Connecting the dots for women's rights movement building on PulseWire
My encounter with PulseWire is related to my lived experiences as a mother, market trader, writer and women’s rights activist in Zimbabwe. In 2010 I became jobless owing to dwindling donor funds. My situation demanded shape-shifting for survival. I joined the informal traders and spent days in the market, alongside ordinary women, selling second hand clothes in a semi-rural settlement. Constant feminist reflexivity kept me aware of how efforts to put food on the table can divert one’s attention from major struggles. I thus turned to researching and writing on women informal traders’ experiences in a manner that gives value to their experiences in addition to trading. I organized women’s circles there, and initiated debates on women’s rights.
I built trust with the women, and gained access to their personal domains. I became the community scribe and they opened up lived experiences for me to capture in writing, producing powerful herstories. My motive was to highlight grassroots women’s efforts to fight poverty and define suitable life trajectories for themselves, experiences that are deliberately left out of everyday discourse by the mainstream media.
My vision is to share experiences with women worldwide, in turn learning survival strategies and activism from global networks. I want to project voices of silenced women whose contributions to the economy and to peace building are often ignored or rather misunderstood. Publishing such stories in Zimbabwe seemed almost impossible. The economy is harsh, politics is hot, and no newspaper rates stories of emerging market women with semi-rural backgrounds news worthy. I went to the internet café to send my stories to a few friends that I knew would read and place value to my work. In my mailbox I got an invitation to join Pulsewire, through a local website, Kubatana. When I joined, I discovered that PulseWire was THE BLOG for me! It spoke to my vision of women’s empowerment and women’s rights mobilizing. I desire to speak for myself, and together with my market colleagues - to share our stories of brevity in harsh and dwindling economies. I started publishing the herstories online. It was so quick, and I got swift comments and responses from my online peers worldwide. And then came Voices of our Future, free journalism training, and a chance to continue writing and strengthening my activism. Since then, PulseWire has become my lifeblood. The largest part of my writing routine is spent on PulseWire. I have strengthened my networks, increased my E-knowledge through Web 2.0, have more friends and have done valuable activism in these few months that I have joined PulseWire than I have done offline in my 43 years of life. I write and publish with no restrictions, and with no prejudice and censorship. My online community keeps sending me valuable ideas on opportunities to strengthen my support for grassroots women. I will continue connecting the dots through PulseWire, and use the knowledge and skills to build a formidable force of empowered women in Zimbabwe.