Dear Reader, Thank you for supporting the our voices project and taking the time to read this publication. Within it you will find chapters that feature submissions from artists in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Some of these women tell stories we have continually heard over the years and others bring topics not previously identified under the 12 critical areas of the Beijing declaration and POA.
You will find women telling stories inspired by personal truths and women using art to arouse deep conversation and feeling.
I really hope you enjoy it as I have enjoyed editing it.
Many thanks once again to our partners atOSISA, Urgent Action Fund Africa, Ford Foundation and Katswe Sistahood: without your support we would not have been able to breathe life into this idea and provide a platform where young women’s voice and art are celebrated. We hope to receive your continued support and that it allows this to become the first of many similar projects.
“Where is my baby? Mwanawangu aripi? Where is my baby? Where is my baby” Chipo asked frantically.
Tiny little Mudiwa gone and she didn’t know what to do. What would her husband say?
“Ndiani wamapa mwana wangu? Who did you give my child?” her eyes were full of tears as she yelled
The driver looked away and told her “Sister ma1. Everyone get back on the bus we have to go in 10 mins”
“But my baby where is my baby?” she yelled again but the bus drove away.
Chipo grew up in Budiriro 3 in Harare. She didn’t know that she was poor, because everyone around her was poor. Of course there were “those neighbours” that had relativesb with big big cars that would bring their relatives groceries all the time. She wondered why they didn’t take their family members to wherever it is that they got these big cars and endless bags of groceries. She asked her mother once and her mother told her “Chipo unotaurisa.” She was often told that she talked too much but if she had a question she had to ask. This is what made her the top student at Budiriri 3 Primary School and later on at Budiriro High school.
Chipo was not only a good student but she was what the elderly aunties called a nice girl. They would often tell her mother “endemunemwana akanaka.” This comment wasn’t about her beauty but her character as she was agreeable, helpful and she attended church enough to make her mother proud.
Chipo met Tawanda when she was 17. She had passed all her 0-levels but her parents could not afford to pay for her to finish her A levels. She was informed by her mother that she would have to find something to do or get married soon. Her mother laughed as she said it but Chipo felt as though it was not a joke.
“The Government has carried out the Land Audit and we shall ensure we repossess from those with excess land. We have agreed that Youths and Women must be the major beneficiary of the land. We as the older generation played our part by bringing Independence and it is now your role as the younger generation to fight the economic empowerment war”.
“You have a choice to make, whether to participate in demonstrations that destroy property or embrace Government empowerment programmes. When you destroy a shopping mall, what do you think you will achieve other than punishing others and yourself. It is the same people who destroy infrastructure that wake up the following day crying for development. So as youths, be careful about what you do and participate in”.