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Zimbabwe: Shamed By My Kind

BY SIMON MOYO, 22 JUNE 2012

In a kombi recently a woman started crying and everybody was rightfully concerned. She had a baby in her arms and was grief stricken. Asked why she was crying she related her tale, one which is all too common but still acutely painful. She said that the father of her child had ditched her and left her with nothing…. no bus fare, no home, no food, just nothing.

I felt terrible, because all I could do was to feel sorry, not only for her, but also for the multitude of women who have had the misfortune of being impregnated and dumped.

It’s hard for me to imagine how people who were once lovers end up not only breaking up but also hurting each other, and more importantly the product of their relationship, so much.

Women in this land are far from being emancipated and in most cases look up to men as the breadwinners and the decision makers. In doing so they are abused by the men whom they trusted with their wellbeing. There are women who turn against nature, dump the babies and run. While this is a criminal act, I cannot blame them for clinging to the hope to start a new life without the burden of a child to feed.

Speaking as a man, I am ashamed that we still have irresponsible men who feel nothing, who regularly set up “small houses”, and when their lovers fall pregnant they abandon them without a second thought.

The incidence of children living on the streets is reaching epidemic proportions, single mothers turning to prostitution in order to eke out a living is common.

What is even more shocking is that the woman who holds the second highest position in the land, Vice President Joice Mujuru supports the traditional submissive role of women. At her husband’s memorial service she made the shocking proclamation in response to the General’s well publicised infidelity. She proclaimed, “I never stopped to bathe my husband’s feet in June even if I knew that the previous night he had not slept at home and he was not at work. If you have a bull in your kraal, you cannot instruct it which cow to service or which one not to service. I am saying this with a bleeding heart.”

Yet just weeks later Mujuru delivered the keynote address at the launch of a new women’s group which is set to challenge the constitutional process, she said, the “G20 is strategically positioned to provide feedback to the broader population of women,” and that it demonstrates women’s willingness to work together for a unified Zimbabwe.

Given she sees herself as a lowly cow in the kraal is she the one to act as a role model to Zimbabwe’s women?

But, what can I do? As I listened to the abandoned woman I cursed my kind for being so heartless.

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