Tag Archives: women

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

We live in this world

29 Sep

did you know

Did you know?

• 100 million girls are missing due to female infanticide.

• 62 million girls of primary school age are out of school.

• 20 to 50% of girls have experienced sexual abuse from a family member.

• Every 3 seconds, a girl under 18 is forced or coerced to marry.

• Every year, 10 million girls under 18 are forced or coerced into marriage. 1 in 7 marries before they reach the age of 15.

• 1.2 million children are trafficked each year and 98% of those forced into commercial sexual exploitation are girls.

• The leading cause of death for young women aged 15 to 19 in developing countries is pregnancy.

• 36% of girls aged 15 – 19 in Africa and the Middle East have experienced female genital mutilation.

• By 2014, 64% of the world’s illiterate population will be female.

This is why your voice matters!

Quote of the Week – Women rule the world

20 Apr

women rule the world

Women really do rule the world. They just haven’t figured it out yet. When they do, and they will, we’re all in big big trouble.

Doctor Leon

On mothers, boyfriends, toddlers and sex

10 Feb

toddlers 2The naked woman straddles the man whose bare legs are stretched out lazily in front of him. She’s lost in the moment as she works hard to extract what little pleasure she can from his small, limp penis.

A small, face appears behind her, a boy, perhaps two and a half, not quite three years old. He watches this scene for a second then calls out “mama”, no response. Maybe they didn’t hear so he tries louder “mama’, again no response, his mother’s attention is elsewhere. The little boy, looking trapped, raises his left arm and pulls at his ear in discomfort. Too young to understand exactly what’s going on he intuitively feels he shouldn’t be seeing this.

Speaking in Ndebele, the man says, “Sengiphos’ukuqeda” [I’m about to finish].

She stops briefly and asks “Uthi kunjani?” [What did you say?].

Ngithi kanti wena awuqedi? Sengiphosa ukuqeda” [I said are you not ready to finish? I’m about to finish], he repeats.

A few seconds later, the man puts his hand on her hip and the woman gets off his lap. “Mhh, angiqedanga mina” [Mhh, I didn’t finish] she says in disappointment.

“Uzabuya usuqeda” [You’ll finish later] he reassures her. She walks off the screen and the video ends.

Except the story doesn’t end there! Someone posts the video on the internet and so begins a global hunt to “name and shame” the woman.

She’s since been identified as a 24 year old Zimbabwean who lives in South Africa. She recently issued a statement to say the man in the video is the father of her son and the video must have been leaked by mobile phone repair workers when she took her phone for repairs.

An extract of her statement reads:

“The man who shot the video is my only lover and is father to my son. I was not coerced into making this video, we did it for fun. In fact, my boyfriend took the video using my cell phone. Soon after he gave it back to me and how it went viral is my sole responsibility. However, I remember at some stage I had problems with the cell phone and then took it to a cell phone repair shop. I believe it is where the video was stolen and then circulated.”

About her  son watching she says:

“I really don’t know why on earth I did not stop. I regret everything. Its now like I don’t love my son, I love him so much, nothing on earth surpasses my love for him.”

“I am now even scared going back to Zimbabwe. How am I gonna face my grandmother in Mzilikazi? I am being insulted and abused every day by strangers on my phone. There is no single day that passes without any abuse. I accept I made a terrible mistake but I want to assure all those who are concerned that such a thing won’t happen again.”

She goes on to say that the video has led to the father of her son resigning from work.

“He had taken me to his work place, unfortunately some people had seen the video and managed to identify me. It was so devastating, so my boyfriend had to resign from work because of that. Now you can see how we have suffered because of this. We are being tormented every day and night.”

This incident raises issues on so many levels, about parental responsibility, child abuse, African culture’s attitude towards women having sex, privacy and issues around bad sex and whether women should speak up when their needs are not met. Do you feel it matters whether the man is her only lover or the father of her child?, what about the man, why was there no campaign to name and shame him? Is it ever a good idea to let anyone make a sex tape of you?

This one’s up for general discussion.Tell us your thoughts!

Postcard from Zimbabwe

8 Feb

775163_484303644944140_1396735079_o

After one too many reminders from a few not so subtle friends I’ve finally dragged myself out of hibernation. A very belated Happy New Year to everyone!

The truth is I’ve been slacking off in Zimbabwe enjoying precious time with family. Remind me to only ever fly with Emirates because they sure know how to look after their young passengers.

As soon as I arrived in Zimbabwe I was reminded of what a beautiful country it is despite the media hype. I was reminded of a lifestyle that we can never have in the Diaspora and took full advantage of my 3 weeks there to soak it all in.

I was struck though by how acceptable it’s become for men to have small houses, a symptom of the economic collapse, I guess, where women are happy to trade their bodies for financial security within the now socially acceptable “small house”. For men a small house has become a must-have symbol of financial success.

It’s good to be back and I look forward to some interesting conversations in 2013!

Quote of the week – Never be bullied

9 Nov

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.

Harvey Fienstein

Every woman is not your enemy

15 Oct

Having breezed through an easy pregnancy, and with the control freak in me showing, I had it all worked out. We planned to have just one baby and I had absolutely no intention of experiencing a natural birth.

When I awoke from my planned and scheduled delivery I gazed at my son’s angelic face and just knew he would be an easy baby.

But my son had other plans!

I soon discovered there was nothing ‘instinctive’ about breast feeding – thank god for African mothers in law who’ve no qualms about grabbing your boob and teaching you exactly how it’s done.

I walked around in a daze watching my nights of sleep fast disappearing before me. Who’d switched my easy baby for this uptight little person who woke up grizzling at the sound of the tiniest mouse tiptoeing past the bedroom window?

I glared at the paediatrician as he patiently explained there was nothing wrong with my baby, that the hardest part of having a baby was after the birth. The pregnancy and birth were the easy bits apparently! He wondered why women no longer shared the truth about life and motherhood as their grandmothers had done.

I wondered the same thing! After all there’d been no shortage of advice on how to make sure I didn’t pay too much attention to the baby in case my husband strayed.

Leaving the paediatrician’s rooms that day I vowed to always speak the truth to other women about life in general.

My gorgeous nieces are the closest things I have to daughters and here are my top five ‘wisdoms’ for them that I wish African women spoke more openly about:

1. Every woman is not your enemy

Next time you meet a woman, don’t look her up and down and judge her clothes, hair, looks. She’s so much more than that. Don’t assume every attractive woman is after your boyfriend or husband. Make a point to be genuinely nice and mentally tick off one complimentary thing about her. Even if she turns out to be a witch it will have been good for your own personal growth.

 2. Get to know the girl inside you

African culture is loud on your role as a daughter, sister, wife and mother. Take time to meet the girl inside you, the one that no one speaks for. Understand what makes her happy, her dreams and hopes. As you go through life make a point to bring her along with you, don’t lose sight of her. She’s the one person who’ll always have your back.

 3. Hire your partner

You would never hire someone for a position at work without going through their resume, interviewing them and checking their references. So why would you give anyone such an important position in your personal life without doing the same? Ask yourself what value he brings to your life, what’s your return on investment? Conduct a thorough risk assessment as you would with any big investment

 4. Always have choices

People treat you the way you allow them to. When you find yourself accepting treatment that’s less than you deserve, ask yourself why you’re allowing it. Often it’s because of cultural pressure, social stigma, fear of being alone or financial dependence. Look your fear straight in the face and once you can see it clearly you’ll know your choice. Never give up your ambition and financial independence. Go back to school, pay attention to your career, aspire to own that late model car yourself instead of looking for a man to give it to you. Invest in yourself because when life throws you a curved ball that investment is what gives you choices.

5. Live a life you’re proud of

Live a life that’s true to who you are. Don’t reduce yourself  to monitoring phones and stalking your partner ‘to prevent them cheating’. That girl inside you has good intuition, listen to her. No amount of monitoring can ever guarantee men won’t let you down. Go into a relationship with the knowledge you’ve done your due diligence and that should you be proven wrong you’ll have the strength and dignity to come out of it wiser. Every relationship requires compromise and negotiation but know your ‘non negotiables’. These are your core values, they are who you are. Don’t trade them!

_________________________

We’d love to hear your ‘wisdoms’ for other African women.

Three quarters of African girls are out of school

12 Oct

On 11 October as the world celebrated the very first International Day of the Girl Child, I had the privilege of speaking at an event to highlight the struggles of girls around the world and advocate for greater empowerment.

I spoke about my passion for ensuring that all children, particularly girls, have access to an education.

Reviewing general statistics about girls globally, I was saddened that Africa still features so prominently amongst regions where girls struggle the most for their basic rights.

That should make all of us even more determined to do whatever we can to make the world a better place for African girls.

Some Key Statistics

On girls globally:

  • 75 million girls do not attend school
  • 100 million girls are engaged in child labour
  • Girls under 16 are the victims of 50 per cent of sexual assaults worldwide
  • More than 60 million girls are forced into marriage each year, many to men twice their age or older
  • Pregnancy is the leading cause of death for girls in developing countries between the ages of 15 and 19

On African girls:

  • In sub-saharan Africa, almost three-quarters of girls are out of school, compared to only two-thirds of boys.
  • African girls aged 15-24 are 8 times more likely than men to be HIV positive.
  • Each year about 16 million girls aged 15-19 years old around the world give birth, with most living in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa has the second highest rate of early and forced marriage. 14.3 million girls in the region are married before they reach 18. Among the countries where the rate of early and forced marriage exceeds 70 per cent – Niger, Chad and Mali – adolescent fertility and maternal mortality rates are also high.
  • In African countries where the legal age of marriage differs by sex, the age for women is always lower. In Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, Mali, Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the legal age of marriage is 18 for males and only 15 for females.

Is marriage a raw deal for African women?

21 Sep

Those of us who’re Zimbabwean…shhh speak softly… just for this week I’m not volunteering this information lightly.

So, those of us who follow Zimbabwean news have watched, with some fascination, the very public marital drama currently playing out in the courts and news.

Strip away the politics and conspiracy theories and underneath it lie some very important questions about marriage and what it means for African women.

Whilst the public profile of  the leading man has given this particular case prominence, we all know it’s a script that plays out every day in African societies and one that rarely causes a stir.

  • Does customary marriage have a place in contemporary African life or is it a mask for bad behaviour?
  • Why do so many women happily enter into polygamous and small house arrangements (or do they)?
  • Is there so much pressure on African women to be married that we’ll take it on any terms?
  • Does the “everyone does it” excuse make it alright to have multiple wives?
  • Does payment of lobola do more harm than good?
  • Is marriage essentially a raw deal for African women?

This is our first open thread ladies, we’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts! Let’s keep it on the issues not the politics.

Customary unions women’s curse

20 Sep

Thanks to Sylvia Chirawu for her contribution of this article. It’s a little longer than our usual articles but well worth the read. It certainly provides some eye popping insight into the legal inequity of customary marriage in Zimbabwe. 

TINO Guru (not his real name) paid lobola for Chipo Bira (not real name) in December 2011. They did not take the further step of having the marriage officially registered and obtaining a marriage certificate.

Chipo became, for all intents and purposes, wife to Tino from the day that lobola was paid. She was and still is expected to play her role as a wife. She is recognised by the Guru family as Tino’s wife.

On the other hand, Tino became, in the eyes of the Bira fam­ily, a son-in-law. Society at large recognises the two as husband and wife. Chipo became “Mai Guru”. The law, however, has a different take.

Theirs is not a valid marriage but a union, simply because it is not registered. This is ironic, considering the fact that the same legal expectations from a valid mar­riage – love, affection, companionship and conjugal rights – are also expected in the union.

A recent magistrate court’s ruling in favour of Locardia Karimatsenga, that effectively stopped the wed­ding of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to Eliza­beth Macheka and its upholding by the High Court, can therefore be best described as a “victory of sorts” for women’s rights.

Whilst seemingly providing relief to many women in unregistered customary law unions to mount a legal chal­lenge to any would-be Chapter 5:11 marriage between their husbands and some other woman, the judgment does not address the fundamental issue in question: that of the limited recognition of unregistered marriages.

This issue is further complicated by the existence of customary law side by side with general law as permitted by our current Constitution. The complexities raised by the existence of customary and general law, a phenomena known as legal pluralism, is best illustrated by the issue of bigamy where the Crimi­nal Code states that it is a criminal offence for a man who is in an unregistered customary law marriage to go on to enter into a Chapter 5:11 marriage with another woman without first terminating the customary law marriage.

On the other hand, the Customary Marriages Act states that an unregistered marriage is invalid except for certain purposes. The fact that in the Karimatsenga case there was even contestation on whether or not what was paid was lobola or damages speaks volumes to the need to address the plight of women with unregistered mar­riages through legislative intervention.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that there are more unregistered marriages than there are registered ones in Zimbabwe. There are many reasons why marriages are not registered. These range from ignorance, fears that registration of a marriage gives women too many “free­doms” and “rights” and a perception by some men that registration is signing one’s “death warrant” as the wife will “kill” her husband so that she can take away all prop­erty.

The other reason is that it is easy to “walk in and out” of an unregistered marriage because there is no need to go through complex divorce procedures. Whatever the rea­sons, the most poignant fact remains that non-recog­nition of unregistered marriages poses a threat to the rights and welfare of many women.

According to the law, the mere fact of paying lobola does not result in a marriage but an unregistered custom­ary law union. Section 3 of the Customary Marriages Act clearly states that the union can only be recognised as a marriage if it is solemnised, in other words, if it is regis­tered. The same section goes on to give limited recogni­tion to the union for purposes of guardianship, custody, access and to inheritance in relation to children only under customary law.

Rightly so, in the first legal challenge filed by Kari­matsenga, Justice Antonia Guvava acknowledged that there are many women who are in a similar situation. Indeed, many African women are blissfully unaware of the legal consequences of the lack of registration of their marriages and, despite repeated calls by the judiciary for legislative intervention to remedy the situation, this has not been done.

The challenge by Karimatsenga is therefore a clar­ion call for reform to the marriage laws as the current sit­uation is clearly detrimental to women. This has nothing to do with politics as this issue affects women of Zim­babwe across the political divide.

Zimbabwe is signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development and the Optional Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa. All these instruments call upon governments to eliminate discrim­ination against women, and marriage is one of the issues where discrimination is prevalent.

By signing these instruments, Zimbabwe made a com­mitment to better the lives of women. And by reforming marriage laws to specifically recognise unregistered mar­riages and to provide a framework for registration, Zim­babwe would have gone a long way in fulfilling some of the commitments made on promotion and protection of women’s rights.

The marriage framework in Zimbabwe can be sum­marised as below:

Chapter 5:11: Marriage Act – This marriage is con­ducted at the Magistrates’ Court or in church by a regis­tered marriage officer. It allows a man to have one wife at any given time. Only the High Court of Zimbabwe can dissolve this marriage.

Chapter 5:07: Customary Marriages Act – This mar­riage is conducted at the Magistrates’ Court only. A man may have more than one wife and each wife will have their own marriage certificate. It is therefore a potentially polygamous marriage in the sense that a man can marry many wives. Most people refer to it as polygamy. This marriage can be dissolved at either the High Court or Magistrates’ Court.

Unregistered Customary Law Union – This arises in a situation where a man pays lobola for his wife. A man may also pay lobola for many wives. At law, this union is given limited recognition because it is not registered. For purposes of inheritance, it is recognised as a marriage. The union is also recognised as a marriage for purposes of maintenance. This means that the customary law “wife” can claim maintenance from her customary law “husband” even at or after termination of the union. Sim­ilarly, the customary law “husband” can claim mainte­nance from his “wife”. This is in accordance with the Maintenance Act.

Those with marriages registered and have marriage certificates do not face many challenges. They simply produce the marriage certificate to prove their status as legally married persons. On the other hand, women whose marriages are not registered and do not have mar­riage certificates are not so fortunate.

The first major challenge lies in that there are no clear or standard guidelines on when a union comes into being. This is due to the fact that culture is not homoge­neous.

Take three cases that Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) handled recently. A young woman lived with a man for a number of years. They had one child together. They purchased a house in Chitungwiza. It was regis­tered in the name of the man and the woman and the child were put on the certificate of occupation. The man had only paid “tsvakirai kuno” and nothing more. He had made several promises that he would pay lobola, but at the time of his death, he had not done so.

Upon his death, his relatives went to court, they stated that this woman, whom all along was their late relative’s “wife”, was, in actual fact, not a “wife” since lobola had not been paid. The court agreed with them, and the woman lost out.

In another case, the dispute centred around the issue of what is considered the major component of “lobola”. For instance, if a man only pays “zvirehwa-rehwa” and nothing else, does that result in a customary law union? What is it that the man must pay to enable his in-laws to confidently state that “now he is our son-in-law (mukuwasha/umkhwenyana)” under customary law?

Due to many uncertainties, greedy relatives have man­aged to convince courts that there was no union in the first place. The same relatives obtain death certificates indicating that the deceased was single and the person’s assets are distributed as if he were single.

Usually, the onus of proving the existence of the union is left to the woman.

In another case, the “munyai/idombo” had passed on, the lobola list had disappeared and, as a result of the dispute, the court ruled that there was no union. If the woman had a marriage certificate, she would not have faced any problems in proving that she was married.

Because the marriage is unregistered and not given full recognition, there is no divorce through the courts as is the case with registered marriages. Under customary law, divorce is done by the giving of a rejection token. The most commonly accepted token before the advent of multiple currency was 10 cents and now it seems a two-rand coin has been adopted as the amount. Tsvangirai tried to give a dollar to Karimatsenga’s lawyer but was rebuffed.

Again due to cultural differences, there is no certain manner of giving the rejection token. Some say that it should be given to the woman herself and others state that it should be given to the “munyai” who will, in turn, take it to the woman’s family. And yet others state that the aunt should be involved. Disputes have therefore arisen as to whether or not the union has been terminated.

For those with marriage cer­tificates, if they want to divorce, they approach the appro­priate court and the marriage is dissolved. On the other hand, for unregistered marriages, sometimes there is a bruising battle just to prove that the union has been ter­minated.

Again in the event of a divorce, those with registered marriages fare much better. The courts use the Matrimo­nial Causes Act to divide assets acquired during the mar­riage. Though there are still challenges in relation to the discretion given to the courts, the Matrimonial Causes Act acts as a starting point.

On the other hand, women in unregistered marriages face an uphill task in getting a fair share of the property they acquired during the existence of the union. Firstly, they have to prove that even though they are “married” in a customary law union, general law should apply to their case. Under customary law, the only property they are enti­tled to is “mavoko” property meaning, property they acquired through proceeds from using their hands such as pottery and knitting.

If they overcome the hurdle of convincing the court that general law should apply, they still face the added challenge that the courts themselves have no clear for­mula or guidelines on how to divide the property. As a result, different judges have used different guide­lines on how to apportion property.

Even then, the union is treated as more like a business arrangement, which is not the case. For instance, the court may look at the unregistered union as a partnership and then go on to use rules appli­cable to the dissolution of a partnership. This leaves most women confused because to them, and rightly so, they were in a marriage and not a partnership.

The court may also look at the union as a mere con­tract and divide the assets in such a way as not to leave the one person richer than the other from assets they acquired.

Realistically no woman enters into a customary law union on the premise that this is a mere contract. A part­nership is a profit-making venture that is very different from a marriage. In the latter, those recognised notions of love, affection and companionship have no place in a partnership and yet the court asks the woman to prove what she con­tributed to the partnership.

Similarly, for purpose of getting pension, one has to be officially a surviving spouse, meaning husband or wife. A woman can qualify for pension upon producing a mar­riage certificate. Not so for one who has an unregistered marriage.

There have been cases where women whose marriages are not registered have been denied pension benefits and this flies in the face of gender equality. Even more ironic is the fact that a woman who is in an unregistered marriage cannot sue any other woman who has an affair with her “husband”.
The law simply states that she is not in a valid marriage or that the “husband” can have as many unions as he wants and therefore the woman cannot claim any exclu­sivity over the man.

In the face of HIV and Aids, this phe­nomenon does little to contribute to a reduction in rates of infection.

The calls by the judiciary for legislative intervention need to be heeded seriously as on a daily basis, women whose marriages are not registered and therefore unrecognised suffer prejudice.

South Africa faced a similar situation and made legisla­tive intervention through the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act to remedy the situation. Although there are challenges related to the application of the Act, that law has provided relief to many South African women who were or are in unregistered mar­riages.

Calls have been made for the harmonisation of Zimbabwe’s marriage laws, but the issue is much more complex than just har­monisation because there are women who are in monog­amous and also polygamous unions.

Harmonising may mean having one marriage law regime, but this may not be practical. Zimbabwe needs to go through a process to develop its own law based on the prevailing situation. This should involve all stakeholders so that whatever law is developed is practical and effective and protects the rights of women who are mar­ried both under customary and general law.

Slyvia Chirawu is a lawyer by training, national co-ordinator of Women and Law in Southern Africa Research and Education Trust, lecturer in Family and Succession Law, gender activist, researcher and consultant. She writes in her personal capacity and can be contacted on sly@wlsazim.co.zw or Twitter @Sly_WaChirawu