Zimbabwe – Exton Muzavazi

Date: September 6, 2018
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“I am of the notion that women and men need each other for societies to be fully functional.” 

Exton Muzavazi’s learning journey with Gender Links (GL) started in 2016 during the entrepreneurship training of trainers’ workshop. He stated that the entrepreneurship programme complemented what he does in his day to day life.  

“I enjoy my job very much which involves equipping the community, especially the vulnerable, with survival skills. I acquired mentoring skills through the entrepreneurship programme and I can now confidently address gatherings and always ready to offer workable solutions to most problems encountered by the community. The entrepreneurship programme has uplifted most people’s lives. It empowers the dependant population through skills acquisition. A lot of people now believe and have faith in GL. It has helped survivors of GBV to reclaim their lives. All the women I have worked with in the entrepreneurship programme now strive to work harder for the betterment of their lives,“ said Muzavazi. 

The beneficiary cited Kadoma Old People’s Home as a place that transformed him through working with the elderly people. Muzavazi indicated that he is equipping the elderly people at this home with skills such as the weaving of baskets, sewing, mending and repairing of shoes. He pointed out that he has a burning passion in equipping these elderly people with livelihood skills so that they will not lie idle but find themselves useful even to the community at large. 

Muzavazi said that GL came at the most convenient time. He explained that Kadoma being a mining town has people from different backgrounds and GL equipped him with the requisite skills and attitude to deal with both men and women from different educational backgrounds. He claimed that he is now able to mentor people from different religious and cultural backgrounds. 

The beneficiary works for Kadoma City Council as a social worker. He mostly focuses on educating, upholding people’s civic rights and oversees the running of welfare programmes. The welfare programmes for the vulnerable groups include sewing, knitting and sports. He views all these and other duties as development tools for the community. 

Muzavazi’s perceptions’ to gender equality was corrected by GL through workshops and the manuals given to participants and local authorities. He initially viewed gender and sex as having the same meaning. He says that he now believes that gender refers to opportunities or roles created by the society regardless of sex unlike previously when he thought it to be either male or female. 

“I am of the notion that women and men need each other in all societies to be fully functional. I am now in a position to enlighten the society to address thorny issues like ‘who brought HIV/AIDS into the home.” 

According to Muzavazi, he usually corrects his family and relatives that ability should not be based on sex. He thinks that everyone has to be given a chance to prove oneself in life regardless of sex. He points out that the society and workplaces must promote anyone who qualifies not based on social status. He views that work related, social and even religious matters have to be dealt with not basing on a person’s sex but ability. 

“Economic empowerment has to enhance people’s livelihoods. To make this possible I pleaded with the Local Authority to legalise flea-markets in Kadoma. Most of the flea-market owners are now financially stable and they are now able to pay school fees, feed, clothe and provide accommodation for their children. 

“Children as well as grown-ups have to be given equal learning opportunities. Gone are the days when a girl child was to stay at home doing household chores whilst the boy child pursued studies,” said Muzavazi. 

He said that working with GL is an unforgettable experience especially when dealing with the country manager Priscilla Maposa. Muzavazi broadly smiled as he talks of Priscilla Maposa whom he says has an open door policy.  

“During the GL entrepreneurship workshops, the facilitator Thandi Mlobane highlighted the need for transparency in all business dealings. I now emphasises the need for transparency in business to all those I am mentoring. There is need to register business ventures in both the husband and wife’s names. Even residential and business stands should have both parties’ names. This move will ensure equal access to economic activities.  

Muzavazi has fully advocated for co-ownership of property amongst spouses at his workplace to be implemented. He believes he is the right candidate for the driver of change category in his Local Authority as he considers himself an activist in influencing gender balance at workplaces, religious and home settings. He believes in the eradication of sexist approaches in all spheres of life.