Locating young women in the Decade of Action – a focus on access to land

Women’s economic development, participation and positioning are key anchors of the targets set by numerous global and regional protocols and agreements that have emerged over the past 20 years. Many of these instruments and frameworks place an emphasis on women’s economic advancement towards the eradication of feminization of poverty which covers the poverty of choices and opportunities such as the ability to lead a long, healthy, and creative life, and enjoying basic rights like freedom, respect, and dignity. At the pinnacle of these protocols and agreements are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and though progress is being made in many places, action to meet the Goals is not yet advancing at the speed or scale required. [1]In this vein, in September 2019, the UN Secretary-General called on all sectors of society to mobilize for a decade of action for accelerating sustainable solutions to all the world’s biggest challenges — ranging from poverty and gender to climate change, inequality and closing the finance gap.

2020 supposedly ushered in a decade of ambitious action to deliver the Goals by 2030, with an increased focus on youth and the need to manipulate the youth bulge to scale up the implementation of SDGs and inspire breakthroughs. In the spirit of the SDGs leaving no one behind, this then calls for the need to address several systemic factors that combine to drive young women’s poverty and gender inequality which include restrictions on young women’s property rights, lack of opportunities and social exclusion[2]. In order to locate young women in the decade of action it is therefore paramount to locate them locally. In this vein, it is then key to note that women’s advancement is not facilitated primarily by various protocols and agreements but by the state’s capacity to weave them into measurable, national development priorities that shift structural inhibitors to women’s participation in the economy[3]. Locating young women in Zimbabwe in the decade of action, therefore, requires a focus on land as one of the major sources of income in the country, taking an audit of where young women stand, addressing the gaps and constrains of effective participation.

Historically, Zimbabwe’s colonial era was punctuated with land grabs and seizure of livestock that augmented inequalities that lead to the liberation struggle. Moving from the colonial era, land redistribution was high on the list of priorities for the Zimbabwean Government in 1980 with the aim of improving the standard of living of the largest and poorest sector of the population. Zimbabwe has since employed several measures in line with its constitution to reduce inequality in the way people access of land for whichever purposes through the Intensive Resettlement Program, the National Land Policy of 1990, the 1992 Land Acquisition Act, and the Land Reform program of the year 2000. However, these efforts did not pay special attention to the inequalities within the poor majority, thus, young people’s access to land has always been overlooked. The situation then gets worse for young women whose contribution to the productiveness of the country remains minimal. Land reform is a political process, which is influenced by many stakeholders, both at the national and international level[4] and, hence, to position young women for productiveness there is need to strike a balance between the market-based land acquisition and Government led approaches to land acquisition.

Post the introduction of SDGs, which Zimbabwe is a signatory of, the government then introduced the Land Commission Act (Chapter 20:29)[5] to provide for the Zimbabwe Land Commission established by section 296 of the Constitution; to provide for the acquisition of State land and the disposal of State land; to provide for the settlement of persons on, and the alienation of, agricultural land; to provide for the control of the subdivision and lease of land for farming or other purposes; and to provide for limiting of the number of pieces of land that may be owned by any person and the sizes of such land. Surprisingly, though written after 2 years into the introduction of SDGs, the Land Commission Act is silent on the emancipation of women, thus paying a blind eye to the international targets that clearly state that achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is integral to each of the 17 goals[6]. The country has, however, had a bit of progress towards addressing inequalities land lately through the National Land Audit. Though the full report is yet to be released, none of the snippets in the mainstream media are addressing land and gender.

 Considering this history and current legislature, it is still necessary to position young women for the decade of action which will accelerate action in three levels that are global action, local action and people action. At a global scale, the frameworks already exist through the SDG indicators under SDG 1, 2, 5, 11, & 15. [7]Land is a significant resource, both cross-cutting and critical to achieving the SDGs and many land organizations and stakeholders are committed to fully implementing the SDGs and to monitoring the land-related indicators in order to promote responsible land governance. However, the tire status for indicators on SDGs show that methodologies have been established but there is no regular data being produced. This provides a gap for young women to be part of the data collection process and for the process to target them in order to gather data.

Evidently from the above narrative, local action has to embed a gendered transition into policies, budgets, institutions and regulatory frameworks. In Zimbabwe tis should be led by people action, thus, youth collectives, civil society, media, the private sector and other stakeholders to prioritise young women in advocacy for land and access to opportunities. Since the Decade of Action will mobilize everyone, everywhere to create an unstoppable force linked to the Global Goals, all stakeholders should ensure that they leave no one behind. There is a demand for urgency and ambition towards ending extreme poverty, winning the race against climate change and conquering injustice and gender inequality. This will ultimately be driven by sustainable innovation, financial investments and technology—while making space in our communities and cities for young people to lead.

Article by – Thando Gwinji

[1] https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/decade-of-action/

[2] Madzwamuse,   M. 2014. Economic Justice as a Site for Women’s Empowerment. BUWA Journal

[3] Pheko, L. 2014. Overview of Frameworks. BUWA Jo                               

[4] Chitsike, F. A Critical Analysis of the Land Reform Programme in Zimbabwe

[5] https://zimlii.org/zw/legislation/act/2017/12

[6] https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/women-and-the-sdgs

[7] https://landportal.org/book/sdgs

There are no guarantees in life

#BOTY2020 Lesson Learnt

Mental shackles become apparent when all you ever believed in doesn’t pluck you out from situations that require a sober line of thought. Readjusting to cope with life’s most pressing questions by throwing out all you ever knew is a sign that there is a pressing need to re-evaluate all value systems.  2020 was punctuated with a lot of learning and unlearning, as a writer it made me realize that being in the right state of mind, or just being steady enough to sit down and write, is actually a blessing. Because all I ever wrote this year was the Winter ABC challenge, it is obvious that this year I was just folding my hands and watching the year as it unfolds. No judgement. No remorse. This is surely a year that will go down in history books with a strong lesson that there are no guarantees in life.

I have taken up yet again another bloggers’ challenge, “The Best of the Year 2020 (#BOTY2020)” and this December I will be randomly sharing some of my best Experiences, Lessons and Memories of the year 2020. I will begin this #BOTY2020 Challenge with a topic on the Best Lesson Learnt and that will be that, there are no guarantees in Life, nothing is certain and nothing is permanent. I came out of the year 2019 in tatters, I was defeated in a whole lot of battle fronts. I wasn’t even planning on picking myself up, everything was just running on autopilot. Little did I know that the month of March will force me to confront that situation and decide exactly what I want to do with my personal and professional life. Well actually I thought that it was going to be just the month of March but most of the year was a year of reflection.

To fulfil your purpose in life and to live up to your destiny takes a lot of faith in what you believe is right. However, faith in itself is tricky and fluid, you never realize that the strength of your faith lies in the little things that glue you to your identity. When your identity changes or when your identity doesn’t make sense any more, then that which is right changes as well. This is when your experiences begin to mold you. This is when you are just not facing or conquering challenges but it’s when you are evaluating the amount of joy in your victories as well. Faced with realities of a dark world in sobriety, the values we uphold as humanity changed. If I were to die today, would I be happy to leave my child suffering in this world? Then is aspiring to procreate any victorious if when you do a worldwide pandemic can easily wipe them off the face of earth? So why are we even stereotyping those who have chosen not to walk in paths whose joy is not guaranteed?

There comes a point where what we hold with high regards becomes irrelevant in our lives. This is the year when I became a foe to some of my most priced mentees because I decided to set them loose into the world. It was probably the worst timing because they might have needed a hand to hold in this difficult year, but I believed that holding on to anything at this point is detrimental to the process of re-evaluating. This alone made me rethink relationships and realize that people often impose their expectations on you without considering what you might expect from them. This makes relationships impermanent regardless of your investment in them. It is not just fallouts that makes relationships temporary but death as well. 2020 was mostly punctuated with death, not just Corona related but a lot of road accidents as well including that of one of Bulawayo’s best rapper Cal Vin. Death looks a bit more final and makes hate really unnecessary.

Fast forward to December 2020, where we are now. Just a week ago, I was diagnosed with COVID19 by the Kenyan authorities. Before even feeling any of the symptoms, the stress alone had me worked up. I wasn’t only worried about spending 14 Days in quarantine in Kenya but of my health and that of comrades around me as well. We then had to take extra precautions and extract me to be quarantined in Zimbabwe. Upon arrival I got another COVID19 test which was negative. There really are no guarantees in life. It is very easy for us to lie to ourselves and sugar coat our realities the best way that we can. In a reflection meeting with my comrades in Kwekwe, we smiled at each other and drank beer as if all was well. We knew that all was falling apart and what we stood for as cadres was really threatened by everything and everyone around.

I wasn’t guaranteed that I will live through 2020, both life and death always have a way of reminding you that you are here because of privilege.  So it is imperative to teach them love, let it be the religion.

Where evil grows


As life continues to happen, I want to know even more about the woman in the mirror, I engage more with her for that which is unknown
I search within my head for the voice that was in Noah’s head that made him build a boat and fill it with animals 2 by 2
But all I find is a voice of reason and wisdom, a voice that tells me that I am slowly but surely slithering into a narcissistic dark hole
The voice is not comforting anymore, its straight up and rudely anchoring reality of dreams dying. Evil grows where the sun never shines.

Then comes that one moment of relapse, a glimpse of the past in a glass of wine, that reminder of all that has gone wrong,
That moment which whispers to my anxious sub-conscience that I never healed, I just disregarded my triggers,
I take comfort in knowing that that which we collectively suffer from has its fair share of the blame in this mess,
but nothing shatters me even more than knowingly and quietly following that dark hole in front of me that was planted in me by by trying and failing.

The same spirit that plants hope, that plants a ray of sunshine on top of a raw wound is the same spirit that knows pretty well that that wound will never heal,
but will grow to consume every last inch of my reason for existence.
Never wishing to see the day end but still taking a sigh of relief as I see the sun set.
Woke or otherwise, its scary to hold on when its time to throw it all away.

With love, Qhawekazi

Adios #DAY22 WINTERABC2020

June 2020 officially marks the first month I have ever posted 22 blog posts. It has been an emotional journey for me that might not be reflected in the content that I have posted. At some point I cried and shut down my laptop, another time I had to close my laptop to meditate, but most of the time I had a grin on my face. Writing as I reflect on life has been a great therapy for me and after this winter I am ready to try again. Though I would love this to be an “I thank me” post, I cant help it but appreciate the team behind the 2020 WinterABCs. It is really a necessary platform that will go down in history as a platform that gave many a voice. The twitter family has been amazing #AfroBloggers and those who read, liked and commented on posts are extra special, they rekindled the fighting spirit. As we wrap up this challenge, I am determined to keep my blog as active and continue sharing love and light. Adios.

We are now returning to normal programming 🙂 

Bringing “The Years” back

winterabc2020 (5)

Wake up and wear lipstick
Find a purpose even if that’s the last thing you ever do

See the thing with age is that it creeps up on you
It slithers through the night and hits you in the face one morning as you look in the mirror

At that point it dawns that you used to wake up to a colorful mirror
Now you don’t even smile even when you apply lipstick
The same mirror that used to bask in red lipstick kisses and sticky notes
Now stands traumatized by the tears and frowns it has seen over the years
The same mirror that was blessed by songs of praise
Now yearns for the slightest hint of an utterance that says we still believe in a higher power

See the thing with age is that regardless of the experiences it brings along
It is still a treasured experience, a ticket to bragging rights
Age is an accumulation of emotions, a heap of feelings and a summary of all our choices
In the end we only regret the things we didn’t do
To be someone, be somewhere, feel something is a blessing
Find your space in the universe either way