Contemporary Relevance

African Feminism


“Women are always targeted. They are targeted differently depending on what the political economic and social context is. Our society is deeply patriarchal and misogynistic. During the liberation war, women’s bodies were used as part of the struggle. That struggle was by no means equitable.” -Shereen Essof

Contemporary violence in Zimbabwe is sexualized, targeting women as the core of the country’s problems.  After the state gained independence in the 1980s, women enjoyed a few more freedoms than previously allowed under British rule. The government panicked, instituting a female-only curfew. Hate crimes are also widespread; traditional patriarchal values and institutions encourage–both consciously and systematically–the targeting of women in instances of violence. It’s about minority oppression at the benefit of state power. Zimbabwean feminists must fight to have their personhood restored in a country that devalues feminine labor, in a country where civil conflict will always disproportionately impact women and children.

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Compensation for white farmers

President Emmerson Mnangagwa faces backlash after announcing his decision to offer compensation to white commercial farmers residing in Zimbabwe. The current government is going to pay over 4,500 farmers of European ancestry, or those who reside in Zimbabwe due to colonial rule, because their lands had been violently seized under President Mugabe.

The decision is being criticized as insensitive to the natives, who suffered through forced labor on those farms and whose territory the farms were built over in the first place. While Mnangagwa insists the reparations are for improvements only, critics have their doubts.

“Is such undeserved gain not a debt to the generations of owners of the land that the Rhodesian farmers must pay, not the other way round?” -Moses Chikowero

Read the full story here.


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Jasmine Edwards ’19

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