Genuine war veterans hope to influence Zim election , The Star

Date: January 1, 1970
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This article is about two ex-combatants in Zimbabwe?s liberation struggle, a woman and a man, who mount their own mission before the Zimbabwean election to convince neighbouring countries that the struggle for justice in their countries continues.

This article may be used as:
  • An example of a woman in a non-traditional role and the experiences of women during the liberation struggle.
  • An example of mainstreaming. This story is not about a woman freedom fighter per se, but about two freedom fighters on a mission, one of whom happens to be a woman. The article brings out the gendered dimensions of liberation struggles in the course of making the case that social justice is still far from being achieved in .
  • An example of a good use of images: there is gender balance, both show determination; there is no undue focus on the physical attributes of the woman. She is a woman on a mission and this reflects in the image used.   
Training exercises
1)      In pairs or in groups reflect on the experiences of women in liberation struggles. How did they become involved? What were their experiences? What happened to them after the liberation struggle?
2)      With reference to the article:
  •  What is the mission of the two freedom fighters?
  • What did Nyambuya experience during the liberation struggle?
  • How does she continue her fight now?
  •  Would you regard this as a gender aware story? Why?

Trainer’s notes

1)      If it is possible to access the film described under “additional resources”, this would be an excellent way of getting the discussion going. The majority of Southern African countries have experienced liberation struggles. Any kind of conflict turns “the norm” upside down. Often this has created space for women to enter non-traditional areas of life. However, many women freedom fighters, like Freedom Nyambuya, have been subjected to gender-based violence. And when freedom is achieved, their freedom is short lived, as they are shunned (while men are regarded as heroes) and often have to “go back to the kitchen”. The fact that they have lost out on education and other opportunities adds to the hardships.  
2)      The story itself is an excellent example of weaving the gender dimensions into a topical news story on the Zimbabwean elections, ex-combatants who are breaking ranks with those willy-nilly occupying white farms, and making a point that the liberation struggle is far from over.
Other training resources
1)      There is an excellent documentary film called “Flame” by Simon Bright, banned by the Zimbabwean authorities, but in circulation outside , on the experiences of Zimbabwean women during the liberation struggle.  
“Picture our lives: Gender and Images in Southern Africa ”, Chapter Four on “Gender and Images, a Historical Perspective” contains an excellent section on gender and imagery in the liberation movement. Handout nine, with images of women in struggle in , from the Frelimo archives, is an excellent resource for stimulating additional debate on women in the struggle. 

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