Intwararumuri

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On a daily basis I come across women bashing one another especially on social media. There seems to be a stance in our society that by uplifting another woman and celebrating her achievements and successes then you are in a way saying that she is better than you. And that’s where people have it all misdirected and wrong. In actual fact by celebrating one other we show our solidarity.

A reason why we are still oppressed is because of our detachment from one another. We command respect from men and have minimal respect for one another. There seems a  resentment which stems from the preconditioned notions  of society. These notions pin women against each other. I recently watched the documentary “The Supreme Price”, Hon Akindele Opeyemi in a session with Nigerian woman spoke out about women having a PHD- A Pull Her Down syndrome. today on social media you find young women saying the vilest words to the other to put her down.

Women are divided by class privilege, race and especially colour. Today we see this ridiculous battle on colour, the dark skin v light skin war. Following the crowning of Miss Botswana 2015 there was controversy on the Queens colour, as women felt that she was not good enough because of the shade of her skin. ‘She is not black enough’, one twitter user said. We need to bear in mind that a woman is not any less of a woman because she does not have what you perceive as the ideal way a woman must look. You dim your own light by dimming another woman’s light. We need to start using words to cheer and elevate one another. Start to empower one another. Women are enriched in unity and togetherness. This is not a competition.

I cheer for people. I was raised to believe there’s enough sun for everybody-Tracee Ellis Ross.

We face a lot of struggles in our society, struggles that are a result of a hatred of a woman or an excuse of culture, and more. Sex trafficking, sexual abuse, female genital mutilation, violence against woman,to mention a few. All of which could happen to you or someone you know. To tackle all these struggles requires the participation of all of us woman. We don’t have to wait till it is someone we know. How long can we look at one another face the same or similar problems/issues in our society and bluntly say “it is not my issue!”

Looking back in African History there are women who have shown us the power of unity amongst women and the immense impact this solidarity can bring. One of which is 1956 Women’s march to the Union buildings which took place during the apartheid regime in South Africa. The woman took the streets singing; “Wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo’ which means “you strike a woman you strike a rock”. The participants were women from all parts of the country and from all walks of life who stood for one common goal. In the petition which was presented to the prime minister they said

 “…We are women from every part of South Africa. We are women of every race; we come from the cities and the towns, from the reserves and the villages. We come as women united in our purpose to save the African women from the degradation of passes… In the name of women of South Africa, we say to you, each one of us, African, European, Indian, and Coloured, that we are opposed to the pass system. We voters and vote less, call upon your Government not to issue passes to African women. We shall not rest until ALL pass laws and all forms of permits restricting our freedom have been abolished. We shall not rest until we have won for our children their fundamental rights of freedom, justice, and security.”

This act of unity surely proves the kind of revolutionary changes women can make.

“There is power in women who stand united.”

Another exemplary country is Rwanda. During the genocide of 1994, it was the women who took charge in rebuilding Rwanda; they took up different leadership position as well as playing critical roles to find common solutions to problems in their country.

These women came together and formed a unified front. An example is the Rwandan non-governmental organisation called Unity Club ‘Intwararumuri’.Their objective is to create unity amongst women in all communities in Rwanda.

“Solidarity between women can be a powerful force of change, and can influence future development in ways favourable not only to women but  also to men.” Nawal El saadawi.

Unity Club’s mission is to build sustainable national development of all Rwandans through unity and peace, to  promote  gender equality through creation of equal opportunities for all citizens and to empower Rwandan women in general..

Another great organisation in Rwanda, launched earlier this year by the first Lady of Rwanda is the Rwanda Women Leaders Network (RWLN). This is a platform that brings together women leaders and achievers to nurture young women towards the development of the country.

Rwanda presently leads the worlds in political empowerment of women. In September 2013, women won a majority of 51 out of 80s seats. The law imposes that national and local government to ensure a minimum of 30% of seats are held by women. This is all because of the woman who stood together and led when their country was in shambles.

 “Women who are seizing opportunities should use those gains, to make an even greater impact, in the lives of other women.”- President Kagame of Rwanda

Ladies we need to start looking out for one another.  Voicing out your disapproval on social media, to your friends, the president or heading public demonstrations. To watch silently as your sister is stripped of her dignity or is degraded, minimalised because she is a woman is to show you agree in the way you are treated as a fellow woman. Because of the African patriarchal society, women are generally looked upon as ‘inferior’ they as seen as ‘weak’. Women in modern society are seen as ‘victims’ instead of what we really are, AGENTS OF CHANGE.

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Recently this year a video of a woman from Kenya being violently stripped naked by a crowd of barbaric men surfaced the internet.  Kenyan women did not watch silently at their sister, but rather started a campaign known as ‘my dress my choice’. the campaign was aimed to protest against such a humiliating act of stripping women in public over their dress choice.on social media the hashtag #mydressmychoice was trending.

“Walk the streets with us into history. Get off the side walk” -Dolores Huerta

Men stripping woman is not something new in Africa sadly, in Botswana it has happened.  Sadly the men got away with it. Only silent disapprovals were echoed. However in Zimbabwe, Member of Parliament, Jessie Magome and activists Tendai Garwe and Nayri Mashayamombe and many women, came together to speak with women about the barbaric act which took place at the bus station in Zimbabwe rank, where once again a woman was stripped naked. The Women all spoke passionately about their strong condemnation of such harassment. This coming together of women is a start, and should not be an end.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”- Hellen Keller

I challenge women today to celebrate one another, support one another, be a part of each other successes. It is time we help in the struggle that other women face in our country and in Africa as a whole. Let us share our experiences as a testimony to other women. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re alone in a struggle. We need each other. I need you

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There are two types of people who create change; those who speak up and those who speak together.

If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

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