Police nearly disrupt march
It took s lot of courage and commitment to successfully commemorate the International Women’s Day after button-stick-wielding anti-riot police officers had ordered the participants to disperse before the programme had started.
About 10 officers from the much dreaded branch of the Zimbabwe Republic Police descended on the venue where commemorations were to start and threatened to unleash violence on the participants if they did not dismiss pronto.
The Onandi Committee who were the organisers stood their grounds and informed the offending officers that they has been cleared to hold a march and had all the right to go ahead with the programme.
The offending officers could not take it lightly, they handcuffed one woman in an attempt to instil fear into the rest of the group but it was not to be. The women who had gathered for the march quickly mobilised and vowed that the handcuffed woman would not be taken into custody.
On realising that the women were not budging, the officers softened their stance. They asked the group to call some members of the organising committee to explain all about the event. This was done and officers conceded defeat and offered to escort the women on their march.
The march from a local supermarket, TM Hyper to the Small City Hall was one of the key activities lined up by the Onandi Women’s Festival organisers as part of the International Women’s Day.
The ONANDI Women’s Festival, is a local initiative hosted annually to mark the International Women’ Day. This is the only women’s festival in Zimbabwe. It is an opportunity to celebrate womanhood and other women achievements in Zimbabwe. The ONANDI Women’s Festival is aimed at giving men and women in Bulawayo a chance to take stock, reflect, think ahead and move forward in ending violence against women and promoting women’s health. The Onandi Women’s Festival is also an opportunity to unite, network and mobilise for meaningful change in upholding women’s rights.