Zimbabwe: Ropafadzo Makumire

Zimbabwe: Ropafadzo Makumire

Date: May 13, 2021
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“As the vice chairperson of Council, I would like to see more women employed in Council and participating in politics, so that we are able to reach our SADC Protocol targets.”

“I have always been a gender champion at heart, but I was never actively participated in gender efforts until I met Gender Links. The organization has given me the impetus to go out there and fight for equality for both men and women.”

Fact file:

Name Ropafadzo
Surname Makumire
Sex ¨ Male
Name of Organisation Chiredzi Town Council
Designation Council Vice Chairperson
Country Zimbabwe
Province Masvingo
City/ Town/ Village Chiredzi



e.g. 00 27 82 665 1742

00 263 776 603 264
Age Group (please tick) oYounger than 18 18-25o 26-40 o 41-50o 51-60 o 60 +    o
Education level Primary School   ¨ Secondary School o Tertiary o Vocational  o Adult literacy o
First met GL Year 2019 Event Hub and Spoke Model
Are you living with a disability ¨ No ¨ Yes




If yes specify type of disability ¨ Physical
¨ Sensory (sight, hearing, taste, speech, smell)
¨ Learning
¨ Mental
¨ Other

“My most memorable experience with Gender Links is when I had an opportunity to attend a Women in Local Governance Workshop. I got a chance to interact with fellow female councillors and got to know about the kind of contributions that women are making in local governance, what challenges they face and how we as male politicians, can help them to participate more in politics.”

Cllr Makumire is a person with a passion for gender issues, he is a strong advocate for the elimination of discriminatory practices that stop women from exercising their right to access resources and their participation in local governance matters. According to Cllr Makumire, “the greatest challenge lies in getting-rid of gender roles that discourage women and girls from participating in governance issues, particularly local governance”.  Cllr Makumire is a role model, not only in his ward, but in Chiredzi Town as a whole. This is because he does not approach gender issues with a political bias. Instead, he solicits by-in from men and women from different political parties. Cllr Makumire uses Ward-based meetings to discuss gender issues. He has also established a gender committee for his ward. The gender committee, among other things, comes up with strategies on how opportunities can be opened-up for women in order to improve their livelihoods. They also help survivors of gender based violence by linking them to support services such as the Police or General Hospital.

Cllr Makumire’s journey with Gender Links is short but has yielded results that have exceeded expectations. He became a Councillor for the first time in 2018. His first encounter with the Gender Links team was at the launch of the Hub and Spoke model, which took place at Masvingo Great Zimbabwe Hotel on the 26th of September 2019. Previously, what he knew about Gender Links he retrieved from the internet and read publications provided by the organization. He was also a participant of the GBV action planning and review workshops, which were conducted by Chiredzi Town Council. Despite his short stint as Councillor, he has made great strides towards fighting for the rights of women, the youth and people living with disability, which makes him a driver of change in Chiredzi.

According to Cllr Makumire, “It was nice to meet Priscilla for the first time. I used to hear so much about her, but I did not know her personally”. Cllr Makumire’s advantage is that he is a youthful Councillor, who is abreast with modern trends and is not blind-sided by traditional and cultural practices that inhibit gender equality. He has attended Gender Links training programmes, WILG workshops and has applied, through Gender Links, for the ICLD – Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy programme, although he was not selected.

Cllr Makumire has described his first encounter with Gender Links as “informative and mind-opening”. His experience with the organization taught him to be more pro-active when it comes to gender issues. As a councillor, he got to understand that it was not enough to simply talk about gender issues, but to “transform talk to action”. He got to comprehend how importance it is to create gender based violence action plans and to be accountable to the community for gender based violence. Although he is a male Councillor, his efforts have meant that he has built a lot of trust in the community, which is why he has been very successful in his endeavours.

On an individual basis, he has become more gender-aware when he makes Council decisions during Council meetings. Whenever service-related discussions are made at Council committee meetings and at full council meetings, he is now able to make decisions that take into consideration the needs of women. This has a lot to do with the training he received from Gender Links and the networking opportunities he received with other gender champions. He strongly believes that women have an integral role to play in the community and they have to be consulted on decisions that affect them.

Cllr Makumire attributes his attitude change to Gender Links but, in particular, he is thankful to Ms Priscilla Maphosa for being a good role model for both men and women. He considers her to be a tough, confident and a driven lady, who has taken gender issues in Zimbabwe to a whole new level. Cllr Makumire states that; “I am also inspired by the vision of our national leadership in SADC. Without them, the dream of an equi table society for men and women will be unattainable.”

A lot of people have witnessed Cllr Makumire’s transformation as an individual, notably his family and friends. He has encouraged female members of his family and close friends to attend general ward meetings, contribute during budget consultations and participate in women’s networks and empowerment groupings. He has managed to change the mind-set of those close to him, by giving them confidence to believe that, as women, they can also be successful in business and politics.

In the community, Cllr Makumire is working with the local religious, political, economic and traditional leaders, with the objective of trying to influence their attitude, awareness and actions towards gender equality and women empowerment. He uses the influence of these luminaries to change norms and behaviours within their networks and within the community at large. He does this by meeting with their associations and directing discussions towards gender and women empowerment. Consequently, there is greater awareness among these critical partners

Of course, it has not been plain sailing for Cllr Makumire. He has faced some challenges along the way. He has had to confront religious, cultural and traditional norms and values that defend the privileges of men. This is difficult to do, especially when you are a man yourself. He often has to contend with heated arguments from men, and sometimes women, as to why the social structure should remain the way it is. Fortunately, Cllr Makumire is a professional and is undeterred. He continues to fight for the rights of women and girls and will continue to do so whether he is in office or he leaves office. “It has become something that has been ingrained in me. It is part of who I am today” he says.