I was part of a space recently in Zimbabwe, which was regarded as a reflective process for women around some critical United Nations processes. What caught my attention was the whole idea of creating safe spaces for women. This meeting seemed to have many amongst us who grumbled audibly as sister after sister made their contribution. It got so bad I could not take it anymore and I voiced my concern. However, the damage had already been done in some respects as some younger sisters in the room seemed to have withdrawn from the deliberations for fear of rumbling and this is what I want to reflect on.
Having been part of many reflective processes at various levels, I have come to realize that it is important to respect the views of others nomatter how crude I may view them. It is often very tempting as a person to jump in and contribute as someone is making his or her contribution. Being a strong personality, I have had to become very conscious of the fact that some parts of my make up may make others uncomfortable enough to draw back into their shells. It was thus critical for me to audibly note this as we went through the meeting on that very day.
I am reminded of the OSISA –led process of attempting to re-ignite the women’s movement in the Southern African region. During this meeting, it was quite clear that there seems to be some sort of fatigue that rested upon the shoulders of women who for long have worked at advancing women’s rights. Not that it was not admitted at many levels but it seems that the women’s development agenda is far from being met by the powers that be – the women and other players. This helped me realize that in as much as much is expected amongst the people who do activism around women’s issues, there still remains an urgent need for clarity around the role we purport to play and energy is a key factor to get the work done.
Well that having being reflected upon, I am left strongly holding onto the notion that I seriously need to up my game to transform women’s lives one life at a time. I do not want to belong to a generation that just sits and waits for things to happen. I want to belong to the group of people who like the biblical Moses will usher in a new era to what I regard as my own form of “Israelites” I am sure it will be an uphill task but guess what, bring it on, I have never been so prepared for a task – many thanks to years of learning, growing, crying and hardening! I will do what I can from my small little corner and wait for the day of a ripple effect of what has to be transformed. Join me; it will indeed be a worthwhile journey. See you as we hold hands to transform women’s realities one life at a time.