Zimbabwe – Thabitha Ngwenya

Date: July 20, 2018
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“Friends Like These.”

As a female leader, I am one of the eight female Councillors of the City of Bulawayo. I have managed to enter a male dominated field. I have displayed that being a female, you can also be a leader of the community. Although I do face challenges with men who feel disgraced to be led by a woman I still soldier on and still accomplish my goals and execute duties. I have made a number of changes in my society through my teachings and created clubs like Friends Like These.

I was elected as Ward 6 Councillor in 2013.I have learnt a lot on gender mainstreaming and I have started applying this in my ward 6, and I am the Chairperson of the Health Housing And Education committee. I am also a member of the Engineering and Environmental Management committee and the General Purposes committee.

My policy in the ward is to work with each and every resident regardless of their political affiliation. My main objective is to be a development agent for ward 6, and I intend to resuscitate all the community centres that are lying idle in my ward. To teach and educate the society on aspects of gender and many other issues that may develop my society.

My ward consist of seven suburbs. I have to make sure my community is well looked after and their needs are taken of. I am the Chairperson of the Health Housing and Education committee, this committee looks at health matters of the city, housing issues and education related issues of the city of Bulawayo. As a member of the Engineering and Environmental Management committee and the General Purposes committee, I also overlook at water works and the environment of the city of Bulawayo.

I have faced challenges with men in the ward who were failing to come to terms with having a woman as their councillor even though the previous councillor was female. This has not deterred me from progressing with my work. We have established subcommittees for each suburb in the ward so that as a councillor I know the issues affecting each part of the ward. Since I became gender aware I have used this information to sensitize the men, women, boys and girls in my ward.

Being a grandmother I teach my grandchildren household chores, so that they do not grow up gender blind like what used to happen in the past. For the women in my ward I formed a Women`s club where grooming, cookery, and income generating training is conducted as a way of improving their livelihoods.

I have lent that in life, teaching gender it is a nonstop process, it is not a one day thing or a once off lesson. I have to walk to the talk. I have learnt that people want more training and more knowledge. My future plan is to continue building a community which has well equipped with knowledge. I am planning to teach more about gender and disability inclusion as I have, since that creates a strong great society.