Learning Journey: Launching into the deep

Learning Journey: Launching into the deep

Date: March 23, 2016
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 Quotable quotes

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science” – Albert Einstein

Celebrating life is the most rewarding activity that one can ever implement. I sometimes stand in awe of God’s grace wondering how I jumped some of life’s hurdles in 2015. As I reflect over the past year, I realise that the human mind is forever wondering, forever calculating permutations and combinations to make life liveable.

At the beginning of the year, I had told myself that I did not want to simply survive the year but had promised myself to LIVE in 2015. A survival mentality would surely drive me into a dungeon; yet many a times during the year, I found myself defaulting to the survival mode instead of the living mode. The cycle of balancing work, family, spiritual and studying took a toll on my health  as I watched in disbelief my palms which were as white as snow – bloodless indicating a dangerous state of anaemia. This was a wakeup call that lack of balance affects the other parts of life’s wheel. Yet I continue to celebrate life, to drive myself into a living mode and to watch my palms!

Challenging myself

“Challenges are what makes life interesting, overcoming them is what makes life worth living.”- Joshua Marine

The past three years at Gender Links (GL) have taught me that inequalities continue to exist despite glossy policies and speeches but yet the push and advocacy done by organisations such as GL is necessary to connect the dots from the ground to the top. Working in a civil society movement fighting for justice and equality prompts you daily to conduct a self-check about your contribution the cause. Indeed the work on gender equality is a 24 hour , 365 days a year job, you live it; you breathe it.

When I read about the brutality that women and girls face through gender based violence and the way the world turns a blind eye, something within me ignites about making a difference through transformative leadership. I challenged myself to acquire knowledge which will enable me to seek solutions to ending inequality. It becomes more urgent when an injustice knocks closer to home; seeing a relative with a blue eye; a brilliant niece who cannot continue school because she cannot afford the fees, a female community leader forced out of a leadership position because they do not have a husband. This is when I decided, through further studies to understand the law and how it impacts the daily lives of the SADC citizens.

I look at the gender stalwarts who have mentored me for the past three years to launch into the deep and think outside the box to ensure gender equality. These are the people that continue to inspire me despite the pressures they have in their own positions as leaders, as heads of families and as mothers and spouses. Today I celebrate living due to the energy and passion I see in Mme Colleen, GL CEO; Mme Emma, Alliance Chair and Sis Mag, former SADC Gender Unit Head and GL board member.

The past year was marred with uncertainty due to dwindling funding for gender equality. I have seen the stress on sustainability at GL and other gender movements. Without sustainability, what we desire and plan for would simply be out of the history books. However, the zeal to remain sustainable, to fight for finance in development, has pushed me beyond boundaries to ‘find the money’ for gender equality. The desire to be part of a sustainable institution with enough resources has prompted me to be innovative in fundraising, to launch into the deep and work more closely with other team members.


“When you focus on the good, the good gets better.” – Abraham Hicks

When resources are few, it is easy to lose focus and follow the wind. I applaud Mme Colleen for encouraging the GL soldiers to keep focusing on the good to make it the best. This was a valuable lesson for me as I am now able to fit appropriate calls for proposals with the GL strategy. It is a lesson that I carry forward to 2016 for partnership building which is a huge component of my portfolio.

Matilda and Kundai focussing on a dart board during GL family day, October 2015

Matilda and Kundai focussing on a dart board during GL family day, October 2015. The Alliance portfolio is like an amoeba which changes shape yet reaches its desired destination. This is a reality due to focusing on our core objective of movement building and holding governments accountable to commitments on gender equality. In 2016, we are focussing on consolidating the structure of the Alliance into five clusters that have a clear alignment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These clusters (governance; economic justice; sexual reproductive health and rights; climate change and sustainable development; media, information and communications) will sharpen the Alliance focus on the SDGs and the review of the SADC Gender Protocol. I look forward to strengthening the Alliance partnerships in ensuring stronger commitments on gender in the region.

Team work, dream work

“Coming together is the beginning, keeping together is progress, and working together is success.” – Henry Ford
GL is a family with deep roots taping into different knowledge sources. I appreciate being part of this wonderful family when it is a world full of possibilities. Gratitude and attitude has kept the roots connected to the trunk of the GL tree. I appreciate the team work on staff wellness with special support from Fikile and Vivien, the financial prudence education from Bheki and the finance team, the journeys of a thousand miles with Clever and the hand-holding from my colleagues Skhoe, Mariatu and Monica.

Lucia’s presence within the Alliance team continues to make the unit the ‘A’ team. Her passion and ambition enables me to dust myself and walk again when I fall – for me this is the sisterhood that I desire to see in gender circles. I look forward to more team work in 2016. I thank my family and my partner for the support in 2015 and will continue to lean on them in 2016.