Pat Ndlovu – Zimbabwe

Pat Ndlovu – Zimbabwe

Date: June 28, 2013
  • SHARE:

As a councilor in local government I see myself as the go between; between the people and the council and visa versa. Being a business person, I am always ready to talk to people. I’m glad that the community trusts me to bring up issues.  On a typical day, I attend council meetings, attend to my ward, and still find time for my family duties and to run my business. Being a councilor is not a 9-5 job. It’s done anytime, anywhere; there is no formula.

When I came back from the UK in 2007, I was shocked at the state of my town. I was greeted by piles of rubbish, and literally cried at what had become of my home. I had always known that to run for councilor you had to be above a certain age, but what I didn’t know is that this had changed. In February of 2008, community members gathered and asked me to run for council. I didn’t even have my birth certificate at the time, and I found myself running around on one day to get both my birth certificate and Identity card. In the afternoon in nomination court, on the 14th of February 2008, I was pronounced a candidate and have never looked back since. There were concerns about security, but I didn’t even think twice about it.

In Kadoma, in 2010 is when I first met Gender Links. I found it amazing to learn the background of the organization. I found myself interested in this organization, that finally put women at the forefront, that realized there was a need to empower women and that worked tirelessly to achieve it. At that meeting, I was inspired, and felt empowered through the knowledge I acquired. I felt Gender Links staff were so friendly and made me feel like part of a family. Even people with doctorates do not understand gender issues, but the people who work with Gender Links do, GL ensures that the local councilors do.

When I first encountered GL, I admit that I was skeptical. Priscilla took the time to talk to the women, and GL gave out reading material and reassured the local councilors, and this put me at ease.

I think the greatest influence I have in the community has been to inspire more women to know about their rights, and not to be afraid to articulate their problems to council. I take them with me to complain, and now that they know how council works, they can speak on their own and report back on their own. We are the elite ward, we are all economically empowered now. I feel that this is one reason I don’t struggle in my community to get any message across. We have built a culture of openness, and awareness, and we are really seeing the payback from this.

I think I am a good leader, because I am honest and truthful, and I like to engage people- I don’t just make decisions on my own. I want to represent the voice of the people. I am not a political tool, I have already won, even without those who didn’t vote for me.

One of my best experiences in council is the environmental project. I learned how to write a motion when I wrote a motion to plant trees. I am so happy to see that my dream is being realized while I am still in my position. It has been my greatest reward so far. Gender Links has helped me by teaching me that I should communicate well in order to have the buy-in of the community and the council; on my own I will not achieve anything.

My greatest disappointment to date is that there is still no HIV budget, and this is what I want to focus on next. The fact that families pay rates and in turn are given nothing when they suffer makes me sad. I think councils should give back a little more. My target is the technocrats who approve the budgets, and I hope I will see change soon. I also do not like that people mix politics with development- that people expect favors even if it means breaking the law. People must follow procedures and processes, that why they are there.

I have learned budgeting skills from GL, and that every gathering is an opportunity to network. Networking is very important to me.

I owe a lot to the women in my ward, whom I feel I have not done enough for, and yet they fight beside me. I consult with them for everything, and we all feel like we own this process together. I think I am definitely the right person to be a leader in my community, as the changes keep happening. I continuously find myself being the voice of reason in many situations.

I know I inspire others, because I believe that when people see change, they too are inspired to change. I am of the opinion that other women have been empowered just by seeing me being empowered; that other women’s confidence is boosted just by my taking risks. I am a strong believer in doing things for the future generations, and even though I had a lot to lose when I started, I do not regret my decision. In the future I would love to see myself in parliament, though I feel I am better suited for local government, because I enjoy being closer to the people. Time will tell!

I am ever grateful to GL for coming into the community, and I hope that GL can go even deeper into the communities- sometimes councilors are too close, and it takes an outside eye to suggest improvements.


Comment on Pat Ndlovu – Zimbabwe

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *