A V-Day love letter to the Real man I love
Your letter is special because I write it on V-Day, and also because its open to the whole world.
I love you because you are a real man, because you have agreed to share my politics - the politics of women's emancipation and freedom from violence and rape. In doing this you have indeed ‘oranged’ your heart and mind as part of the UNITE Campaign to end violence against women, and this is why I love you honey. You are a man of rare timbre and fibre my love, and the only one in Zimbabwe.
Today sweetheart, I invite you to be my ally, to join me in spreading the message on no tolerance to violence against women in Zimbabwe.
Today I will urge you not to worry about enriching flower vendors, the most fragrant flower lies in your heart, and I want you to take that flower in action against gender based violence in all its different shapes and forms, and reach as many men as you can with this message of peace. I know they will listen to you more than they would to me, because you are a man like them, and you understand their language of the game better. Please take the following key messages to them:
Explain to Rugare that Violence against women is a violation of human rights, and it must stop. Tell him that rape of women is an abomination, and it has no excuse. Therefore ask them to join the women of Zimbabwe today as they march from Town House to Africa Unity Square to protest against the rape of women and to demand stiffer penalties for all rapists.
Tell Juzeyi to wear his orange shirt on every 25th day of each month. Every 25th day of each month is orange day, and we must all dress in orange to highlight the need for eliminating violence against women from our spaces.
Tell Lovemore and Clifford that 14 February is not a day to abuse women, neither is it a day to use cheap gifts to entice young girls into the dark corners of their rooms for obligatory pre-mature sex. No, this is not the essence about Valentine’s Day. Please tell them not to join lairs in spreading wrong politics, because St Valentine was not a romantic rapist. Tell them St Valentine was an activist and a lover of peace and happy families. Educate them that he spent his days fighting against the belligerence of Emperor Claudius II, who prohibited men from marrying while forcing them into militarism. St Valentine hated war and force, and was a community peace-builder who was eventually martyred for firmly standing by his beliefs of peace. Therefore my love, V-day must be spent in activism, fighting for the rights of the oppressed.
Today my love, I beg you to go to the golf course, not to hit the balls as usual, but to tell Sam that today is V-Day, and it’s a day for honoring women’s rights. Tell them that V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls, and that it constitutes a group of people in their diversities, people that refuse to stand by as violence against women continues, people that choose to take action in whatever way to build peace.
Today my love I know you will show your courage. You will go to the police camps, to the government offices, and to your employer’s office and deposit this beautiful message of outrage, that, ‘Enough is enough! No more violence against women’. Tell them we say No to rape and sexual violence, No to femicide, No to impunity, and No to murders of passion, but say Yes to peace, Yes to human rights, and Yes to justice and equality.
The last task baby is for you to join Zimbabwean women today in signing the petition to President Mugabe. Be part of the voice that tells him that it is not enough for the government of Zimbabwe to have laws and policies on elimination of violence against women. What Zimbabwe wants is to see the full implementation of the said laws and policies. Please remember to convey to him that all survivors of rape have the right to access justice, and effective remedies for the harm they have suffered - including access to services, programmes and opportunities for their recovery and reintegration into society.
After that my love, we can sit together throughout the night, hip to hip, and sing to celebrate the prowess of Chaminuka and the valour of Nehanda, as we load our mouths with spoonfuls of organismic hot traditional V-Day food.