Tag Archives: human rights

Quote of the week – Death is something inevitable

6 Dec

NM

‘Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for eternity.’

Nelson Mandela  

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‘I have walked that long walk to freedom’ – Rest in peace Nelson Mandela

5 Dec

mandela fist

As the world mourns a truly courageous icon it seems appropriate to draw on some of his wisdom accumulated over an inspirational life. May his courage and conviction live on in every one of us as we play our part in making the world a better place. Rest in peace Madiba!

1.‘I have walked that long walk to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.’

2.‘No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the heart than its opposite.’

3.‘I dream of an Africa that is in peace with itself. I dream of the realisation of unity in Africa whereby its leaders, some of whom are highly competent and experienced, can unite in their efforts to improve and to solve the problems of Africa.’

4.‘I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.’

5.‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.’

6.‘There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.’

7.‘Only free men can negotiate; prisoners cannot enter into contracts. Your freedom and mine cannot be separated.’

8.‘I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being an optimist is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lay defeat and death.’

9.‘It is better to lead from behind and put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.’

10.‘I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances.’

What is the point of marriage?

18 Oct

point of marriage
by Carol Dube

I have just learnt, with terror I must admit, that some of my relatives and a few friends are becoming worried that I may never settle down and get married. I am in my early thirties and strangely, I am assumed to be more than ripe and ready for marriage.

As if that is not enough, just the other day, I had a terrible misunderstanding with my paternal aunt – she fears I am becoming too successful that finding a man to marry me may prove to be just too difficult. I am advised men don’t really like successful women. I can’t help but be concerned.

Are men truly afraid of a successful woman? Isn’t it quite humorous how our society views men and women so differently? It is not in dispute that a successful man is very attractive, quite a catch. A friend of mine the other day was telling me that it is no longer necessary to take stock of the ratio of men versus women but rather, successful men to women, and I am told it’s 20 women: one successful man. Such figures are obviously unofficial, but this portrays just how on demand a successful man is.

The odds are, however, not the same for women. The more successful or the more educated a woman, the less attractive she becomes. It’s really an issue of double standards on the part of our society.

I became so concerned over this issue that I went as far as doing an online survey in some social forums I subscribe to in order to ascertain just why successful women aren’t viewed as marriage material. What became so obvious is that most men do not find a successful woman attractive because they fear that they may not be able to control her.

Just why men find it so macho to control a woman puzzles me. Are women so erratic, unpredictable, wild and dangerous that they ought be tamed and controlled? Is it really proper to control another human being? More importantly, is it profitable for any person to conduct their lives in accordance to another’s rule book?

It appears the brothers in my society are not too keen on marrying for the sake of gaining an equal partner. They seem to want a docile kind of a lady: the one who drops everything for her man and will bend over backwards just to please him; the kind that suffers in silence and dares not question him on any issue. A door mat. One that can easily be tamed.

Just take a closer look at most marriages in our society. Don’t wives seek permission to do just about anything? Most wives hardly ever make any decisions without consulting. Is it that they are incapable of making decisions or maybe they are just not competent enough?

Some men go as far as demanding that their wives dress a certain way; be home at a certain time; associate with certain individuals and obviously disassociate with others. Are women truly incapable of making their own choices on fashion, lifestyle and friends? Must one abandon their person for the sake of becoming what a man demands and expects from them? What is it that strips wives of their power and vests it with their husbands ? Could it be the fact that one pays the bride price for the other?

When a man pays lobola for his wife, is he not merely extending his gratitude for being blessed with a wife? How then does lobola become a symbol of ownership of a wife by her husband? It is beginning to appear as if a wife, like a couch, is just another household item.

The way this institution called marriage is understood in our Zimbabwean society leaves women in a very feeble position. I do not feel I am losing out on anything by not marrying.

What do I stand to gain from marriage? A man? I have one. Furthermore, I certainly can get and keep any man, if I put my heart to it.
Becoming Mrs so and so? Why? I already have a surname. I have been using it for over two decades, and I am sure using it for the rest of my life would not kill me.

Babies? I already have and I did not marry their father by choice. What really is the achievement in marriage? Am I missing out on anything? I have seen so many people marry only to divorce a couple of years later. Why then must I set myself up for heartache, pain and a life of misery?

Maybe one day, I will change my mind. Maybe one day I will choose to be tamed. Maybe I will choose to be controlled, to live a life according to the husband’s strict instructions. Maybe one day this institution of marriage will make perfect sense – I may even regret not having jumped into it earlier.

Until that very unlikely day, I refuse to marry to conform to societal expectations of me. I refuse to marry for the sake of my family and friends, the pleasure of them watching me tie the knot at the expense of my independence and joy.

__________________
Carol Dube is a social commentator who tells it like she sees it

*This feature first appeared on http://www.newzimbabwe.com

Happy International Day of the Girl!

11 Oct

IDOTG pic
As you celebrate the International Day of the Girl, here are some facts about African girls to ponder! Don’t forget to make 3 people in your life aware of these issues and what they can do to help empower girls.

• Discrimination in the home is entrenched along gender roles where boys and girls internalize the gender responsibility they should play. On average, a normal working day for an African girl is between 20 to 30 hours a week.

• Approximately 140 million girls have undergone FGM and 2 million are subjected to it every year with a higher tendency of performing FGM on younger and younger girls. It is performed on infants and adult women but mostly on girls between the age of 4 and 12. The highest prevalence of FGM is found in Africa where 28 African countries practice it.

• Early marriage is most common in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Forty four percent of 20-24 year old women in West Africa were married under the age of 15 and all decisions on timing of marriage and spouse was made by fathers.

• It is often the responsibility of girls and young women to fetch water often from long distances. A study in Kenya identified that women and girls carry from 20-25 litres over 3.5 km for one or two hours daily.

• In many African countries, poverty and cultural practices often mean that it is traditional for boys and men to eat first and girls to eat leftovers. When food is scarce this can often mean females have very little to eat or nothing at all. Malnutrition will often mean that girls are anaemic which can lead to problems during pregnancy, maternal death, exhaustion and loss of productivity.

• An estimated 7.3 million young women are living with HIV/AIDS compared to 4.5million men and in Sub-Saharan Africa, 59 % of people living with the HIV virus are women.

• A young person under 15 is said to contract AIDS every 15 seconds.

• West and Central Africa accounts for the highest percentage of both girls and boys involved in child labour. This is followed by Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern and Southern Africa.

• Approximately 1.2 million children every year are victims of trafficking internationally and within local borders.

• 80% of trafficked children are girls.

• 90% of children trafficked from West and Central Africa are girls who work as domestic workers.

• Every year 1000 girls between 14 and 24 are taken from Mozambique to work as sex workers in South Africa.

• Rape has been used as a weapon of war against millions of girls and women caught up in conflict. In Rwanda 1992-1995, it is estimated that half a million women were raped during the genocide and 67% were subsequently infected with HIV. In Sierra Leone young girls were particularly singled out for rape. Many did not survive and approximately 70 to 90% contracted HIV.

Sourcce:
Plan International
Unicef

Girls’ rights are human rights

28 Sep

IDOTG picFollowing a two year campaign led by international NGO, Plan International, the United Nations declared October 11, 2012 the very first International Day of the Girl Child. This year will mark the second celebration of the day on Friday 11 October.

The International Day of the Girl is an opportunity to shine the spotlight on girls’ rights and highlight gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys. Girls today still face unique challenges, that prevent them from realising their full potential, simply because of their gender.

As we count down to October 11, we’ll be running feature articles highlighting some of the challenges faced by girls around the world. On October 11, we ask you to commit to spreading the word to at least 3 people in your life who may not be aware of these injustices. Together we can help make a difference!

We leave you with the words of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenage girl who made headlines last year when the Taliban shot her for advocating for girls’ right to education, “I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard”.

Photo credit:airwaves1