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Little Miss Curious turned Human Rights Defender

Ever since I was a child, my sense of curiosity was overwhelming. I asked questions. Why were countries at war? Why did some people kill albinos? Why did white and black people in South Africa hate each other? As I grew older, I became my father’s best friend. We loved listening to BBC World Africa following the war in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), the tales of albinism in Tanzania and the struggle of black South Africans under apartheid. My father nurtured in me a consciousness of the importance of humanity and how human actions can build or destroy humanity. He taught me how good leadership builds and bad leadership can destroy nations. My conviction to do whatever it takes to fight for the respect of human dignity was kindled then and it remains in me still.

While studying for my law degree,my male counterparts discouraged me, suggesting that women's law and human rights were subjects for the ‘spineless and unambitious.’ I persevered because I had a vision; to see a world in which all human beings, especially women were treated with dignity, a dignity borne out of their humanness not status. My stubbornness earned me the label ‘the faculty feminist.’

In 2008 the Zimbabwean economy collapsed. Corruption, bad economic policies and bad politics drove my nation into poverty. My parents lost savings earned from 47 years of toiling and hard labor. Where they should have retired comfortably and enjoyed the fruits of their hard labor, they had to transform from being successful professionals and invest in the art of tilling the land, breaking their backs in their old age to make a living. I could barely help. I was fresh out of university earning peanuts. Seeing them and many others struggling broke my heart. I had seen them all fighting hard to make savings and send us, their children to school so we could have better lives than theirs. But the future we inherited had no jobs. The jobs that existed paid very little. My country is not unique. This has happened in many other countries and the reason has always been the same; bad leadership!

That is why I harp on issues of good governance because good political governance promotes human rights. It also fosters good economic governance which improves the social and economic welfare of states and reinforces the dignity of its citizens; lifting the burden of poverty which always tremendously weighs down on women and children.

In July I 'stumbled' upon World-Pulse and joined the Pulse. When the VOF application was announced I loved it because it represents an opportunity for me to be the voice that links the politics, law, human rights and dignity of women in my country and demand change. I drive my inspiration from Martin Luther King Jr’s challenge that, ‘In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.’ Should I remain silent, history shall condemn me for being spineless.

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usha kc's picture

Hello sis,, your nature of

Hello sis,, your nature of curious finally turned you to the human rights defender which is crucial things , I admire you dear.

MaDube's picture

Dear Usha

Some people even called me 'Snoopy' because I snooped my nose into other people's business when it involved domestic violence or corruption. In my final year at college there was a lot of corruption in the allocation of places of residence on campus. Some of the leaders on campus were selling places to students which should have been allocated for free. I then became a whistleblower and the police used me as their pawn to trap some of the people who were involved. These were very dangerous people and for days after they got arrested I was scared that they would harm me. But that incident forced all the others involved to abandon their schemes and the allocation of residences became more transparent. Today I am proud that I 'snooped' and helped many people who could not afford to pay to get accommodation that they should have been given for free.

usha kc's picture

Hats off to you and your

Hats off to you and your bravery!! keep doing ahead!

MaDube's picture

Thank you

Thank you Usha. With sisters like you encouraging me to keep the struggle alive, there is no going back.

Carlotta's picture

Don't i just know your

Don't i just know your story!!! As we grew up we dreamt of building multi-storey houses for our parents yet found ourselves going back to them even when we were working. Keep snooping!!

zoneziwoh's picture

What a dream!

My sister, please don't kill me. I can't stop but laughing. True, what a dream, i remember so years, many years ago in college my father made a statement in response to my demand. He said '... Now you are demanding me this, me that. You want / need this and that. Remember in years to come myself and ur mum will become the child and u b the parent, we will also table our demands'.
Carlotta my sister, if only all the fairy tales were able to become real.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

MaDube's picture

Now when I look back and

Now when I look back and remember how I used to be upset when all my school fees was not paid up at the beginning of the school term I see how ungrateful I was and how much as a child you do not realise the sacrifices that your parents make to give you a brighter future. Now I am grateful and just want to take care of them in return, but how when the economy is in tatters and the people who led it to become so are refusing to go.

MaDube's picture

Sometimes it is depressing to

Sometimes it is depressing to see my parents struggling yet I know it was not of their own will. But my hope that things will change and that I can be the difference and change that I want to see drives me on. Thanks Cee.

Amazing dear sister. I read through your story with lots of emotions. I can understand to some extent what it is like to witness and experience failure. Though the degrees or circumstances for failing might differ, still, i understand. However, i will say you are lucky to have such a brave parents. Your parents are super brave. Pls my humble regards to them.

Another thing that i love in your essay is your vision for the women, thro PW as a medium to relate and turn your dream come true.
Dear sister, keep up! You are an inspiration to many.
thank you for sharing story.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

MaDube's picture

Thank you

And thank you for your comments and support as always dear Ziwoh. Indeed my parents are really brave and hardworking. Everytime I feel dejected I look at them and say wow, they lost everything but they are picking up the pieces and moving on. Should I not follow their example and be stronger than this and be grateful that I have a chance to rebuild their future through my hard work. It keeps me going, my drive to change their lives to go back to what it was. When I share the importance of good governance it is to drive the people around me to demand a decent life, a life that most people lost because some few leaders turned greedy and selfish.

Stella Paul's picture

Being snoopy? Lovely!

Of all the lines above, one word caught my eyes: snoopy. And I will tell you that there is nothing wrong with being snoopy.In fact being a snoopy woman you can do wonders to your society; 1) be that thorn-in the- flesh factor that will stop a public leader from stealing. 2) be that stick that will refrain an officer in charge from snoozing at his job and 3) be that vigilant watchdog who nobody can ever fool and take a ride for.

Development is linked to good governance which is linked to honesty which is linked to no hiding of acts and no fooling around. Be snoopy, to ensure all that happens

Love, always!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

MaDube's picture

Thank you dear

I will keep writing and 'snooping'. Some of my stories might see me facing the small walls of a jail cell because that is what many watchdogs of democracy in my country face but somebody has to do it. Knowing you and all the other amazing women on Worldpulse has strengthened my resolve not to fear the hand of the authorities. You are amazing to say the least :-)

choirgirl's picture

This picture...

...this picture you depicted through words is far too familiar to me, as to many others. Years and years of indiscriminate opulence on part of Governments led (and it does, still) to economic catastrophes which have nullified in a moment life long sacrifices. Today, not only parents are unable to economically support their children, but the very children who have now turned adults are unable to provide help for neither themselves and their parents. It feels like living in a photograph, with its neverending stillness, its perpetual sameness.

Better times will come, but we are now morally called to learn from history. Let's remember and remind our children and grandchildren that history is made of stories:my story, your story, our stories...

God bless you

Maria

MaDube's picture

Maria, I like it when you say

Maria, I like it when you say 'It feels like living in a photograph, with its neverending stillness, its perpetual sameness.' It is that sameness and stillness that we are up against. We want to see it gone, the despair and poverty, war and in its place we want life filled with hope and peace. And yes, you are right that if we are not going to see it in our lifetime then let the young ones benefit from the words we shall leave behind, that they may know we also tried and that they should continue the struggle.

Maggs's picture

Being a fellow Zimbabwean, I

Being a fellow Zimbabwean, I understand your frustrations and equally your fighting spirit which resonates throughout your writing. The bottom-line that I get from your story is that we all want a happy, peaceful and secure life. Unfortunately that does not come easy and we have to fight for it. And that my friend is the calling we are answering by writing, sharing, raising awareness, demanding and proffering solutions. curiosity will always lead you to new ideas for a better future.

maggs

MaDube's picture

Thanks Maggs

It's great to have someone who knows 'exactly' what I am talking about. My fighting spirit is driven by my anger at the suffering that my people are going through yet it could easily be avoided. Accountability for a few hundred diamonds could change so many things. Strategic and well thought out redistribution of land could also make food available on our tables. Black empowerment strategies that are reasoned and conscientious of the global market paradigm in which we live would also ensure employment and production of good quality, affordable goods for our people. But alas, politicians will jump in like bull frogs into hot water, dragging us along and when all our legs are burnt they want to drag us all out inyet another wrong direction.

Adepeju's picture

I'm so feeling you on this

I'm so feeling you on this post! Coming from Nigeria, I can feel your pains on the dearth of leadership and corruption..Sometimes its just so heartbreaking but I like your spirit. One has to stand for something otherwise, you will fall for anything!!

MaDube's picture

It's my story

This is my story. I come from a country with the largest diamond deposits in the world. A country that has gold, copper, coal, platinum, silver and vast amounts of land. We have one of the seven wonders of the world , the Victoria Falls which could bring in lots of revenue through tourism yet we have people starving, we have scores of unemployed and our government is broke!!

Okeny-Lucia's picture

Always amazing

Hello,
You are piece of curiosity ,curiousity.It has turned out to be the best for you.The elonquence in drifting us into your dreams makes it real at the end.Keep up.
Thank you

Lucia Buyanza
Reproductive Health

MaDube's picture

Thanks

Thank you my sister.

I worked with an NGO in Zimbabwe for 4 years since I left university and we are just beginning to see the fruits of our work because it is hard to have results in an environment where there is no political will. I feel writing about these things is an outlet for the efforts we have made and continue to make and hopefully in some way it will shame the governments to take positive action.

Celine's picture

Snoopy

My sister, we will continue to snoop into affairs that negatively affect our lifes. Human rights activism is terrorizing to bad leaders especially in Africa. We will not allow ourselves to be silenced for fear of being in jail. I tell you, we are already in their jail of misappropriation, which widen the gap between the haves and have nots. Their language is always 'they and them' as against 'we and us'. They are not poor and will never want their children to be. They amass wealth primitively to the detriment of the welfare of citizens. They never struggle like your father and other parents do before paying children's school fees.
Activists like you and I have a task to continuously terrorize them until we see changes. We remain the watch-dogs. Let's us continue to say NO to their corrupt ways of leading us!

Good writing dear sister. Keep it up

Celine

MaDube's picture

Thank you

Dear sister

We are learning from you and trust me you teach us well.

Best,
MaDube

Celine's picture

We learn

My dear, we learn from each other!

Celine

lindzanne's picture

I loved reading your story.

I loved reading your story. How many of us started out as Little Miss Curious? I think a lot of us can relate to that! Thank you for sharing, I love coming here and learning about issues I didn't know about, but are so very connected to those that effect my own communities. Well done with this piece and in all the wonderful work you do!!
Lindsay

Lindsay Anne

MaDube's picture

Thank you

Thank you so much Lindsay dear. I feel encouraged when my fellow sisters stand in support of me in this manner. I can not wait to read your story too.

Best,
MaDube

Fungai Machirori's picture

Snoop Dogg!

Hehehehe, if you were Snoopy, then I was Snoopy 2. My story is quiet similar... always the questioner, the challenger, the enthusiast to take on a thousand tasks to do with gender and anything else.

Gosh, to be 21 and so energetic again...

Yeah, our nation has killed a lot of dreams, but yet we soldier on. We are here showing the world out there that Zimbabwean women can write, can speak, can be role models and voices for a better future. Gotta love it!

from today i live out of my imagination
i am more than my yesterday
tomorrow i plant a new seed
nothing that lies behind easy
nothing that is ahead real
my within is all i have today
*Napo Masheane*

MaDube's picture

Snoop family

That makes us the Snoop family then :-). Hmmm, thanks love for your last statement. Indeed we are the voices of our future and the force we are becoming is so strong no one can shut us up. Not AIPPA, not POSA and certainly not ZRP or some other intimidating force used against human rights defenders in our country.

Fungai Machirori's picture

ZRP?!

Shaz, ndotya baton stick hangu ( I am scared of being beaten with a baton stick!). Don't wanna lie. That thing can silence me dead. Whereas a law written on paper with preambles and analytical pieces by the hallowed Feltoe (God bless his wisdom) sounds intimidating, the fear is less immediate. A police official with a rifle/ baton stick is far more of an immediate fear ... and I must be honest and tell you that I am scared to have the same blue-black bruises that I have seen other women endure for speaking up. There are silences that we have conceded to for fear of putting our bodies through torture. Why can't we even refer to names of leaders in this piece? When even Facebook now passes as evidence of 'unlawfulness', we must be honest in stating that we risk our safety sometimes to speak up. And not many of us are willing to go all the way, to even sacrifice our fear of physical pain - pragmatists or sellouts?

from today i live out of my imagination
i am more than my yesterday
tomorrow i plant a new seed
nothing that lies behind easy
nothing that is ahead real
my within is all i have today
*Napo Masheane*

MaDube's picture

Imprisonment

These days they are using jail cells more than baton sticks and the conditions in the prison are to say the least terrible. One of my colleagues Maureen Sibanda made a research on the treatment of women in custody and her findings showed the untold horror of life in remand prison for women activists. I am sure Cynthia Manjoro, Jestina Mukoko and others would tell the story better but you are right it is not something one wishes to experience. Asi you saw how the campaign to free Cynthia Manjoro was expedited by use of social networking sites urging people to visit her incessantly, to attend her court sessions in solidarity and lawyers to make constant demands for her release. Ah, Zimbabwe, :-(

NEWCourse_Colleen's picture

strength and insight!

Thank you for writing about the experiences of your family and your self.
You have faced down some incredible hardships.
And I am very much in agreement with you regarding the lasting and far-reaching effects of good governance.
Thank you for this~
Colleen

Colleen Robertson
Project Manager
New Course
www.anewcourse.org
Twitter: @NEW_Course
crobertson@anewcourse.org

NEW Course is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit created to empower rural women in vulnerable ecosystems to sustainably manage their resourc

MaDube's picture

Thank you Colleen

The worst is over, the hardest time was in 2008 and I do not think our generation shall live to see such a low again but what we hope for is a better future for our children and our children's children. Thank you for your comments.

Queenette's picture

Interesting

Keep doing the good work, curiosity pays with good intentions if only many more would be like you. Weldone.

Q'nette
Lagos, Nigeria

MaDube's picture

Thank you

Thank you Queenette.
Will keep doing my very best.

Kelly Hayes-Raitt's picture

Well said!

"That is why I harp on issues of good governance because good political governance promotes human rights. It also fosters good economic governance which improves the social and economic welfare of states and reinforces the dignity of its citizens; lifting the burden of poverty which always tremendously weighs down on women and children. "

Amen! Well said!

~ Kelly

Kelly Hayes-Raitt
www.PeacePATHFoundation.org

MaDube's picture

Thanks:-)

Thanks Kelly. I am yet to read your story and I shall get to it immediately.

laurabstull's picture

Welcome to WorldPulse! I

Welcome to WorldPulse!

I enjoyed reading your Week 2 assignment, you're passionate and determined and it comes through clearly in your writing. I'm glad to know you're part of this community, working tirelessly to continue efforts to further the rights and abilities of women everywhere.

Great work, I look forward to reading more from you!

Laura

MaDube's picture

Thank you

Thank you so much Laura. I submitted my week 3 assignment and another post independent of the VOF application. If you like you could check for it on my journal. Thank you for your support, it gives me the motivation to write some more.

Susan Studebaker's picture

Week 2 essay

Excellent essay- so full of passion and you wrote in a very persuasive manner. A wonderful essay-- keep up the good work. I look forward to reading more!

Susan

!

MaDube's picture

Thank you Susan. This is one

Thank you Susan. This is one thing that inspires me about Worldpulse, the wonderful spirit of women who urge each other on and support each other in such an amazing way. Thanks so much.

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