Dear bAw Fam
We are in such interesting times in the history of our world – from battling a pandemic to uncovering the issues that have been ignored for centuries and decades in different parts of our world. Think Black Lives Matter and Gender-Based Violence. We are in a season where we get to see each other more clearly – so fitting as this is the mission of the black African woman movement.
Today, we invited a young woman to share her sentiments around a topic that has caught the attention of the world in the last few days – Zimbabwean Lives Matter. A topic so dear to our hearts at bAw as half of our team is Zimbabwean.
For the last decade+ the country of Zimbabwe has faced insurmountable struggles from corruption to being ostracized by the world community, and the violation of basic human rights. Control and power have been the name of the game and this has resulted in a nation torn apart physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Being Zimbabwean ‘means basic human rights are not a set issue but the government treats them as a suggestion that can be ignored.’ – Unknown
This post is written by a young 22-year old black African woman from Zimbabwe, who was instrumental in starting the conversation on social media and raising awareness around the situation in Zimbabwe. She embodies the statement, “We are the ones we have been waiting for”, quite aptly.
We wanted to understand this situation from the perspective of such a young African as it is this generation that will help bring about the change that we desperately desire. Enjoy the post and be sure to leave her your thoughts and love in the comments.
As a young black woman born in Zimbabwe and raised in the UK, like many I wish to see a new Zimbabwe; a better and free Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean government has accused the opposition of aiming to use protests to try and overthrow the government and has resorted to using its military against its own citizens; whether they are part of a political party or just an innocent citizen. Human rights groups have claimed that dozens of people, including opposition supporters, activists, and journalists have been arrested, assaulted, abducted, and tortured. Human rights NGOs have also said they are witnessing extreme abuse towards the Zimbabwean citizens.
So we know Zimbabwe is going through a massive human rights issue and on top of that is facing economic starvation, amongst many other issues. I think it’s about time the younger generation start pushing this movement for a better Zimbabwe forward. Why? Because we are the future. Why should we sit back and allow the catastrophes currently taking place in Zimbabwe to continue when we know the potential Zimbabwe has?
I’m 22 years old and I have witnessed chaos within Zimbabwe; I may not live in Zimbabwe but I see and feel the pain of my people. Many will argue that I have no right to talk or speak up on this matter because I am not living in Zimbabwe, and I understand why people may think this way. I understand my privilege. But you have got to understand that wherever I am in the world I will always be Zimbabwean and it’s still home.
I was in Zimbabwe not long ago and I always admire my country and it’s people. Although the people are suffering you see so many who go on happily with life, smiling. I can’t help but think though about the continuing struggle. It’s okay for me to go back to my home in the UK and live my life and go as I please, but I feel a deep pain knowing I have people back home who are suffering just to get their basic food needs met, because a monthly wage could be as little as $18. Or watching my cousins graduate from university with the best degrees yet still struggle to get a job afterwards. The young people of Zimbabwe certainly deserve better and that’s why my mission in life is to help implement a change to the younger generation’s future.
The recent movement, “Zimbabwean Lives Matter”, has allowed many to express how it feels to be Zimbabwean and one quote that stood out for me was: “It means basic human rights are not a set issue but the government treats them as a suggestion that can be ignored.” The people of Zimbabwe are silenced and their cry for basic human rights is shut down by the people that should be protecting them.
How can we make a difference then? We need to apply pressure on higher bodies like the United Nations (UN). People underestimate the power that the UN has and people should call them out and help them remember why they were founded in 1945. Other ways people can help is by spreading awareness and educating people around the world who are unaware of the severity of the situation in Zimbabwe.
My hopes are to go back to Zimbabwe to give back to small communities and invest in the small businesses there. I would encourage a lot of young adults to invest in Africa, whether it be starting a business to help create jobs or investing in a small business or starting new ventures. It’s very hard to pursue some of those goals when there is a lot of corruption happening in Zimbabwe though. Zimbabwe needs complete reform before young investors go back home and help develop the country again. To think how amazing our nation could be and how much it can offer to the world with the right people leading its nation; I only hope and pray.
Lastly, please note that I am not involved in any political party; I am just a young person who is based in the UK blessed and privileged to have a future, and who wants change for my fellow young people based in Zimbabwe.
Sharleen is a first-time contributor to our blog and a young human rights activist whose aim is to create a better future for the youth in Zimbabwe. Understanding the privilege she has to live in the UK, she is now using it to her advantage in order to be the voice of people who’s tongues are tied.
She has used her social media platforms to talk on issues around the world regarding race and equality, gender-based violence, and women’s rights. All issues that she believes need to be taken seriously.
SocialFixD, a platform Sharleen created, supports and advises Zimbabwean influencers and YouTube Creatives. Their mission is to create a supportive space for Zimbabwean Influencers and help fill in the dots between the influencer and their best possible career in the creative industry.
Sharleen is also a freelance fashion stylist. She engages virtually with clients and shares styling ideas and advice for all body types. She recently took over London’s Curvefashionfest Instagram page and talked about mental health in the black community, plus size fashion, and styling tips. To connect with Sharleen on social media, head over to the below platforms:
Youtube: Sharleen Dube
Thank you Sharleen for being so brave at such a young age, and for spearheading a necessary movement for our generation! bAw Fam, please do share your sentiments, questions, suggestions and prayers for the people of Zimbabwe and their current predicament in the comments below. We, too, are not affiliated with any political parties but we are strongly affiliated with our fellow human beings – when others hurt, we believe it is our mandate to empathize and do something about it.
If you would like to support the cause for changing the status quo in Zimbabwe, please click on the below link:
Thank you as always for dropping by fam. Please do keep Zimbabwe in your prayers and remember that you are deeply loved and we are praying for you too.