Women Must Stand Up, Tell Africa’s True Story: First Lady


Sunday mail

Tendai Rupapa in ST PETERSBURG, Russia

African women must stand up and tell the true story of the African continent to correct media stereotypes that portray a continent of war, poverty, disease and human rights violations, including in the face of the challenges that lie ahead, said the Minister. First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa.

If women don’t show up, along with children and generations to come, she said, Africa will be worse off than other continents.

Instead of devoting space to highlighting positive issues concerning Africa, like its vast mineral resource base, the media is determined to write deceptive articles to scare investors and delay the continent’s progress.

First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa speaks with Dr Irina Abramova during the Third Eurasian Women’s Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia on Friday. Photo: John Manzongo

However, international forums like the Eurasian Women’s Forum held in Russia, where the First Lady told delegates the real history of the continent, provide an opportunity for African women to tell their testimonies based on facts. credible.

The First Lady’s remarks come amid open admission by some investors and development partners who attended the forum they feared visiting Africa due to negative media reports.

But, the First Lady, who is also the vice-president of the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD), implored African women to join hands, stand up and tell the good story of the country. ‘Africa.

Zimbabwe was not spared from the media onslaught as it was presented as a country with serious human rights violations.

This is despite the fact that under the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa, the country initiated far-reaching political and economic reforms and introduced the mantra “Zimbabwe is open for business”.

The new exemption also developed investor-friendly policies.

The Third Eurasian Women’s Forum also provided an opportunity for women to discuss issues that concern them, share their experiences and develop concrete solutions.

First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa speaks with Ms. Nadezda Pronina who was delighted with Amai Mnangagwa’s empowerment initiatives for women, girls, disadvantaged and vulnerable people at the Third Eurasian Women’s Forum in St. Petersburg, in Russia, Friday. Photo: John Manzongo

Here, the First Lady met with delegates from over 100 countries, which allowed for the cross-pollination of ideas.

In a wide-ranging speech, which captivated the business dialogue on the role of women in the integrated development of the African continent at the forum, the mother of the nation said that the false and negative portrayal of Africa had frustrates efforts to empower and develop the continent.

She added that the misrepresentation of facts about Africa in the media has affected partnerships between women around the world, and this is a major cause for concern as it causes women to lag behind even in things that ‘they have the capacity to do.

In addition, Amai Mnangagwa said that it is essential for women to continue their education and implored those in positions of authority not to forget their peers who are behind to achieve significant growth in women’s empowerment. .

Women record the proceedings with their mobile phones at the Third Eurasian Women’s Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia on Friday. Photo: John Manzongo

It was a first since 1980 for Zimbabwe to be represented at the forum and the historic appearance can be attributed to the hard work and philanthropic efforts of the First Lady.

“Women in positions of power should not forget the other women behind them. It is we women who must fight for each other. I’m glad this forum brought us from Africa, which means the forum is growing now because there is a lot of involvement. We say that all women should participate to take this forum to greater heights, ”she said.

Amai Mnangagwa paid tribute to Russian President Vladimir Putin for exposing in his opening speech at the forum on Thursday that he knew the challenges affecting women and recognized the important role they play.

“I would like to thank the president of this country, Vladimir Putin. What he said in his speech was about us women, how do we help women, pregnant women, single parents, all women in general. What President Putin has said concerns all continents, all countries where women are there to work for their families. They are the backbone of homes and after that, if the opportunity arises, they can grow and bring peace, bring humanity and development to the family level because that’s where it all begins ”, she declared.

The First Lady, who at home is leading the way in ensuring that women participate fully in various income-generating projects as part of her multi-pronged empowerment campaign, told the forum about the various projects she undertakes for the benefit of women. .

“As the First Lady of Zimbabwe, I encourage and help women in vulnerable situations to return to school. No matter where they are, what they are involved in, I want to make sure they are all educated. I want to see all the women have bank accounts thanks to what they do with their hands, without waiting for the husband to come and say ‘thank you very much you brought me bread’. Father, before leaving, there is no salt, ”she said.

Dependence on men, the First Lady added, triggered gender-based violence (GBV), leading to difficulties in marriages.

“There is a lot of discord in the families because as soon as the woman is not able or does not have the possibility to educate herself and to work for herself, this marriage has no future and the country and the community cannot develop. This is why we say that women must be educated and have opportunities, ”she said.

The First Lady said it was fundamental for women to take care of their health and that of their families, including reproductive health.

“Women have to learn to say ‘no’ to what they cannot stand. I encourage women to stand up for themselves and show that they are a people who can work for themselves and who can decide what they want in life. We have women who, because of the circumstances, have become ladies of the night. I took these women on board and told them it is a very old profession, leave it because it will bring a lot of disease and trouble.

“Later you will see that you have been destroyed. I want them to be educated so that they are able to fend for themselves and be a better person in society. I have also advocated for health and diseases like noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). You see our rural women, they are at a disadvantage in terms of information, whether it’s social media it’s not there, so I’m traveling across the country talking to women about their health and what they should know what concerns their life. “

She denounced the skyrocketing deforestation and the burning of grass, saying it would affect climate change.

“As women we have to make sure we think together and I always say forward with this forum for women where we can discuss,” she said.

Liberian Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor shared the platform with the First Lady, who highlighted some of her country’s achievements for the advancement of women.

She encouraged young women and girls to aim for greater heights.

“Women can come together on particular projects or particular issues that affect entire lives. Either they do good and break down barriers, or against a force of evil. Women are generally forces for good, ”she said.

She said women can be whatever they choose to be as long as they’re focused and engaged.

One of the panelists, Ms. Bineta Diop from Senegal, who is the envoy of the African Union Commission on Women, Peace and Security, and virtually attended the forum, said women deserve to be to be honored because they played an important role in all sectors, including agriculture.

She said they advocated for women to have access to land and markets.

“Seventy percent in Africa are women and we advocate for women to have access to land and international markets,” she said.

Commenting on culture in Africa, Ms. Diop congratulated the First Lady and the Liberian Vice-President, dressed in their African outfits, for having represented the continent well.

Amai Mnangagwa looked resplendent in a beautiful dress made from the national fabric of Zimbabwe.

The special envoy for women said there was a need to present African products to the international market.

Madame Anna Belyaeva, executive director of the Association for Economic Cooperation with African States (AECAS), told the forum that working with African women was a revelation, because what was being peddled by the media did not correspond to reality on field.

“The objectives of our association relate to the coordination and management of our efforts in orienting companies towards Africa. From the point of view of women, I would say that we have to make sure that we organize trade missions of Russian companies and also that we organize different forums in these companies.

“But it is rather a difficult challenge because our mass media cover the African continent in such a way that it is loaded with terrible things like conflict. But after visiting the African continent for the first time, I keep telling Russian women that they should do it and this is not how the mass media covers them, ”she said. .

Ms Belyaeva said that unlike media reports, Africa has vast opportunities for growth and development.

United South African Affairs
The Confederation commended Zimbabwe for establishing one of the fastest growing women’s banks, the Zimbabwe Women’s Microfinance Bank, saying this was essential for women’s empowerment.

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