I live in Zimbabwe, and since 2002, have worked as an independent consultant on a number of initiatives within the Southern African region and beyond. My work involves research on the media’s coverage of events and issues from a gender perspective, compiling and writing handbooks and toolkits for the media and other audiences in the areas of gender and media, HIV and AIDS, human rights, governance and elections and women’s human rights. I also work as a facilitator and a media trainer.
As a black woman, I know from first-hand experience the faces of sexism and racism. Having to constantly prove one’s worth and value in a world that defines and confirms one’s human value because of one’s race and sex, there is no other choice but to declare one’s commitment to rooting out systems, attitudes and methods of oppression that seek to “keep me in my place”, and to silence my voice. My heart, mind and my soul know without a doubt that I should be not judged by the colour of my skin or my gender. It is the strength of my character, the goodness of my heart and the ways that I use my mind and talents to contribute to my family and many communities that should be the measure of my worth. That is why I call myself a feminist.
In the professional sphere of my work as a journalist, editor and eventually a senior media manager in an international news agency, I have always consciously used the power that I have had to ensure access and freedom of expression for women and marginalised voices. I have written about the violations and inequalities that women face in societies, and worked within media management to implement various measures to make the media aware of how it perpetuates discrimination and sexism both in the workplace and in its editorial content, as well as strategies and policies that need to be put in place to end sexism and discrimination against women in and through the media.
As part of strengthening our movement, we need to make a conscious investment in encouraging the development of African feminist theory to analyse and make linkages between the political, economic, social, cultural, and development challenges at the national, regional and global levels. The production of African feminist knowledge across all sectors is critical to giving power and sustainability to an African feminist movement. We need to harness the power of communication, and work on the development of a clearly identifiable African feminist discourse that is used to build a movement through the production of popular education materials, academic materials, literature and other art forms and communications and media messages and materials. As part of our work of popularising feminism, we also need a stronger focus on education for critical consciousness to encourage more informed thinking, informed discussions and informed messaging on feminism in Africa.