to emulate the above descriptions of what it means to be men and attain the true title of menhood that compliments the role of women while maintaining independence. The transition from boyhood into menhood is incomplete if the boy child is not equipped with life skills for survival.’ Need we say more?
The government through the Ministry of Economic Empowerment has just created a Youth Development Fund to assist our boys in starting businesses.
May I salute the committee that I worked with from the forum who managed to organize IMD of such magnitude involving people from such high levels of the government, in its first year of celebrating the event, with very little resources. Special mention goes to my sister Rumbi, Themba Nzounhenda, George Matikani, Aaron Chere and Damascas Kanguwo who worked tirelessly to ensure the event was a success.
Chairman and IMD Coordinator (November, 2011)
International Women's Day Artcle- March 2011; by Varume Svinurai/Vhukani Madoda Men’s Forum Trust of Zimbabwe
WOMEN SHOULD CELEBRATE
The Editorial comment (Herald 8/03/2011) titled “Women must make use of the law” was so factual and encouraging, if viewed with a positive mind and may finally prove to be a remedy to the ever raging debate on marginalization/ discrimination. The comment also vindicates my personal contribution to this debate which was published in the Sunday Mail dated January 16-2011 with the heading “Gender means either male or female.” For the benefit of those who did not read the article, and also to highlight similarities in both articles, I touched on:
(i) the meaning of Gender
(ii) Affirmative action introduced some years back for female students as a way of allowing gender balance in tertiary colleges
(iii) Merit as a determinant factor on the 50% Quota system in decision making hierarchical levels in organisations
(iv) the need for women to take up opportunities as they come and not to expect to be presented with favours on a silver platter
(v) Availability of statutory instruments and a Women Affairs Ministry for the advancement of women since independence and all that’s needed is for women to use them and claim their deserved positions in society, professional or otherwise.
These are the same issues that the Editor raised in his/her comment which was meant to coincide with International Women’s Day Celebrations.
I must say this comment was so timely and should be considered and taken seriously by all level headed women and not to cry all the time. Secondly, I was quite impressed as I read another article in the same Herald issue titled “Women’s Day: Take up the Gauntlet” which if I understood correctly highlighted both an admission of lack of will to venture and celebration of roles and achievements in society. This is so positive, unlike the usual “cry baby” attitude adopted by women and women civic groups over the past years. Roselyne Sachiti, the writer and a woman, judging by the name (sorry about that) talked about the unwillingliness of women to explore avenues and professional areas traditionally dominated by men as they always prefer to go for softer feminine areas even with secondary, college or university education. I learnt that the first step in solving a problem is to appreciate the existence of the said problem, and, this admission by Roselyne Sachiti is the first major step in advancing your and the national efforts of achieving the long desired targets. Again the earlier mentioned Editorial comment says women have personal choices to effectively say no to economic sidelining, gender based discrimination and domestic violence as laws do exist to protect everyone. Stop blaming the system for the lack of will to succeed.
The celebration of achievements by women like Amai Mujuru, Thokozani Khupe, female pilots Njovana and Matimba, Minister Misihairambwi-Mushonga, to mention just but a few, is indeed a reason to applaud Ms Sachiti for her change of approach to women’s issues. Crying all the time won’t improve the situation for women but celebrating will inspire other women to do same. The editor in his/her comment says, “Zimbabwean woman has equal access and it only takes personal ambition for her to attain self actualization”, which these high – achieving women took advantage of to get to their current levels in leadership. These two approaches will get you far, believe me. “Take up the gauntlet” as the title urges you means you have to endure the onslaught of criticism/ testing ordeal (according to the dictionary) since you are not willing to explore opportunities or to celebrate achievements made. Congratulations on your International Women’s Day celebrations and looking forward to being challenged by positive thinking and qualified ladies in all opportunities available. I salute you mothers, sisters, wives, daughters and friends on this day, your day, and all other days. The sky is your limit, go for it.
Temba Nzounhenda (Organizing Secretary)
Varume Svinurai/Vhukani Madoda Men’s Forum Trust of Zimbabwe
ARTICLES FROM THE ZIMBABWE MEN'S FORUM
Article in the Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe)