THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • Operation Murambatsvina - Countrywide evictions of urban poor - Index of articles

  • Book Review: In my own words - Zimbabwean women's encounters with Operation Murambatsvina
    Zhean Gwaze, The Financial Gazette
    February 15, 2007

    Book title: In My Own Words-Zimbabwean women's encounters with Operation Murambatsvina
    Author: The Feminist Political Education Project (Fepep)
    Publishers: Weaver Press

    "This booklet is about expression, comfort and healing," reads the foreword of the 25-page easy to read book, which offers a voice for the experiences of women in the aftermath of Operation Murambatsvina (Operation Clean-up).

    The government's clean-up exercise, embarked on in 2005 rendered 700 000 people homeless, according to United Nations envoys, triggering an alarming humanitarian crisis that means to this day, many citizens are still sleeping in the open.

    In My Own Words explores the plight of seven women; Shupikai, Winnet, Kerina, Annatolia, Rorana, Simangele and Eleanor who were deprived of their livelihoods by the operation.

    Although the exercise affected men, women and children, In My Words reveals how the operation endorsed patriarchy and that Murambatsvina was not the first form of such violation against women.

    "However, allowing women to speak about their experiences, the consequences that resulted and the ripple effects of the Operation reveals the differential in the kinds of violations they experienced that are mostly linked to their being female: to their physiology or to gender stereotypes that govern their experiences and how the world responds to them," the book says.

    For 27-year old Shupikai, who is disabled and has only empowered herself through vending, Murambatsvina is a nightmare. Her mother dies of pneumonia (from sleeping outside, after she fails to pay for accommodation) and Shupikai has to co-habit with a 70-year-old man who physically abuses her and whom she fears might infect her with HIV.

    For the FEPEP team: Thoko Matshe, Bella Matambanadzo, Teresa Mugadza, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Janah Ncube, Regina Dumba, Shereen Essoff, Rutendo Hadebe, Thokozani Khupe, Jessie Majome, Eunice Mafundikwa and Karen Alexander the topic is reclaiming the love, rights and freedom of women from sexist supremacy.

    The book launch coincided with a four-day training course for a group of 22 young and energetic females drawn from across the country at the exquisite Pandhari Lodge, who expressed zeal to rejuvenate the women's movement in Zimbabwe. A team of motivating facilitators revived the train despite ferocious expressions of repression and oppression.

    Matshe, so full of energy and highly inspirational took the group for eight hours in three consecutive days in live discussions.

    Matambanadzo, who hinted largely on how every dollar counts in a woman's life and that every dream can come true in life. One of mine came true thanks to Matshe.

    Misihairabwi-Mushonga, whose talk on sexuality and sexual health left participants yearning for more. Get well soon after the accident.

    Mugadza's exploration of the women's movement in Zimbabwe also left hearts with answers on who is next.

    Everjoice Win's post-mortem on strategic thinking was also a fundamental tool in becoming a feminist while Juliana's report writing skills presentation was a gem in the making.

    For a timely and provocative account of the crisis that unfolded among Zimbabwe's women after Murambatsvina, In My Own Words is the book to read.

    Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.