Woman village head celebrates GBV fight in style

By Nhau Mangirazi

HURUNGWE– Thirty year old Yemurai Makuwe of Birimahwe area within Hurungwe’s Ward 11 is enjoying women rights during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender based Violence here.

She is among few women village heads presiding cases of community development under Chief Chanetsa with the support of fellow elders among them several men with some as old as her late father.

She narrated that she took the reign late in November 2017 following the death of her father Peter Makuwo.

‘I am a divorcee and was staying together with my parents after my marriage to my former husband failed to yield positive results. I was helping him preside over traditional matters brought before him for arbitration especially social conflicts, boundary feuds among others. It worked well as I was indirectly being groomed to be what I am today as a traditional head,’ she said during an interview at the weekend.

As fate had it, her father passed on and there was no one to take over headman ship in their village situated about 65 kilometers west of Karoi town.

‘My promotion to be substantive village head does not mean to say there are no males in our family. Those who are older than me voluntarily gave me the option to take over after our father’s death. I have enjoyed it as local villagers support me during our regular developmental meetings. We are united in fighting gender based violence and a young woman I take chance and time to counsel young girls to be wary of early sexual activities that may fuel early marriages. I also encourage them to consider education as a priority to avoid Sexually Transmitted Infections that result in spreading of HIV and AIDS wreaking havoc around Hurungwe,’ she added.

Village head Makuwo has 70 households under her jurisdiction.

Her sentiment comes after Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe emphasized that violence against women violates their human rights.

‘According to recent studies almost 7 out 10 women in Zimbabwe experience some form of violence in their lifetime while 1 in every 3 girls in the country are married off to older men before they reach the age of 18. This is a catastrophic state of affairs,’ said WCoZ in a statement last week.

Headman Makuwe further said she was happy Hurungwe community embraced Friends of the Environment ‘thrust to replant indigenous trees’ around the district.

‘This is a welcome move as tobacco growing has done a lot of damage in our forests and we must move on to a better future through planting of more trees,’ said the village head who has two children.

Mashonaland West provincial resident minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka challenged traditional leaders to promote tree planting as a hobby.

‘I am challenging traditional leaders including village heads, Chiefs and others to consider tree cutting as a punishable offense to curb unwarranted tree felling that is doing more harm than good for Hurungwe as a productive district,’ said Mliswa-Chikoka.

She was speaking during the official launch of Katenhe Secondary school greenhouse nursery that has produced over 250 000 fruit trees both exotic and indigenous.

The event is part of OK Zimbabwe’s promotional anchoring ahead of its latest shop due to be opened in Karoi farming town early next year.