02 May

Chihuta, the new Zimbabwe Currency?

By Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda

ChihutaJust reflecting zvangu.

In the last few days, it became evident that the most collective creative moment for Zimbabweans is now, as Chihuta is trending as a tangible and intangible currency. Actually, the Zimbabwe government must name our new currency chihuta. It is exotic, meaningful, creative, indigenous, smooth to say, easy spell and warmly sound to the ear.  Imagine a child sent to collect a debt saying, “hanzi naamai ko Chihuta chiye”! It’s fortitous that at the moment we do not have our own currency.

It is a currency born out of the collective struggles of the people of Zimbabwe in the 21st century.  A struggle for economic survival and revitalisation. It is the re-birth of freedoms. Beyond looking west or east, north or south, we look internally and resource from within.

Many countries have special names for their money. There is birr in Ethiopia, Naira in Nigeria, Cedi in Ghana, shillings, kwachas etc. A Chihuta will be a true currency, real money for value.  Its meaning is born out of real people-driven (I hate the term though, because its evoked to provide semblance of voice and power to citizens), discourse that interlinks economic development,  appropriate natural resources utilisation without plunder, environmental awareness, and entrepreneurship all bundled in one nest/dendere.

Anyway, having chihuta as our national currency will ensure that our school curriculum will have deep content on nature study, with lessons about birds of Zimbabwe, their habitat, value and behaviour. The students will learn the difference between chihuta and chikwari or horwe. There will be discussion on whether the Zimbabwe bird is hungwe or chihuta, necessary confusion in learning.

There will be a good conversation and the controversy will continue on whether to domesticate or not domesticate zvihuta. A lot of discussion about indigenous knowledge and practice for protection of the flora and fauna. Naturally, there will be gender studies on the control, ownership and production of zvihuta.

As chihuta trends on social media and Zimbabweans warm up to this beautiful tasty bird, it is clear that for centuries we had under estimated Chihuta’s value. This simple and humble bird is the currency of the moment. Some people are already estimating lobola in zvihuta (I prefer chihuta as a token of love other than a transaction between families). Anyway, we know many people are already earning their livelihoods nezvihuta.

Why not take a leap of faith as a nation. Imagine waking up tomorrow to some news that our state coffers have 15 bhirioni zvihuta, live. They are from Marange or Chiadzwa and someone had “mistakenly” build a nest somewhere. We will be able to breathe again.

Do not ask me again. For me, our next currency should neither be a dollar, a bearer or anything else. I will happily walk to the bank and deposit zvihuta zvangu. Nobody will be permitted to slash away any or zero feathers from my hard-earned and fed chihuta.

 

02 May

Turning to Law Enforcement – Zimbabwe and Human Trafficking

By Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda

In the last week, the main focus in Zimbabwe has been  the repatriation of 32 women who were trafficked to Kuwait. Now that with the human side of this heinous crime, human trafficking, i.e rescuing and caring the survivors of the violence is being addressed; its important to turn our minds to the crime committed.

Trafficking in persons is a serious crime under domestic and international law. It is a serious violation of human rights and requires the same seriousness in addressing the justice issues. It demands extraordinary leadership and capability of a range of law enforcement and other institutions to root out this crime and ensure justice.

Human trafficking is often extra-territorial in nature and usually such institutions as inter-pol and International Organisation on Migration (IOM), the United Nations Offices on Drugs and Crime and the Office of High Commission for human Rights are then involved. It also demands the whole society to have zero tolerance and to take necessary measures not to harbour criminals and to be cooperative with investigations. I have some questions about the increase in human trafficking in Zimbabwe.

  • who are the people involved, as individuals, business in the Zimbabwe situation?
  • where are the networks spread beyond the known and reported case of Kuwait?
  • what is our institutional capacity to investigate and prosecute?
  • do we have adequate witness protection measures in place?
  • what is the advice from the police on how citizens can assist in curbing this heinous crime?

To my fellow Zimbabweans, isn’t it better kupfuya zvihuta and earn a few bond-coins than to trade another human being?

But honestly, one of the underlying issues to be addressed is economic opportunities for women and young girls and a fight against corruption.

Am waiting for justice on the current case before the courts.

 

*Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda is an international human rights lawyer, specialises on women and children’s rights. She currently serves as African Union Goodwill Ambassador for Ending Child Marriage.

01 May

Human Trafficking is Exploitative Labour, A Crime and Modern Form of Slavery

cropped-NG31.jpgBy Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda

As the sun sets today, thirty-two (32) of our Zimbabwe sisters who arrived yesterday from Kuwait will or have been reuniting with their families. Away from the glare of the public, holding on to the joy of life saved, they will be recounting their experiences. Some stories will be in drips and drops, others will be a gushing of emotions, pain and tears. The pain and the experiences are still raw. Exhaustion and joy!

Some of the survivors are embraced by welcoming parents or guardians,  possibly cursing themselves for having urged and supported the trip. Others will face the tensions in their homes as the blame game is reignited and finger pointing ensues. Who did what, gave what information or did not listen to the other. Others have no immediate family to go to, a distant aunt, sister, ambuya nasekuru. Others have their children patiently waiting for mom to embrace.

Some may have literally run away from home and now they have to get somewhere kwekupotera, for they can not just arrive back home. Or they went against their parents or “social/economic guardians” wish, for legal age of majority does not confer total freedom for poor dependent young women and girls. Some have inquisitive boyfriends, partners or husbands or are happy or anxious to have their loved ones home. They are equally unsure of how they will handle the information if she discloses sexual abuse of any kind.

This is my call out to families, friends and loved ones receiving in your homes the women who were trafficked to Kuwait. This is not the time to dig into the details, to blame and shout, and sleep late into the night sorting out all the details. This is simply the day to welcome, to show love, empathy and understanding.

On this 2016 Labour day, its a day in which as a nation, as a people, as Africa and the world, we are acutely reminded of exploitative labour. Exploitation of domestic workers everywhere. Human trafficking from Zimbabwe to Kuwait is mostly for exploitative labour. We must have robust global laws to stamp out these criminal acts. Zimbabwe must step up its efforts to prevent human trafficking. We must all do what we can to have our hundreds of sisters still stranded in Kuwait to come back home.

Lets reintegrate with empathy and understanding.

01 May

Tips on Prevention of Human Trafficking

Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda

Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda

http://www.voazimbabwe.com/a/3309154.html

African Union (AU) Goodwill Ambassador for Early Child Marriages, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda has been in the forefront against abuse of young girls, including the Zimbabwean women, falsely lured to Kuwait to work as domestic servants. She tells Studio 7’s Marvelous Mhlanga-Nyahuye the issue is continent wide. Listen here

 

18 Apr

It’s Our 36th Birthday Dzimbahwe ~ A Day For One and All, Always

By Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda

cropped-NG31.jpgStanding tall and proud, in honour of the gallant daughters and sons of ‪#‎Zimbabwe who through their toil, blood and tears brought this independence. This Freedom!?

I witnessed the war, I lived a quarter of my life in war and saw the sacrifices made by all. It’s a tragedy that the complex narrative of a nation is often reduced to a single narrative, thus often denying us the possibility of rising in unison to be in full and total celebration of the collective achievement.

I dream and hope that this single day will remain the day we all come together as a people in our diversities. That such a day grounds us in our collective vision of centuries of struggle. Such a day must embolden us; give us the courage, strength and determination to continue building a Zimbabwe for all. A Zimbabwe in which everyone enjoys the fullness of their freedoms, have equal opportunities and with mutual respect.

I recall the war, and the scars my sister Hilda continue to carry.

Schools closed and she could not continue. She was an adolescent girl at the time and like all girls in the village she became a chimbwido, a war collaborator.  My other sister Eddie, was taken by the Rhodesian soldiers and was imprisoned in Chikurubi. No charges. Martial law. No appeal. Life imprisonment was pronounced.

Independence came and Hilda, my sister was swept off her feet by a comrade. She was under age and she was pregnant. With demobilisation money, comrade came to pay lobola. I was asked to bring a piece of paper and pen. I tore it from my exercise book and with tears in my heart, a dry smile on my face.

Today, Memories came flooding to me, as we celebrate our national birthday, as we reclaim it from the single narrative. My sister wanted to go to school, but because of war, there was no school to go to. Schools in my village closed. Because of this brutal war, life opportunities were cut short as experienced child marriage. We danced jiti that first independence, she held hope for the future, knowing she had been a big part of giving birth to a nation.

Her contributions to independence and these scars are so invisible, unrecognized and unaccounted for. Girls just like boys her age, paid the prize for independence and freedom of our country. Post-independence it has been harsh life to raise children, knitting, cross border trading, flea market.

Now a grandmother, my sister keeps her dreams, she has hopes for herself, her boys and her Zimbabwe that she fought for. She always says “tipeiwo chance yekutaura zviri pamoyo pedu.  If you give me a pen to write things down, I need more time because ndichiri kudzidza zviperengo!”

I dedicate this 36th ‪‎Zimbabwe birthday to my sister Hilda and all the unsung heroines of the struggle.

 

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