The official closure of Her Zimbabwe brought tears to my eyes. This is despite the fact that it was clearly winding down. I was privileged to be part of the team in its last days but this is not the most crucial part for me.
The Her Zim Journey
It is here that I found my writing voice. I became a contributor for the organization in June 2015 after attending the Her Zimbabwe Blogging and Digital Security Training in March of the same year. My first published article was on Kuchekwa Sare: Gendered Mythology. The article was re-blogged here later. Sare is a phenomenon associated with Zimbabwean traditional culture. It is believed that the growth can be located at the mouth of the vagina, slightly inside or just between the vaginal entrance and anus and is said to itch terribly. Sare, apart from being responsible for child mortality and miscarriages, is also believed to be a major cause of divorce. A woman who has sare is believed to be herself unlucky in love and often rejected in relationships.
Boy. Was I super-proud.
I should say though my returned first draft got me thinking, ‘what have I gotten myself into?’ The edits made my heart sink. Was I even a writer? Why was I wasting my time? They would surely send me an email that says:
Thank you for your hard-work thus far. After much assessment, I am sorry to have to inform you that we will not be renewing our MOU with you. I would suggest you do further reading to hone your writing skills…
Instead, after a couple of months of soildering on and –eh em- getting paid too, I received a praise report from the editor. She was happy with how my work had evolved and the improvement in clarity when attempting to express pertinent issues about women. Of course I had a few ideas rejected, which is expected. Today I can safely say in as far as writing important issues that concern women, the foundation was laid at Her Zimbabwe. Most of the work I am proud of remains there.
Here is the most interesting part. I did not know I was receiving an award during the graduation ceremony held at the National University of Science and Technology. Her Zimbabwe sponsored the award for the best graduating student in the department of Journalism and Media and that person happened to be yours truly. Imagine the excitement…
Actually here’s the other interesting part. My articles were quoted in academic papers. I know of three. I won’t even say much about this (bat eyelids). Here’s one.
Being a writer gave me the much needed exposure to launch my career. I got employed with an International organization through a reference that was part of the organization. I still get calls to comment on pertinent gender issues, thanks to that niche I created for myself at HerZim.
The trainings we had opened up networks that have remained useful to this day. It was so exciting to feel like part of the ‘A’ team of the female web space in Zimbabwe with an impact beyond our borders. The exciting conversations, insights, arguments and most importantly the growth was irrefutable.
The funny part….
In 2016, two weeks before my expected delivery date, Her Zimbabwe invited me to a training. Of course I hid the fact that I was expecting, I swore one person to secrecy so that they would book me a room on the ground floor and get extra pillows for my room. When one of the sweet organisers saw me she was concerned and offered to fly me back to Bulawayo. My gynecologist had cleared me and advised I travel by road as it would be easier to get me to the nearest hospital-in case kkk. This story is just to tell you how much Her Zimbabwe had become that place I never wanted to be ‘out of’.
Goodbye: Her Zimbabwe
Fast forward 2017, I was invited to be a guest editor. It was short-lived as it became crystal clear this beautiful thing was coming to an end. I am stubbornly full of faith and always imagined a miracle happening and there would be a way to bring back the organization to eagle soaring heights. It was not to be so.
Today I am sad.
Still I am bubbling with gratitude.
To people like Fungai Machirori, Natasha Musonza, Delta Ndou, Daphne Jena, Vimbai Midzi, Tawanda Mudzonga….much love to you.
It is nobility to understand when one needs to move on. Difficult as it may-be.
Goodbye, Her Zimbabwe.