Thursday, 20 June 2013

Female Students Network joins the rest of Africa in celebrating the day of the African Child on the sixteenth of June 
On this day, Africans remember the students from South Africa’s Soweto suburbs who were killed by policemen during an uprising where they were protesting against apartheid-inspired education.

The day of the African child also provides governments, international institutions and communities towards improving the plight of marginalised, particularly vulnerable children. It also advocates for the recognition of youths and children’s rights.

The youth who died on this day fought not only for their rights but for the rights of all children. It of paramount importance therefore to reflect on these rights on this day.

Children have the right to education, shelter, health, the right to develop fully to their potential and the right to protection and survival among other rights. This article will focus on children’s’ rights to education, shelter and the right to protection.

 The right to education is an important right as it helps them to realise their right and responsibility to help build a better world in partnership with their families, the communities around them and their nations and the world at large. In Zimbabwe the right to education is clearly enshrined in the constitution but is it being fulfilled?

 Recently, 500 students from Bondolfi Teachers College in Masvingo were suspended over non-payment of a teaching practice fee which almost equals their tuition fees.

 Education is a basic human right hence the suspension of the students is a direct infringement of this right

Children at primary and secondary schools are being turned away every beginning of the school term although the government says it is against this policy.

The Ministry of Education is not being firm on this decision because school children are still being chased away if they do not pay their fees.

The Basic Education Assistance Mechanism (BEAM) has also cut down on the number of beneficiaries, leading to an increase in the number of school drop outs.

In tertiary institutions, the Cadetship programme has since been frozen and students now have to source for fees money on their own.

For some female students, it means having to find rich married men who will help them to pay their fees in return for sex.

This is disheartening in that female students will then proceed to have unsafe abortions after discovering that they have fallen pregnant which are prejudicial to their health. Furthermore, they will be susceptible to contracting STIs and/or HIV AIDS.

The government should therefore be in a position to assist students with loans for their continued hassle- free education.

Cases of children being abducted, raped and killed are also on the high jump in Zimbabwe. The environment has become so unsafe for children that parents are always on the edge when their children are not at home. 

 School, which were once a safe place for children now leave a lot to be desired. A case in mind is that of a thirteen year old Prince Edward boy who was killed by his colleagues or teacher (it has not yet been established) and thrown in a disused swimming pool.

Another case is the story of two children from Hatfield Primary School who allegedly turned into vampires after wearing bracelets they were given by their teacher.

Teachers also continue to molest school children, even at tertiary level in exchange for distinctions.  Female students who turn down their lecturers’ sexual advances are made to fail their modules.

 The people that are supposed to be guardians of our children continue to abuse them and the school is no longer a safe place for them. Thus there is need for the government to take stringent measures against child abusers.

Children have the right to shelter and to be cared for. However it seems the numbers of homeless youth and children still roaming around the street are escalating but a lot of orphanages have been opened.

Therefore there is still a lot to be done in realising the rights of the African child.


Tuesday, 18 June 2013


It’s painful to see powerful ladies in tertiary institutions falling prey to social ills such as prostitution, abortion, drug and substance abuse and many others. They are supposed to be the enlightened ones, they hear or read stories of the downfall of those who have walked in these footsteps before but they still follow behind blindfolded. A set of words that are usually uttered when one is caught under these circumstances are “I had no choice”. This statement is invalid there is always a choice, it depends on which one you want to choose and most of the times ladies tend to take the easy way out and these simple mistakes that we can avoid have the power to take away what you are meant to be.

There are choices that are not worth choosing in this world such as abortion or suicide. Everything happens for a reason, the darkest hour is at dawn and from each tear we cry we should derive a lesson. Falling down doesn’t demarcate the end of the  journey, you just have to know how to get up, dust yourself and keep moving forward. Mistakes do not define a person but their level of perseverance doesn’t which is determined by the choices that they make. Wisdom and strength are nothing if channelled in the wrong direction. But who determines what’s wrong and what’s right, well that’s a discussion for another day. As it is in this context one can say that the right choices are the ones that won’t haunt you in the future, the ones you’ll be glad you made, it’s a matter of living life without regrets. It is these regrets that we have in life that make one think they aren’t good enough, they pull you down, leaving shades of guilt beneath shame, self-esteem is affected, and self-confidence also suffers.

Climbing the ladder of success is not a walk in the park and it becomes even more burdensome to the girl child as she is carrying social and natural on her shoulders, after all the society still perceives her as a female. Gender mainstreaming is a very good move towards women empowerment but it’s not all that is needed. Women empowerment has to start from the grassroots level, that is to say the society has to begin looking at a woman as a human being and not a tool for baby making, housework and gossiping.

This also brings to light the issue of roles; it’s natural for women to care, they were naturally blessed with social, productive and reproductive roles and for that they should be respected. On top of that they want their potentials to be realised, when they step on podiums or enter the boardroom it would be preferable for people not to start by scrutinising and judging their dressing, actions or who they are going out with but it’s important for people to listen to gain meaning from their presentation. This small aspect that people don’t usually take heed of can be the beginning of total women empowerment.

Empowerment begins with an individual and it should be noted that this individual shouldn’t be the next person but the self. The way an individual empowers herself is evident in the self-confidence and self-esteem that one portrays as she walks round. At the end of the day it then boarders down to the choices that a lady makes because they define who she is, they determine her level of success and happiness.  Usually when people make decisions they have a tendency of looking at two extreme conditions which are either to consider what society would say or not to consider the next person at all. Self-empowerment commences when a person learns to differentiate between constructive and destructive criticism. It begins when a person recognises that their life is a story in the making. Self-empowerment is made possible when one decides to better their lives strengthening the positives and working on their negatives. More self-knowledge helps us make better choices and understand our reactions towards others. Above all it is important to know our priorities and be knowledgeable on how to set them straight.

Challenges will come along, they always do, the pain the sorrows may linger as much as joys and jubilation are sure to come along too. The key is to know how to react in these situations and which choices to make. Three things that never come back in life when gone are time, words and opportunity. We live in the present, let’s make the most of it and though the past is gone the future is certain and it’s a challenge that we must meet. Instances of people tracing other people’s footsteps without success or a different outcome have become very common. Why not write your own story that tells of a legend in the making? As I said before every life story is different because we are all are different but the concepts remain the same.

Often times we have heard the words, “Be the change you want to see”. Thus to say women empowerment begins with self-empowerment. Believe in yourself for people to start believing in you. It’s a long walk to freedom and it isn’t an easy path to follow, keep your eyes on the price, you’ll find out that the destination isn’t that far away after all. Take the lead, keep your head up, walk tall, and smile, it only takes a spark to make a fire, it only takes a female student to achieve the international goal of total women empowerment.   
By Thando Gwinji
Solusi University

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Female students have done it again!

Four female students at Solusi University have won top leadership positions in the college’s SRC.

The four students who have taken the leadership positions at Solusi are Edina Maphosa (Secretary), Musa Bwanali (Secretary General) Lisa C. Madondo (Minister of Entertainment and Culture) and Vimbai Phiri (Treasurer).

In a sign of rare courage a female student, Thando Gwinji had contested for the post of president but unfortunately failed to make it to the top.

This milestone achievement comes hard on the heels of yet another foot of breaking the tradition of a male dominated area when, female students at Mutare Teachers college took up the positions of President, Secretary General, Finance Officer, Entertainment Officer and Food Representative.

 The recent surge of female students getting interested in student politics and let alone making it to  top positions is a result  of recent Leadership workshops by Female Students Network (FSN) where the Network has been conscientising female students on the need for them to shape their destiny by taking up leadership positions.

 The recent success stories of female students breaking into the SRCs shows that the FSN organised workshops are yielding positive results.

Before FSN conducted the leadership workshops, very few females were interested in getting involved in student politics, which they regarded as a male field.

 After attending the workshops most female students feel inspired to join SRCs at their institutions.  

The workshops have been a motivation to female students’ participation in their institutions’ SRCs.
FSN views these successes as a great move towards the emancipation of females in the once male dominated territories.



THE importance of voting cannot be understated. Many people think that their vote does not matter. Imagine if everyone felt that way, we would never exercise our right to vote and we would never elect a person to represent our views! There have been many, many elections - not just on a local level - that have been decided by less than 100 votes. So thinking that your vote does not count could not be further from the truth.

Many a times, people who do not vote are the ones who complain about the socio political economy and are ignorant of the fact that voting is about changing those certain aspects that you feel need to be changed.

If you do not vote you let others decide what is good for you. Voting provides an important way to voice your opinions regarding elected leaders and overall policies .It also helps you decide your own future by electing a person who might reflect your own views. If the right to vote no longer existed, the country would no longer survive as a democratic nation, but completely totalitarian. By not voting, you give away your right to influence the government overall.

 Because this sacred right has been guaranteed to all citizens of the nation, you should take the initiative to vote for someone/something that reflects your overall views. A good participatory citizen would know the details of the election and get involved in local politics.   Every citizen has the right to vote in any election and, therefore, should exercise their vote. 

The most often heard excuse for not voting in an election is "my one little vote won't make a difference." That one vote can make all the difference in the world, so female students let us all go and register to vote because if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain!