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What being a voice of the future means

A voice of Zimbabwe's future: Shingie Chimuriwo

As World Pulse gets ready to reveal the names of the 30 women who will take part in the coming year’s edition of the Voices of Our Future (VOF) programme, I feel it necessary to reflect on what being a voice of the future means, at least to me.

From my own personal experience, this duty has meant speaking about issues in a solutions-oriented manner; living in the ‘now’ yet thinking about, and planning for, the future. I have had the privilege to read some of the thoughts and ideas set out by this year’s applicants and many have been exciting and realistically futuristic ; that is, progressive while still maintaining a grounding within contextual issues and challenges. It has been truly inspiring.

But I am not writing to give an appraisal of my experience as a VOF Correspondent, or to give a recap of what I have read from the new applicants. I am writing because I thought it fitting to tell you what I think of when I think of a voice of a future.

To me, a voice of the future is one like Shingie Chimuriwo’s. You might not know her and if you don’t, you sadly never will (on a personal level). In March of this year, Shingie died aged 30 in a horrible and unfortunate road accident in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Shingie was a community builder, an activist, a humanitarian, a sister, a wife, a daughter, a human being for humanity. And to this day, her death stabs at so many hearts because quite simply, Shingie was a much needed voice in our society.

She never shied away from discussing the multiple social, political and economic challenges besieging Zimbabwe because as a Zimbabwean with a platform to speak, she always chose to represent those whose voices are so often drowned out by the noise. She always chose the road less travelled, always challenged those around her to see things differently, always opened up space for frank talk, always did the best she could. But while she burned with rage at the injustices of poverty and rights violations (particularly of women), she always knew how to celebrate successes, and how to laugh and live. She was, quite simply, a beautiful soul.

Last week, I decided to look up a few of the issues that she had been discussing in her last months. And it was interesting for me to see just how many important topics she highlighted, interspersed of course with the more humorous aspects of life, that got people talking on her Facebook page. Here are just a few:

Posted March 10, 2011: If anybody cares, this country [Zimbabwe] needs some sanity now and not a day later.

Posted March 6, 2011: Is it me or are the 'people' at the Chinese People's Congress all male. I thought there were also women in China.

Posted February 24, 2011: One of the trending topics on Twitter this morning is 'Things the Devil Invented' (#thingsthedevilinventend) and one that caught my eye says: men who hit women! - Hear! Hear!

Posted February 9, 2011: There is scarcity of people who are well versed in political stuff that matter in Zimbabwe. If they exist then they are not executing one of their duties well: That of documenting, publishing and guiding discussions with facts. We need fewer partisan hacks and issue analysts and need more political geeks (whose interest is the country and not some individuals) in other words.

Posted February 5, 2011: Isn't it sad how we repeat the most effective propaganda without making an effort to find out what the reality is. I wish people made an effort to understand the meaning of 'Islamist', 'Imperialism', 'extremist' for themselves.

When one reads back these posts, even though Shingie is now no longer alive, they still resonate and tell the Zimbabwean story; the women’s global plight. Shingie didn’t just see what was happening around her in the ‘now’ – rather, she demanded that we cast our gaze to the future and begin to develop solutions. She wanted a better Zimbabwe and a better world and was willing to do something to make sure that it came about.

For me, that is a voice of a future; a person who leaves the planet richer for her contribution, a life force larger than death. As the 2011/ 2012 VOF Correspondents embark on this exciting journey, I ask that you remember this lesson that Shingie’s life has taught me and the nation of Zimbabwe; that speaking up for what is right and lending one’s energies to caring for one’s fellow man and woman is noble, inspiring, motivating, beautiful and above all death-less.

Shingie still lives because her voice will forever belong to the future. The people whose causes she championed will never forget her kindness and care; and the people she worked alongside will remember her passion and hopefully always use it as fuel for the on-going struggle for social justice in Zimbabwe. I will leave you with one of Shingie’s poems, published two weeks before she died and hope that you can find your own voice for humanity’s future. It is needed desperately!

I am Angry by Shingie Chimuriwo

I am angry! I seethe with anger!
I am upset that I worry more today than I did yesterday.
The same yesterday that promised a better today.
The promise that came from words spoken.
Spoken by men who claim moral high ground and infallibility.
The same high ground they have since fallen from.
Fallen in front of the whole world to see.
The same world, the men are telling that no fall happened.
The happening that even after seeing, the world is mute and refuses to talk about.
I am angry at silence.
I am angry at words that are said because they sound good but mean nothing.
I am angry at Old Men who are meant to be wise but destroy that illusion for the young!
I am angry about silence that allows Old Man who are not wise to continue to think they are.
I am angry that the old man IS NOT wise.
I am angry at the slow death of my belief and faith in human goodness.
I am angry at the slow dimming of hope.
I seethe at the knowledge that I cannot be associated with any other than the Old Man who has turned out to be unwise.
I am angry!

Shingie with her grandmother

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Comments

YAOtieno's picture

VOF

This is really inspirational. It is voices like these that will change the future. You are so right - her poem fits not only in the Zimbabwe context, it could fit well in many other countries in Africa and globally...

Thanks for sharing

A candle looses nothing my lighting another

Fungai Machirori's picture

I am really glad that you can

I am really glad that you can identify :) That was the great thing about Shingie. She was someone who people could talk with so easily, regardless of age or nationality or race or anything. It's a real loss but she leaves behind a profound legacy that speaks of a life well lived.

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*

usha kc's picture

Dear Fungai your way to

Dear Fungai your way to express to every thing, every issue is really touching and great, I always love it dear.
You shared here a saddy news of loss of a young, energetic and active voice Shingie with such a good way.
thank you so much for sharing and lastly would like to pray for her departed soul rest in peace.

Big hug.

Fungai Machirori's picture

Thanks Usha :)

Shingie was an energetic woman and I think it's just her energy that I am sharing. She was awesome and Zimbabwe really lost a brave and powerful woman. Please read this if you have time. It's very sad but it was written by Shingie's husband , Fungai Tichawangana, about her death.

http://www.zimbojam.com/columns/from-the-editor/2667-zimbo-jam-first-lad...

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*

Gertrude Bvindi's picture

I salute Shingie Chimuriwo,

I salute Shingie Chimuriwo, may her soul rest in Peace and may we continue with the work she set the stage for.

Gertrude Bvindi

Fungai Machirori's picture

Amen!

All the best with the results. And no matter what, let's keep using our voices for a better future!

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*

zoneziwoh's picture

powerful words from a Sheroe/Sheroine

Dear Fungai, this is powerful. I am short of words. I know I shouldn’t be short of words. But my lack of words is as a result of the gratitude and inspiration I feel deep inside me, having read through Shingie's hard and true words. She is a sheroe, a sheroine. Thank you so much sister for this powerful words from Shingie.

if you permit, I will like to share Shingie's peom; 'i am angry' on my network.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

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

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter & Instagram: @ZoFem

Fungai Machirori's picture

Thanks dear

I think you can appreciate the injustice in her death because you are so passionate about these issues. If you have time, please read these links. They are articles written by her husband. We are still trying to find a way to get justice for Shingie and your help would be great. (PS: her husband is also called Fungai so don't get confused :) )

http://www.zimbojam.com/columns/from-the-editor/2667-zimbo-jam-first-lad...

http://www.zimbojam.com/columns/from-the-editor/2668-zimbo-jam-first-lad...

I have asked him about the poem and he should get back to me soon. If you have any ideas about how we can campaign for Shingie's justice, please let me know!

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*

Nezed's picture

Find peace Shingie....

Find peace Shingie....

I do not aim for Perfection; Just excellence!

Rachael Maddock-Hughes's picture

Thank you

Thank you Fungai for this beautiful post. You make me very sorry never to have met this wonderful woman, but she lives on in your heart and in your words!

Kind regards,

Rachael

"In every human heart there are a few passions that last a lifetime. They're with us from the moment we're born, and nothing can dilute their intensity." Rob Brezny

Fungai Machirori's picture

Thanks Rachael!

The sad and twisted irony is that the man who crashed into her car and killed her was drunk. But because he's a big wig in Zimbabwe's stock exchange, he got off with a USD 400 fine. It's revolting and we are still trying to think of what to do to bring justice to this issue.

If you have time to share thoughts and ideas, I would appreciate you reading through the two articles written by her husband, also called Fungai, at:

http://www.zimbojam.com/columns/from-the-editor/2667-zimbo-jam-first-lad...
http://www.zimbojam.com/columns/from-the-editor/2668-zimbo-jam-first-lad...

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*

fungaijames's picture

Yes, She Was

Thank you Fungai for this article. You have so aptly captured what Shingie was in terms of seeing through the smoke and mirrors of society. She was insightful and had such an amazing radar for right and wrong. May her memory continue to inspire others as it does me every day.

Ruth Beedle's picture

Your love shines through

Your love shines through every word and sharing Shingie's words allows her immortality. You are truly beautiful and inspirational and a VOF leader for our world.

Fungai Machirori's picture

Her loss was an injustice

Ruth, thank you. I neglected to mention, however, that Shingie's death was a great injustice. A drunk driver rammed into her car and killed her. He got off with a USD400 fine because he is a Zimbabwe Stock Exchange boss. Her husband, also called Fungai, has written about her final hours and the trial afterwards in a way that can only make so sad and so angry, like her poem describes. I would greatly appreciate it if you could take the time to read what he wrote as it more adequately tells you who Shingie was and what unwarranted pain she suffered in her last hours.

http://www.zimbojam.com/columns/from-the-editor/2667-zimbo-jam-first-lad...
http://www.zimbojam.com/columns/from-the-editor/2668-zimbo-jam-first-lad...

Thank you for reading :)

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*

You are a Voices of Our Future Leader. You have every opportunity in this world to lead masses of women, men around the world. Your words and Shingie's strength have pierced my heart. Why don't the visionary live longest?
Thank you for sharing this.

I believe everybody has the potential to live a better life. Given the Opportunity, Education and Motivation ANYONE can become someone admirable. Nobody is a NOBODY, everybody is SOMEBODY.

Fungai Machirori's picture

Thanks Bea

The visionaries don't live long because if they did, the world would change for the better. And sadly, the world doesn't like that. Maybe you can make the time to read the injustice of Shingie's death. Her husband, also called Fungai, wrote about it earlier in the year. There is need for the man who killed her to be brought to book, but as there is so much corruption in Zimbabwe, this will be a long journey:

http://www.zimbojam.com/columns/from-the-editor/2667-zimbo-jam-first-lad...

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*

http://www.zimbojam.com/columns/from-the-editor/2667-zimbo-jam-first-lad...

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*

AchiengNas's picture

Thank you sister Fungai

I will read that. I am very glad to hear this from you.
If you find time, please watch the clip of our media tour in California: http://vimeo.com/31223218

Thank you.

I believe everybody has the potential to live a better life. Given the Opportunity, Education and Motivation ANYONE can become someone admirable. Nobody is a NOBODY, everybody is SOMEBODY.

Celine's picture

So touched

Dear Fungai,

I feel so sad not because of the life of Shingie but because of the agony she passed through in her last 5 hours on earth. I read the additional agony in the voice of Shingie's husband. What a world we live in Africa! Why should there be sudden termination of previous souls? Why shouldn't the just live longer so as to touch more lifes? Why should the just be paid back with injustice? What a world!!

Celine

Fungai Machirori's picture

I still don't know either

There are some deaths that are just to understand. Shingie's is one. I will never understand why she had to die the way she died and why she had to go before her work was done. But I suppose it is so that the rest of us continue on the path that she began. Her death will always be a great loss to Zimbabwe. But God has made His decision.

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*

SharonTendai's picture

Aptly Put

Her work will live forever because love does not die and when she worked, spoke and shared it was the essence of love in human form.

--
“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Fungai Machirori's picture

Amen!

We continue to pray for her family's healing because while we all feel this loss, it is they that suffer the pain the most. God bless x

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

We sorely miss her and she

We sorely miss her and she was and still remains an inspiration to many of us. Even in death her voice speaks on...

Fungai Machirori's picture

She will always be!

Even in death she still lives. Death has lost his sting.

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*

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