All posts by admin

WOZA members outwit police officers

After the amazing release of over 300 activists from outside Parliament on 12th December 2006, Women Of Zimbabwe Arise and Men Of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA/ MOZA) members were left wondering if the non-violent war of attrition waged against the Zimbabwe Republic Police had at last born fruit and that members would no longer face weekly police harassment. Unfortunately this ‘truce’ was short-lived as Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu had to ‘quickstep’ to escape arrest on Saturday 16 December 2006, after being followed through Bulawayo for seven blocks with officers in hot pursuit.

WOZA had convened a meeting at a church in Bulawayo to reflect on the Harare launch of the Peoples’ Charter at Parliament. Halfway through the meeting, plain-clothed officers from the Police Internal Security Intelligence (PISI) branch entered the meeting hall. Their presence disrupted the meeting, which had to be dispersed. One PISI officer, Abraham Dapi, known to many members as he had testified in the Operation Sunrise Demonstration trial, tried to disguise himself by reading a copy of ‘The Zimbabwean’ but he did not fool anyone. He eventually went to rejoin his fellow officers outside.

As hundreds of WOZA and MOZA members left the venue, the three officers stood around outside the hall, obviously unsure how to proceed as they were outnumbered and, as usual, members were giving them the Love sign!

Last to leave the venue were Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu. Upon seeing them leaving, the police officers proceeded to follow the two, who were walking towards the city centre. WOZA security details managed to monitor the police officers’ movements and advise the duo about which roads were clear until they were able to out-walk the officers.

Meanwhile WOZA security monitoring the venue reported that another official from the Law and Order department, driving a navy-blue Defender, was seen monitoring the area and kept driving around the venue. The female officer, who wears spectacles, was present when members were assaulted on 29th November 2006 at Mhlahlandlela. She was observed by members pointing out to riot police who to assault and arrest.

Officer Abraham Dapi is well known to WOZA, as he was a state witness in the 21st August trial (regarding the demonstration against Operation Sunrise). After WOZA won that case, he was overheard saying that the only option left was to beat WOZA members, as the State could not win in court. His words came true and members are still nursing injuries from the brutal assault. In addition, when Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu were under arrest the night of the beatings, he came to the detention room where they were and in front of them, said that police had not beaten the women enough and that they should have been beaten more severely.

WOZA/MOZA will continue to defy unjust laws such as the Public Order and Security Act, which violate basic human rights such as the freedom of assembly. In addition, lawyers have been briefed to proceed with a suit against the police officers responsible for the assaults and an investigation is under way to identify all the officers involved to cite them as respondents.

WOZA declare a victory after successfully launching The People’s Charter at Parliament in Harare

More than 800 members of Women Of Zimbabwe Arise and Men Of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA/MOZA) today marched to Parliament in Harare to launch the People’s Charter. Two groups started at different locations in central Harare, converging on Parliament at the same time. Upon arriving at Parliament, the two groups were met by riot police and arrested.

Police hold members of WOZA/MOZA outside Parliament in Harare

Police held the group of approximately 350 people, who were sitting peacefully, for more than an hour in front of the Parliament buildings before unexpectedly releasing them. WOZA/ MOZA members were made to sit for more than an hour under police guard whilst riot and uniformed police were seen conferencing and seemed to be in a dilemma as to what to do with the group. Several people, including parliamentarians, came out of the Parliament Buildings to observe the proceedings and to read the placards the group was holding, and many took copies of the Peoples’ Charter.

Members had come from all around the county to join the march – from Bulawayo, Mutare, Chegutu, Gweru and some rural areas. After the brutality with which police attacked WOZA members in Bulawayo two weeks ago, members had braced themselves for a similar response. They were surprised however upon being told that they could go back to their homes after being warned that they were demonstrating illegally and that they were not allowed to walk or even sit like they were doing! What was even more surprising was that Jenni Williams, WOZA’s National Coordinator, was invited to address the group before they dispersed.

At one stage a senior police officer asked the group who the leaders was and when he was told everyone is a leader, he then took five members from the main group, including two men and an elderly woman on crutches, loading them onto the back of a police vehicle and taking down their names. A Human Rights lawyer who was on site questioned this and some time later the five were made to rejoin the rest of the group.

The response to the People’s Charter from Zimbabweans all over the world has been overwhelming and today was no different. Pedestrians in downtown Harare rushed to receive copies of the Charter from the marching groups and in fact, the only WOZA items that remain in custody tonight is the People’s Charter and placards including those calling for 2008 Parliamentary and Presidential elections.

The reaction of the Zimbabwe Republic Police today was a victory for WOZA’s non-violent strategy and for the power of social justice. The WOZA leadership would like to commend the Zimbabwe Republic Police for showing that they are human beings also requiring social justice in their lives. However WOZA would also like to warn them that if they are turning over a new leaf it should be apparent every day, not only today but also in the future.

Having successfully launched the Charter in Harare and Bulawayo, WOZA is now planning to roll out launch demonstrations across the country. We will be coming to a town near you! Join us in demanding a socially just Zimbabwe.

WOZA goes door to door to confirm a ‘People’s Charter’

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) have finished an eleven-month long programme of social justice consultations, which saw them holding 284 defiance meetings with approximately 10,000 Zimbabweans nationwide. In the WOZA way, most meetings were carried out in defiance of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

The response from the communities visited was overwhelming, especially in the rural areas. Although rural residents have been branded the regime’s most unwavering supporters, so desperate are they for change that they were willing to walk for several kilometres to a meeting just to be heard.

Areas covered include Bulawayo, Harare, Chitungwiza, Gwanda, Victoria Falls, Binga, Gwanda, Matobo, Insiza, Kezi, Hwange, Tsholotsho, Turk Mine, Binga, Chimanimani, Mutare, Masvingo, Nyanga, Nyazura, Rusape, Buhera, Bikita, Kadoma, Kariba, Mvurwi, Shamva, Norton, Chegutu, Gweru, Marondera, Karoi, Sadza, Guruve, and Chivhu.

“I am not valued” People’s disappointment was clearly evident in every meeting, bemoaning the fact that government has failed to fulfil its promises.

Said Mbuya Motsi from Chimanimani: “the people we chose to lead us have forgotten us and we have become ghosts in our motherland. The situation we are in right now is the same as a person who goes to bed but can not change sides, you need to change sides and turn now and again, without which one is most likely to wake up all sore and stiff”.

A dejected Jonathan Zimbe from Dzivarasekwa, Harare went on, “I do not feel part of Zimbabwe. I am not valued and I have no role in influencing the state.”

During the consultations the issue of lack of adequate medical services and ‘dying with dignity’ was raised countless times. Residents in Bulawayo’s Pumula suburb complained that ‘corpses are piling up like sacks of maize in mortuaries – you can barely recognize your dead’. In Victoria Falls people are now afraid to take sick relatives to hospitals because they get abused by hospital staff that shout at them, “what the hell do you want us to do with your sick ones?”

What was also clear in all the meetings was the outspokenness of the elderly. At the only health facility in Ratanyane, a mission hospital, old people are no longer accepted. “How can a nation be a nation without old people?” they queried.

The young are equally dissatisfied. In Ratanyane, Maphisa, young married couples complained of being unable to get their own land or permission to build houses so they are forced to live with their in-laws in overcrowded conditions.

In Chegutu, illiterate adults are still waiting for the free education promised to adults who missed the opportunity to be educated during the war of liberation. Nationwide, the crescendo of voices reminding leaders to deliver the free primary and affordable secondary education promised at Independence cannot be suppressed.

Injustices – past and present In Mleja, Dewe, Datata, Njube and Magwegwe, people are still upset about the desecration of the Njelele shrine in Matobo, Matabeleland, which they say angered the gods. They want those that dismantled it to appease the ancestral spirits and return the stolen pots. Another issue that caused great bitterness and anger in most areas in Matabeleland was that of Gukurahundi. Most people want those responsible to make a meaningful apology and compensation to be paid to survivors. Other calls were for psycho-social support for survivors, death certificates for the ‘disappeared’ and an overwhelming longing for people to know what happened to their loved ones. Another injustice, Murambatsvina, was also raised with calls for the perpetrators to be held accountable and victims to be given compensation and housing.

In Turk Mine, people also objected to being forced to go to ZANU PF meetings and chant slogans by the police. In Madwaleni, the situation is also similar, as one of them aptly put it: “People in Zimbabwe only have one right in their lives – to talk about ZANU PF.” Parents from Pumula, Bulawayo added that they eagerly waited for their children to come back from the Border Gezi National Youth Service, patriotic and empowered, but their children came back from the camps brainwashed and rude, pregnant or with sexually transmitted diseases.

Despite the eagerness of people to share their views, WOZA members were almost arrested and constantly harassed during the consultation period, at times having to avoid youth militia and state security agents. The most recent incident being the harassment of two members in the Chivhu area three weeks ago as they tried to talk about social justice and discuss with locals what their vision of a new Zimbabwe would be. Police forced nine villagers to sign statements hoping to charge WOZA leaders after the consultation. The villagers argued that they were only being consulted on a Zimbabwe that would dignify them and that they were very happy to be consulted by WOZA, which is not a political party. One elderly lady even insisted that her statement reflect that in South Africa the elderly receive assistance from the state and that she wanted similar support. Despite the reluctance of the villagers, police insisted on taking the WOZA leaders to court – only for the Prosecutor to refuse to press charges.

WOZA carried on amidst the harassment, spurred on by the despair of a nation which has ‘received nothing but distrust and fear from our leaders’, as one resident of Warren Park testified. WOZA’s mandate is to hold Zimbabwe’s leaders accountable because people “were promised silver and gold where as up to date they were paid by words without meaning.” (Matshobana)

WOZA MOYA November 2006

The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) defines violence against women as ‘any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, force or denial of freedom, whether happening in public or in private life.’

Women of Zimbabwe Arise and Men of Zimbabwe Arise invite all Zimbabweans to join in this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, from 25 November to 10 December. The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international movement, which began in 1991. The dates 25 November (International Day Against Violence Against Women) and 10 December (International Human Rights Day) were chosen in order to link violence against women and human rights and to show that such violence is an abuse of human rights.

This year, Zimbabwe will join the rest of the world in recognising 29 November, which is International Women Human Rights Defenders Day. OUR SPECIAL DAY!

It is a step forward to have the promises of the Domestic Violence Bill delivered and put an end to state-sponsored violence so that we can concentrate on rebuilding our country and saving lives…

edical News Today reports: “The life expectancy for women in Zimbabwe is 34 years, the lowest in the world, according to the World Health Organization‘s World Health Report 2006. Men in Zimbabwe have a life expectancy of 37, according to the report.”

Gender Violence in Zimbabwe
Women form 56% of the population in Zimbabwe and usually it is the mother who must provide food despite the tight budget. We women bear the burden of the economic hardship. A government official said recently that 60 per cent of all murders in Zimbabwe were a result of domestic violence, with the majority of them being women.

The campaign also comes after the passing of the Domestic Violence Bill in Zimbabwe. The Bill makes domestic violence a crime and covers areas like economic and mental abuse, threats and pestering. Cultural practices that shame women, such virginity testing, female genital damage, wife inheritance and the custom of offering young girls as payment in disputes between families, will become illegal.

Violence Against Women and HIV/AIDS
According to international studies, violence against women, especially forced sex, increases women’s exposure to HIV infection. Violence and fear of violence limits a woman’s ability to discuss safe sexual behaviour, even in agreement. Women who are infected with HIV, or who are suspected to be infected, may also face violence and/or dumped. Fear of violence and shame can discourage women from seeking information on HIV/AIDS, getting tested for HIV, disclosing their HIV status and seeking treatment and counselling. Since violence can affect women’s willingness to be tested, it can also have a negative result on larger HIV control, treatment and prevention programmes.

There are three kinds of violence, including state-sponsored violence, that are causing Zimbabweans to die young: Violence of the FIST, Violence of the TONGUE and Violence of the HEART.

Help us to expose this violence and hold those who practice it accountable.

Advancing Human Rights
When WOZA was formed in 2003, the founders recognised that it is mothers who have to find a way to feed their children or to raise the morale in the home so that the family can be peaceful and happy. So they mobilised and prepared each other for the burden of state-sponsored violence and continue to demonstrate against the shortage of basic foods, as well as poor governance and our children’s right to education. Instead of addressing our issues, the government of Zimbabwe arrests us, beats us up and harasses us. All the defenders of WOZA and MOZA require are to fully exercise their right to Freedom of Expression, to Criticise, to Protest and to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly.

The majority of Zimbabweans fought the liberation war for equality and freedom of expression. Now state newspapers, television and radio are only for the tongues of the politically correct. While we know that there is a need for such a law as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), it is the selective application of the law that we object to. Where are the Daily News, The Tribune and other independent newspapers? Why is Radio Africa and Studio 7 jammed? Even Smith did not stoop so low as to jam Radio Chokwadi/Qiniso, broadcast from Mozambique during the liberation war. What is wrong with our views now – why can we not also hear Radio Africa and Studio 7? We demand our freedom of expression and we chose to bang pots at 8pm on purpose – to ‘jam’ propaganda news of this regime that does not want us to hear the truth.

Advancing – despite the risks
Although the Domestic Violence Bill could bring some relief to the many beaten and abused women and men, WOZA, as women human rights defenders in Zimbabwe, do not have much protection outside their homes. Harsh laws such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act continue to hound them. The passing of these unjust laws, even though most nationalists in government were arrested under the Law and Order Maintenance Act (LOMA), shows a bad heart on their part.

Through POSA and AIPPA, government thinks it has silenced the people. But some, like the defenders in WOZA and MOZA, are prepared to disobey what they see as unjust laws and speak out. Despite POSA, they continue to ACT. Despite harsh conditions in police cells and ill treatment by cruel officers, both uniformed and non-uniformed, they continue to SPEAK OUT.

We quote a sister, Rhoda Mashavave, in her an article titled, ‘Women pin hopes on domestic violence bill’, from, “It is rather unfortunate, however, that the Bill will not cover state-sponsored violence which continues to follow women. Take a look at the case of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), the resilient women’s pressure group. These women have been on the front position, protesting against high food prices and human rights abuses in the country. As a result, these women have become jailbirds as they continue to be arrested each time they hold peaceful demonstrations. They have been harassed and beaten up by the police in the process”.

No matter what they do to us, WOZA and MOZA will continue to speak out and act against violence against all Zimbabweans – women, men and children. We will not suffer in silence. We need you to join us – in the words of one of WOZA’s founders, the late Sheba Dube, “Stand up, unite and call a spade a spade.”

WOZA MOYA June 2006

Tuesday 20 June 2006 is World Refugee Day. The theme this year is Keeping the Flame of Hope Alive

WOZA is marking this day because we are refugees in our own country. Our lives have been stolen but the flame of hope still burns. We demand the right to earn a living.

iWOZA inanza ilanga leli ngoba siyiziphepheli ezweni lakwethu. Batshontshe impilo zethu kodwa isibane sethemba silokhu sivutha. Sifuna ilungelo lokuziphilisa.

WOZA iri kucherechedza zuva iri nokuti tavavapoteri munyika medu. Upenyu hwedu wakabiwa asimwenje yetarisiro ichirikuvhira. Tinoda kodzero yekuti tirarame.

The United Nations says living conditions have worsened in Zimbabwe, where most of the 700-thousand people who lost homes in mass evictions last year are still struggling to find shelter. United Nations housing expert Miloon Kothari says most of those displaced by President Robert Mugabe’s May 2005 eviction campaign remain homeless in resettlement camps.

An extract from the Amnesty International Report on Human Rights violation in 2005 reads:

“The government engaged in widespread and systematic violations of the rights to shelter, food, freedom of movement and residence, and the protection of the law. Hundreds of thousands of people were forcibly evicted during winter and their homes demolished as part of Operation Murambatsvina (Restore Order). Tens of thousands of informal traders and vendors lost their livelihoods and their ability to support their families as part of the operation. Despite overwhelming evidence of humanitarian need the government repeatedly obstructed the humanitarian efforts of the UN and civil society groups. The police continued to operate in a politically biased manner and police officers were implicated in numerous human rights violations, including arbitrary arrest and detention, assault, ill-treatment of detainees and excessive use of force. Freedom of expression, association and assembly continued to be severely curtailed. Hundreds of people were arrested for holding meetings or participating in peaceful protests.”

A witness describes what happens daily to those who refuse to become criminals and prostitutes and continue to try to earn an honest living:

“I am at Bulawayo Commuter Terminus, 9:30 am on 11 June 2006. A Bulawayo City Council truck parks – there are two occupants. Vendors start to run away, many leave their goods on the pavement. A young girl grabs oranges; a maize vendor manages to balance his tray carrying his fire used to roast maize cobs. The driver of the truck gets out and starts to help himself to ‘loot’. After 10 minutes, another eight men (two police officers in uniform) come to the T35 truck carrying vegetables, sweets, fruit and green maize. They load it all in. By this time the driver is standing next to me reading a newspaper, someone walks past and greets him so I discover his name is Mr. Ncube, he has a scar on his face. After all the loot is loaded, Ncube drives away. The vendors come back, the young girl has five oranges and some apples, and the man saved his toothbrushes, chewing gum and sweets and quickly lays them out to sell as if nothing had happened. Amazingly even the young man has his fire alight and is roasting maize for the next customer. What were their options – stay with their goods, get arrested and be forced to pay an admission of guilt fine of $250 thousand or run with what they could carry and come back to start again once the police have gone? Such is the life of a vendor in Zimbabwe.”

  • NICHOLAS GOCHE (Minister Labour & Social Welfare) – WE WANT THE RIGHT TO EARN A LIVING!

One year after Operation Murambatsvina (Zimbabwean Tsunami) started, many vendors are still harassed daily, their goods confiscated. Many brave enough to try to get vending licences are told they have to have Zanu PF party cards in order to register. With 80 per cent unemployment, the only hope for many Zimbabweans lies in their own sweat, selling whilst dodging police and council police who confiscate their goods without any recourse. We are yet to visit and sit in the lounge of a Operation Garikayi/Hlalani Kuhle house owner and congratulate them. As Zimbabweans still reflect and live through this ongoing Operation, our leaders caring thoughts are elsewhere…. On June 2, 2006 The Herald reports that Vice President Joyce Mujuru said Zimbabwe will assist Indonesians who suffered from the devastating earthquake that rocked that country killing thousands and leaving many people homeless. The Zimbabwe Government did the same two years ago when massive tidal waves (tsunami) killed thousands other people and left many people homeless. She said “It is our cherished hope that the people of the Republic of Indonesia will once again recover from this setback with the usual determination to move forward.” Whilst the women of WOZA are in full solidarity and sympathise with our Indonesian brothers and sisters, Mujuru must know that charity begins at home! We are happy to know that the Indonesians will be able to get the help they need without interference that Zimbabweans affected by Murambatsvina will not be able to get.

What do we want from our Government? WE DEMAND OUR RIGHT TO EARN A LIVING WITH DIGNITY!
In Zimbabwe we know that our government will not allow international humanitarian organisations to help provide us with the basic needs of a refugee. They try to control who benefits and unless you have a Zanu PF party card you cannot benefit. So we know better than to ask for food. Even when some of us were to receive tents, the president refused saying, “We are not tent people”. We are not even asking for charity – all we are asking for is our right to earn a living because without that right and the right to keep what we earn, there is no right to life. See the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Article 22:

  1. All peoples shall have the right to their economic, social and cultural development with due regard to their freedom and identity….
  2. States shall have the duty … to ensure the exercise of the right to development

See Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Article 14:

“State parties shall take appropriate measures ….that they participate in and benefit from rural development and ensure the right: (e) to organise self-help groups and co-operatives in order to obtain equal access to economic opportunities through employment or self employment.”

Ndebele translation


Sifunani kuHulumende wethu na? SIFUNA ILUNGELO LOKUZIPHILISA NJALO SIZOTHILE! Siyazi kamhlophe ukuthi uHulumende wethu kasoze avumele inhlanganiso zamazwe onke jikelele ezisiza abantu, ukuthi zisinike ukudla kwansuku zonke njengoba siyiziphepheli. Bayazama ukuvimbela esingakuthola njalo nxa ungelalo uphawu lwenhlanganiso yeZanu PF awutholi lutho. Ngakhoke siyazi kancono kulokucela ukudla. Lanxa abanye bethu babezathola amatende, umongameli wala wathi, “Asisobantu bamatende thina’. Kasiceli ukufunzwa – esikucelayo lilungelo lethu lokuziphilisa ngoba nxa lingekho leli ilungelo, lelungelo lokugcina inzuzo yethu, akulalungelo lempilo. Khangela ugwalo lweAfrican Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Article 22:

  1. Abantu bonke balelungelo kwezomnotho, impilakahle lokukhulisa isiko labo kukhangelelwe ukukhululeka lobuntu…
  2. Uhulumende ulomlandu …….. wokunanza ilungelo lengqubekelaphambili

Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Article 14:

Amabandla abusayo kufanele enze izinqumo ezikhusela …ukuphatheka njalo babelokuzuza okuthile ekukhuliseni abahlala emakhaya njalo babone ukuthi lelilungelo liyaqutshwa: (e) baqoqe inhlanganiso zokuzincedisa lokusebenzela ndawonye (cooperatives) ukwenzela ukuthi kube lokuthola okulinganayo kuzigabazomnotho ezigoqela ukuqatshwa kumbe ukuzisebenza.

Shona translation


Herald yemusiwa 1 June 1981 mushakavanhu Eddison Zvobgo vakatsanangura vachiti “Vanotengesa havafanirwe kukashamedza kuswikira vatarisi vendzimbo dzavanotingesera vagadzira pekutengsera pakajeka. Madzimai aya akashangurudzika izvo zwinofanira kupera”. Zwinenge ayitaura arimuguva rake Musiwa 1 June 2006 kuHeroes Acre. (Vonai Standard Sunday Views Chris Mhike)

Zwatinoda kuvha kuhurumende yedu? Tinoda KODZERO YOKUTHI TIRARAME KUNEMUTSIGO!

MuZimbabwe tozviziva kuti hurumende yedu hayitivumiri kuti pawanike zwino diwa nevapoteri zvakakosha. Vanoedza kuti hapana zwaumowana kana usina Card re Zanu PF. Saka tinoziva zvirinani panekukumbira chikafu chero! Kamwe vedu vayifanirwa kupiwa matende, President vakati “atizi vanhu vematende”. Hatizi kana kukumbira rubatsiro chariuda kodzero yekurarama nekuti pasina kodzero iyoyo nekodzero yekuchengetedzera zvakakwama hapana kodzero kuupenye. Tarisai Africa Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Article 22:

  1. Munhu wese achava nekodzero munezwematongero enyika munezweupfumi, nezwechinyakare, kuti vabudirire ndokuti vawane kuzwitonga nekuratidzika sevanhu. Uzhinji ruchava nedano rekuwona nekushandisa kusimudzira kodzero.
  2. Vatungamiri vanofanirwa kuona kuti makodzero evanhu anosimukirwa.

Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Article 14:

Vatungamiri vanofanira kuva nemazano akarurama kuti vave nerubatsiro rekusimudzira kumusha kuti vavi nechokwadi nekodzero: (e) Vaite zwirangwa zvekuti vabatane mune zweupfumi bachiita mabasa emawoko.

Four candles burn in a room, those of us listening can hear the candles talking. The first one said, “I am PEACE. In April 1980 I burned so brightly, but I cannot survive the sighs of those killed during Gukurahundi.” With those words, its light died. The second candle said, “I am LOVE. I too burned brightly in 1980 but there is a terrible wind blowing over Zimbabwe since the 2000 Election and I cannot stay lit.” Flickering briefly, its flame perished. The third candle said, “I am FAITH but even I cannot withstand the smoke and dust of houses and dreams destroyed by Murambatsvinas’ bulldozers.” A deathly hush fell as its glow also went out. The fourth candle, its flame weak, whispers, “I am HOPE. If only Zimbabweans would come and lift me up, together we can relight PEACE, FAITH, LOVE, the other candles can shine again!” The flame of hope should never go out of your life … each of us must help to keep HOPE alive. Fear can hold you prisoner; hope can set you free. There are no hopeless situations; there are only hopeless people. Ukwesaba kungakwenza isibotshwa, kodwa ithemba lingakukhulula. Akulasimo esingelathemba abantu yibo abalahla ithemba. Kutya kungakuchengetedze semusungwa asi tarisiro ingakusunungure. Hapana zvisina tarisiro, munhu chete asina tariro.

WOZA MOYA Valentine’s Day Edition 2006

We want more than day to day survival – we deserve roses and the dignity they stand for. This year’s theme is inspired by the `Bread and Roses` strike led and won by American women textile workers in 1912. For women in 2006 the bread stands for the need for affordable food and the roses represent the need to be dignified and the call for social justice.

Sikhathele ukuphilela usuku ngosuku – sifuna ukuzotha okumelwe ngamaluba.

Tinoda zvinopfuura kurarama kwepazuwa nepazuva – tinokodzerawo maruwa nerukudzo.

Twelfth January 1912 was the anniversary of the start of the Bread and Roses strike in Lawrence, United States; one of the most important struggles in the history of the U.S. working class. A new law had reduced the working week and cut the average wage – the last straw for workers living on the edge of starvation. Thousands of women and men started a spontaneous strike that rippled through two dozen textile factories. Some 23,000 people left the mills and poured into the streets. The Lawrence strike was different in two ways: women led it and there was an effort to unite workers of all nationalities around four demands: a 15-percent wage increase, a 54- hour work week, double pay for overtime and the rehiring of all strikers without discrimination. The workers also saw the strike as part of a broader struggle – they wanted to fight for social justice; dignity as well as basic needs.

Police threw the women in jail but they refused to pay the fines. As soon as they were released they returned to protest. One lawyer commented, “One policeman can handle 10 men, while it takes 10 police to handle one woman.” The strike went on for over two months. Children were starving and had to be sent to nearby towns. When they tried to leave, police responded by attacking women and children, forcing the children to stay. That was the turning point. An international outcry forced the government to investigate, putting more pressure on the bosses.

Finally on March 14, the strikers won a 25-percent increase, pay for overtime and no discrimination against strikers. This strike had shown that low-paid, oppressed workers of diverse nationalities could unite and organise a powerful struggle against ill-treatment. It stands as a shining example of how to build unity with women in the lead. One reporter wrote of the Lawrence strike: “It was the spirit of the workers that seemed dangerous. They were always marching and singing. The strikers not only wanted decent pay, but also a chance to enjoy the good things of life. They carried signs saying, “We want bread and roses too!

And they sang: “As we go marching, marching, we battle too for men, for they are women’s children, and we mother them again. Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes; hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.”

Omama labobaba kweleAmerica batshengisela mhlaka 12 Zibandlela 1912. Babetshengisela befuna izinkwa lamaluba, ngoba umthetho omutsha usuqume amalanga okusebenza njalo usuyehlise iholo lokhu kwenza izisebenzi ezazivele zilamba zithwale nzima. Kwatshengisela omama labobaba abayi 23 000, kwavalwa amafemu amanengi. Ukutshengesela lokhu kwakukhokhelwa ngomama ababefuna into ezine: ukukhwezelwa kweholo nge15%, ukusebenza amahola ayi54 ngeviki; ukuhola okuphindwe kabili nxa bengazebenza amahola edlulisileyo; lokuthi labo ababexotshiwe betshengisela babiselwe emsebenzini kungela bandlululo. Izisebenzi zabona ukutshengisela kuyingxenye yokulwela ukuzikhulula. Babefuna ukulwela inhlalakahle, ukuzotha, lokuthola okufaneleyo impilweni. Amapholisa abajikela omama laba emajele kodwa bala ukuhlawula imali yokuthi bonile. Besanda kukhululwa babuyela bayatshengisela. Omunye ugqhwetha wathi “Ipholisa elilodwa lingabopha amadoda alitshumi kodwa kuthatha amapholisa alitshumi ukubopha umama oyedwa.”

Mhlaka 14 Mbimbitho, abatshengiseli banqoba, iholo lakhwezwa nge25%, bathola ukuhlawulwa amahola adlulisileyo, ababexotshiwe babiselwa emsebenzini. Ukutshengisela kwezisebenzi ezihola iholo elincane njalo zincindezelwe zivela kuzizwe ezehlukeneyo zingabambana, ziqoqane ziyenze ukutshengisela okukhulu. Intathelizindaba yabhala yathi, “Ukuzinikela kwezisebenzi kwesabisa….. babehlabela behamba. Ababetshengisela babengafuni iholo elithuthukileyo kuphela babefuna into ezithokozisa impilo. Babethwele imbiko ethi ‘Sifuna izinkwa lamaluba futhi!” Babehlabela besithi, “Sitshengisela nje sitshengiselela labobaba, ngoba bayinzalo yabomama, njalo singomama babo. Impilo yethu ayisoze ibengeyezithukuthuku kusukela sizalwa size sife; inhliziyo ziyalamba kanye lemizimba ngakho ke lisinike izinkwa, kodwa lisinike lamaluba.

Musi wa 12 Ndira 1912 vakadzi nevarume vekuAmerica vakaratidzira. Chiratidzo ichi chainzi Chingwa neMaruva. Mutemo mutsva wakanga waderedza basa revhiki zvichiita kuti vaomerwe neupenyu. Zviuru zviviri nenhatu zvemepfumbamwe zvevanhukadzi nevanhurume vakaratidzira vachivhara mafekitari. Kuratidzira uku kwaitungamirirwa nevanhukadzi vaive nezvinangwa zvina: kuwedzerwa kwemari inopiwa vashandi nechikamu chinoita gumi nechishanu kubva muzana, ma hour makumi mashanu nemana ekushanda pavhiki, kupiwa mubhadharo wakapetwa kaviri kana vakapfuura nguva yakatarwa yekushanda uye kudzokera kwevaratidzira kumabasa pasina rusaruro. Asi vashandi vakaonazve kuratidzira uku sechidimbu cherusununguko rwakakura – vaida kurwira magariro akarurama anemutsigo uye kuwana zvakakodzerana neupenyu. Mapurisa akasunga vakadzi ava asi vakaramba kubhadhara Mari yeusungwa. Vachingobudiswa mujere vakadzokera kunoratidzira zvekare. Rimwe gweta rakati “mupurisa mumwe anochengetedza varume gumi asi zvinoda mapurisa gumi kuchengetedza mukadzi mumwe.” Kuratidzira uku kwakaenderera mberi kwemwedzi miviri.

Pakupedzisira musi wa 14 Kukadzi varatidziri ava vakawana kukwidzwa kwemari inopiwa vashandi nezvikamu zviviri nechishanu kubva muzana, kushanda kupfuura nguva dzakatarwa uye varatidziri vachidzoka kumabasa. Kuratidzira uku kwakataridza kuti vashandi vanobhadharwa mari shoma, vakadzvanyirirwa vendudzi dzose vanokwanisa kubatana, kurongeka, uye kuratidzira hondo yakasimba. Mumwe mutori wenhau akati, “Wanga uri mweya wevashandi wanga uchityisa…vaigara vachifamba nekuimba. Varatidziri vaisada muhoro wakawanda chete asi vaida neupenyu wakanaka. Vaitakura mifananidzo yakanyorwa kunzi ‘tinoda chingwa nemaruva zvekare.'” Uye vaiimba kuti, “Patinofamba, patinofamba, tonorwirawo vanhurume zvekare, nekuti vana vevanhukadzi uye tinovachengetawo. Upenyu hwedu haucharwadzi kurarama dakara tafa, moyo uchiomerwa semuviri, tipei chingwa nemaruva!”

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) hosted an initial consultation on the subject of Social Justice, two hundred delegates from WOZA, other civic organisations, and two Zambian activists attended.

Consultation Objectives

  • to bring the national discourse back to the issues that concern ordinary people, giving them back the initiative
  • refocus attention on the basic and fundamental rights that belong to us all
  • ensure that the voices of grass-roots communities are consulted and heard
  • construct a new agenda of social justice around which we can all mobilise for action
  • create and raise expectations of people as to what political leaders should deliver and how to hold them accountable

Initial consultation overview

Social justice can be defined as a system where people have equal opportunities/access to social, economic, cultural, religious and political needs regardless of race, gender, creed or any other form of discrimination.

It can be the way we interact with others and a method of governance which includes the following:

  • Full enjoyment of all social, political, economic and cultural rights
  • An equal society including gender equality
  • Respect for human rights including women’s and children’s rights
  • Freedoms including speech, assembly and association
  • Respect and tolerance of diversity – culture and religion
  • Transparency and accountability
  • Equal participation in political and economic decision-making
  • Equal application of the law – access to justice and understanding of the law
  • Correction of past injustices such as Gukurahundi and Murambatsvina
  • Gutsaruzhinji/inhlalakahle yabantu (Good living)
  • Access to affordable education
  • Adequate and affordable food
  • Access to affordable housing, electricity, sanitation and clean water
  • Access to affordable healthcare and medication including anti-retrovirals (ARVs)
  • Equal and fair access to fertile land, inputs, equipment and secure ownership
  • Equal opportunities to resources, employment, self-help projects and the right to earn a living wage
  • Development of adequate infrastructure and access to affordable transport
  • Environmentally sustainable usage of resources

The consultation process continues – we would like your opinion on how we can make Zimbabwe a socially just nation. Email us at or write to us. Join us in the street to see how your dreams can become possibilities…