Zimbabwe

In November, a Kenyan woman was stripped naked by a mob of men at a city bus stop in Nairobi and the brutal attack was caught in graphic detail on video. Her crime? Wearing a miniskirt which was deemed ‘indecent.'
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This report brings you stories and insights from across the JASS network. Here, you'll read how different women see their world and the innovative ways they are challenging abuses of power and building deeply democratic alternatives.
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On October 4th, hundreds of women brought Harare traffic to a standstill during the Reclaiming our Streets march against attacks on women wearing short skirts. Their action was met with heckling, catcalls and further harassment from men. The response to the march reaffirms the need to address the real threats and intimidations faced by women standing up for their rights in Zimbabwe, and develop strategies to assure women’s control over their bodies and safety from violence in all its forms.
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Maggie Mapondera of JASS Southern Africa asks: We talk about justice all the time as feminists, but what do we actually mean by it? How do we even begin to imagine what justice looks like?
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Katswe Sistahood's Winnet Shamuyarira describes how Zimbabwean activists rose up for justice in this year's global One Billion Rising Campaign: "That day, we the women of Zimbabwe said we were tired of being abused, tired of taking things lying down and that we have the power, the numbers, and the voice to act on issues that are affecting us"
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Zambia's first lady surprised the international community when she spoke out on LGBTI rights. Many activists and JASS allies across the region are wondering, what’s next—will those in power begin to formulate concrete policies that will put these words into action, and make a difference in the lives of LGBTI people?
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“There’s an act of dfiance ien going onstage,” says Rudo Chigudu, “Because everything about our stories is private…. When young women get married they’re told, ‘Don’t air your dirty laundry in public,’ [yet] the woman next door knows you’ve been beaten because you ran down the street half naked. But you’re still supposed to pretend that it’s [violence] this very private thing and you’re supposed to contain it.
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"The things that I now recognize as activism are things I’ve been doing for years. Questioning basic things like the hierarchies in school and the home – recognizing injustices, getting angry about them, and then in small ways starting to do something about them. When you know something’s wrong, you say something because you can’t be silent."
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The dust is yet to settle in Zimbabwe after Robert Mugabe was re-elected for the eighth time amidst serious suspicions of widespread vote-rigging. For many the question is: What will happen next?
“They’re already neck-and-neck, heading for a run-off!” That’s a running joke on the streets of Harare as we wait for July 31, the day of Zimbabwe’s national elections.
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